Canada Post on the Rampage Again + The Fabulous Lockheed Twins + The “Air Transport in Canada” book deal of the decade + The Great Janusz Zurakowski’s Autobiography + Air-Britain and the Nastiest of Nasty Book Reviews
Good day to all CANAV fans and I hope that your summer is humming nicely along so far.
Be sure to have your copy of this summer’s CANAV main booklist: 1-canav_books_may2021_lowres-summer_fall-2021
Hot Off the Press for June 9! Canada Post Lays It on the Peasantry Yet Again (It’s Time to Sheer the Sheep)
Today, Canada Post announced a series of painful rate increases. If you’re feeling masochistic, you can get the ugly details from the Canada Post website. I’m writing about this to Mr. Doug Ettinger, Canada Post CEO and cc’ing my MP Hon. Erskine-Smith. Let’s see if I hear anything back — I’ll let you know. However, a few months ago I requested a replacement “Venture Card” from Canada Post. How simple, right. So far? Dead silence. But really … what a miracle it is to hear back from any Ottawa bureau, MP, etc., other than perhaps getting one of those insulting “Dear Sir or Madam” letters. Isn’t it great how closely connected and loved we peasants are to/by our masters in Ottawa? Here are my thoughts to Mr. Ettinger about this season’s postal rate hikes:
Thanks but no thanks, Canada Post. Each time you do this, you drive more small Canadian enterprizes such as CANAV Books out of business. Because of your Mafia-like rates, CANAV Books, for example, today has few USA or International customers. We used to have hundreds.
Your rates also have driven away hundreds of our domestic readers. Who will buy from us when postage exceeds the price of a book? You are out of touch and — sadly to say – appear instead to be greedy exploiters and tax collectors, instead of intelligent, clued-in, pro-Canada public servants who understand and respect Canadians’ needs and interests first and foremost.
Isn’t it ironic how the objectives of the Canada Council in promoting Canadian history, cultural affairs, etc., are directly undermined by what Canada Post does every year by punishing book publishers with higher postal rates? Aren’t the ministers involved supposed to be collaborating instead of torpedoing each other?
Too bad for your customers, for you certainly have us over a barrel, right. We small-volume businesses have few options, all things considered. Who else is going to deliver our books to Nunavut, NWT, remote areas of BC, Northern Ontario, etc?
Besides again hitting every average Canadian taxpayer in the pocket book, your actions today seriously undermine the important “Small Business” sector of our economy. Instead of giving us some postal rate relief, you’re once again happy to lead small business off for its annual Canada Post sheering.
One of our readers has made a good point. Canada Post presently couldn’t be much of a cash cow, as I earlier stated. This news release explains: “Canada Post recorded a loss before tax of $779 million in 2020, even while delivering record-high Domestic Parcels volumes.” That’ll be a story unto itself, right.
With that out of the way, it’s on with the show: Our main new item today covers the great Lockheed twins in Canada – the L.14 Super Electra and L.18 Lodestar, with more to come in the next installment. A bit further down there’s also the story of the great Jan Zurakowski’s autobiography, my first big aviation road trip, 400 Sqn at Camp Borden, Great Lakes freighters, and the world’s most horrendous aviation book review.
If you have an interest in northern flying, take a few minutes and search out these older blog items. Just enter the dates in the search box: June 29, 2012 … January 13, 2013 … February 27, 2017 … March 25, 2017 … and April 11, 2018. This is all solid history with loads of original photos and aviation trivia that any fan will love.
The great Lockheed Twins: Here’s another blog item that came to mind as I flipped through some ancient negatives. If you go back to our earlier blog item “Postwar Adverts” (find it by using the search box), you can get a bit of background to this story in the advert telling how TCA was selling off the last 18 of its 10-passenger L.14s and 14-passenger L.18s. Many of these soon were converted for corporate VIP use. In a nutshell, today’s item is about the tail end of the glory days for these great, pre-WWII and wartime airliners. Most of those with which we had become familiar already had given years of top service at CPA, TCA or the RCAF.
As boys hanging around Toronto’s airports in the 50s and 60s, spotting one of the big Lockheed twins made any visit worth the day’s effort. In fact, rarely a visit passed without spotting one, especially since several were based at Malton: BA Oil CF-BAL and CF-BAO, Canada Packers CF-CPL, Imperial Oil CF-TDB, Massey Ferguson CF-MFL and CF-TDG, Noranda Mines CF-TCV. Then, there frequently were visitors . We often saw the Kenting aero survey Hudsons and L.14s, the oil company “exec” Lodestars from Calgary, then there were the many US corporate Lodestars and Venturas. There was a certain allure about each of these handsome Lockheeds. While we seemed to take for granted all the lovely exec DC-3s, the Lockheeds stood apart, somehow.
With the war over, the RCAF fleet of Hudsons and Lodestars quickly had been put on the market for civil operators or scrap dealers. This business was conducted by government-run War Assets Corporation of Ottawa. Big dealers such as the Babb Co. of New York, Los Angeles and Montreal took the lion’s share of the business, buying up fleets of Harvards, Cansos, Lodestars, DC- 3s, etc., then re-marketing them to operators from the USA and Europe to Brazil, Indonesia, etc. To follow what happened to all the RCAF Lockheeds, the ultimate source is Air-Britain’s seminal book, The Lockheed Twins (Peter J. Marson, 2001). Many other important Lockheed books are available to broaden the interested reader’s horizons, including Beyond the Horizons: The Lockheed Story (Walter J. Boyne, 1998). Naturally, much also is on the web, but start first with your books – the ultimate information goldmines. Copies of any of the Lockheed titles always can be found at such used book sites as www.bookfinder.com
For Part 1 of this presentation, I’ve pulled out a dozen of my by-now 60- year-old 2¼ b/w negatives, wiped off most of the dust, and made the scans. Most of the caption information comes from my old airport notes and several Canadian Civil Aircraft Registers of the day. Supplementing this is good info from various books, and Terry Judge’s important Canadian civil aircraft history website https://www.historicccar.ca Here you go, Enjoy the show!
“Air Transport in Canada” — An Offer You Can’t Refuse
No Canadian aviation books covers the Lockheed Twins better than Air Transport in Canada. This massive (1030 pages, 2 volumes, 5 kg, etc.) title is a real treasure (see the details and reviews in the attached booklist). Besides everything else under the sun, “ATC” covers a long list of Lockheeds in their roles as airliners, executive planes and aero survey workhorses. You’ll be happy to hear that “ATC’s” $155++ sticker price no longer applies at CANAV. You can get an autographed set for yourself or an aviation pal for $65.00 all-in delivered anywhere in Canada. Really, no kidding! (USA CAD$80.00 all-in, International CAD$160.00 all-in)
Pay directly to firstname.lastname@example.org with PayPal or Interac. Or … post a cheque in Canadian dollars (or US$ equivalent) to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Canada M4E3B6 (email me if any questions email@example.com)
Janusz Zurakowski – Not Only about Flying
At long last here is the life story of the great Avro Arrow test pilot, Janusz Zurakowski. Originally written by Janusz in Polish, it’s now in English. This is what we’ve been awaiting for decades — the great man’s story starting with his boyhood, education and early years in the Polish Air Force. With the sudden fall of Poland in 1939, Janusz joins thousands of Poles escaping to the UK to continue the fight. The RAF/Polish fighter squadrons in the Battle of Britain help turn the tide against the Luftwaffe. Janusz shoots down several enemy planes and commands Spitfire squadrons. Late in the war he attends Course 2 at the Empire Test Pilots School.
The war over, Janusz’s joins Gloster as a test pilot first flying the Meteor, then the Javelin. Politics at Gloster leads him to Canada, where he becomes chief test pilot on the Avro Canada CF-100 program. Starting in 1957 he adds to his renown by making the first flight of the CF-105 Arrow. Finally, we hear from the great man himself about the Arrow – this you need to know. This exciting period suddenly ends with the demise of the Arrow, which Janusz had flown 20 times. The book finishes with the post-Avro years. Janusz keeps up his interest in aviation, but focuses on family and the famous Zurakowski summer resort in Barry’s Bay, Ontario. This is a really important addition to understanding and enjoying Canada’s aviation heritage. You’ll enjoy this well- crafted book with every page you turn.
224 pages, softcover, photos. $30.00 all-in (USA and International CAD$40.00) Pay directly to firstname.lastname@example.org with PayPal or Interac. Or … post a cheque in Canadian dollars to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto Ontario M4E3B6
Air-Britain Goes After CANAV Books: The Nastiest of Nasty Book Reviews
We ran this item last time around. If you are new to our blog, for the full context you can scroll back and read the series covering the history of CANAV Books since 1981. For now, I want to keep this item front and centre, so all our visitors can get an idea about how organizations such as Air-Britain and their so-called book reviewers can be ever so nasty, deliberately causing real damage to small publishers such as CANAV Books over here “in the colonies”.
As expected, Air-Britain has not issued an apology to CANAV, but we live in hope. The “reviewer” himself has not yet crawled out from his slimy depths. Here’s the story:
So far there are 40 years of CANAV titles – 40 years, 39 books. As you have seen over this 7-part series, all have been eagerly received by readers and reviewers alike. Few aviation publishers have had such grand reviews. This leads us to scratch our heads at a review published by one of the world’s most respected journals, “Air-Britain Aviation World”. No serious aviation researcher can get by without Air- Britain’s books and other incomparable publications. We all lean in Air- Britain.
A particular review of Noorduyn Norseman Vol.2, appeared in Air- Britain’s June 2014 edition. Here at long last is my response to this outright attack against CANAV Books and myself by supposed professionals. Somehow, the Air-Britain train came off the tracks for this one. Instead of publishing a serious piece, the reviewer (sounding much like the fellow “reviewing” Pioneer Decades)and his publisher seem more like really angry people with some personal score to settle. (I equate the reviewer and Air-Britain, since they combined to produce this travesty.)
First some background: In its December 2013 edition, “Air-Britain Aviation World” published a so-so review of Norseman Vol.1, describing it as “well illustrated and full of personal accounts”. We can see, later, that this anonymous fellow has distain for the “personal” side of a book, as he demeans our Norseman Vol.2 for making use of personal accounts. This may trace back to the standard Air-Britain book, where references to human beings can be scarce to find among the masses of dates, places, and tail and serial numbers.
Next, this reviewer diminishes himself and his publisher by grumbling about how “expensive” the book is. Even worse, he rues the day that the second volume arrives, implying that no reader will be able to afford such a horrendously “expensive” pair of books. This sounds like someone with zero knowledge of book publishing. He apparently doesn’t even realize that most Air-Britain books cost more than our Norsemans! I’m looking for some logic here, but not finding any.
What devoted lover of aviation books ever fusses about sticker price? The book is the thing, the price is inconsequential, other than for those few idiosyncratic and obsessive cheapskates. They have a problem, but it’s not our. The question for a professional book reviewer is: how is CAD$50 “expensive” for such a large-format, beautifully turned out/costly-to-produce book? After all, $50 is not out of line these days even for a paperback! What gets into a “reviewer’s” head to make such a doltish comment? Notes this clueless person, “the two volume set will be expensive and we would have preferred to see the whole history combined in one book at this price”.
How Air-Britain’s editor accepted this submission boggles the mind. Nonetheless, he approved it and our book now officially is condemned as “expensive”. This is doubly stupid when, as mentioned, one looks at Air-Britain’s very own list of books. This is too funny. Here is a sampling of recent Air-Britain titles, each by no means over-priced, yet ll pricier than our Norseman books. The Air-Britain staff and board should be ashamed of themselves for accusing CANAV of producing unfairly-priced books: Auster Production History £39.95 (approx. CAD$69.50)
Bristol Fighter £59.95 (approx. CAD$104.00)
Piper Aircraft £52.55 (approx CAD$95.00)
By comparison, Norseman Vol.1 is a bargain, especially considering its premium production qualities – the paper, glue and ink of any book. I’ve purchased many Air-Britain books over the decades and have never given thought to their sticker prices. These prices always are fair. To the true aviation bibliophile, we need all such books, we love them, we buy them. What does price have to do with anything? Another point about Air-Britain’s line of books … they are prized for their content, but rarely for their production qualities. Is this really what bothers Air-Britain about CANAV? That Air-Britain books are not beautifully-produced? I’m just floundering for an explanation here. With Air-Britain books, the paper and binding always are cheap. I have several which, after years of use, are falling apart (not that I care). However, show me a CANAV book that isn’t holding up. So … what is the logic with this so-called Air-Britain book review?
Its mind made up about “expensive” books, and with little interest in our Norseman books’ content, Air-Britain then lay in wait for a year for Norseman Vol.2. Finally getting his hands on a copy (but perhaps not, by the final look of his “review”), the reviewer was eager to tear Vol.2 to pieces – the only person in the world to date with such a twisted passion against our books.
“We have to say we are disappointed”, he begins, starting straight in about the price. This fellow is a laugh a minute. Then he attacks Vol.2 for not including enough about Norsemans outside Canada. Really? There is a mass of information and piles of photos, including a beautiful stand-alone chapter. How does this fellow put it? “We would also have expected more recognition of Norsemans outside North America than a couple of photos.” Here he really tips his hand – this is not a book review, it’s a personal, belittling attack by him and Air- Britain on a particular author and a particular publisher. Mr. Anonymous then moronically complains about no mention in our book of the Widerøe /Norway story. In fact, there are five pages devoted to Wideroes/Norway, all this good material gathered with the help of several competent Norwegian aviation historians, including an old-time Widerøe Norseman pilot. One wonders just how much further an author must go to please the hard-nosed, implacable people at Air- Britain?
Air-Britain continues by ranting that the French Norseman conversions are not included. No? Kindly see p.291. It then bemoans the lack of a production list. Of course, much of what Air-Britain produces is straight production lists and thank goodness that that is their passion – the rest of us need all that good material. So … where is CANAV’s Norseman production list?
CANAV Books knows all about production lists. From “Day 1” with our CF-100, North Star and Sabre books, etc., there are detailed lists galore in the appendices. All the top UK periodicals over 40 years have raved about our magnificent production lists.
However, Norseman Vol.2 already was at 304 pages. To add a production list and do it justice would have meant a good 40 extra pages, so made publication tougher to finance. Nonetheless, had a superb Norseman production list not already existed, CANAV certainly would have gone beyond the limit and included one. Anyone knowing CANAV understands that. However, our “reviewer” is so clueless as to be unaware that the very best Norseman production list imaginable already was available in 2014 at noorduynnorseman.com (today’s norsemanhistory.com ). Had this doltish fellow simply read the Preface of our book, he would have seen this explained. Right there on Page 8, I praise this world-class production list and urge all to go there for what further they may require about individual Norsemans. (This makes me wonder … did Air-Britain actually ever have a copy of our book in its hands? It appears not.)
With such a beautiful, professional resource as norsemanhistory.com at one’s finger tips, CANAV was saved the huge extra cost of creating a Norseman production list and the months/years of work and cost required. Of course, there is no way that our “reviewer” might grasp any of this. But the Air-Britain staff and board surely understand such things, so why did they become partners in this nasty business?
To put the icing on his cake, look how this travesty of a book review ends: “The author seems to have little interest in the history of the aircraft and concentrates on the soft and easy focus on personal anecdotes and experiences and some pretty pictures.” So ends what likely is the most damning and utterly moronic so-called review in aviation book publishing history. Shame on this nasty dimwit and on Air-Britain, which is hugely diminished in the eyes of decent, intelligent, objective readers, historians and others who love good books.
By permitting such garbage to stink up the pages of their normally superb journal, the Air-Britain staff and board have done their organization a wretched disservice. Sadly, in pushing their role as an anti-CANAV outlier, they effectively managed to blacklist our Norseman books in the eyes of Air-Britain readers. They also turned booksellers against CANAV. Are they proud of this? This simply smells too much of being a planned conspiracy between Air-Britain and its “reviewer” to torpedo CANAV Books, certainly to keep our books out of UK bookstores, at which – sadly to say — they succeeded. What a poor show altogether.