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This Week’s Topics … Canadair Sabre for museum in India + Long Lost Book Review + Why Do the Greens Disgrace Themselves Like This + 747 Retrospective + More Great Lakes History + The Airborne Classroom + 1963 Spotters’ Road Trip + Canadair Sabre & CAE Reader’s Comments + Smashing Review Surfaces for Our 1986 Book, The Canadair Sabre

Our blog follower, Jagan, submits this news about Canadair Sabre 1606 ex-Luftwaffe, ex-Pakistan AF, ex-Bangladesh AF. See pages 325-326 in The Canadair Sabre, including a photo of 1606 in poor condition in a scrap yard. Enjoy this link for the latest news — 1606 now will be well cared for by the IAF Museum.

It’s always good fun going back through copies of ancient aviation journals on a quiet day. Over the decades, one of the very best of these was Alan Hall’s “Aviation News”. Fans in the UK and around the world waited eagerly for each fresh edition to hit the news stands, or, to arrive in the mail.

In those exclusive years of super-quality aviation periodicals, we aviation book publishers were certain to send review copies of our new titles to each. Rarely would any decent quality book miss being reviewed by the top magazines, and there always was the hope of winning a lead review, or, “Book of the Month”. CANAV has had a good share of the best that the book editors had to offer from Canada to the USA, UK, across Europe and down to Australia/New Zealand.

In flipping through “Aviation News” back issues today, I was astounded to come across a review in a September — October 1986 edition of The Canadair Sabre that I missed all those decades ago. Our book certainly excited “Aviation News” from top man, Alan Hall, to his deputy, Lindsay Peacock, to the rest of the staff, which included in those days such other UK “Kings of Aviation History” as Arthur Pearcy and Brian Sturtivant. I don’t know who was in charge of the book pages, but he certainly was smitten by our book. I’ve seen many a wonderful review of our efforts since 1979, but few have exceeded the praise doled out here by “Aviation News”. How the review finishes in itself is enough to explode a publishers head! “Rarely does one find such a complete exposition of a popular aircraft. We feel that Larry Milberry has set standards that will be hard to follow.”

The Canadair Sabre … order your copy today at the best offer yet! Usually $40.00 + shipping, with this offer you can own your personal copy (signed by the author) at $35.00 all-in for Canadian orders, or CDN$45.00 all-in USA or International (surface mail). Send payment by PayPal straight to CANAV at

PS … “Aviation News” today is one of the superb periodicals from Key Publishing. As Britain’s longest established monthly aviation journal, it’s renowned for providing the best coverage of every branch of aviation. Each issue gives you the latest info and in-depth features. Check out the details at the publisher’s website. You’ll be glad that you subscribed!

From the World Aviation News Front Page, March 5, 2021

What goes on with some of the extremist groups? How does moronic urban terrorism advance their ideological causes? Google this item and see what you think: Greenpeace Vandalizes Air France Boeing 777 in Paris ..

747 Retrospective

One of the great triumphs in aviation history since Day 1 goes by the simple name “Boeing 747”. You can learn all the basics starting with the Wiki 747 entry, then there’s a host of excellent books to read. Also, a real “must see” is Sam Chui’s nostalgic YouTube video – “The Last British Airways B747 Flight – An Emotional Farewell”. Sam has done a bang-up job covering the recent retirement of the 747 from British Airways. You can find this item by googling it by its title.

The 747 is such a magnificent story. In digging through old files lately, I came across some ancient Boeing PR photos and press releases. Inspired by Sam’s video and what I started unearthing around CANAV Books HQ, I decided to share a bit more about the 747, not that the interweb isn’t already bulging with material (I just know that you whiners out there know perfectly well where to find your favourite 747 content if this selection isn’t your cup of tea — yes there are whiners for any topic I can dream up). Mainly, you regular folks will be enjoying a few old 747 Kodachromes that Wilf White and I took in decades gone by, plus a few other pix that are credited:

To start spreading the word about its idea for a huge passenger jetliner, in the mid-1960s Boeing began sending the press 8×10 “glossies” showing scale models of the 707 vs These gave a rough idea of the size of the proposed 747, which eventually was dubbed “Jumbo Jet”. Check out the simple description accompanying the photo. True to form, the press was skeptical. “Time Magazine”, for example, declared that the 747 was guaranteed to be a dud. (Boeing Photo)
Air Canada was quick to place its order for the 747. The type first appears in the company’s 1968 budget as a proposal to purchase three. President G.R. McGregor simply explained how Air Canada would be sidelined in the industry, if it didn’t join the global 747 “club”. The price per airplane was $23 million. The company’s first 747-100 series — CF-TOA — was delivered to Dorval on February 11, 1971. Taking the official photos was the great Ed Bermingham. With his office at Dorval Airport, Ed had two main clients – Air Canada and CAE Inc. Talk about a dream job for a fellow who had begun as a kid tinkering with old cameras! If you have our book Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, you’ll be familiar with Ed’s magnificent photography. Here, “TOA” arrives, then taxis in. What a red letter day in the history of Air Canada and “YUL” Dorval. “TOA” would enjoy a long career before being sold to Guinness Peat Aviation in 1984. Thenceforth, it served carriers from National Airlines as N749R to People Express, Middle East Airlines and Flying Tiger Line. In 1988 it became N890FT owned by First Security Bank of Utah (banks and insurance companies often own the airliners we assume the operators must own). In 1992 “TOA” became N620FE with Federal Express. It finally went for parting out and scrapping at Marana, Arizona in 1995.
Ed Bermingham also photographed Air Canada’s second 747-100, CF-TOB, on its delivery to YUL on March 18, 1971.
CF-TOB served into 1985, then had a long afterlife with operators from Iberia of Spain to Middle East Airlines of Lebanon, and Canada’s iconic Wardair (1986-1990). It ended c.1995 with Air Atlanta Icelandic, then went to Marana, where it was scrapped in 2003. I caught “TOB” landing at YYZ on October 1, 1972.
This Air Canada B.747-200 was to have been CF- TOF, but instead was delivered in 1975 as C-GAGA. It was sold in 1988 to Canada Lease Financing, then leased back by Air Canada. I shot “AGA” on 35mm b/w film at YYZ on May 16, 1975. Notice the Lancaster beyond. That’s G-BCOH (ex-RCAF KB976) on its ferry trip from Edmonton to the UK for the Strathallan Aircraft Collection. A few of us got on the ramp for this festive event, but I’m glad I also grabbed this shot of “AGA” for the record (as we used to say). My vantage point was the rooftop parking lot in YYZ’s famous (and long gone) Aeroquay/Terminal One.
Over the decades “AGA” served other airlines on and off (e.g., Garuda of Indonesia). It finally left Air Canada in 1999 for Marana. It was bought for spares in 2003 by the great Detroit cargo carrier, Kalitta Air. The leftovers became scrap in 2013. Here’s “AGA” landing at YYZ on July 31, 1993.
Air Canada’s B.747-400 “combi” C-GAGL leaps into the blue at YYZ on May 27, 1997. Delivered in June 1991, “AGL” had been financed by Air Canada, but was sold in 1993 to GE Capital Corp., then leased back. It served into late 2004, then went to Guggenheim Aviation Partners. In 2006 it was flying for Air China, had subsequent operators, and most recently was ER-BBC with the Moldavian cargo line, Aerotranscargo. On a recent trip, on January 23, 2021 it operated from Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan to Budapest, Hungary. While most straight 747-400s have little use in today’s market, any “combi” (convertible from passenger to cargo) is greatly sought after, especially in Covid 19 times, when billions of doses of vaccines are being transported globally.
Delivered in November 1973, CPAir’s B.747-200 C-FCRA “Empress of Italy” is seen at Vancouver in September 1986. This was about when “CRA” was sold to Pakistan International Airlines, becoming AP-BCL. It served PIA to about 2000, then flew under Sierre Leone registration — 9L-LOR. It finally was N899TH in Thailand, where it was seen derelict in 2007 (since scrapped). In its final years, “CRA” clearly was with some sleazy operators. Who knows was illicit cargos were flown, but all those secrets vanished in the scrapyard. (A good book covering this topic is Matt Potter’s Outlaws Inc: Flying with the World’s Most Dangerous Smugglers.)
From my first book, Aviation in Canada (1979) comes one of my favourite pictures. Shown is the handover at Boeing of Wardair’s first 747, CF-DJC, on April 23, 1973. Boeing and Max Ward went all out for this glorious event, having Max’s pioneer plane (a De Havilland Fox Moth), his first 707 and his first 727 all part of the celebration. What a gorgeous set-up shot. I wouldn’t be surprised if the great Gordon S. Williams was behind the lens for this shot. Gordon had begun shooting airplanes on the West Coast since he was a boy, then spent his working decades as a Boeing photographer. (Boeing Photo P48939)
Maintenance and overhaul were the other side of the 747 business. Here is “DJC” as I saw it on July 12, 1973. Wardair in Toronto must have been promised good weather this day, for some serious work was under way. In 2021 retired Wardair head of maintenance, Dan McNiven, recalled that, if this was an engine change, it would have taken a crew of five about 5½ hours, engine run-up included. Air Canada would have taken more like three days to do the same job in the luxury of a hangar (which Wardair didn’t have at YYZ in 1973).
Wilf White photographed “DJC” in the UK in August 1985. “DJC” was named “Phil Garrett” in honour of one of Canada’s revered WWI and pioneer bush fliers. It later flew in Canadian Airlines International, Nationair, Garuda, Saudia and Air Atlanta Icelandic colours. Sadly but inevitably it was broken up at Manston in the UK in 1999.
B.747-200 C-FXRA of Wardair about to land at YYZ in June 1983. Dubbed “Herbert Hollick Kenyon” after another pioneer bush and Arctic pilot, “XRA” was delivered from Boeing in June 1978. In 1986 it was sold to British Caledonia Airways, where it flew as G-GLYN. Other adventures ensued, the last in 2000 when it was with Philippine Airlines as RP-C8850. It made its final landing soon afterwards at Marana to be scrapped.
While waiting for a flight at Mirabel on July 29, 1994, I spotted 747-200 C-FXCE on the ramp in the colours of Fortunair, one of Canada’s many short-lived charter carriers. But “XCE” was by no means a short-lived 747! Originally 9V-SQF with Singapore Airlines in 1977, it returned to Boeing in 1984. Refurbished, it moved on to PanAm as N724PA “Clipper Fairwind”, then to Potomac Capital Investment Corp. in 1991. Various operators ensued, from United Air Lines to Tower Air, then Fortunair in June This company didn’t last, so “XCE” went into storage at Marana. Various adventures ensued, as in 2004, when it was 3D- NEF in Swaziland; then in 2007 as Libyan XT-DMK. As “DMK” it ended in storage at Sana, Yemen. A typical story for many a veteran 747 – from glory days to the bottom of the barrel.
BOACs 10th 747-100 series G-AWNJ was delivered in March 1972. It first was named “John Donne”, then “City of Sheffield”, lastly, “Bassenthwaite Lake”. “NJ” was sold in 1998 and sent to storage that December to Roswell, New Mexico. On December 6, 1997, it had taken off at 1446 hours at Heathrow for New York JFK carrying 18 crew and 323 passengers. Suddenly, a Canada Goose was ingested by No.2 engine. All standard procedures were carried out by the book and “NJ” landed safely at Part of the final report for this reads: “Whilst in the holding pattern, which was flown at 260 KIAS in the clean configuration, there was noticeable airframe vibration. The vibration level increased as speed was reduced and flap progressively extended and was most marked at 205 KIAS with flaps 5. However, the level of vibration did not affect the operation of the aircraft …” There would have been great anxiety in the passenger cabin, but all’s well that ends well. Post-landing inspection revealed the following re. No.2 engine: “Initial examination by the AAIB, after the aircraft had returned to a stand, showed that the left inner (No 2) engine had suffered severe damage to the fan; two adjacent fan blades had lost substantial portions of their outer length and all the blades had some hard object damage. It was also observed that the complete intake assembly, fan cowls, jet pipe and exhaust cone had separated from the powerplant assembly; these components, together with fragments of fan blade and some feathered bird remains were retrieved from the western end of Runway 27R.” For the full report, google “Boeing 747-136, G-AWNJ, 6 December 1997”. I photographed “NJ” at Toronto in all its BOAC impressiveness on June 30, 1972.
July 11, 1971 at Toronto. “Jumbo Jets” still were new, so we spotters barely could contain ourselves when OO-SBA drifted by so low and seemingly so slow. “SGA” was SABENA’s first 747-100. Delivered in November 1970 it still would have had “that new car smell” to its cabin. “SGA” served SABEBA into 1993, then was scrapped at Brussels.
The mainline airlines all jumped in to order the 747 once its true potential and magnificence became clear. Over the decades Alitalia would operate 21, all in the 100 and 200 series. I- DEME was the second to join the fleet. Delivered in July 1970, it returned to Boeing in 1981, after which it had a long list of owners/operators starting with SAS in 1982, finishing as N17011 with Continental Airlines into the early 1990s. It finally ended at Marana in 1995 to be scrapped. I caught “EME” landing at Toronto on July 6, 1973.
Seeing this Air France B.747-200 landing at Toronto on September 4, 1983 was a nice surprise for all the spotters that afternoon. The diehards, however, were extra interested when they caught the registration – N1252E. What? Yes, a US registration, and the same one with which the plane had been delivered to Air France five years earlier. It turns out that all along N1252E was owned by the Connecticut First National Bank and on lease to Air France. In 1985 it finally became F-BPVU, then served into 2002. It finally went for scrap at Chateauroux, France.
Delivered in May 1971, El Al’s first 747-200 4X-AXA was shot by Wilf White at Heathrow on August 10, 1980. “AXA” served into 1999, then was used at Tel Aviv as an anti-terrorist training facility. It finally was scrapped in 2019. Quite the career, half a century of usefulness. Then, El Al’s 4X-AXQ departing YYZ as I saw it on September 3, 1989. “AXQ” joined the El Al fleet in May 1988 after 14 years at QANTAS as VH-EBG. It served El Al into 2005, then was scrapped two years later.
Wilf photographed British Airways 747-200 G-BDXJ in August 1985. Delivered to BA in May 1980, it was named “City of Birmingham”, then served into 2001. Thenceforth, it flew with charter operators until retired in 2005. Its final flight was from Gatwick to Dunsfold (about 13 miles in a straight line), where it began a new career as a movie prop (“Casino Royale”, etc.). It survives to this day.
Iraqi 747-200 YI-AGN at Heathrow on August 10, Knowing Wilf, this day he might have been capitalizing on some free time to shoot airliners, while awaiting his flight to kick off one of his famous summer tours to Canada (his first crossing had been in a DC-4). He usually would fly in to New York or Toronto, then bus and train it cross-country at his own pace to spend a few days with his brother at Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island. “AGN” had joined Iraqi in June 1976. It was seized by the Iranian government in 1991, becoming Iranian military 5-8106. In August 2020 it was badly damaged when it jumped its chocks at Tehran following a 6-year rebuild. Heads sure must have rolled following this botch-up. There’s a beautiful 1/500 th “Flight Miniatures” diecast model of “AGN”.
Another of Wilf’s shots that day at Heathrow – Northwest’s N601US. Delivered in April 1970, it remained with Northwest into 1986, then went to Maxton, North Carolina for storage. Eventually, it was scrapped, but its nose/cockpit were saved and now are on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington. (NASM Photo)
Singapore Airlines 747 9V-SQO departs Heathrow on August 10, 1988. These all are actual photographs, taken by Wilf many years ago with a clunky old camera on which he needed to set f-stops and shutter speeds, remember his film ASA, focus manually, shoot with no more than 500/sec shutter speed, advance the film manually — all such prehistoric stuff. I say bravo Wilf and thanks for saving all such fantastic aviation history.

The grand 747 is gradually fading, but 30 – 40 years from now there still will be 747s at work. I suppose it’s a natural sign of “progress”, but the 747-800 (now on the line at Boeing) itself is edging towards the end. This is some news from Boeing and Atlas Air as of January 12 this year: “Boeing and Atlas Air Worldwide today announced an agreement to purchase four 747-8 Freighters… The 747-8F is the best and most versatile widebody freighter in the market, and we are excited to bolster our fleet with the acquisition of these four aircraft … This significant growth opportunity will enable us to capitalize on strong demand and deliver value for our existing and prospective customers… With a maximum payload capacity of 137.7 metric tonnes (137,750 kg), the 747-8 Freighter allows customers to access 20% more payload capacity while using 16% less fuel compared to previous-generation 747s. The jet also features 30% quieter engines. The 747-8 airplanes in this agreement will be the final four aircraft to roll off the production line in Everett, Washington… Atlas Air has 53 747s in its current fleet, making it the largest 747 operator in the world… The 747 program has produced 1,560 aircraft since launching the jumbo jet more than 50 years ago.”

CANAV Books has so many top-level readers and we’re steadily in touch. According to the CANAV grapevine, our 747 pilot friends have one thing in common – they love their 747. Recently, one pilot, who’s flying the mighty “8”, wrote to us: “I must admit, between the – 400 and the -8, I prefer the -8. It really is a wonderful machine. You’re correct, the 747 is an absolute wonderful flying machine. Having flown the classic -100 and -200, and now the -400 and -8, I greatly admire the design team and their philosophy. One NASA test said that the basic 747 airframe is an aerodynamic masterpiece. Good description for sure! Sadly, the production line is shutting down in 2022, but with all this Covid around the world, we’re extremely busy. We’re hiring pilots and adding aircraft. Out of Hong Kong we’re always pushing back at 990,000 lb with the -8. She’s remarkable and really efficient with those GE engines. The flying is straightforward, the ol’ 7-4 is fantastic!”

One of the last 747-8s on the line recently at Boeing in Seattle. (Boeing Photo K63934)

More Great Lakes History

I wasn’t surprised to hear that many CANAV fans share an interest in shipping, so here are a few more random photos from my Great Lakes collection. First, a few scenes from Kingston, an important centre at the east end of Lake Ontario. Kingston started in shipping in the 1600s — the days of Count Frontenac of New France. For centuries it was noted for shipbuilding. Those days are long gone, but the history of it all is very much alive and to be revelled in by anyone with half a clue. When in Kingston, enjoy its historic waterfront and visit the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes.

A general view of Kingston that I shot in August You’re looking upstream (west) towards the city with Royal Military College in the foreground. Downstream, the lake empties pretty well immediately into the mighty St. Lawrence River, which arises just out of the picture on the left.
Just off Kingston is famed Wolfe Island, where about 1400 people reside. Traditionally, they’ve travelled to and from Kingston by ferryboat, the Wolfe Islander being well known in this trade. In winter the local waters usually ice-up, so the ferry needed help getting through the channel. Here’s the Wolfe Islander in a distant shot from February 15, 1975 under tow by the tug Salvage Monarch. They’re approaching the dock at the foot of Brock St. Then, a couple of closer views. The Wolfe Islander was built in Collingwood in 1946. It was 144’3”x 43’1” with an 8-foot draft. It originally had been built as the Ottawa Maybrook as a gift to China, but when Mao took over there in 1949, it was acquired by the Ontario government and converted from a coastal freighter to a side- loading ferry. It served Wolfe Island until replaced in 1976. Today the Wolfe Islander is a divers’ delight lying 80 feet on the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, sunk there on September 21, 1985, having been forsaken by the local marine museum. As to the Salvage Monarch, it was built in Appledore, UK in 1959 and at this time was owned by McAllister-Pyke Salvage. According to the List of Shipping for 1968, it is 91’3”x26’1” with a draft of 11’4”. Gross tonnage 219. In 2021 Salvage Monarch was listed to Heritage Harbour Marine Co. of Goderich, but was residing in Toronto.
This summertime view (June 26, 1973) gives a better idea of the Wolfe Islander’s lines.

Built by Russel Brothers Ltd. in Owen Sound in 1949, the 86’4” passenger and car ferry Upper Canada originally was the Romeo and Annette serving the coast of northern New Brunswick and Gaspé. In 1965 it was sold to the Ontario government to bolster the Wolfe Island service. In the 1970s it left Kingston to serve Pelee Island in Lake Erie. In the 1990s it was on the Christian Island run in Georgian Bay, so what a useful little ferry for more than half a century. Finally, Upper Canada was sold to an individual, but its registration was not renewed after 2008. About this time it mysteriously turned up run ashore on the Black River in Lorain, Ohio. Nothing is known about this and the ship lies there year by year. (well worth a look) explains: “City officials are unsure how or why a Canadian registered boat ran aground in Lorain, and with no way to contact the owner, there seems little that can be done at this point. Even the Coast Guard has no record of how or why it came to rest on the Black River. The Coast Guard inspected the ship to make sure that it did not pose an environmental hazard by leaking pollution. But beyond that, it doesn’t fall under their responsibility. In order to salvage the boat or remove it, someone would need to have a claim against the vessel to try and get a title for it, he said. Somebody would need a monetary claim to do anything with it.” I photographed the Upper Canada in Kingston on June 26, 1973.
Dedicated Great Lakes historian and photographer, Bill Kloss, photographed the Upper Canada derelict in the Black River near Lorain, Ohio in May 2020. Bit of a sad scene, no, but maybe someone still might save this historic ferry.
The Pike’s Salvage dock on the Kingston waterfront on July 31, 1975 showing the work vessel Mapleheath and tug Daniel McAllister, both of McAllister-Pyke Salvage. Mapleheath was built in 1910 at Newcastle-on-Tyne and christened Toiler. It was 255’4”x42’5”x17’3” with a gross registered tonnage (grt) as per records in 1968 of 1693. Its owners over the decades included Canada Steamship Lines 1918-1959. The Toronto Marine Historical Society newsletter, “The Scanner”, notes of the Mapleheath in its October 1981 issue: “On November 29, 1959, Mapleheath was purchased by the McAllister Towing Company Ltd., Montreal, (now known as McAllister Towing and Salvage Ltd.), and was reduced to a crane-equipped salvage barge and lighter. Her after end remained much as it had been, complete with funnel, but the forward cabins were cut away. A large crane was placed on deck for the lifting of cargo from stranded ships. Painted up in the same colours as McAllister’s Montreal harbour and wrecking tugs, complete with the bright yellow stripe around her hull, Mapleheath remains active in the McAllister fleet to this day, and she is frequently called upon to assist vessels in distress in the lower lakes area or on the St. Lawrence River. It is anticipated that there will be a need for her as a wrecker for many years to come and, provided that she is kept in reasonable condition, there seems to be no reason why Mapleheath should not still be active well into the future.” What became of the Mapleheath? The 268-ton tug Daniel McAllister was built in Collingwood in 1907 for Canada’s Department of Public Works. Originally, it was the Helen M.B. Thanks to the Musée maritime du Québec, in 1998 it’s now the largest preserved tug in Canada and the second-oldest preserved ocean-going tug in the world. It’s to be found in Montreal on the Lachine Canal at the foot of McGill St.
On a fine day in July 1951, Great Lakes historian J.H. Bascom caught Mapleheath inbound at Toronto Bay’s Eastern Gap with a deck load of automobiles.
Other salvage vessels in Kingston, this scene dating to November 1975.
These Hall Corp. Great Lakes canallers were in storage in Kingston when I photographed them on June 27, 1974. At around 250’ long and 1900 to 2500 grt, the canaller was the mainstay of the lakes in the decades of the small Lachine locks. With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, canallers gradually were squeezed out of the Great Lakes market. What about this quartet? They were awaiting disposal but, happily, would escape the scrapman and serve at least a few more years. Built in 1958 in Scotland, Westcliffe Hall soon was re-registered as Westcliffe to the Cayman Shipping Corp. (Cayman Islands). In 1982 its ownership changed to Durmar II, Ltd. in Panama. Reportedly, it went for scrap in 1986. Sister ship Eaglecliffe Hall went to Cayman Shipping as Eaglescliffe. While inbound for Galveston on February 8, 1983 and flying the Panamanian flag, its hull split. It went to the bottom next day. Coniscliffe Hall was built in Lauzon, Quebec in 1957. It’s listed as sold in 1973 and converted to a drill rig at Port Weller, Ontario. Re-christened Telesis, it was registered to Underwater Gas Developers. Telesis went to work drilling for gas in Lake Erie. In 1998 it became the Louis J. Goulet of Pembina Exploration Ltd. It continued in Lake Erie until sold in 2000, then was towed to the Bahamas. In October 2005 it was blasted by “Hurricane Wilma” and ended wrecked on a reef. The “Niagara Falls Review” later reported, “From there, the elements took over and the aging hull gradually succumbed to the ravages of rust and wear near South Man-O-War channel. The superstructure was later cut down to the waterline, and all that remains of the former lakes trader rests in shallow water at the site.” How could anyone not love Great Lakes history, right! Northcliffe Hall was built in Montreal, but began as the Frankcliffe in It was rebuilt in Montreal in 1959 going from 2197 grt to 2454 grt. In 1975 it left Kingston for the British West Indies, then returned to Canada in 1978 as the Roland Desgagnes. On May 27, 1982 it ran aground on the St. Lawrence Côte-Nord near Pointe au Pic, then sank while being freed.
Fellow airplane spotter and camping companion, Nick Wolochatiuk, and I always were on the go as young fellows. For one thing we often were canoeing on the Nottawasaga and other rivers in the Georgian Bay watershed. Along the way we visited many communities in the region, Collingwood included. In those times the great Collingwood shipyards still were busy. Today? They’re a distant memory. Here are two old Kodachromes from days of yore showing one vessel getting started (shot on July 1, 1965), then another nearing completion (August 20, 1974). Does anyone know by the dates which ships these are? Feel free to let me know at
Ferndale was built in Ashtabula, Ohio in 1912 and measured 505’x56’ with a 30’ draft and 6356 grt. It originally had been the Louis R. Davidson. In 1963 it became the Ferndale registered in Bermuda to Leadale Shipping of Montreal. In 1975 Ferndale was condemned. While awaiting its fate at Port Colborne, it was set afire by vandals. The forward crew quarters were burned out. Ferndale was sold for scrap in 1979. Towed in tandem with sistership Avondale by the Polish tug Jantar, it left Quebec City on July 6, 1979 for scrapping in Castellon, Spain, where it arrived on August 3. Such voyages must have been harrowing when the weather turned. I took this photo in Toronto’s eastern ship channel on November 7, 1974 as Ferndale was discharging salt. These were the days when we could roam around the port and photograph at will. The good old days for sure!
Avondale discharging salt along Toronto’s eastern ship channel on December 7, 1970. Avondale began in 1908 as the Adam E. Cornelius. Built in St. Clair, Michigan, it was 420’x50’ with a draft of 24’ and grt of 4900. Rebuilt in 1921, its new specs were 475.6’x52’x28.3’ and 5663 grt. As noted above, its fate was the scrapyard. Note the mountains of coal beyond. These were the dying days of open coal storage in Toronto harbour, but salt remains a bulk commodity carried by lakers. It’s mainly used to keep roads safe in winter.
On December 14, 1972 I caught Avondale at sunset in Toronto Bay, heading for its winter berth. There it sat until spring break-up, when the Seaway re-opened and bulk cargo started moving again.
One of the older lake boats that we still saw around Toronto was the Pointe Noire. Here it is on April 5, 1970 about to enter the Western Gap leading to Lake Ontario. You can see that Pointe-Noire was empty this day and that it still was a coal burner (it was converted to oil in 1971). Pointe Noire was built in 1926 in Lorain, Ohio in 1926 as the Samuel Mather 3. For its day it was a giant at 600’x60’x32’. In 1965 it was sold to Labrador Steamships Ltd. of Montreal, registered in Bermuda and re-named. It joined Upper Lakes Shipping in 1968. It was laid up at the end of the 1980 season and scrapped at Port Maitland near the mouth of the Grand River on Lake Erie two years later.

CSL’s Hochelaga waiting in the Welland Canal on May 20, 1967. It came out of Collingwood in 1949 with dimensions of 623’2”x67’2”x33’6” and grt 12,616. It was the first new laker launched on the lakes post WWII. In 1964 it was converted at Port Arthur into a self-unloader and oil burner. Hochelaga last sailed in 1981, then was stored at Kingston and Toronto. In 1983 it was towed to the breakers in Cartagena, Colombia.
Built in Collingwood in 1964 for Canadian General Electric Co., then leased to Canada Steamship Lines, Tarantau was 712’ with a beam of 75’2” and draft of 39’4”. Gross tonnage was 19,494. It later was owned by Power Corporation of Canada and leased to CSL. Tarantau was laid up at Toronto in December 1996, then scrapped at Port Colborne on Lake Erie in 1999. I photographed Tarantau while it was discharging coal at Toronto’s Hearn generation station on May 28, 1970.

The Airborne Classroom

From the beginning of our teaching careers c.1960, we young Toronto aviation fans had a real opportunity to pair our interests. Over the early years (before regulations rendered such teaching opportunities verboten), we could take our pupils on airport visits and even have airborne field trips. Over the years, our pupils had some exceptional learning experiences. We took our classes as far afield in the early 70s as the First Nations reservations at Ogoki Post in Northern Ontario, and Northwest River, Labrador. Visits to Toronto Island Airport were easy and, another time, I took a week-long Gr.8 history and geography field trip through the Kawarthas that included flights from Peterborough to see the great local drumlin fields and eskers. We got our keen young students up in such planes as the Ce.172, Beaver, Otter, DC-3 and 737. We were considered radicals, and there even was some negative gossip in the schools, mainly of the “How dare they” nature.

One of our more exotic trips sprang from the geomorphology that a few of us were teaching to our Gr.7 and 8 classes. This was based on a course that some of us had taken at the University of Toronto covering the geomorphology of southern Ontario. This covered the horseshoe-shaped area from Niagara Falls, around to a bit north of Hamilton, eastward towards Lake Simcoe and into the Kawarthas centring on Peterborough. Naturally, we also taught about the many human activities and features along the route. This field trip traditionally was done by bus, but in 1969 I dreamed up a plan to teach it in the classroom, then finish with an aerial review. This was agreed to by my principal and the parents all were happy. Each pupil had to come up with about $15.00. I talked it over with Carl Millard, who agreed to give us a DC-3 for two hours for $300 (the good old days, right).

Having briefed the class thoroughly about what to expect and what to see, we bussed out to Malton Airport on May 23, 1969. Everything was set, except that our DC-3 CF-WCO “The Voyageur” was short one seat. I forget how we got around that, but Carl figured things out and soon we were airborne on a sunny but too-steamy morning.

I handed our captain a map with the route roughly shown. This took us south from Toronto airport to spot the Lakeview generating station, on to Hamilton Bay to see the steel mills and Burlington Skyway, Niagara to see the Welland Canal, orchards/vineyards, Niagara Falls, etc., then out pilots swung around to give good views of the Niagara Escarpment and Credit River up towards “The Forks”. Next, we turned eastward to see the Holland Marsh, Barrie and Lake Simcoe. We skirted the Peterborough area to see the Trent Canal, then the great drumlins of Lake Scugog, and finally headed down along the Lake Ontario shore to take in the Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto Islands, Toronto central business district and back to Malton. All went well. The kids were elated, even if there was a bit of queasiness. After all, it was a really hot day and we were flying as low as legally allowed.

All this came back to mind when I happened across this old Kodachrome that I took in the cabin of “WCO”. My great little gang seems into it and keeping things together. I’m amazed that I was able to get such a decent shot with K64 in available light. Where are all these great little citizens in 2021? Did any of you go into geography, teaching, aviation? It was about 52 years ago, so you’re all in your 60s – hard to believe. What did Carl Millard think of all this? Carl was always keen to get involved, but also was watching for any opportunity. He looked over my lesson plan for this trip, “topo” maps included. Then what? He started marketing my brainwave of a trip to high schools in the Millardair catchment basin. He told me years later that he sold several trips to high school geography departments (but not likely at $300). He put one of his young pilots on this beat to bang on geography department doors. Good ol’ Carl Millard, a real case. I’d like to see him in Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame, eccentric reputation and all.

While most of his DC-3s were work-a-day cargo planes, Carl kept CF-WCO “looking sharp” for passenger charters. Notice its panoramic windows, perfect for our class trip. Here’s “WCO” at YYZ Terminal One (the old Aeroquay, long since demolished) dropping off passengers on January 4, 1974. “WCO” had begun with the US Army in 1944, then served several US corporations as a VIP plane after the war. Carl acquired it in 1967, then made good use of it into 1979, when he sold it in Florida. From there it went to the Colombian military, then finally went for scrap in 1989.

A Spotters Road Trip

We Toronto aviation nerds always were dreaming up our next adventure, and did we have adventures! A typical road trip began on April 15, 1963 with Nick Wolochatiuk and I driving (in Nick’s VW, as usual) from Toronto to Chatham airport in southwestern Ontario. Next came Windsor, Detroit Metro and Willow Run all by day’s end. Can you imagine the craziness! On the 16th we covered Pontiac Municipal, Berz Airport, Ann Arbor and Detroit Municipal.

So far we had spotted such planes as Stitts Flut-r-Bug CF-RAK at Chatham, a Mong Sport at Windsor, a flock of C-46s and ANG RF- 84Fs at Detroit Metro, a Lockheed 049, DC-7 and PV-1 at Willow Run, an A-26, B-25 and DH Dove at Pontiac, an SNJ-2 at Berz, and two B-23s at Detroit Municipal. Nick and I were already solid aviation generalists. To us, everything about aviation was fair game. Unlike today’s scene, right, when too many tend to be really shallow about aviation. You’ll see these types around shooting nothing but airliners, or F-16s, or whatever. There’s no chance of a real aviation conversation with them. They’ve cut themselves off the great wide world of aviation to be so-called “specialists”.

On the 17th we hit up Toledo Express Airport, where the Michigan ANG 112 th TFS welcomed us to shoot their spiffy-looking F-84F Thunderstreaks, even though they were in the midst of a hot exercise. We then visited Cleveland Municipal where we found such goodies as a B-25, several DC-3s and UAL Caravelles, and spotted (in the distance) an AJ Savage. That brought us to our final stop on the of the day and the best of it all for this outing – Port Clinton, Ohio.

Somewhere we had heard or read about two Ford Trimotors based at Port Clinton and that they were work-a-day planes. When we pulled into this basic little airstrip on April 17, 1963, our info proved to be correct and then some. Sure enough, there sat Trimotors N7584 and N7684, plus Boeing 247 N18E. A billboard announced this as Island Airlines, and the people were friendly. We wandered around taking our photos and getting our questions answered, then topped off our visit with a short flight in N7584 over to Put-In-Bay on one of the offshore islands. As I recall, the fare out and back was $7.50. I noted that outbound we took off at 11:55 with seven passengers (having waited a few minutes for some latecomer) and landed at 12:02. We returned at 1:19 to 1:31. Jan Shaffer was our pilot. He flew us along at 85mph at around 500 feet.

Most traffic from Port Clinton was to Put-in-Bay, chiefly the daily shuttle taking the island children to Port Clinton, where busses picked them up to take them to school. The routine was reversed later in the day. Here are some of my black-and-whites and Kodachromes from the visit. By now I had learned a bit from my airplane photography mentors, so had started taking the odd detail shot. Too bad, but I still hadn’t grown up enough to know that I should also have been photographing the people to do with the airplanes. That maturity came too slowly, but finally arrived. The engine detail was taken from the cockpit, where Nick and I took a turn in the right seat. You can see that the cabin was purely utilitarian. The landing shot turned out not too badly. Don’t forget, film advance still was manual 58 years ago. Pretty sure these were taken with my Kodak Pony rangefinder. This was a hand-me-down from Nick, who had progressed to one of the early Pentax SLRs. Finally, my souvenier Island Airlines ticket. Lesson here? Never used scotch tape on anything you might want to keep pristine. Scotch tape the record keeper’s No.1 enemy, since it eventually will discolour everything it touches, as you can see.

What became of the Island Airlines fleet that we saw in 1963? For starters, look on the web – there is a mass of info for these planes. In one case, on August 24, 1992 N7584 was badly damaged by Hurricane Andrew at Homestead AFB, Florida. Restored, it’s still out there, flying with Kermit Weeks’ museum in Florida. On August 21, 1972, N7684 crashed when an engine failed on departing Port Clinton. There were 16 aboard, but no injuries. Then, on July 1, 1977 N7684 lost two engines on takeoff at Put-in-Bay and was severely damaged in the crash that followed. It last was heard of with Yellowstone Aviation in Jackson, Wyoming in the early 2000s. Boeing 247D N18E now belongs to the UK Science Museum.

Be Sure to Have Your Copy of The Canadair Sabre

Here are a couple of lovely “new” Canadair Sabre photos. I shot 23066 at Trenton on May 28, 1960. The resolution is so good on this original old 120 negative that you can read the pilot’s name by the cockpit – S/L Villeneuve, the Golden Hawk’s revered “Team Lead”. This great Canadian died last year. I can’t quite make out the techs’ names except for LAC Savoie. This was the team’s second year. I had caught the Golden Hawks first in 1959 at the spectacular airshow in Windsor, Ontario celebrating the 50 th Anniversary of flight in Canada.

For the time being CANAV fans can order a copy of this world- famous book at a real saving. I’m standing by to sign a copy for you. Anywhere in Canada? $35.00 all-in. USA and International? CDN$45.00 all-in (pay in Canadian dollars by PayPal depositing directly to and save another 25% or so on the exchange). Here’s a reminder of why you need this book (or an extra copy or two to use as knock-out gifts):

How about the official reviews for The Canadair Sabre? Well, they could not have been better. The leading French journal “Air Fan” loved The Canadair Sabre, calling it: “The aviation literary event of the year.” Greece’s journal “Ptisi” added, “A real oasis for F-86 fans and anyone interested in the Golden Years of the 1950s-60s.” Air International called the book, “A mine of information … there seems scant prospect of a better history.” Even more glowing commentary came from Bob Halford’s “Canadian Aircraft Operator”, Vol.24, No.20: “With The Canadair Sabre [Milberry] continues to enhance his reputation for producing top-of-the-class books that compare more than merely favourably with any of the works of the major publishing houses. This is a remarkable achievement …” Typically, “CAO” goes on to describe the book in detail. Bob, of course, knew his stuff … the Sabre in particular. He had visited Canadair during Sabre production years, also the RCAF’s NATO bases in Sabre years during his time editing “Aircraft” magazine. Bob concluded, “The book is, indeed, all that anyone could ever want to know about the Canadair-built Sabre … it’s a people book as well as an airplane book.”

Our second Canadair Sabre photo today by Wilf White. I assume this is at Renfrew or Glasgow, two key maintenance bases for the RCAF No.1 Air Division operating then in France and Germany. 23038 is a Canadair Sabre 5 in 441 Squadron markings. This dates to 441’s Sabre 5 era 1955-56; it converted to the Sabre 6 in August 1956. The squadron had first gone overseas with Sabre 2s in 1952 first to North Luffenham, UK, then to Zweibrucken, West Germany in 1954, finally to Marville, France in 1955. I have little info about 23038 other than its RCAF dates of December 1953 to May 1960, and that 422 also had flown it. Wilf’s setting could be at Scottish Aviation Ltd. at Glasgow in or around May 1956, when 23038 was struck off charge and when it probably went to SAL for scrapping. Wilf photographed many ex-RCAF Sabres and CF-100s being cut up at SAL.

Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story

Many readers have commented about CANAV’s widely acclaimed history of the great CAE Inc. After he read his copy of The CAE Story, Meher Kapadia, who spent 25 years as an engineer at CAE, sent me these comments:

Hi Larry … My son has just brought over your book to England, so I am now well immersed in it. It really is a great, well researched book. I find it most interesting going through the early history of CAE from long before I joined the company. You have to be complimented for the effort and care that you took. We Canadians have a bad habit of not blowing our horn, when we achieve something great. I am of the opinion that CAE was the world’s best systems engineering company for many years. I think I can say that, as over the years I dealt with most of the best, large US and UK engineering companies, I never came across any as good as us. My congratulations and I hope you will make a lot of sales.

This is a gem of an aerospace history, one of the world’s finest such books in decades. A large format hardcover, it has 392 pages, hundreds of photos, a glossary, bibliography and index. It’s all there! Usually CDN$65.00 + shipping + tax, you can order a copy all-in at $CDN60.00 for Canadian orders, CDN$75.00 all-in for USA orders, and $90.00 all-in for International orders. Pay by PayPal or Interac straight to If any questions contact me at Cheers … Larry

PS … for more reader comments, use the search box, just enter CAE Story.

The Canada Council — Kenneth Whyte Keeps an Eye on this Shady Outfit

Do yourself a big favour and google SHuSH by Kenneth Whyte, former editor of “Saturday Night Magazine”. If you like a bit of intellectual stimulation, this will work out nicely for you.

In his current piece, Whyte takes on the Canada Council, which today is a purely politically correct Ottawa institution doing the PMO’s bidding. Whyte reminds us: “The Canada Council was established as a crown corporation, arms-length from government, precisely to protect it from political interference from government officials (particularly the elected variety), preserving the freedoms of the arts community. The idea was to elevate the arts above politics.” Instead, the Canada Council has become a megaphone for Government of Canada causes such as “colonialism”, “systemic racism” and “climate change”. How do these get to lead the Canada Council agenda? Do these causes not already have their own super ministries? So much for “arms length from government” at the Canada Council. It looks as if social radicals/extremists are subverting the Canada Council.

CANAV Books has waged its own little campaign against the political correctness, etc. of the Canada Council, that grand, all-powerful Ottawa institution that places the 35+ world-famous books that CANAV has published since 1981 in the category of “not real books”. You can scroll back and see my rant about this. In a nutshell, when CANAV submitted Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story for consideration for the 2016 Canada Council Canadian Business Book Awards program, we were told in so many words, “The CAE Story is not a real book. Go away and start publishing real books.” The Canada Council then proceeded to award most of its 2016 business book awards to books published by the Canadian arms of huge American publishers. When I enquired about this at the Governor General’s office and the Canada Council, I received meaningless “Dear Sir or Madame” form letters in reply. Kenneth Whyte at SHuSH is doing Canada a good service with his latest item – take a look.


One response to “CANAV’s Booklist — Great Reading for Any Serious Fan!

  1. Your article on the Boeing 747 refers to the delivery date of CP Air’s first 747-200 (C-FCRA) as December 1974. It was a year earlier, November 1973. The second 747 (C-FCRB) was delivered the following month, December 1973. The next two 747s (C-FCRD and C-FCRE) were delivered a year later, in November and December 1974, respectively.

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