YYZ Surprise + Wild ‘n Crazy Stunt Flying + Canada’s First Flight 114 Years Ago + Historic NASA Twin Otter + CAE/Icelandair Training Centre + The Great R.D. “Dick” Richmond” Passes in Toronto + 441 Squadron “Hurricanes to Hornets” Deal + Trans-Canada Air Lines Super Constellation + DH Dove and Heron in Canada + Mile Gemini in Canada + Matthew Fisher Tribute

YYZ Surprise … Greater Toronto Airport Authority History Room For an exotic little piece of air transport history, find this item via the search box. You won’t be disappointed. I haven’t been to YYZ T1 for a long time. Is this important display still open?

Wild ‘n Crazy Stunt Flying … have a look at this Cub landing on a sky-high, 27-meter helipad. Come on, once in a while you can be frivilous! #bullseye #redbull #givesyouwiiings

February 23, 2023 … Flight of the Silver Dart Anniversary

Today marks the 114th anniversary since the first flight in Canada and the British Commonwealth of a powered, heavier-than-air, airplane. Yes, on this day in 1909 (not long after the Wright brothers of 1903 fame) J.A.D. McCurdy flew into history by taking his design, the “Silver Dart”, into the air from Bras d’Or Lake near Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Let’s hear it for daring, self confidence and innovation, right! For more info visit the Alexander Graham Bell Museum website, or check out such books as our own Aviation in Canada: The Pioneer Decades.

“General Aviation News” Reports Today about a New Mission for an Old Research Plane

By General Aviation News Staff · February 9, 2023 · 1 Comment

NASA Glenn’s DHC-6 Twin Otter returns after a 2019 mission to Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport. (Photo by NASA)

As NASA aims to solve the mysteries of our home planet and revolutionize air travel, it deploys a fleet of aircraft — from Gulfstreams to helicopters to the Super Guppy — each with its specific purpose in achieving the agency’s mission.

NASA Glenn Research Center’s Flight Operations Office in Cleveland provides airborne science and research capabilities using a small fleet of aircraft that until recently included a DHC-6 Twin Otter. One of the original aircraft of its type, the Twin Otter served NASA for nearly 40 years by flying experiments and technologies designed to address an array of aviation and environmental challenges, according to NASA officials.

But now the Twin Otter has a new home at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), home to one of the nation’s top aerospace schools, where it’s helping address a national problem: A shortage of Airframe and Powerplant-certified (A&P) technicians.

The disassembled DHC-6 Twin Otter departs NASA’s Glenn Research Center on its way to MTSU in Tennessee. (Photo by NASA)

“We logged a lot of hours on the Otter, and it provided many valuable research insights over the years, but it was just not mechanically or financially practical to continue flying,” said Phil Beck, who spent 15 years as crew chief for Glenn’s recently retired Twin Otter. “While we’re sad to see it go, sending our retired aircraft to aviation schools as training aids is something we — through the General Services Administration (GSA) — have successfully done in the past, and we’re glad to see the Twin Otter’s workhorse legacy live on.”

Professor Bill Allen and his colleagues at MTSU train aerospace students across multiple degree paths from commercial pilot to unmanned aerial systems to air traffic control. The university’s maintenance management degree, accredited by the FAA, provides students with hundreds of hours of classroom and practical training to attain their A&P certificates before graduation.

While MTSU owns many aircraft to help train pilots, it needs retired airplanes to get maintenance students out of the classroom and into the hangar with real parts and problems. When Allen searched GSA’s website for suitable aircraft, he came across Glenn’s Twin Otter.

“The Twin Otter is perfect for us because it has Pratt & Whitney PT-6 engines, the most common turboprop engines in use today. Our students will work on those, perform airframe repairs, work on flight controls, and conduct other system-level inspections,” said Allen. “Getting their hands dirty is the best way to learn, and this level of mechanical aptitude is essential for graduation and when they get to the real world.”

NASA’s former DHC-6 Twin Otter Research Aircraft sits at the City of Murfreesboro Airport amongst some of MTSU’s other aircraft. (Photo courtesy Middle Tennessee State University)

NASA’s Beck understands how crucial hands-on experience is in building a student’s confidence to pass the written and practical tests and begin working on multi-million-dollar aircraft right out of school.

“It’s everything. What you hope to achieve in training is that you learn not only how the book says to do it, but also how the guy who has been teaching you does it,” said Beck. “So, by the time you sit for the test and the practical portion, you have seen or done whatever they assign you enough times that it’s just like any other day in the shop.”

After 40-plus years of service to the country, the Twin Otter’s most important mission begins now — sharpening the next generation’s technical proficiency before they head off to address America’s shortage of skilled aircraft technicians working at the airlines, private operators, and other maintenance and repair facilities, NASA officials concluded.

CAE and Icelandair Team in a Major Training Operation

Today (Feb.8, 2022) AeroTime News reports on a major CAE/Icelandair joint venture training operation. Have a look at how such major companies are teaming up to provide world-class training using the most advanced in simulation. If this gets you fired up about CAE, you’ll absolutely love a copy of Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story. Widely acclaimed as the best ever aerospace “biography”, The CAE Story will quickly earn a place as one of your favourite aviation books! A bargain at $65.00+ shipping + tax, but with this ALL-IN offer: CAD$55 anywhere in Canada, US$55 anywhere in the USA, CAD$100 international (surface mail). Pay by PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com

Behind the scenes at Icelandair’s safety training center 

byMiquel Ros


icelandair training center

Miquel Ros /@allplane

If you ask any airline, there’s one thing that comes before anything else and is non-negotiable, and that’s safety. 

This is why every airline must have access to a facility to train its crews in the sorts of training procedures and protocols that could one day save your life and that of fellow passengers. Many airlines operate their own training center and one of those is Icelandair.  

The Icelandic flag carrier opened the doors of its training and safety center to a bunch of aviation reporters that were in Reykjavik for the biannual Icelandair Mid-Atlantic Tradeshow, a major Icelandic tourism industry event co-organized by the airline. 

Cathay Pacific Artice Feb 2023

This is how we are able to offer our audience a rather exclusive behind-the-scenes look at a side of the aviation industry that, despite being essential, is little known outside professional circles. 

Little did we know what Icelandair had in store! Instead of a simple tour, we were given the chance to experience, hands-on, some of the procedures that crews must engage in and learn to master in order to obtain their professional qualifications. 

Icelandair’s training center is located in Hafnafjordur, on the outskirts of Reykjavik, on the way to Keflavik International Airport (KEF), where the airline has its hub. 

It is housed in a modern purpose-built building where the majority of the company’s training activities are concentrated. These include flight simulators and pilot training, maintenance and MRO training for technical crews and theoretical and practical training, including safety procedures for cabin crew. 

A large section of the facility is taken up by the flight simulators, which cover the whole Icelandair fleet, which consists of Boeing 737 MAX, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767. 

The simulator center is run together with Canadian simulator maker CAE, which has a 33% stake in the flight training venture. Icelandair pilots may find themselves in the minority here, since the center is open to external customers that come to Hafnafjordur from all over the world in order to fine-tune their piloting skills or get their type ratings. 

Inside the training center 

The section of the center that we are going to focus our attention on in this piece is devoted to safety training. 

This part is run entirely by Icelandair, mostly to train their own crews (although they may get guests to use the facilities too) in the most realistic conditions possible. 

It consists of a large factory-like hall, with very high ceilings, where several aircraft mock-ups have been affixed at different levels in order to serve as real size practice settings. 

Miquel Ros/Allplane.tv

Those aircraft mock-ups are, in some cases, fuselage sections of real out-of-service aircraft preserved for this purpose (one of them, we were told, a former Monarch Boeing 757!) 

The program has both a theoretical part, which takes place in a classroom, as well as a practical one. This is what the aircraft mock-ups are for. 

Crews train here, in the confined space of a real aircraft fuselage, for all sorts of potential situations, from inflight service and the delivery of routine announcements to crowd control, disruptive passenger handling and evacuation training, including in heavy smoke conditions. 

We were given a taster of the latter. An enclosed section of fuselage was filled with (fake) smoke and those conducting the training had to go in and try to find their way, torch in hand, to make sure no one was left behind. This is a task that is way more challenging than it sounds, even in the controlled conditions of this test site.  

The mock-ups that are on an elevated level overlooking the training ground are used for training with the evacuation slides, several of which could be seen scattered around during our visit. Did you know that those inflatable slides can be turned into a raft once they are deployed in the water? 

Pilots and cabin crew members are trained to be able to locate each piece of emergency equipment on the aircraft types and subtypes operated by the airline. This is why the facility is full of visual displays with every single item onboard.  

These include things like handcuffs, in case crew members have to restrain violent passengers, and hazmat suits, which are carried on every aircraft (an item that, sadly, took on a special relevance during the latest pandemic).  

Water training is also part of the program, although this doesn’t take place in this facility. Icelandair has an agreement with a local Olympic-sized swimming pool, which it regularly rents for “wet drill” training.  

And from water to fire, because just outside the building is a prefabricated structure that serves as a fire training facility. Here different types of fire are simulated, and students must fight them with a fire extinguisher.  

The techniques vary depending on the origin and location of the fire, whether it is, for example, the kitchen galley or something burning in one of the overhead bins. The extinguishing technique would be slightly different in each case, for example, if smoke comes out of the overhead bin, you should not open it, but dose the fire through a small gap.  

The training program and methodology

Initial training for pilots and cabin crew ranges from four to eight weeks. Those that have already qualified return to the facility at least twice a year for hands-on training. 

This recurrent training takes place every semester, either in spring or fall (there is a conscious effort to schedule the training sessions in periods outside the peak summer season when all hands are needed on deck) 

Crew members receive re-training in all matters related to safety. They must learn by heart topics such as crew resource management, aircraft systems and other mandatory subjects such as ETOPS, All Weather Operations etc. 

The size of the groups in training? It varies, ranging from individual training with an instructor up to classes of 24 people at a time. 

At the end of the course there are also exams, of course. Some mandatory evaluations can only have a binary pass/fail result, but Icelandair’s training team uses other means to measure the knowledge and participation of the crew members too. It all depends on the task at hand.  

For flight crews, Icelandair has adopted Evidence Based Training (EBT) which is a competence-based evaluation program endorsed by EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency. 

“We highly emphasize Threat and Error Management in all aspects of our training: What would be a common error in this situation and how could we mitigate that?” explained Guðmundur Tómas Sigurðsson, Head of Training at Icelandair. 

There was not going to be an exam for us, the reporters, but with the Icelandair MidAtlantic Tradeshow and the airline CEO, Bogi Nils Bogason, was waiting for us to talk about the airline’s current and future plans, it was time to head for the exit. Fortunately, not the emergency one this time! 

General Aviation News Brings the Aeronca and Globe Swift Histories up to Date

Here are two famous light plane stories brought up to date. What sport aviator wouldn’t love to have one of these little beauties! Google these headings: General Aviation News — Because flying is cool and Paying homage to the sleek Swift – General Aviation News

Dick Richmond Tribute and Obituary

Many are saddened to hear that the great R.D. “Dick” Richmond has passed. Dick holds a high place on my list of true ” Kings of Canadian Aviation”. I first interviewed him for my North Star book in 1981, when he was 2 i/c at Canadair and embroiled in the struggle to save the Canadair Challenger. I was lucky to get a half-hour of his time.

On North Star book launch day on Toronto’s airport strip Nov. 4, 1982, we had a big crowd out on a really stormy night. As things were picking up, the doors opened and in came a somber-looking crowd of Canadair old timers led by Dick. He had corralled them all into the company Learjet and flown up to YYZ regardless of the weather. They had had a very bumpy trip. That was a typical Dick Richmond skit, you could count on him to come through. You can see this event covered on my blog www.canavbooks.wordpress.com  Just go there and put “North Star Nostalgia” into the search box. You’ll see Dick in some of the photos.

In another case, just before Dick retired from Bombardier, he ensured that the history of Canadair, a project I long had been pestering him about, finally would get written and published. Dick got the necessary approval “from on high”. The research and writing would be done by famed Canadair PR man, Ron Pickler, DFC, and me, with CANAV to publish. Catherine Chase of Bombardier’s PR department became project overseer. We all got down to the job and the book was launched on July 4, 1995 at a gala event at Marché Bonsecours in Old Montreal. Another Dick Richmond success! Here’s Dick’s obituary:

RICHMOND, Dr. Robert Dick(ie), Order of Canada CM, Honorary Doctorate (Carleton), B.S.E (Michigan) January 13, 1919, Winnipeg, MB – December 26, 2022, Toronto, ON

After a brief illness, Dick died peacefully, just after his 103rd Christmas. Predeceased by his wife Nan (nee Gilchrist – 2005), his daughter and son-in-law Robin and Patrick Mars, and his sister Marjorie Douglas. Dick leaves behind his son George (Heather) Richmond. Known as ‘Babs’ to his grandchildren, he was a special grandfather to Anthea and Euan Mars, Diana (Sean), Ian (Deanna), and John (Anastasia) Richmond; great-grandfather to Henry, Poppy, Griffin, Beckett, Annika, Cate, George, Harold, and Patrick.

Dick spent his childhood in Winnipeg, Manitoba before moving to Toronto in the early 1930s. He attended the University of Michigan, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1942, before returning to Canada to begin a pioneering career that spanned more than 50 years in the Canadian Aerospace industry. Dick began his career as a Junior Research Engineer with the National Research Council of Canada before moving to Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. in the private sector. Throughout his career Dick held a number of positions as a senior executive with Canadair Ltd. (Chief of Aerodynamics 1947), Canadian Pratt & Whitney Ltd. (Board of Directors and Executive President 1963), McDonnell Douglas Canada (President 1970), Spar Aerospace Ltd. (President, Chief Operating Officer 1974), and Bombardier (Staff Executive Vice President, 1986).

Dick was a leading industrialist, successfully helping guide Canadian Aerospace through the development and future of a global industry; working on projects of such prominence as the CT-11 Tudor Jet flown by the Snowbirds, the Challenger (Bombardier), the Regional Jet (Canadair) and the Canadarm 1 (Spar Aerospace), as well as many other great Canadian Aerospace accomplishments. More details on Dick’s many accomplishments can be read in his autobiography, ‘A Life in Canadian Aerospace, 1942-1992’ (CANAV Books, 2014).

Dick was a Fellow, founding Member and Past President of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute, and a recipient of their C.D. Howe award for leadership in Aerospace. He was an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aerospace Sciences, a Member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario, a Past Chairman of the Canadian Delegation to NATO Industrial Advisory Group, and a Past Chairman and Honorary Life Member of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Carleton University in Ottawa in 1998. Dick was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in 1995 and was awarded the Order of Canada in 2019.

Dick cherished time spent with his family and summers on Lake Bernard, in Sundridge, Ontario. His vintage cedar strip Peterborough boat, the ‘Queen Mary’, was his pride and joy. He did many tours of Lake Bernard with family and friends aboard. He loved the great outdoors and was a keen skier, golfer and fisherman.

Dick’s sharp sense of humour, worldly experience and wise counsel were highly valued by many, particularly his grandchildren, who drew on his sage advice many times over the years. He loved nothing more than an afternoon in the sun on the deck of his cottage, with the Queen Mary in view and visitors of all ages passing by for a chat. He will be greatly missed by many. The family will receive friends at the Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Davisville) for a service in the Chapel on Friday, January 20 at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.Humphrey Funeral Home
A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel

Dick Richmond (right) with another “King of Canadian Aviation”, Fred Moore, whose story is told in detail in Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story. They were at the 2012 Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame induction dinner in Montreal when I snapped them together.
The Canadair Regional Jet evolved from the Challenger series. I call Dick Richmond the “Father” of these two world famous Canadian aircraft series.
Dick at the 2012 induction dinner with former CAE Electronics president Byron Cavadias and his wife Juliette.In the background is Bob Deluce of Porter Airlines.
Dick with the great Catherine Chase, a long-time Canadair public affairs leader. After Bombardier took over Canadair and just before he retired from the company, Dick ensured that my plan to publish the history of Canadair happened. Catherine had the job of handling all the necessary negotiations, etc. The book was published in July 1995 and was an instant best seller
Dick with the renowned Canadair/Bombardiier test pilot, Doug Atkins, at the Bombardier Global Express rollout in 1996.
Dick as a young man circa 1950 at an early meeting of the CAI.

CANAV’s 441 Squadron History … A Bit More Praise + A Very Good Deal!

There still are a few copies left our much-beloved Fighter Squadron: 441 Squadron from Hurricanes to Hornets. 320 pages, large format, hardcover, 700+ photos, etc., this lovely production often is touted as the standard for any book detailing a modern fighter squadron. Noted “Combat Aircraft” when the book first appeared (the reviewer was commenting about the squadron history book genre): “They are intrinsically difficult to write … [Fighter Squadron] has achieved the elusive balance … Everything about this volume has the feeling of authority and authenticity.” Lately I found yet another comment. Brief though its comment is, “Aéro-Journal” of Oct/Nov 2004 notes: “The history of 441 RCAF Squadron … is a vast panorama of a typical such Canadian fighter unit. A lovely book, beautifully illustrated. CANAV Books.” Normally CAD$75.00, Fighter Squadron presently is at a huge bargain: anywhere in Canada CAD$40 all-in, USA $45 all-in, Int’l $70 all-in (surface mail). Don’t miss out, the price soon will be back closer to normal, as our stock dwindles. Order directly from CANAV Books by sending your payment via Interac or PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com

CANAV Books Blog Oldies to Check Out … Trans-Canada Air Lines Super Constellation

If you are a fan of the classic era of the great propliners and would love some TCA Super Constellation history, put The Bogash-Lacey tour group with CF-TGE in the blog search box. Then you’ll be a happy camper!

De Havilland Exec and Commuter Planes in Canada in the 1950s

“DH Dove and Heron in Canada” … scroll back or look in the search box for this rare bit of Canadian history. Expand your aviation heritage horizons while enjoying the process!

Miles Gemini … Another Rare Canadian Story

Here’s a fascinating and authoritative peak into yet another obscure corner of Canada’s aviation history and heritage. Just type Gemini into the search box.

Trenton to Krasnoyarsk with 437 Squadron: Matthew Fisher Tribute

For some reason, many CANAV blog fans have been looking recently at our 2019 story “Mission to Krasnoyarsk” covering Canada’s humanitarian operation that delivered several CAF 437 Squadron 707 loads of medical aid to Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, where there was a special need following the collapse of Soviet Communism in the early 1990s. Please take a look at this real eye-opener about Canada’s military/humanitarian air operations. I was fortunate to accompany one of these trips with a small media group that included Canada’s revered international reporter, Matthew Fisher. You’ll get a lot from Matt’s tribute in the April 11, 2021 National Post:

Matthew Fisher, a fearless Canadian journalist and war correspondent, dead at age 66. Fisher was a globetrotting solo reporter of no fixed address who witnessed the greatest news events of the last half century

Matthew Fisher on assignment in Marseille, France on Tuesday, Dec. 14 2015.
Matthew Fisher on assignment in Marseille, France on Tuesday, Dec. 14 2015. Photo by Postmedia News archives

Matthew Fisher, who has died aged 66, was a Canadian war correspondent from a bygone era, a globetrotting solo reporter of no fixed address who witnessed the greatest and most dire news events of the last half century, from the fall of communism through the campaigns against al-Qaeda and ISIS. He died of liver failure after a short illness in Ottawa on Saturday, according to his brother, Tobias Fisher. He had a knack, something between coincidence and luck, for being in the right place at the right time, from a journalist’s perspective. He was on vacation in Los Angeles in 1989 when freeways collapsed in an earthquake, and on vacation in India in 1984 when Indira Gandhi was assassinated. He was in Washington, in a hotel near the Pentagon, when it was hit by a plane in the 9/11 terror attack. He covered his first war by accident as a teenager when fighting erupted in Mozambique’s war of independence in 1973, while he was nearby writing about safaris. “The coincidences are almost too much, but he had this knack for being where the action was,” Tobias said.

Laureen and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Canadian journalist Matthew Fisher. A great writer with a passion for covering complex international issues, his voice will be missed. Our prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time.— Stephen Harper (@stephenharper) April 11, 2021 He was also a professional, experienced not just in getting there, but in being first and well-prepared, as when he was in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide. “Matt wanted to be where the action was. But he wasn’t foolhardy. He was very careful and very calculating about where he went, how he went,” Tobias said.

He joined the Globe and Mail in 1984, and was posted to Moscow in time to cover the fall of Eastern European Communism. He reported on the election of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and the funeral of Yasser Arafat. In the 2003 Iraq War, he embedded with American Marines, was surrounded by Iraqi forces and saved by a massive aerial defence, before reporting from inside the ruined lair of Saddam Hussein’s secret police. He covered Princess Diana’s funeral in London in 1997, and a week later was in Calcutta for Mother Teresa’s funeral. Fisher worked for the National Post, the Postmedia newspapers, the predecessor Canwest News Service, Sun Media, and others. He had lately joined the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, and was looking forward to contesting the nomination process for Conservative Party of Canada candidate in Kanata-Carleton.

Matthew Fisher (right), inside Iraq in March 2003, with Lance Corporal Mark Cattabay and Lance Corporal Beaut Mattiota in the turret of the Black Six, a Canadian-built light armoured vehicle.
Matthew Fisher (right), inside Iraq in March 2003, with Lance Corporal Mark Cattabay and Lance Corporal Beaut Mattiota in the turret of the Black Six, a Canadian-built light armoured vehicle. Photo by courtesy of Matthew Fisher

Fisher was famous for living out of a suitcase, staying in whichever hotel, motel, warship or army camp was closest to the action. He would plan his years ahead based on where the Canadian Forces were deployed, often showing up at major international news events as if by some strategic foreknowledge. The Canadian Forces tweeted at the news of his death: “He went everywhere to tell the story.” Other prominient voices also took to social media to express their condolences. Bob Rae called him a “fearless journalist” on Twitter, and former prime minister Stephen Harper tweeted “Laureen and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Canadian journalist Matthew Fisher. A great writer with a passion for covering complex international issues, his voice will be missed.” Matthew Fisher: The Last War Correspondenthttps://t.co/eu3FgXom2K— Geoffrey P. Johnston😎🇨🇦 (@GeoffyPJohnston) April 11, 2021

Olympics were also a focus of his reporting, especially the far flung ones, which are covered by Canadian newspapers much as wars are, often by the same people, who regarded Fisher as a legendary exemplar. An appreciation by journalist Geoffrey P. Johnston called him “the Last War Correspondent.” Fisher reported from 170 countries (there are fewer than 200 in all) and 20 major conflicts. His final report in the National Post in 2017, was about violence in the Philippines, sent from from Iligan City, then under martial law. He observed that “there has long been a sense of dread that the savage urban war might at any moment spill over into a broader conflict.” One day he was here, the next day he was there, always in his notably mismatched casual attire, often with a Montreal Canadiens cap, or a fur hat, unless circumstances required a helmet. Retired CBC correspondent Terry Milewski called Fisher “the man who’d been everywhere.”

Fisher’s stories would arrive in the various newsrooms he served at strange hours, on some other time zone. This created an allure among homebound reporters and editors, many of whom never met Fisher face to face, but knew his copy well, with those impossibly remote datelines, newsroom lingo for the place where a story is reported, stamped at the top. Exotic ones are a point of professional pride, and few reporters collected more. Fisher had filed from aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and the HMCS Montreal, from Al Udeid and Kuwait City, Leeds and Karachi, Jerusalem and Ramallah, Jakarta and the North Pole. He once interviewed a kidnapper on a park bench in Caracas. His brother Tobias said he asked a few weeks ago what was Matthew’s scariest moment? “Being shot at, many times, many places,” was the answer. Matthew and Tobias are two of five brothers. Their parents were veterans, which contributed to Fisher’s pride and affection for the Canadian Forces.

Douglas and son Matthew Fisher in 2005.
Douglas and son Matthew Fisher in 2005. Photo by courtesy of Matthew Fisher

His father was the late Doug Fisher, MP for Port Arthur in the late 1950s and 60s, a librarian famous for defeating the Liberal “Minister of Everything” C.D. Howe, and later a political columnist with the Toronto Telegram and Toronto Sun, known as the dean of the parliamentary press gallery. His late mother Barbara joined the Navy and served overseas in London as a coder/decoder for the convoys that crossed the Atlantic during World War II. In Canada, she worked as a librarian and English language teacher, and was involved in her husband’s political work.

He never married and had no children, but had some long-term relationships and remained especially close to all his family, Tobias said. He described Matthew’s life as lonely almost by professional necessity. “He saw more horror than most soldiers, most paramedics, and I can’t say it didn’t affect him, but he didn’t let on that it affected him,” Tobias said. Illness cut short Fisher’s political ambitions. “I want to join Erin O’Toole’s team to take down Justin Trudeau’s corrupt, entitled and incompetent government,” Fisher said in a press release last year for his campaign. “Like all of you, I am fed up with the scandals and embarrassments that constantly surround and engulf the prime minister.” His campaign boasted the endorsement of retired Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, who was removed as vice chief of defence staff of Canada in 2017 over a breach of trust charge that was later dropped, and Norman fully exonerated and compensated, in an embarrassment for the Trudeau government. Tobias was unable to confirm the truth of a National Post legend about Fisher being called up on vacation and sent urgently to Israel for an audience with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but he only had beach attire with him, so his last-minute solution was to have a suit made, rather than show up in shorts. But Tobias said it sounds about right. His brother was a problem solver. “Virtually any story you tell about Matthew is going to be true,” he said. “He was extraordinary.” See a lot more about our “Mission to Krasnoyasrk” right here on the CANAV Blog.

Booklist + Cessna Ce.172 “Archaeology” + Canadair Sabre + 737-200 Sim Update from Nolinor + Canada Post Kudos? Not Really! + Dash 8 Reminder + Norseman Update + Final 747 + Boeing 727 + “Formative Years” Book Review & Offer + The CAE Story … Update + Offer

2022 Canav-Booklist

One of history’s all time great airplanes is the Cessna Ce.172. First flown on June 12, 1955, into 2022 more than 45,000 have been produced. One of the  claims about this very pretty, lovely-to-fly 4-seater is that it is the most successful airplane in world history. Confederation College at the Lakehead recently re-equipped with 5 new “172s”.
In 1955 the fly-away price for a new Ce.172 from the factory in Wichita (initial 1955-56 production run totalled 1178) was $8750. Here’s a photo of Canada’s very first Ce.172, CF-ILE. Imported in November 1955 by Laurentide Aviation of Montreal, it went initially to the Montreal Flying Club. By 1961 it had migrated to owners in Vancouver. It met some  misadventure on May 7 that year, then disappeared from the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register.
In December 1961 CF-ILE was followed by Ce.172s CF-IIK (No.32 for West Coast Air Services of Vancouver), CF-IKB (No.93 for Central Airways of Toronto Island Airport) and CF-IND (No.42 for C.M. Logan of Edmonton). Hundreds subsequently flowed into Canada. My first plane ride was in 1956 when I belonged to 172 Air Cadet Squadron in Toronto. One blustery Sunday morning a bunch of us cadets  assembled down at Toronto Island Airport, where an officer cadet named Piatrovsky gave us all a short flight (3 at a time) in Central Airways’ lovely new “172” CF-IKB.
Our photo above of CF-ILE (via Ian Macdonald) was taken by the late Hamilton, Ontario aviation photo hobbyist, Douglas Broadribb. The photo below of “IKB” was taken at Toronto Island Airport by the great Toronto aviation fan, Al Martin. CF-IKB has been owned for more than  35 years by Jim Bray of Paris, Ontario, who still flies it from Brantford. Jim learned from Cessna that “IKB” came off the line on October 28, 1955, then left on its delivery flight to Canada on November 3. To 2022 “IKB” has flown more than 6000 hours.
Today, the fly-away price from a Ce.172 from Wichita is about US$400,000 vs that $8750 in 1955 (which today equals about US$97,300). Your best source for general Cessna history are these two fine books: Cessna: The Master’s Expression (1985) and Wings of Cessna: Model 120 to the Citation III (1986) by Edward H. Phillips. These belong on any serious aviation fan’s bookshelves. You should be able to find copies via www.bookfinder.com Now … scroll back a bit to some of our other aviation history postings. You’ll enjoy this for sure and learn more solid aviation history here than by fritzing around with video games! For more about Canada’s postwar Cessnas see our blog item “Al Martin’s Photographic Handiwork”.
Two of Confederation College’s 2022 Ce.172s on November 12 this year with a crowd of students, staff and ferry pilots Anna Pangrazzi and Chris Pulley.

Canadair Sabre Reminder

Still time to get your first copy (or a spare) of our famous best seller, The Canadair Sabre. The book is incomparable & the price is irresistible. Enter CANAV Anniversary Highlight in the search box for the details.

Ancient CAE 737-200 Flight Sim: Latest News from Nolinor

Nolinor’s B.737-200 FFS in Miami. It was manufactured decades ago by Rediffusion in the UK and still is training pilots. (Nolinor Photo)
Two excellent views of Nolinor B.737-200s taken by Pierre Gillard.

We now have more news about the famous CAE Boeing 737-200 full flight sim (FFS) that we’ve been reporting on since publishing the CAE book in 2015. On December 30, 2022 Marco Prud’Homme, president of Mirabel-based Nolinor Aviation, wrote to me: “Good day, Larry. We received your information request via Pan Am since we are the owner of the 200 FFS in Miami. It’s under Pan AM operations. We are also the owner of the sim previously owned by Air Canada. It’s not in service at this time since the project to put it back online in YMX was put on hold during the pandemic. To our knowledge (and we did search for months), we currently own the last two sims for the 200. Our goal is to keep them running for many years to come since we still have at least 25 years of life remaining on our fleet of 737-200 (the biggest fleet as per Boeing). If you have any specific photo you need, we will try to get it for you.” In history, it’s always nice to tie up the last basic detail which for now Marco has done. We’ll keep an eye in the coming years and eventually try to do a feature item about Nolinor.

Canada Post Kudos? Not Really!

            On November 7, 2022 I mailed a Norseman book to a new CANAV reader in France. Such an order always involves explaining in advance how long “cheapest” Canada Post takes (6 to 8 weeks to the EU is ballpark). At long last, on December 30 my reader let me know, “Hello, Good receipt of a very nice book. Many thanks”

     Over the decades CANAV has mailed thousands of books internationally. Sadly, each transaction is always such a delivery ordeal. Even if a reader decides to pay for (supposed) airmail, it can be a nightmare. In 2021 I mailed a set of Norseman books to a reader in Slovenia. Against my advice, he picked the airmail service at $140 (for two books, not a goldbrick) with delivery promised within one week. Delivery in reality? Two months. Personally, I was happy that this was so quick at a mere two months. (Naturally, it’s not just Canada Post that’s involved. There can be delays caused by other agencies. However, it all starts here, where Canada Post hold-ups are legendary, including long period of “storing” the overseas mail.)

Since the trans-Atlantic mail was far quicker in steamship days, Canada Post really owes its hard-pressed customers an explanation for its disgraceful and horrendously expensive service in the 21st Century. Sadly, Ottawa bureaucrats like the CEO of Canada Post, who is paid more than $500,000 a year, have zero interest. The age of public service is but a blurry memory for our Ottawa mandarins and potentates.

This is the note I sent to my patient new reader in France: “Very good news, Francois. Also, very typical at 6 to 8 weeks. It’s always a relief to hear that the trans-Atlantic mail continues to get the job done, even if it still takes as long as the great Samuel Champlain crossing from France to Quebec in his leaky little wind-powered boat 400+ years ago! Thanks, I hope you enjoy your Norseman book, and all the very best for 2023 … Larry”

PS … As to the outrageous cost of using Canada Post in the 21st Century, I’ve taken to calling this former government service “Mafia Post”. Feel free to pick up on this.

Dash 8 Reminder

For some top DHC-8/Dash 8 coverage, drop “Magnificent Dash 8” into the search box. You’ll enjoy this wee item!

Norseman Update: Antti Hyvarinen Reports from Arlanda, Sweden

Recently, aviation historian Antti Hyvarinen submitted some excellent Norseman photos taken at the aviation museum in Arlanda near Stockholm. The museum’s Norseman is SE-CPB, ex-RCAF 3538. Postwar, it was gifted to the RNoAF, where it was R-AT. Once the RNoAF re-equipped with Otters, in 1957 “R-AY” was sold to Norwegian operator A/S Flyservice Alesund. In 1960 it moved to Swedish operators Nordiska Vag Bolaget and Norrlandsflyg, where it flew as SE-CPB. From Antti’s photos it’s clear that SE-CPB is in very good condition. Unfortunately, the Arlanda museum recently had to close for financial reasons, leaving the fate of its outstanding collection up in the air (see much about this great museum on the web). Thanks to Antti, a Finnair pilot whose hobbies include collecting historic flight simulators.
Below are three photos of SE-CPB during its RCAF days, first doing an air drop (DND photo) during Ex. Eskimo in 1945, then on floats and skis in photos taken by Herb Smale.

Final 747 Leaves the Line

If you go back to our February 2021 Boeing item (look for “747 Retrospective” in the search box) you’ll find a note about the impending end of the 747 line. Also to be enjoyed there are many lovely old 747 photos with a Canadian emphasis – Air Canada, CPA, Wardair, etc. Be sure to take a look.
Today comes news that the last of the 747 breed came off the line at Boeing in Renton, Washington on December 6, bringing production after 54 years to 1574. Above (Boeing Photo) is this historic “Queen of the Skies”, a 747-800 Freighter for Atlas Air of Golden, Colorado. Atlas took the last four 747s (all “F” Models) for its global cargo business.
For your enjoyment, here are a last few 747 pix from my files. Lots more back at “747 Retrospective”, if you’re a fan!
Air Canada’s first 747 was CF-TOA fleet number 301. Delivered in February 1971, it was sold in 1984 to Guinness Peat Aviation, then had various leases to National Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, People Express and Flying Tiger, finally ending as N620FE with FedEx. “TOA” was scrapped in Arizona in 1995. Toronto aviation fan Bill Haines photographed “TOA” at Toronto’s Pearson International “YYZ” on June 25, 1974. His vantage point was the famous parking lot rooftop of Toronto’s “T1” Aeroquay.
Air Canada’s CF-TOE lands at YYZ in June 1983. For the airplane photo nerd it’s always fun to snap off a close-up like this as one of the giants of air whistles by on short final. Delivered in May 1974,”TOE” went to Evergreen International in 1998, then was scrapped the same year.
Leslie Corness caught Wardair 747 C-FDJC with a company DC-10 at Gatwick in August 1985. See the interesting details for “DJC” back in the blog at “747 Retrospective”.
Leslie shot TWA’s N93104 at London on August 10, 1980. It went for pots ‘n pans at Marana, Arizona early in 1998.
How many times have you looked up over the decades to marvel at a 747 slicing through the sky more than 30,000 feet above! I caught this one heading southeasterly over Yellowknife in June 1993. Happily, we’ll be marvelling at this sight for decades to come.

Home Sweet Home … A Fellow Lives in a Boeing 727

Have a look here https://www.cnbc.com/2022/12/26/73-year-old-pays-370-bucks-a-month-to-live-in-a-1066-square-foot-plane.html. Also … look in our search box for 727 Turns 50. Includes some solid Canadian history that any fan will enjoy.

“Formative Years” Book Review

This week I came across a review in the great UK journal “Aviation News and Global Aerospace” (January 2010 ed’n) of our classic book Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years. As far as the early years of Canadian civil aviation go, Formative Years will inform, entertain and impress any keen reader for decades to come. Here’s a special blog offer if you don’t have your copy: Formative Years delivered anywhere in Canada (“Mafia Post” and tax included) CAD$60.00, USA US$60.00, Overseas (surface post) CAD$120. To order simply pay directly by PayPal to larry@canavbooks.c

CAE Update … CAE Stakes Early Claim as eVTOL Training Provider

Nothing in aerospace is static, every day there seem to be new technologies. In 2015 CANAV published the history of Canada’s iconic CAE Inc. Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story remains the very best book ever produced covering any of the aerospace giants. If it’s a really beautiful aviation book that you’re looking for, look no farther than this one! Here are the book specs + a special deal:

Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story By Larry Milberry. One of the world’s grandest aerospace corporate histories. Founded in 1947, CAE begins with CF-100, Argus & CF-104 “flight sims”. It was a rollercoaster … CAE tackles everything else from consumer products to radar stations, overhauls C-119s, F-84s, T-33s & Viscounts, and manufactures L-1011 & C-135 components. It profits in forestry, owns an airline, flops with bushplanes, makes auto parts, designs control systems for power stations & naval vessels, and disastrously buys Link. CAE designs the robotic hand controller for the Canadarm orbiting today on the ISS. This spectacular book brings you to the present with CAE owing the lion’s share of the commercial flight sim market, produces visual and motion systems, and runs schools & flight sim centres that ease the global pilot shortage. The CAE Story honours the great CAE pioneers & generations of employees. Retired CAE CEO Douglas Reekie comments, “You deserve a great deal of credit for undertaking this task and for doing it so well. There should be a medal for you for perseverance.” Former Commander of Canada’s air force (AIRCOM), General W.K. Carr, DFC, puts it in his famously succinct way: “The book is fantastic”! More atwww.canavbooks.wordpress.com. Treat yourself to this spectacular book, you’ll be delighted!392 pages, hc, lf, 100s of photos, gloss, biblio, index. A bargain at $65.00+ shipping + tax, but with these ALL-IN offers: CAD$55 anywhere in Canada, US$60 anywhere in the USA, CAD$100 international (surface mail only). Pay by PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com

Here is some current news about CAE getting into eVTOL — electronic vertical takeoff and landing. The history of this amazing Canadian company
MS&T CAT CAE eVTOL Vertical Exterior_Virgin_080621-crop.jpeg
CAE’s viability as an eVTOL training provider is being established through its relationship with legacy airlines, including Virgin Atlantic –  partnered with Vertical Aerospace, Atkins, Skyports, NATS, Connected Places Catapult, Cranfield University and WMG, University of Warwick. | Source: Virgin Atlantic
December 6, 2022 Marty Kauchak

CAE’s many expanding competencies now include its leadership position in the evolving eVTOL training market. Chris Courtney, Director of Advanced Air Mobility for Civil Aviation at the company, said CAE has five training partnerships with eVTOL OEMs to include Joby, Jaunt, Vertical Aerospace, Volocopter and Beta.
“These are not ‘paper partnerships,’” the former career military helicopter pilot emphasized and revealed that for one company, CAE is manufacturing simulators, for several, it is developing courseware and curriculum. “For another company we’re their exclusive training provider globally. That company, Vertical Aerospace, is a traditional OEM, making and selling aircraft. We’re going to be providing simulators and delivering training out of our training centers and assisting with their customers where they are going to be selling to.” For Volocopter, CAE is delivering global training for the OEM outside Europe. “We are making a new flight simulator for them, the CAE 700MXR and we’re working with Volocopter and with EASA to get the device qualified and get as many pilot training credits as we can get on this particular device.”

At this embryonic stage, CAE has an internal team with numerous capabilities, including a regulatory affairs specialist, engineers and others, to advance its eVTOL training portfolio. As eVTOL community members accelerate the pace of first flights, pursue aircraft certification and other early life-cycle activities, CAE has hit a “sweet spot” of sorts in the timing of its eVTOL training focus. Courtney observed that training is not a pursuit once you certify an aircraft and explained, “This is something you do three years in advance of entering service – the time we traditionally start working on training with a traditional airplane or helicopter maker.” While Courtney notes CAE has the reputation of a “credible training provider for more than 75 years,” it is also an early preferred simulation and training provider due to its global training center network. The existence of brick-and-mortar training centers dispels some of the early expectations that eVTOL training would be provided in large doses through distributed learning and like-instructional designs. “To be an ATO, there is an awful lot of rigor and scrutiny to be an authorized training provider,” the executive pointed out and added, “the infrastructure is part of it, the instructors are another, and then there are the flight training devices and curriculum that all have to come together.” And while Courtney acknowledged there will be some opportunities to conduct satellite-based or other distance-enabled learning, “you still have to follow the same process that applies for current ATOs.”

CAE notes its viability and attractiveness as an eVTOL training provider is also being established through its role as a training provider to legacy airlines beginning to acquire eVTOLs. “Almost 80 percent of those sales are already CAE existing customers,” the CAE executive said. “Whether it is Virgin, American, Gol, or others, “these airlines and operators are saying, ‘As you provide the Boeing 737 or whatever, we expect you to be there for us in the eVTOL space because it is different. We want to leverage your new and innovative ways to train pilots and train the individuals who are going to operate the eVTOLs that are going to be part of our brand.”            

BC Aviation Museum Adds a Convair 580 + The Last “Dam Buster” + F-35 Crash + Canadian 737 Update + Exotic Airbus Photo Shoot + Fate is the Hunter + Who Will Sell the Books + A Sad Day … Warbirds Lost + Fate is the Hunter

BC Aviation Museum News

Have a quick look here https://www.timescolonist.com/local-news/bc-aviation-museum-lands-both-a-retired-air-tanker-and-its-long-time-pilot-5865648 for news of the Convair 580 acquisition by the BC Aviation Museum. Then look in our search box for Following the classic Convairliner This item will fascinate any Convair or Propliner fan. Much history included about Canada’s own many Convairs since the 1950s, beginning with Imperial Oil’s CF-IOK. For more about the BC Aviation Museum (its Lancaster project, etc.) see bcam.net

The Last 617 Squadron “Dam Buster” Passes On

George “Johnny” Johnson, the last of the famed 617 “Dam Buster” Squadron aircrew, recently died. Check here for the details. Many Canadians crewed on the famous dams raids of May 16/17, 1943. Here’s Johnson’s obit: Tributes paid as last surviving Dambuster Johnny Johnson dies – BBC News

Fort Worth: New F-35 Crashes during Test Flight December 15, 2022

Here’s some video showing the incident. Happily, the ejection technology worked as advertised, the pilot is unhurt: @CBSDFW pic.twitter.com/BeERIeyhtO

Canada’s Ancient 737-200s Still Carrying the Load

In its current issue, the great John Wegg’s old magazine, “Airways”, runs a story headlined “Why Are There Boeing 737-200s Still Flying in Canada”. You can find this on line, but also take a look at the historic item at our blog canavbooks.wordpress.com Just go there and search for Ancient CAE 737-200 Flight Simulator Still Doing Valuable Work after 45 years This rare wee bit of history also includes an important photo album of historic (and colourful) Canadian-registered 737-200s. You’ll love it!

Stop the press … here’s an update about the famous 737-200 full flight simulator (FFS) at YVR: it’s finally gone: Some time ago, Nolinor Aviation in Mirabel wanted to purchase Air Canada’s Vancouver-based B.737-200 FFS — that same unit built for EPA by CAE in 1976. The plan was to move it to Mirabel along with a second -200 sim from the Pan Am Academy in Miami, then consolidate its -200 training at Mirabel. However, the YVR -200 turned out to be under an exemption: if it moved from YVR, it could not be recertified. Sadly, it became spare parts. The same restriction applied to the Pan Am’s unit.

Full flight -200 sims now so rare, Miami and South Africa possibly being the final two locations. Presently, Firstair/Canadian North train their 737-200 pilots under an exemption on its -300 FFS at Edmonton. This note appears on the Pan Am Miami website: “Pan Am Flight Academy has more Boeing 737-200 Full Flight Simulators than any other simulator training provider. Pan Am provides 737-200 simulator training for airlines and individuals including dry simulator leasing as well as 737-200 Initial Type Rating Courses and 737-200 Differences and Recurrent Training.”

Exotic Airbus Photo Shoot

Want to sit in on a fantastic formation shoot? If yes, use the search box to find this item on our blog: “Hey, girls and boys, are we aviating yet?” This will get you right in the middle of one of the most exotic formation photo shoots of recent years, with Airbus launching 5 massive A350s. You’ll be in on the pilot briefing, then fly along to watch some breath-taking formation changes.

Of extra interest, the main photo ship used was Aerospatiale SN601 Corvette bizjet F-GPLA. An early bizjet, the Corvette was one of the first designs to use the Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D engine. However, the Corvette failed miserably, only 27 being manufactured, while its chief rival, the Cessna Citation, also with the JT15D, totalled some 1900.

Lockheed Lodestar, Ventura, etc.

Look Up “Lockheed Twins” in the Search Box and You Won’t Be Disappointed! See exclusive coverage of Canada’s great Lockheeds of the 50s.

Whither Indigo?

In his latest (November 25) editorial on his blog “SHuSH”, Canadian literary guru, Ken Whyte, discusses Indigo and some Canadian bookselling machinations. Have a look … we need to know what’s happening to Canada’s bookselling industry.

Welcome to the 174th edition of SHuSH, the official newsletter of The Sutherland House Inc. If you’re new here, hit the button: Subscribe

A SHuSH update: at the end of May (SHuSH 150) we mentioned that after three years of operation, SHuSH had 2,132 subscribers and was averaging 4,000 readers a week. We anticipated continued steady growth that would bring us to 2,800 subscribers by SHuSH 200 next June. We’re happy to report that we hit 3,000 subscribers this week, well ahead of schedule. We are now averaging 5,000 readers a week.

We need to talk about Indigo. As you know, it’s Canada’s biggest bookstore chain, with 88 superstores and 85 small-format stores. It sells well over half the books that are bought in stores in Canada, with Walmart, Costco, and independent bookstores accounting for most of the rest.

One problem with Indigo is that it’s failing. The other problem is that it’s abandoning bookselling. Yes, that sounds like a Woody Allen joke, but it’s not funny from a publishing perspective. We depend on Indigo.

The company’s finances have been ugly for some time. It lost $37 million in 2019, $185 million in 2020, and $57 million in 2021. Things looked somewhat better in 2022 with a $3 million profit, but the first two quarters of 2023 are now in the books (it has a March 28 year end) and Indigo has already dropped $41.3 million.

That the company lost money in its first two quarters isn’t the end of the world. Indigo is a third-quarter business. All the magic happens over the holidays. The trouble is that the $41.3-million loss is about $10 million more than the 2022 loss over the same period. That’s the wrong direction; things were supposed to improve with COVID’s foot lifted from the neck of the retail sector. The company’s share price, which seemed ready to recover in June, has since dropped 30 percent, down to $2 (from a high of about $20). Without an absolute blockbuster of a holiday season, Indigo is likely to be back in the red on the year.

While all this is going on, Indigo has been backing out of the book business. If you follow the firm’s marketing, it’s all about “intentional” and “purposeful” living (its press releases sound like Gwyneth Paltrow circa 2008). Indigo is intentionally and purposefully attempting to re-establish itself as a general merchandise supplier to youngish women.

This is not news. As far back as its 2013 annual report, Indigo said it was in “the early stages of a journey that is taking us from our position as Canada’s leading bookseller to our vision of becoming the world’s first cultural department store.” It saw toys, paper, home decor, fashion accessories, and gift sales as the future of the business.

As far as I can tell, 2014 was the first year Indigo reported its book and general merchandise sales separately. Books, once practically the whole of its business, were by then down to 67.4 percent of total sales, with general merchandise accounting for 28 percent. By last June, books were down to 53.6 percent and general merchandise was 41.5 percent.

Indigo has made roughly half of its retail space devoted to books go poof and the transformation is far from finished. At its showcase New Jersey location, the mix is 40 percent books and 60 percent general merchandise, and it’s specializing in a particular kind of book. “We found a niche,” said an Indigo executive. “We became the preferred destination for New Yorkers for coffee table books. In fact, every decorator in New York comes to that store to buy these big format coffee table books for their clients’ homes. So we go from books about décor to books as décor… That store has had an incredible year.”

In July, Indigo released this publicity photo for a new flagship store at Ottawa’s Rideau Centre. See any books there? All the company’s flagship stores are being refitted in this direction.

And, over here, a few books, bestsellers only.

That’s pretty much it for literature on the main floor and even in this corner, the book tables share space with general merchandise. I didn’t pull out my tape measure, but I’d guess well under 20 percent of high-traffic space is devoted to reading material. If you want more books, you have to journey up to the dark and forbidding second floor. At least you avoid the crowds.

Two weeks ago, Indigo announced a deal with Adidas to bring sportswear into the stores. Last year, it held a contest where kids-and-baby businesses competed for the right to open their own stores within Indigo stores.

The fastest-growing category of general merchandise at Indigo is its house brands, stuff it makes itself, cutting out the middlemen. Walk around an Indigo and you’ll see products labeled OUI, Nóta, The Littlest, Mini Maison, IndigoScents, Love, and Lore. All house brands; none have anything to do with books. This is a business that owner Heather Reisman learned in the last century, making private-label soft drinks for grocery chains. She’s returning to it now.

Indigo hasn’t come right out and said we’re through with books. It can’t, given that Heather has spent the last twenty-five years building herself up as the queen of reading in Canada. Also, the Indigo brand is still associated with books in most people’s minds and that won’t change overnight no matter how many cheeseboards it stocks. So Heather talks about a gradual, natural transition: “We built a wonderful connection with our customers in the book business. Then, organically, certain products became less relevant and others were opportunities.” To be clear, books are irrelevant; general merchandise is the opportunity. Heather recently appointed as CEO a guy named Peter Ruis who has no experience in books. He comes from fashion retail, most recently the Anthropologie chain, which sells clothing, shoes, accessories, home furnishings, furniture, and beauty products. Anthropologie was hot in 2008, and it seems to be where Indigo wants to go today.

Fair enough. You own a company, you can take it in any direction you want, so long as your shareholders will follow. I don’t blame Heather for having second thoughts about the book business. (I have them every week. It’s a tough business.) But where does that leave readers, writers, agents, publishers, and everyone else who remains committed to books?

You’ll recall that Indigo and Chapters, between them, decimated the independent bookselling sector in Canada in the nineties. They are the principal reason Canada has so few independent bookstores today. You could probably fit the combined stock of all our independents into a handful of Heather’s stores. The federal government let Heather’s Indigo buy Larry Stevenson’s Chapters in 2001, which gave her a ridiculously large share of the market. That shouldn’t have happened.

At the same time, with the help of some lobbying by Heather, the federal government made it clear that the US chains, Borders and Barnes & Noble, weren’t welcome up here. The argument was that bookselling was a crucial part of our cultural sector and needed to be protected from foreign domination by the Canadian government. In that spirit, Indigo also asked the federal government to prevent Amazon from opening warehouses in Canada. That request was denied in 2010, which is about when Indigo began its transition out of books.

One can see how Heather might feel betrayed by the federal government. Instead of protecting bookselling, it swung the door wide open for Amazon. You said I wouldn’t have to compete! All the same, one can also see how Canadian readers and the Canadian literary sector might feel betrayed by Heather and Indigo. They bought control of the Canadian bookselling market; now they’re washing their hands of it. I put more onus on the feds—you intervene in a market, you own it—but assigning blame is a useless exercise when none of the parties will accept it.

We’re left with a bookselling sector dominated in its bricks-and-mortar dimension by one firm spewing red ink and running for the exit, and in its online dimension by an international platform that could care less about anything Canadian and is also deprioritizing books.

Publisher’s Weekly reported last week that Amazon was eliminating roles in its books division, a decision that follows a summers-long effort by the company to reduce the number of books it was keeping in inventory and adds “more fuel to the feeling within publishing that Amazon is losing interest in its book business.”

Where this ends is anyone’s guess. It is interesting that Heather stepped down as CEO at Indigo a couple of months back (she remains executive chairman). This was followed by her husband and bankroll, Gerry Schwartz, retiring as head of Onex this month. Might be a lifestyle choice. Might be a sign that she’s about to unload Indigo. My dream is that she sells, preferably to Elliott Advisors, the same private equity bunch that owns Waterstones in the UK and Barnes & Noble in the US. They seem to have figured out how to make a book chain work. Meanwhile, as I said at the outset, the publishing sector needs Indigo. I wish the company a robust and highly profitable holiday season, and I hope books outperform for them.

Fate is the Hunter

A book to savour … Fate Is the Hunter is Ernie Gann’s legendary bio. His magnificent tale begins with his early years searching for a career, then he finds aviation. He describes it all in his edge-of-your-seat style. He learns the ropes, but eats a lot of crow, as his seniors exude disdain for lowly co-pilots. His captaincy arrives (DC-4, C-87, etc.), but postwar most such men become aviation has-beens. Gann weaves his story in wonderful prose, while philosophizing about aviation and life – all his pals lost tragically along the way, etc. What is it about fate being the hunter? Gann’s literary and Hollywood careers then emerge. On November 28, 2022 the CBC radio series ”Ideas” aired Neil Sandell’s “Fate is the Hunter” retrospective. I was happy to answer a few of Neil’s questions and steer him to some solid contacts, while he was doing his research. If you get a chance, look up this program on the CBC “Ideas” website (or try here How ‘good fortune’ helped aviator Ernest Gann escape near-death | CBC Radio) and have a listen. This great Ernie Gann book is 390 pages, softcover. CAD$45.00 all in from CANAV Books for Canada and USA orders. You can use paypal to larry@canavbooks.com (overseas orders enquire about a shipping rate).

A Sad Day, Warbirds Lost

November 13, 2022. Very sad news … yesterday B-17 N7227C and P-63 N6763 collided over Texas. All six aboard the two aircraft were lost. Here are three photos that I took of the B-17. The first time I saw it was on July 2, 1966 at North Philadelphia Airport during its aero surveying career. I took these two Kodachromes during an airport tour with my sidekick, Nick Wolocatiuk. Then, on May 27, 1972 I shot N7227C at Transpo72 at Dulles Airport in its new Confederate Air Force colour scheme. You can find much detailed history for N7227C on the web. The caption for my earlier pix here of Bell P-63 N191H was incorrect — it was not the accident P-63.

Update for December 1, 2022-11-30Rytis Beresnevicius Reports in AeroTime News: No Altitude Deconflictions Brief Before Mid-Air Collision in Dallas

The National Safety Transportation Board released its preliminary findings from the Wings Over Dallas historic air show, summarizing the events that happened prior to the mid-air collision. 

The accident, which took place on November 12, 2022, resulted in the death of six people onboard the two aircraft, namely a Boeing B-17 and a Bell P-63. The two aircraft collided in the air when the P-63 was banking to the left, hitting the left-side aft wing section of the B-17, sending the pair of planes into the ground. 

“Both airplanes were operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 in the Wings Over Dallas Airshow,” the NTSB’s report noted. Additionally, the government agency indicated that the aircraft were part of two different airship formations, as the Bell P-63 fighter and Boeing B-17 bomber were flying in three and five-ship formations, respectively. Following an analysis of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and radio transmission data, the NTSB indicated that the air boss at Wings Over Dallas was directing the two formations to fly southwest of the runway at Dallas Executive Airport (RBD). Subsequently, they were ordered to return to the flight display area. 

“He directed the fighter formation to transition to a trail formation, fly in front of the bomber formation, and proceed near the 500 ft show line. The bombers were directed to fly down the 1,000 ft show line,” continued the report. Both show lines kept a distance of 500 and 1,000 feet from the viewing line … However, the NTSB’s report stated that there was no altitude deconfliction brief neither in the air nor on the ground: “There were no altitude deconflictions briefed before the flight or while the airplanes were in the air. When the fighter formation approached the flying display area, the P-63F was in a left bank and it collided with the left side of the B-17G, just aft of the wing section,” the preliminary accident report continued. Following the mid-air collision, both aircraft broke up while in the air and hit the terrain on the airport’s property just south of the approach area of one of the field’s runways. The B-17 was on fire while still in the air and exploded as it impacted the ground. 

“Both airplanes were equipped with ADS-B. An Avidyne IFD540 unit from the B-17G and a Garmin GPSMAP 496 unit from the P-63F were recovered and submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board Vehicle Recorders Laboratory,” the report stated. However, the P-63F’s mini-multi-function display (MFD) did not record any data for the flight that resulted in the accident. “The wreckage of both airplanes was retained for further examination,” the report concluded. The weather conditions, per the information provided by the NTSB, provided 10 miles (16 kilometers) of visibility, while the wind speed was 14 knots, with gusts up to 18 knots at 350°. 

Remembrance Day 2022

Remembrance Day 2022 was well celebrated from coast to coast in Canada. This year I attended the service at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto, the final resting place of many Canadian aviators. The service centred on the mausoleum where Canada’s great W/C William G. “Will” Barker, VC, DSO, MC and 2 Bars, is entombed. A wide spectrum of Canadians attended to honour Canada’s veterans from wars down through the generations, including the Commander of the RCAF, LGen Eric Kenny, and other dignitaries, to a Guard of Honour from 16 Wing Borden, and Air Cadets from 330 and 631 squadrons. On the dot at 1100 hours a C-130 Hercules from RCAF Trenton made a perfect, low pass over the event. Here are a few photos from this important day honouring Canada’s military heritage:

The Mount Pleasant Mausoleum on Remembrance Day 2022, then the entrance to the Smith family crypt where Barker, VC, rests.
Some of the crowd in attendance.
The Honour Guard marches in.
Wreaths laid at the Barker monument on the steps of the mausoleum.
Following the main ceremony, people gathered at the grave of Francis Granger Quigley, DSO, MC and Bar, another of the many airmen buried in Mount Pleasant. Quigley finished his war with 21 enemy aircraft to his credit. While returning overseas in October 1918 to commence a new tour over the front, he contracted the dreaded “Spanish Flu” aboard ship. He died a few days later in hospital in Liverpool.
Also interred at Mount Pleasant is the great Royal Naval Air Service ace, Arthur T. Whealy (19 victories). There is much more to learn about Canada’s great aerial warriors of the First World War. These three books will get you well started: Aviation in Canada: Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939, The Brave Young Wings, and Barker VC.

News From CANAV

RCAF 435 Squadron C-130H 130336 on the ramp at 17 Wing Winnipeg on September 28, 2022. This is one of the “H-models” delivered in 1986 as aerial tankers, but also to do the other many duties demanded of Canada’s Herc fleet. This day ‘336 was slated for a search and rescue training exercise in the Lake Winnipeg area. Also shown is the crew for the day. 435’s five Hercs have logged more than 100,000 flying hours, including 27,000+ for ‘336 when I photographed it this day.

It’s been so long since we’ve had the time to post anything new. Finally, here’s a bit of an update. First of all, I hope you will have a close look at our new Fall/Winter 2022-23 newsletter & booklist. It’s packed with outstanding reading for all those having a serious interest in our great aviation heritage. I really appreciate that most of you are long-term CANAV fans, but in order to survive, any such small aviation publisher needs more of its fans to turn into actual supporters (i.e., fans who buy a book once in a while). CANAV needs you both, but can’t survive without a few more more fans becoming supporters. Please give it a thought, if it won’t break the bank.

CANAV introduces its latest booklist

Canada’s premier aviation book publisher presents its Fall/Winter 2022/23 list. Have a close look and you’ll find many important titles old and new including some exceptional bargain books. Please get in touch with any questions about ordering, etc.
Cheers … Larry Milberry, Publisher, larry@canavbooks.com

RCAF Centennial Book Project

Most of my 2022 efforts have been in basic research and writing for CANAV’s next book, its grand history of the RCAF 1924. After four years of this so far, the groundwork is done covering from the background to 1924 and into the 1980s. The next year mainly will be covering the modern RCAF, including visiting as many bases as possible. I started this lately with visits to Borden and Winnipeg to cover such squadrons as 400, 402 and 435, and such other important organizations such as CFSATE at Borden and Barker College at 17 Wing Winnipeg. In November I’ll cover 8 Wing Trenton and Petawawa. This fieldwork lets me see the RCAF in action, before finishing the final chapters. This is the recipe for a book that will be worth having on your shelves.

Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada

The RAMWA’s magnificent Canadian Vickers Vedette replica. Several of the men who worked on this project had worked on Vedettes in the 20s and 30s. This spectacular display shows the results.

While visiting 17 Wing, I squeezed in a sidetrip to Winnipeg’s wonderful new aviation museum, the former Western Canada Aviation Museum. There, Gord Crossley (17 Wing Heritage Officer) and Bob Arnold (long-time museum member, restorer, scrounger, etc.) showed me all the super work that’s been done to bring the museum from its roots in the 1970s, through its decades jammed into an old TCA hangar, to today’s magnificent museum. Here are a few of my quickie photos to give you an idea of why you need to make an aviation history pilgrimage to Winnipeg. At the end, I include a few images from Winnipeg’s other important aviation history collection at 17 Wing Winnipeg across the field from the RAMWC.

Another of the museum’s premier displays is the restored Froebe brothers’ experimental helicopter from the late 1930s. The story of Canada’s first serious helicopter project first was told in my 1979 book Aviation in Canada. In that period, Doug Froebe had written to me, “The first time it left the ground, I was at the stick. The tail lifted off first, I’d say two or three feet. Then I pulled back and the front wheels left the ground one at a time. My two brothers were very excited, but I was sort of scared.” Interest in the Froebe story then slowly developed, as often happens once a story gets a bit of initial coverage. Others pursued this one until the original Froebe airframe was acquired by the WCAM. Here is sits in its glory in the new museum.
Restored to flying condition over many years by a team led by Bob Cameron of Whitehorse, Fokker Super Universal CF-AAM now is permanently on display at the RAMWC.
CF-AAM also graces the dust jacket of our by-now famous book, Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years.
Another of the museum’s many world-class restorations is “Big Bellanca” CF-AWR. Brought to Canada in 1935, “AWR” (in its day Canada’s biggest airplane) toiled on many northern projects until crashing near Sioux Lookout in January 1947. Eventually, the WCAM’s stalwart recovery team hauled “AWR” out of the bush. Then began its multi-decade restoration to Bellanca perfection.
From the same era of the classic bushplane is the museum’s Fairchild FC-2W2, CF-AKT. Imported from the US for Canadian Airways in 1930, it eventually (1934) was brought up to Fairchild 71C standards. It then served in the bush until a serious accident near Watson Lake, Yukon in August 1943. Then, Canada’s only civil Fairchild Super 71 CF-AUJ. First flown at Longueuil in 1935, “AUJ” did much heavy lifting in the bush, until an October 1940 accident at Lost Bay south of today’s Red Lake. Again, the always forward-thinking WCAM recovery team salvaged the wreck, which the museum turned into this magnificent restoration.
Beautifully restored cabin Waco YKC-S CF-AYS came to Canada for Arrow Airways in 1935, then served many other operators in the bush. Finally, it joined Central Northern in 1947, a company that soon became Transair of Winnipeg. “AYS” was withdrawn from use in 1953, but somehow survived to end in the RAMWC as another premier example of aviation in Canada during the “Golden Years” of the 1930s.
Sometimes touted as the WCAM’s premier bushplane is this Junkers 52. Originally a tri-motor Ju.52s, long ago the museum converted it to represent CF-ARM, Canada’s famous single-engine Junkers “Flying Box Car” of the 1930s. The details of this and most of the museum’s classic bushplanes are best found in the seminal K.M. Molson book, Pioneering in Canadian Air Transport. This is a book you all should have. See if you can track down a copy at www.bookfinder.com Otherwise (seriously), you should find yourself a copy of Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years and one of Air Transport in Canada.
Representing the RCAF in WWII and the BCATP is this lovely Tiger Moth restoration. 1122 had served at 34 EFTS at Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, piling up some 1242 flying hours before being sold as war surplus equipment in 1945 and becoming CF- COU.
Beaver No.1500 … DHC-2 Beaver C-FMAA served the Manitoba Government Air Service 1962-84, before landing at the WCAM. Today, it’s one of many aircraft seen “flying” from the rafters of the new museum.
No.703 is the RAMWC’s example of the RCAF’s great CF-104. Beside it is one of the CF-104 flight simulators manufactured by CAE of Montreal. In the background of some of these photos you can see other museum aircraft. In this case … the Beaver and Air Canada Viscount.
The museum’s Canadair CL-41 Tutor climbs away above the Viscount and Canadair CL-84.
Two experimental types of which the museum is proud – its Avrocar (the so-called Avro “flying saucer”, actually a simple hovercraft) and the Canadair CL-84. The CL-84 held great promise until defunded by the US government. One wonders about its potential back in the 1960s and how it might have influenced today’s V-22 Osprey. Note how the museum maximizes its wall space.
Two fascinating cockpits to be viewed at the museum: the Viscount airliner and CF-101 Voodoo fighter.
The museum has a giftshop with many products on sales, but books only get a tiny corner. Nothing here from CANAV, sad to say, but … c’est la guerre, right. Then, a look at a tiny part of the museum’s important research library and archive.
On the west side of Winnipeg International Airport resides RCAF 17 Wing. Beginning decades ago, the base decided to display a few of the classic post WWII types that served here. The first three were the Expeditor, Dakota and Mitchell, mainly of No.1 Air Navigation School fame. These have weathered the decades fairly well. Here are “the Dak” and the Mitchell shot during my September 2022 visit.
The Expeditor was in the 17 Wing aircraft restoration shop for a clean-up and new paint. The other big project here is a Bolingbroke being restored using parts from various hulks recovered from prairie farms over the decades.
The RCAF air park’s CF-104, T-bird and Sabre. Under the scaffolding to the right is the CF-100, then getting a clean-up, new decals included.
Voodoo 101008 in 425 Squadron colours, then ex- AETE Challenger 144612.
Part of the air park’s tribute to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan includes a Harvard and several displays of memorial bricks. Among the latter I spotted several fellows about whom we’ve written over the decades, Ron Breeden included. Ron’s career included a first tour on CF-100s, where he was known on squadron as “the boy pilot” on account of his youthful appearance.
The air park also includes a Musketeer, Kiowa and Tracker. All things considered, you can see why a trip to Winnipeg should be in the cards for any serious fan of Canadian aviation history!

Norseman Update … Antti Hyvarinen from Finland recently visited the Dutch aviation museum where ex-Canadian Norseman CF-GLI is being restored. Here are his photos. Thanks, Antti! See the attached special offer for our two beautiful Norseman books. For outside Canada drop a note ref. shipping costs to larry@canavbooks.com

Norseman lists … Northern pilot, Rodney Kozar, keeps close track of Norseman “facts and figures”. Here are his two basic lists for 2022. Please contact Rodney if you have any updates.

Old Hamilton Airport Update

If you search here on the blog for Old Hamilton Airport, you’ll see a fascinating bit of Canadian aviation history. Airports, of course, are not of huge interest to the typical aviation fan, but they are an indispensable part of our aviation heritage. By far the best source book for the topic is T.M. “Tom” McGrath’s 1991 gem, History of Canadian Airports. If you’re ever lucky enough to find a copy, pay whatever they’re asking. You’ll soon have this one on your shelf of favourite aviation books.

While filing material lately, I came across some other really top photos of old Hamilton Airport — the one opened  in 1930 to replace the original 1926 J.V. Elliot Airport in the Beach Road neighbourhood. In 1951 Hamilton Airport closed, once the wartime airport at nearby Mount Hope became Hamilton’s main aviation hub.

If you search here on the blog for Old Hamilton Airport, you’ll see a fascinating bit of Canadian aviation history. Airports, of course, are not of huge interest to the typical aviation fan, but they are an indispensable part of our aviation heritage. By far the best source book for the topic is T.M. “Tom” McGrath’s 1991 gem, History of Canadian Airports. If you’re ever lucky enough to find a copy, pay whatever they’re asking. You’ll soon have this one on your shelf of favourite aviation books.

While filing material lately, I came across some other really top photos of old Hamilton Airport — the one opened  in 1930 to replace the original 1926 J.V. Elliot Airport in the Beach Road neighbourhood. In 1951 Hamilton Airport closed, once the wartime airport at nearby Mount Hope became Hamilton’s main aviation hub. These historic photos came to me decades ago in the Robert “Bob” Finlayson Collection. Bob had been CANAV’s darkroom man for many years. You can find earlier blog mentions of him

Canada Post in the Crosshairs … Again

Canada Post riles Canadians with its Mafia-like rates. It cost me $74 today (November 1, 2022) to mail 3 small packages (inside Canada, cheapest rate) each with one book. Too bad Canadians are so wimpy when it comes to such things. We just take whatever Canada Post sticks to us.
The latest Canada Post brouhaha is around the new stamp honouring the DHC-2 Beaver on its 75th anniversary. Problem is that they’ve incurred the wrath of the aficionados who object that the Beaver on the stamp has an American registration. Good point, you eagle-eyed folks, and shame on Canada Post. Their design gurus certainly are not sweating the small stuff!
My own beef with this stamp (and the series of 5 in the booklet) is their overall brownishness. Isn’t aviation all about the blue sky and bright clouds? If I had been asked, I’d have suggested simplicity — bright aviation colours. Brown? Forget it!
When Canada Post brought out my own stamp showing the RCAF Vampire, which I had photographed from a 442 Sqn Buffalo, it was just perfect. Take a look. How could Canada Post have done so well?

Besides the Vampire, compare today’s brown Beaver with the beauty of a Beaver that Canada Post issued ages ago based on one of the great Robert Bradford’s magnificent paintings. Now that’s a philatelic Beaver for you!

Canada Post, feel free to call me next time you have an aviation stamp in mind. I’ll be happy to get you on the right track and save you from shooting yourselves in the foot again. Meanwhile, start sweatin’ the small stuff!

Cemetery Studies

Following up on some earlier cemetery coverage, here is a bit more RCAF history from St. John’s Norway Cemetery. I spotted these two graves during a walk on September 11.

With 11 men killed, January 26, 1942 was a dark day for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, its darkest to date. Included among the dead was Sgt Alfred C. Cornell, age 26. Having attended Danforth Technical School in Toronto, before enlisting in the RCAF he had been an optician at Robert Simpson Co. in Toronto. He was married and had two small children. Killed with Cornell when they crashed in Harvard 3237 was Sgt Gordon F. Clark, age 23 of Kingston. They had been on a flight from No.2 Service Flying Training School at Uplands, Ottawa. Cornell’s funeral took place on January 30. Clark is buried in Cataraqui Cemetery in Kingston.
Memorialized on his family marker in St. John’s Norway is navigator, WO2 John W. Dickson, a pioneer night fighter airborne intercept navigator with RCAF 409 Squadron. Flying in a Beaufighter IIF from Colby Grange, on August 3, 1941 he and F/O Bruce A. Hanbury, a former TCA pilot, made 409’s first GCI (ground controlled intercept). Tragedy struck on March 27, 1942 when S/L Hanbury (age 21 from Vancouver, a 1 Squadron RCAF Battle of Britain veteran), P/O Philip M. Sweet (age 21 from Huron, South Dakota) and FSgt Dickson died in a Beaufighter training accident. Suddenly, Beaufighter T3142 had entered  a flat spin from which Hanbury could not recover. The crew was laid to rest in Scopwick Church Burial Ground, England. Often, such airmen are remembered on the stone marking their family burial plot in Canada.

CANAV’s Blog for Summer 2022

RCAF 100th Anniversary Project + The Great George Fuller Passes + Nostalgia Time & Commentary + A Few Old Milberry Pix + Rants + Leslie Corness Classic + Old Malton Airport Scene + De Havilland Open House: End of an Era + Cemetery Studies + Blogs of Years Gone By + “Ghost Canso” Update + Aviation Adverts from the Early 1950s + Order your Autographed Copy of Air Transport in Canada  + Obituary … Last Survivor of Japanese Prison Camps in Taiwan

Just so you have your copy and haven’t missed anything, here’s our current main booklist:

Part of the scene at the spectacular De Havilland of Canada “send-off” at Downsview on June 11, 2022. History and nostalgia really came together this day. It was especially wonderful meeting the likes of the great Dan McNiven here. An unforgettably fantastic Canadian, always chipping in at the Great War Flying Museum, etc., Dan excelled in aviation, even found time to support CANAV Books whenever something arose like a book launching. Scroll back and you’ll find Dan’s photo just as he usually looked. No pretensions with this King of Canadian Aviation. Dan died in Milton, Ontario on July 27.


Greetings from CANAV Books World HQ, where we’ve been publishing since 1981. Who knows how long we’ll be keeping this up, but certainly long enough to publish the grandest ever single volume history of the RCAF. We did this in 1984 with the RCAF’s 60th anniversary title, Sixty Years. This beauty remains the best such book to date. Amazingly, after five printings and 20,000+ copies Sixty Years is still in print for anyone needing a copy.

2024 will bring you CANAV’s RCAF 100th book, an even more fantastic history. Naturally, there will be a host of such books, but none will come close to CANAV’s in depth and breadth of written history, combined with superb photo coverage, design, paper quality and all else that goes into a top book. CANAV fans know what we’re talking about here and can’t wait to place their orders.

Highly recommended from the CANAV Blog Archive … Enter Mission to Krasnoyarsk in the search box for some very special CanForces air transport coverage.

RCAF T-33 Update

The wonderful T-33 still gets into the news, have a look:


The Great George Fuller Passes

Today (July 4, 2022), George A. Fuller, one of Canada’s top aviation historians, died peacefully at home in Montreal. George was CAHS Member No.56. I first met him in the early 1960s, while on a trip to the Quebec Winter Carnival with fellow aviation fans Nick Wolochatiuk and Paul Regan. We visited George at his cozy apartment at 50 Hudson Ave and were warmly welcomed. Later, when he was in the Anaconda Brass office in New Toronto, we’d get together, and also would see each other at local CAHS meetings and aviation events. Ever since those ancient days, we kept on touch. If for no other reason, George would call to make sure the Milberry kids were behaving. He had met them at CANAV book launches when they were little and had been impressed.

George especially was interested in the earliest days of flight in Canada — balloons and dirigibles from the 19th Century, then the great Montreal Air Meets of 1910-11. Everything else about early Quebec aviation especially fascinated him. Veteran CAHS member, Sheldon Benner, adds a few memories: “The last time I talked to George was 9 months ago when he called to say that Paddy Gardiner (#125) had passed away. George was 94 and would have celebrated his 95th birthday in September. As you know he was a regular contributor to their Chapter’s newsletter and submitted 19 articles for the CAHS Journal in the period of 1963 to 2008.  He was a co-author of 125 Years of Canadian Aeronautics – A Chronology 1840-1965 published in 1983 with John Griffin (#160) and Ken Molson (#361) by the CAHS National. He also contributed to the Special Edition of the CAHS Journal in 2009 to honour the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada.”

It’s not the best photo, but here’s George (left) in his trademark pose at our June 11, 1985 book launch for Z.L. “Lewie” Leigh’s book, And I Shall Fly. On George’s left are two other fantastic CAHS types, Fred Hotson and Johnny Biehler.

Calgary Mosquito Aircraft Society … As usual, things are hopping at this go-getting museum. Check in here to see what’s happening, including restoration of one of the famed Spartan Air Services Mosquitos:  https://calgarymosquitosociety.com/feature83/feature83.htm And … check out the museum home page for membership info.

Have you seen this hilarious VW advert? Reklama kone-Wolksvagen.mp4

Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of CAE Inc.of Montreal. This in mind, if you’ve seen our fantastic book Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, you’ll be interested in this fastidiously-detailed aerospace history. Google CAEvideogallery for an update about the company, and see CAE’s new logo.

Here’s a special deal for your signed copy of the CAE book (392 pages, large format, 100s of photos). Usually $65.00 + shipping + tax, mention this offer and get a copy all-in for: (Canada) $55.00, (USA) $60.00, International $95.00. Pay straight to larry@canavbooks.com and your book will be in the mail within hours. Certainly, for Canadian aviation bibliophiles, this is one of the most thoroughly written and beautifully produced books about our aviation industry.

You’ll read about CAE’s early struggles, its intimate connection with the CF-100, Argus and CF-104, then its battle to rise to the top in commercial flight simulation (that’s where it sits today). Besides all the expected technology history (which is fascinating for any serious aviation reader), you’ll marvel at CAE’s involvement in the DEW Line, aircraft overhaul (T-33, CF-104, F-84F, C-119, Viscount, etc.), trying its hand building bush planes, its automotive and forestry years, its key role with the Space Shuttle, the amazing systems it developed for warships and commercial vessels, etc. Take it from the author, if you’re a fan of CANAV Books, once you get your hands on this one, you’ll agree with me that it’s probably the best and most beautiful all ’round Canadian aviation book ever published. CAE’s longest serving CEO, the late Doug Reekie, once summed up this incredible book, writing to me: “You deserve a great deal of credit for undertaking this task and for doing it so well. There should be a medal for you for perseverance.” If it’s solid Canadian aviation history that you enjoy, get in on this deal. You’ll be a happy camper with your signed copy of The CAE Story! If you already have your copy, think about the CAE Story as a very special gift for any aviation pal, customer, supplier, etc. Cheers … Larry

Nostalgia Time & Commentary

In Toronto back around 1960 we teenage spotters watched eagerly for any chance for a special new photo. My boyhood mentor back then was Merlin J. “Mo” Reddy. Mo had been a radar tech with 410 Squadron in the UK during the war, and when we met he was a technical writer working on DND manuals for a company in Willowdale, Ontario called Technical Economists. Mo and I spent many a day sleuthing around Toronto’s Malton and Downsview airports hoping to catch something new. Here are three typical Mo Reddy RCAF pix, all taken “back in the day” on Ektachrome 120 and shot with Mo’s “2¼” Yashica twin lens.

First, here’s Mo’s nice, slightly-rear view of RCAF Dakota KG587, which we spotted at Malton on September 11, 1959. These were the days when RCAF units sometimes had showy colour schemes, something that always really got us going. In the background is the club house of the Toronto Flying Club, and you can tell that this is a late evening shot. KG587 had begun in May 1944 with the RAF. It served RAF 48 squadron and RCAF 435 and 436 squadrons before war’s end, so likely served in India/Burma. Postwar it had several assignments until joining 102 (Composite) Unit at Trenton in 1959. Somewhere along the line this spiffy paint job was approved. By 1968 KG587 was in Winnipeg with 440 Squadron, then in 1970 became CAF 12931. Its air force days seem to have ended with a tour at the CAF Airborne Sensing Unit at Uplands, then it began a long civil career, including with Buffalo Airways in Yellowknife as C-GRTM. In 1985 it became N115SA in North Carolina and presently (nearly 80 years since built) is in the collection of the Classic Aircraft Aviation Museum in Portland, Oregon.

Sometimes we’d be waiting and pacing around beside Wilson Avenue at the south end of Downsview’s main runway. This was a favourite spot to catch RCAF and de Havilland planes landing. One of our favourite types, of course, was the RCAF’s C-119 Flying Boxcar. These often were in the circuit, for Boxcar operator 436 Squadron was based here. On May 2, 1959 Mo and I were hanging out when 22123 rumbled in to land. I love the looks of Mo’s shot. Really a great angle in the late evening light. Of course, no such early photos ever were perfect. Focusing manually while panning was a fine art at which we often fell short. Then, there’s Ektachrome’s graininess and other issues that we faced doing “real” photography. But … for the day, this qualified as quite a decent airplane photo. This evening from Wilson Ave. we also spotted C-119 22129, RCN Avengers 53697, 53804 and 86180, and DHC-4 Caribou No.1 CF-KTK-X.

Mo’s nice side view of RCAF Expeditor 1534 was made at Dorval on Christmas Day 1959. He always could get on the ramp at Dorval, where his brother, Frank, was a senior Department of Transport man. Expeditor 1534 had joined the RCAF in March 1952, then served steadily into 1968, when it was sold into the USA and converted by Hamilton Aircraft of Tucson, mods including a cargo door. As N6686, then N38CB, it toiled in the freight business for many years. Since leaving the RCAF it spent most of its time hard at work in the air freight business, but in the last 25 or so years has been in private hands and has been converted back to Beech 18 executive standards. First to fly N38CB privately was Doug Sellix in the late 1990s. Today it’s based in Athens, Georgia, where it’s being refurbished yet again, this time by airline pilot John Cartwright. Airframe hours to date for 1534/N38CB total a very impressive 16,280. You can see an impressive gallery of Mo Reddy’s wide-ranging photos in Vol.2 of Air Transport in Canada.

Next … here’s one of the most glorious views of any TCA DC-3. It’s from an original 4×5 Kodachrome transparency made by Canadair c.1946. CF-TEC had been RAF KG485. It joined the TCA fleet in May 1946, served into 1958, then became CF-DTB with Canada’s Department of Transport. After more than 35 years with the DOT, it moved on in 1998 to Buffalo Airways in Yellowknife. About 2016 “DTB” left Buffalo to become N856KB with Basler Turbo Conversions of Oshkosh. As recently as August 2020 it’s been photographed there out in the weather and still in its (fading) red-and-white DOT colours.

A Few Old Milberry Pix + Museum Rant

Here are some ancient Kodachrome 35s that I came across lately. These are always nice to look back upon. First is a shot I took of the sole Canadair C-5, the RCAF’s premier VIP transport in the 1950s. Many a head-of-state flew aboard the C-5. What a beautiful propliner! See the C-5 story in our book, The Canadair North Star.

What a shame that such a beautiful plane had to go into storage and not to a museum. Here it is as I saw it collecting dust at Mountain View (near Trenton) on June 11, 1966, after its retirement. From here it was sold for peanuts, then went for scrap in California. Letting such treasures end so badly should be considered an assault on Canadian heritage, yet our history and heritage bureaucrats in Ottawa have committed many such nefarious acts. Look how our prototype CF-100 went for scrap after being turned down by our aviation museum in Ottawa? Meanwhile, do you think the Americans scrapped their presidential DC-4, etc? Not a chance, for they know the cultural importance of “Air Force One”.

You likely heard lately that the same place (Canada Aviation and Space Museum) recently (as reported widely) had turned down an RCAF De Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo. About this, the “Ottawa Citizen” of June 6 reported: “The lack of interest from Ottawa’s national aviation museum in acquiring the Royal Canadian Air Force’s last available Buffalo aircraft has prompted a U.S. organization to make a bid for the plane.” However, the CASM via its overseeing body, “Ingenium”, reports (July 4) that, contrary to “The Citizen” (which has apologized for some incorrect reporting) it has “voted to acquire the Buffalo and we are working closely with DND to prepare for its arrival next summer.” What a relief to all who support Canada’s aviation heritage.

Here’s another historic Canadian transport plane, the first of two CanForces Dash 7s. I shot 132001 (Dash 7 No.8 of 113) at Lahr, West Germany on March 11, 1987, when it was serving 412 Squadron’s 1 Canadian Air Group Lahr detachment. Taken on strength in August 1979, 132001 served to April 1987, then became C-GJSZ back at DHC. “JSZ” then was sold to Arkia in Israel, where it flew as 4X-AHI. Reportedly, “AHI” has gone for scrap. The Dash 7 story is well outlined in Fred Hotson’s book, De Havilland in Canada.

An airplane hobbyist couldn’t photograph a lovelier subject than the T-33, one of the most aesthetically appealing airplane designs. Beautiful just sitting there, let alone in flight. We always revelled in photographing any T-bird. In my own progression as an aviation “buff”, I eventually enjoyed a few great backseat T-bird flights, including with 414 Squadron from North Bay on June 26, 1991. At this time 414 has painted T- bird 133174 in a special 414 “Black Knight” Squadron colour scheme. Somehow, I got permission to do an air-to-air photo shoot of “174”. Capt Lou Glussich took me up in 133543 for an hour to get the job done. Today “174” belongs to the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum at Halifax International Airport.

Leslie Corness Classic

If you’ve been following our booklist and blog, you’re familiar with the spectacular photography of the late Leslie Corness of Edmonton. No one could capture the feel of an aviation scene better than Les. Lately, I came across this gem, one that I used in The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection. Can you imagine being on the ramp this day in the early 1950s at Edmonton Industrial Airport when it was packed with airshow planes of the postwar era! Les being Les found himself a high vantage point to capture his C-124A Globemaster (51-5176) scene just the way he wanted. This grand propliner ended its days on April 2, 1957. On landing at Cambridge Bay, NWT that day, it touched down short, tearing off its undercarriage. Rumour has it that it’s still at the bottom of Cambridge Bay. See our booklist (above) to order the Corness book at a very nice price.

Old Malton Airport Scene

In going through some of my old Al Martin photos I found yet another fantastic image from long ago. Al passionately photographed at Malton (today’s “YYZ”) in the 1950s-60s, and collected anything else he could about the place. So … I wasn’t surprised when I found a large format b/w aerial view of Malton early in its “Aeroquay” years (Malton’s modern circular terminal opened 1964). However, Terminal 2, which opened in 1972, also is here. T.M. “Tom” McGrath’s invaluable book History of Canadian Airports tells the story of Malton/YYZ in detail, including about all such history. This is a priceless book, so see if you can track down a copy.

Many of us remember Malton in these times. Our favourite vantage point was the roof (parking lot) of the Aeroquay. Whoever took this magnificent photo (the great Les Baxter took most such photos for the DOT, City of Toronto, etc. using a small plane based at Toronto Island Airport, aerial photography was Les’ business) did so just as the aircraft at the Aeroquay included 2 Air Canada DC-8s, 2 Air Canada DC-9s, an Air Canada Viscount, an American Airlines 727, an Allegheny “580” and a United 737. In the distance is a 707 on an overseas charter. Looks a bit like Donaldson. Centre left you can see the airport admin building. The tall white building in the distance is the then new (now demolished) Constellation Hotel at Airport Road and Carlingview. Top center with the treeline in the foreground is the iconic Skyline Hotel. Notice how there’s lots of open space in this view that looks southward towards Toronto. You won’t find much open space there today. This is the sort of aviation history photo that people can stare at for an hour, it’s so packed with detail. Anyway, as far as this YYZ scene goes, there’s next to nothing remaining from it in 2022. Thank goodness that Al Martin filed this gorgeous photo away. His photos also are featured in Air Transport in Canada. Just now you still can get a set of this huge, 1030-page 2-volume title (usually $155++) for $65 all-in. Want a set? Drop me a line larry@canavbooks.com . For that matter, also get yourself a copy of The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection at $40 all-in (offers for Canada only, USA and overseas drop me a line for a price). You’ll count these as two of the top books in your home library.

De Havilland Open House: End of an Era

A tarmac scene at Downsview from the De Havilland Canada June 11 open house.

To start, have a look at this short overview of the day as produced by DHC: Thank you Downsview – YouTube

On Saturday, June 11, 2022 thousands of retirees and friends gathered at De Havilland Aircraft of Canada at Downsview to close a famous page in Canadian aviation history. Founded in 1928, DHC spent most of its years at Downsview. Starting with the tiny Gipsy Moth, then the whole UK Moth family, DHC made a huge, deserved name for itself. First, it provided training planes to the flying clubs and RCAF, then bush planes to operators everywhere in Canada, anything from Gipsys to the big Dragon and Rapide twins. Come WWII and everything changed, for airplanes were needed quickly and in great numbers for the RCAF, especially for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. First came the D.H.82C Tiger Moth trainer (1384 delivered), then the Anson II (375 assembled from UK stock) and the Mosquito bomber (1033). Post WWII DHC soon recovered from the doldrums created when the war ended and all contracts were cancelled. First, DHC built some new Fox Moths to help small commercial operators get a start (some of these became Canada’s first postwar airplanes for export). The Chipmunk, Beaver and Otter soon were being built at Downsview, then a long list of types that you know so well, everything from the Caribou, Buffalo, Twin Otter, Dash 7 and the whole Dash 8 family to the magnificent Q400. All this history is best enjoyed in Fred Hotson’s magnificent book De Havilland in Canada (copies usually can be found on the web). The company now is leaving Downsview for good. For now it still is building new Twin Otters and upgraded Canadair water bombers in BC and Alberta. Let’s hope that the Q400 soon enjoys a renaissance. For all the basic DHC gen see www.vikingair.com . All the very best to De Havilland of Canada. Here are a few photos (taken by me unless noted) covering DHC’s grand June 11 send-off. The company did a fantastic job of finding examples of most types to fly in for the event (after you’ve had a look, you’ll figure which ones were missing).

Beautifully-restored ex- RCAF Tiger Moth CF-CKF. As RCAF 3932, it had served through the war at 1 Elementary Flying Training School at Malton, where it piled up 2024:50 flying hours. After the war Watt Martin of Eden Mills, Ontario acquired 3932 from War Assets Disposal for a few hundred dollars. Today it’s still flown by Watt’s son, Don, from the same family farm where it’s been for decades. In the cockpit view that’s aircraft restorer Les Balla in the front cockpit with Don behind.
The late DHC test pilot, George Neil, flew this lovely DHC-1 Chipmunk for many years from Brampton. Today it’s based at Collingwood on Georgian Bay, where it’s still lovingly treated.
Three different Beavers attended: C-GDWP on amphibious floats, C-FPSM on wheels, and Turbo Beaver C-GODH.
C-FMAU is the Otter that the late Max Ward of Wardair used for years at his summer camp on the Copper Mine River, NWT. It had flown in to the DHC event from Edmonton. “MAU” is a “Texas Turbine” conversion using a 900-shp Garrett engine. Ted Larkin caught “MAU” in flight.
This spiffy DHC-4 Caribou arrived from south of the border. N302PT is one of the turboprop conversions done by PenTurbo Aviation of Cape May, New Jersey. Ted Larkin shot the side view as N302PT landed, while Parr Yonemoto took the arrival shot at sunset. This Caribou originally served the Kuwaiti Air Force.
De Havilland Canada provided this gorgeous new Twin Otter 400. The company has delivered more than a hundred of these durable utility planes around the world.
This Air Tindi Dash 7 flew down all the way from Yellowknife. This is another solid old DHC type that keeps on keeping on year after year. Ted Larkin caught C-GCEV on arrival at Downsview.
DHC’s premier model remains the Q400. Ted Larkin photographed C-FJJA on departure from Downsview. There’s another “JJA” on this blog. If curious, put CF-JJA in the search box (you’ll be surprised at what you find).
The DHC event was a great chance for people watching. Here (always left to right for the people pictures) are Dan McNiven and Dave Crerar, captain on the Max Ward Otter. Dan passed away on July 27. Here are some inspirational words from his obituary: “Dan resided on the family farm in Vulcan until he left to attend S.A.I.T ( Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) pursuing a career as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer… Dan started his career as an aircraft maintenance engineer at P.W.A. until he joined Wardair, the best airline ever, in 1967. He worked as an A.M.E climbing the ranks quickly until he was promoted to V.P. of maintenance and engineering. He achieved this goal due to his quick thinking, integrity, resourcefulness and desire to be a leader… He was also a member of The Great War Flying Museum where he had a part in the restoration and upkeep of many heritage aircraft from the First World War.” (see our earlier GWFM blog entries)
Tom Appleton and Dan McNiven. Tom flew most of the DHC-5 Buffalo trials in the 1960s, then finished at DHC/Bombardier as V-P of the amphibious (CL-215/415) division.
Photographers and all ‘round aviation fans Ted Larkin and Brandon Siska. Ted’s a photographer/writer, Brandon flies for Air North.
Old time DHC employee and long-time member of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, Sheldon Benner, shows his very first pay cheque from DHC. It dates away back to 1962.
Dogged aviation nerds Ken Swartz and Sheldon Benner. Then, Gus and Clara Corujo and (middle) Parr Yonemoto. These are the types we depend on to record, share and preserve for all time everything that goes on in Canadian aviation from coast to coast.
Andy Cline of AvWorld with Larry Milberry. Then, myself with Sheldon. (Para Yonemoto)
Here are a few photos taken ‘round and about on the tarmac and display hangar.
Here’s the main DHC/Bombardier office building from the 1950s. It’s still in use. Then, the memorial to those from DHC who gave their lives during WWII.
Bombardier opened its doors as well on June 11, for many working there today also date back the DHC times. It was really great to have a look at the Global Express line, then at the new 7500 bizjet. One of the fellows mentioned to us that they have delivered some 1000 “Globals” so far, so what a feather on their cap and Canada’s, right!

Bonus DHC video. Here’s a 15 minute add-on to this fascinating story. Ride a Dash 7 from Yellowknife to Downsview for the DHC final open house: FLYING ON A RARE DASH 7! De Havilland Canada Downsview Farewell – YouTube

Cemetery Studies

Ever since the 1960s I’ve been fascinated by “cemetery studies”. Whatever the subject someone may be following, there’s a wealth of history to learn by pacing the rows of grave markers and reading the inscriptions. Of the many great sources of aviation history, cemeteries may not leap to mind, but they are part of the picture. For serious historians, for example, they are important in confirming dates and correct spellings. On June 5 I visited St. John’s Norway Cemetery in my Toronto neighbourhood. We used to play here as kids back in the 1950s. Here are a few photos from this interesting foray.

Many military stones in Canadian cemeteries have no actual remains of the people named. But families needed to remember their lost sons, etc. and you can see why sand how this works out after so many decades. Here, P/O Charles S. Thomson is memorialized on the family stone. Charles lost his life while crewing on 419 Squadron Lancaster KB769 (built at Malton) during a raid on Leuna on the night of January 14/15, 1945. Some 573 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos were involved in the operation. The target was one of Hitler’s vital synthetic gasoline factories. The place was severely damaged, greatly harming Germany’s final efforts to continue the war. Having bombed, KB769 had turned for home at Middleton-St.-George when a Luftwaffe fighter pounced on it. KB769 went down in flames taking six crew to their deaths. Only F/O J.O. Eddy somehow managed to parachute to safety. He finished his war as a POW.
John Wilson Frizelle of Toronto was instructing at 14 Service Flying Training School at Aylmer, Ontario late in the war. On January 20, 1945 he was taking part in an Army co-operation exercise. These were a good break from instructing and allowed for pretty well unrestricted low flying. In this case, Frizelle got down really low. As he passed over a truck, the wing of his Harvard (2869) struck and killed a soldier, then Frizelle crashed fatally nearby. Normally, the markers for RCAF men include the RCAF crest or wings. But … quite often no mention at all is made of a man’s air force connections. It’s a bit odd sometimes.
Here’s another case of memorializing a son killed across the seas, F/O Alistair Keith Price. The war was over when Price died. At the time he was a Spitfire pilot with 416 Squadron with the British occupation forces at Utterson, Germany. On his fateful day, Price had been taking off when he had engine failure and crashed. At his funeral in Hamburg Cemetery, 10 of his squadron mates flew overhead in salute and a final goodbye. Then, a photo of 416 pilots during the occupation. F/O Price is bottom left. (I used the flash for this shot. I think I was better off not using flash, better just using natural light.)
The Bridgeman family stone in St. John’s Norway with Marcel Rene Bridgeman at the top. On October 11, 1942 LAC Bridgeman was killed in a bus accident near Calgary.
On November 19, 1941 LAC Robert Haig Guthrie of Toronto was on a night training exercise from 13 Service Flying Training Station at St. Hubert, near Montreal. Flying Harvard 3110, he suddenly was engulfed in fog. In trying to find the aerodrome, he crashed fatally into a barn. Guthrie had been living on Blantyre Avenue, not far from where he’s buried. He recently had married.
LAC Herbert John Lee had been making a single engine approach in Anson 6191 at 16 Service Flying Training Station at Hagersville, Ontario, when he crashed fatally on June 14, 1943. Note that he was an older fellow for the time – age 28. Most such students were in the 18 to 22 age range.
Sgt Victor George De Havilland of Toronto somehow was related to “the” De Havilland family. On September 15, 1942 he was training in a 9 Air Observers School Anson from St. Hubert. Aboard with him were Sgt T.P. Fraser, RAAF and LAC W.H.F. Smale, RAF. Spotting a sailing vessel below in Lake St. Francis near Cornwall, Ontario, Victor decided to “beat it up”. Instead, he crashed into it with fatal results to all on the Anson. At the time, Victor had been living with his mother, Mrs. C.G. De Havilland at 117 Danforth Avenue in east Toronto. His name is inscribed on the DHC WWII memorial at the Downsview plant.
Here’s the simple grave marker for Georgina and Donald Crumb at St. John’s Norway. I knew them and spent many good hours with Don chatting about his tour in India/Burma flying P-47 Thunderbolts in a RAF squadron (see Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace, Vol.1). I attended his funeral here in 2012. Passersby will never know what a great fighter pilot Don had been in his day. Then, an old family photo of Don and Georgina, and one of him that I took around 2000. Note Don’s nifty vanity licence plate. Many more such stones can be found in St. John’s Norway. With every one there’s a story. I may add a few more of these stories next time.

Blogs of Years Gone By

Our blog by now includes hundreds of stories and reports, and innumerable photos. You can take in some of these by scrolling back, but it’s a long way back to 2009. These are a few that I recommend … just enter some key word in the search box. Have a look, you’ll not be wasting a minute:

Visiting Lakehead Airport 1961
Great War Flying Museum
East Africa Adventure, Summer 1994
Boeing 727 Turns 50
Typhoon and Tempest – Reminiscences
Typhoons and CF-100s
Old Canadair CRJs Go for Scrap
440 Squadron Gets together
The Great Bob Halford
Canada’s Enduring DC-3s
Some Great Lakes Shipping Photos
Visiting the 10th Mountain Division

“Ghost Canso” Update

In June 2022 transportation and industrial history aficionado, Jim Christie, and a pal visited Gananoque, Ontario for some boating and to do a bit of history sleuthing. They inspected the old Link buildings in town, then drove up to the airport. Now used mainly for sport parachuting, the airport was built during the war as a satellite for the RAF BCATP flying school in Kingston, a few miles to the west on Lake Ontario. At Gananoque they inspected what I call in earlier blogs the “Ghost Canso”. You can see this detailed story by putting “Ghost Canso” into the CANAV blog search box (the blog is www.canavbooks.wordpress.com); or search by dates: May 18, 2020 and December 15, 2020. This time the Canso was found in poor-looking condition. The WWII hangar clearly needs repairs. You can see that the Canso now is partially disassembled. This had to be done to get it back into the hangar, the doors of which need fixing. Let’s hope Canso CF- JTL has better days ahead. Photos via Jim Christie.

Aviation Adverts from the Early 1950s

Everyone has enjoyed our earlier blogs covering advertisements from aviation magazines of yesteryear. You can find these by using the blog search box entering such dates as: February 23, 2022; March 9, 2022; April 9, 2022. Today, here are a few more, these from the October 1952 edition of “Canadian Aviation” magazine. There’s a lot of general Canadian history to learn from these (about the industry and products to what was happening in the world) and the art and illustration can be superb. Who can even do such work (by hand) in the 2020?

Order your autographed copy of Air Transport in Canada today. Supplies are dwindling. Get these two massive volumes (Canada’s grandest ever aviation history book with 1 million+ words and 3500+ photos (weighs 5+kg) at a fantastic price. “ATC” sells at $155++. This offer? $65 all-in for Canada, CAD$80 all-in for USA, CAD$160 all-in overseas. “ATC” will give you a lifetime of great, enjoyable reading. Take it from the author! Cheers … Larry
Late arrivals. Ref. our Mo Reddy photo at the top of this blog posting showing RCAF Expeditor 1534: current owner, John Cartwright in Georgia, provides this early post-RCAF view of 1534, when it was operated by Detroit-based cargo carrier Bard Air. Then, a view of it in John’s hangar. John notes: “I’m nearing the end of some extended maintenance on the airplane which included both X-ray and ultrasonic inspection of the wing spar. It is a tribute to Beechcraft’s excellent design that the spar met the upper end of all dimensional standards even after 70 years of service. Here are two pics. The first is how 1534 (Beech serial number CA134) as it appeared during most of its working life. The second is in my hanger yesterday. The overhauled props are ready for installation after I paint the fuselage and wings. The color scheme will be circa 1942 US Army olive drab and gray, as seen on the cowling (apologies to the RCAF).”

Veteran POW Dies, Where Is Japan’s Apology?

Ottawa is world famous by now for its propensity to apologize for absolutely any real or perceived “past transgression”. It gets a little ridiculous some days. Japan on the other side has barely apologized for one of its countless horrible atrocities, which far exceeded those of the Nazis. By comparison, we here in Canada have almost nothing for which to apologize, especially in the context of what, for example, comprised actual human development, progress, etc., in centuries gone by. I hope there are realistic books about this subject in the works “as we speak”, for Canadians need a reality check about their past, about whom were/are the truly great Canadians (John A. Macdonald, Egerton Ryerson, Samuel de Champlain, etc). On July 11, the Hamilton Spectator covers this important topic with its feature about a great soldier and what Japan did to him … and millions of others. This is fact and reality. An apology from Japan would be welcomed, but we won’t hold our breath. Canada by comparison? Ottawa … please stop already with the endless vote-pandering apologies:

Obituary: Burlington veteran Adam Houston was last survivor of Japanese prison camps in TaiwanFormer British soldier worked 12-hour days in copper mine, brutally beaten

By Daniel NolanContributor

Adam Houston was a hardworking Canada Post worker and an active member of many Burlington clubs, but he could never forget his time in a Japanese prison camp during the Second World War. The former British soldier talked of having nightmares about his experience working in a copper mine in Taiwan, including the time he received a beating from a guard and was left for dead because he was too weak to work. He spent 12-hour days toiling in the cold, dark mines, scrubbing the wall for copper in 1943 and 1944. He and other prisoners dug the copper out with small shovels and put it into bamboo baskets. Many dropped half their weight.

After the beating, other PoWs carried Houston over a mountain and back to the camp. He spent months in a coma and was moved to two other camps before the war ended. “It’s very hard to talk about what happened in the mines,” he told The Burlington Post in 2005 after he visited Taiwan to take part in the dedication of a PoW memorial park. “I nearly broke down. Too many memories come back . . . the memories are difficult to forget. I think people need to know these sorts of things happened.” Still, he counted some good fortune out of it. “I think I got off lightly being out (of the mine) after a year,” he said. Houston — who died April 13 at age 100 — was part of the British force in Singapore that surrendered to the Japanese on Feb. 15, 1942. Canadian historian Michael Hurst, who has written extensively about the camps since 1997, said Houston was the last remaining Taiwan PoW.

Former Golden Hawk Donates Plane + Passing of J.F. “Stocky” Edwards & Bjarni Tryggvason + 737 Flight with CHRONO to the High Arctic +The Versatile Dove and Heron + More B-23 + Air Show Season + Old DHC Adverts + Flashy New Twin E-Plane

Former Golden Hawk, George Miller, has donated his personal airplane. See this important Canadian aviation heritage story. Google it: “New Brunswick Aviation Museum Update 2022-06”

CANAV News … I’ve been buried lately keeping on top of CANAV’s 2024 book project — our grand history of the RCAF in its 100th Anniversary. This is one of CANAV’s grandest and most important aviation book projects, but it’s gobbling up much of my and co-author Hugh Halliday’s time. For now, the blog is taking a bit of a back seat. Meanwhile, treat yourself by scrolling back in the blog, where you’ll fine plenty of enticing items that you haven’t yet digested and many others you’ll enjoy re-reading, whatever your interests.

J.F. “Stocky” Edwards & Bjarni Tryggvason … People everywhere were saddened lately to hear of Stocky’s & Bjarni’s passings. Stocky died in Comox at age 100 on May 14. Truly one of the great, all ’round Canadians, Stocky excelled as a WWII fighter pilot and postwar commanded a wing of RCAF Sabres. Look just at this one recognition — the citation for Stocky’s 1944 Distinguished Flying Medal: “Flight Sergeant Edwards is an extremely capable soldier and a superbly gallant fighter pilot. Since October 1942, he has destroyed six enemy aircraft while participating in numerous sorties over enemy territory. He has displayed outstanding coolness and courage in the face of opposition while his cheerful and imperturbable spirit has been an inspiration to the squadron.” Then … the citation for the Bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross: “This officer has successfully completed a very large number of operational flights and has destroyed thirteen enemy aircraft. He is a keen and courageous pilot whose example and leadership have been most inspiring.” Talk about impressive, right, and what an inspiration to any aspiring young Canadian aviator. It was an honour to know Stocky, who was one of my earliest supporters back in the 70s, when I was getting into the history game. We last visited in 2016. You’ll see some good new coverage about Stocky in our upcoming RCAF 100th Anniversary book. You can see a wonderful photo of him on the cover of Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace, Vol.1. Not surprisingly, Stocky and Bjarni were members of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. For a good summary of Bjarni’s amazing accomplishments, see: http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-040622a-canadian-astronaut-bjarni-tryggvason-obituary.html

737 Flight to the Mary River Mine on Baffin Island

You’re really going to enjoy this short video featuring an old 737-200 of Chrono Aviation of St. Hubert. This versatile company’s fleet includes the old “200” that remains one of the Arctic’s most versatile jetliners, equipped as it is with a gravel kit allowing operations on rough strips. This is the host’s first Arctic trip, so he’s a bit cranked up. Never mind, he does a good job, certainly gets across his main points. Well done for a fellow from Dubai landing at Iqaluit and Mary River in the dead of winter. The Chrono crew also is great to watch in action, full marks for them. This sure reminds me of several similar northern trips (mainly in winter) over the decades on the Argus, C-46, Convair, DC-4, 737 and 748. Sit back and enjoy this one — 20 minutes well spent, especially for the armchair aviator. Cheers … Larry

The Dove and Heron in Canada

Our feature aircraft for this cycle of the CANAV Blog are the De Havilland D.H.104 Dove and D.H.114 Heron, two beloved types from the UK’s aircraft industry in early post-WWII times. Naturally, they were of great interest to DH in Canada, which in the initial flurry of publicity sold more than a dozen as corporate aircraft. Needless to say, the Dove and Heron were real treats for we aircraft spotters.

Canada’s first two Doves: In March 1946 DHC acquired Canada’s first Dove c/n 4015 CF-DJH. No one was surprised to see that DHC soon tried “DJH” on floats, although no Dove ever operated this way. In the left seat in this glorious scene is DHC’s legendary test pilot, George Neal. Here, he’s over the east end of Toronto Bay with the vast Victory Mills elevators beyond. “DJH” was sold in the US in October 1951, becoming N91827. In 1958 it was with the Wheaton Glass Co. in New Jersey, but in 1961 was replaced by an OnMark A-26. It’s then said to have gone to Alaska, where it was wrecked in an accident. In more modern times “DJH” was a DHC-2 Turbo Beaver. (DHC)
Dove c/n 4001, CF-BNU was registered in Canada in August 1946. In 1953 it was sold in the US as N73795. This registration was cancelled in 1961. Tony Merton-Jones of “Propliner” adds that when this Dove was sold to Mike Keegan’s Trans World Leasing in the UK in June 1961, it became G-ARGN. Having arrived at Southampton Docks by ship, it did not fly again until December 1967, following a rebuild by Rogers Aviation at either Cranfield or Little Staughton. G-ARGN flew little thereafter and seems to have faded away. (Al Martin)

Soon after WWII several small 5-to-8 seat twins were vying for the Canadian air taxi and executive markets. However, they had to compete with war surplus types such as the Anson, Beech 18, Cessna T-50, etc. For surplus aircraft, “the price was right” for that category, so sales weren’t easy for such types as new Beech 18s or the UK’s premier offering, the De Havilland D.H.104 Dove. Beech knew its North American market well, while DH mainly knew its home and Dominion markets, having done very well pre-WWII with such popular twins as the D.H.84 Dragon and D.H.89 Rapide biplanes. The Dove having flown in September 1945, it was evident that DH had been designing it well before the bullets had stopped flying. The Dove began with two 330-hp DH Gipsy Queens, but DH soon upped the power to 340, then 380. Once the C of A was awarded, the sales force and company demonstrator G-AHRB moved out across the world to find buyers. In spite of the Dove’s relatively steep ticket price compared to something like an Anson, sales were encouraging – eventually 500+ were built. On the homefront, various air taxi services and UK companies such as Dunlop Rubber, English Electric and Shell ordered executive Doves. The Rapide had been important in getting Canadian commercial aviation going in the 1930s, so the market was keen when the Dove reached Canada in the late 1940s. The big companies (where money was no object when it came to an executive plane) liked the Dove’s speed (150 mph) and roomy interior for 6 to 8 plus crew. We spotters photographed many a Dove at Toronto’s Malton Airport in the 1950s and early 1960s. Early Doves there were flying for the Massey Ferguson farm machinery empire, Imperial, Shell and Sunoco oil companies, and a big DEW Line contractor, Federal Industries. However, the photogenic little Dove faded quickly to second tier operators, when such types as the Gulfstream began appearing in 1960.

Al Martin’s views of Dove CF-ODI (c/n 4377) at Malton, then, Toronto Island. “ODI” had begun as CF-GBV. It flew the Atlantic in October 1952, then in December joined the Ontario government. Over the years it would call Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie home. In the first view, note the DHC logo, while in the second it bears the logo of Ontario’s Department of Lands and Forests. These are the little details that the spotters are forever noting, right. “ODI” served Ontario to March 1956, when it was taken back by De Havilland of Canada. It then was sold in July to Orenda Engines Ltd. of Malton. With the demise of the CF-105 and the Orenda Iroquois engine, in September 1959 “ODI” became N6503D with Ole Hansen and Sons, a New Jersey sand and gravel company. Later it joined Virgin Island Airways, but on July 15, 1965 it ended very badly. Taking off from Charlotte Amalie Airport on the island of St. Thomas, it stalled and crashed, killing 8 of the 12 people aboard. What a disaster, yet, in scouring the “Toronto Star” and “Globe and Mail” newspapers for that week, there was not a line to cover this disaster.

In gathering all the details for such a basic caption as re. CF-ODI, many sources must be used. I’m fortunate to have a large library of the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register (CCAR) beginning from 1955. I’m constantly referring to these, e.g., for dates of an aircraft’s registration and its owners over the years. A CCAR library is essential for doing serious civil aviation research in Canada. Then, Terry Judge’s CCAR website is indispensable. Since Terry chiefly uses original sources, his facts are extremely reliable. Have a look … google Historic CCAR Project. Of course, much else exists on the web for the Dove and Heron, two useful sites being the “rzjet” Dove and Heron production lists. These provide many facts, but such sites are works in progress, and some can be misleading, by jumbling facts, so use them with discretion. Check and double check your facts, right. You still can make the odd error – history’s a demanding business. Other sources that I consulted were the great Geoff Goodall’s Dove and Heron sites. Also important is the “Aviation Safety Network” website. In this case, I went to ASN’s Dove and Heron accident compilations. ASN is tops as to reliability. Some Doves and Herons were military, so www.warbirdregistry.org is another wealth of data. Believe it or not, I’m still using my ancient copy of Dove and Heron Production List No.2 from VHF Supplies in the UK; also A.J. Jackson’s seminal book, British Civil Aircraft 1919-59, Vol.1 (1959), which beautifully encapsulate the Dove and Heron stories. Happily, I still have my airport notes from the 1950s, so was able to look up my own observations re. Doves and Herons from the 50s-60s. It all comes together, but many sources have to be scoured for to put the simplest item together. CANAV’s own Air Transport in Canada also proved useful in getting this item together. Such books (yes, actual books made from paper, ink and glue) are essential. No researcher can function at a professional level without them, so a word to the wise to the dunces who have bought into the big lie that we no longer need books. The chief problem for such people is their laziness. Having 90-second attention spans, these iPhone addicts no longer can cope with the No.1 source for aviation history – books!

The spiffy-looking Massey Ferguson Dove (c/n 4335) at Malton c.1960. At this time “Massey” also had a Lodestar and a Ventura at Malton. CF-GYQ was registered in Canada in February In 1960 “Massey” purchased a new Gulfstream, which replaced the three older planes. Around December 1961 “GYQ” was sold to Gulf Leasing in the US as N424S, but later was N424SF with Trans National Airlines of San Francisco. On March 6, 1975 it was flying a TNA courier run from Paso Robles, California to Los Angeles in poor weather, when it ran into “cumulo granite”, killing the pilot. (Larry Milberry)
I photographed CF-GWC (c/n 4345) at Toronto Island Airport. This was another of the lovely Malton-based executive Doves. Kept in the Genaire hangar, it was owned by Toronto-based Caterpillar dealer, George W. Crothers. Around 1962 “GWC” was sold to Canadian Inspection and Testing Co. in Montreal. The following year, it was listed in Toronto to one of those fishy-sounding outfits – Sierra Leona Holdings Ltd. Having migrated to the US, “GWC” somehow retained its Canadian registration. The NTSB archives lists it as badly damaged on landing near Elyria, Ohio on June 2, 1967. It was struck from the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register c.1969.
Originally G-AMWZ with DH, CF-HGT (c/n 4388) was imported in May 1954 for Shell Oil of Canada. Shell later re-registered it CF-TCP. When sold in the US it became N6387T with Riley Aircraft, a US company specializing in converting aging Doves and Herons into commuter planes. Subsequently, it was N669R with Hawaii Sky Tours. Riley Dove and Heron conversions included major changes from a fuselage stretch to replacing the standard Gipsys with American engines. On November 3, 1969 N669R landed short at Kalaupapa airport. The undercarriage collapsed, but all 13 aboard survived. (Al Martin)
Shell’s former CF-HGT, CF-TCP was based in the Genaire hangar at Malton. The registration change was done when Shell started to market its special fuel additive “TCP” (triclesyl- phosfate). It left the CCAR in 1962. (Larry Milberry)
When we used to see this little beauty (c/n 4391) around Malton, it was owned by Federal Equipment Ltd., a big Canadian contractor doing work on the DEW Line. CF-FEL also “lived” in the Genaire hangar. The paint job was a bit wild – overall white with flashy “Day-Glo” red trim. Having come to Canada in October 1953, “FEL” had begun as CF-HGO with James M. Dunwoody, DCM, DSO, of Oakville, Ontario, founder of a prominent business consultancy. Next, “HGO” was listed with Consolidated Trucking of Toronto, then moved to Federal about 1959. Even later it was with Northgate Hotel of Toronto, then flew for a drugstore in Saskatoon as CF-POC. About 1966 it was sold in the USA as N228J and last was heard of at Sebring, Florida as recently as 2018. (Larry Milberry)
Registered in Canada in November 1952 to Solar Communications Ltd. of Calgary, Dove CF-GBE (c/n 4356) is seen later in the 50s at Malton in SUNOCO (Sun Oil Co.) colours. Much later it served Gordon Airways of Windsor, Ontario (see below). (Al Martin)
Construction Services of Calgary operated Dove CF- GQH (c/n 4281) from December 1950. It later was N6307T and last was heard of with Trans National Airlines in the 1970s. A note on the web states that it was cannibalized for spare parts. (Al Martin)
Seen at Malton, Dove CF-GBW (c/n 4385) served Shell Oil, then was N4041B of Air Wisconsin and Catalina-Vegas Airlines. It ended with Jimmy T. Thompson of Moses Lake, WA. On taking off there on May 15, 1973, one engine quit and the Dove was wrecked. (Al Martin)
Yet another Shell Dove. CF-EYM (c/n 4390) was based at the company’s Calgary HQ. It came to an ignominious ending there, destroyed in a hangar fire on December 6, 1954. In this era many corporate aircraft carried their company name and/or logo, or, a registration tied to their corporate image (Shell had a Cessna 310 CF- SHL). These days? No such thing, for corporate aviation in the 2000s is a highly secretive business. (Al Martin)

As evident in the captions, following their initial careers in the pampered world of corporate aviation, most Doves and Herons ended in the “real” working world of commuter and air taxi carriers. Here it was rare to see a mechanic wiping off unsightly oil or polishing windows. Around 1968 CF-GBE, which had been working in Canada since 1952, changed ownership from Skyline Hotels to Jack Wigle of Milton, Ontario. Then, it appears in the 1969 CCAR with Gordon Airways (1961-1970) of Windsor, Ontario. How did it end? (Neil A. Macdougall)
Another small Southern Ontario air service of the 1960s was Sarnia Airlines. About 1960 we started to see their Apache and Dove at Toronto. CF-LDE (c/n 4343) is shown in this Al Martin shot at the Genaire hangar at Malton. “LDE” originally had been N4269C with the Massey Harris US operation. It later returned to the US as N33AE, where it flew under the Trans National Airlines banner until retired.
Dove C-GEDT (c/n 4371) had begun with Riley Aircraft as N1564V, then was N85V. It came to Canada in 1975 for Canadian Voyageur Airlines, a company founded by entrepreneur O.J. “Bud” Mallory of Fort Frances in northwest Ontario. Its Doves connected Fort Frances with Winnipeg and Thunder Bay. CVA was Canada’s last Dove operator. (CANAV Books Col.)

The DH Dove’s Big Brother

Canada’s first Heron (April 1953), the fixed gear Mk.IB CF-EYX. (Al Martin)

Having succeeded with the Dove, De Havilland wanted to see what the market would say about a stretched version. Enter the Heron, first flown in 1950. Compared to the Dove, the Heron had four two 250- hp D.H. Gipsy engines. Being about nine feet longer, it carried as many as 17 passengers. Heron production totalled 149. It found its niche among commuter operators from the UK to Australia, Indonesia, throughout Africa, in the Caribbean, South America, etc. It proved to be rugged and economic, even if slow and underpowered with its Gipsys. The Heron did not catch on in Canada. The first was the Department of Transport’s CF-EXY with its fixed undercarriage. Delivered in 1953, “EYX” served to 1966, then was sold to Newfoundland Air Transport. After about two years there, it went to Aero Servicios in Honduras. On May 26, 1970 it crashed on approach to Tegucigalpa, killing all four aboard.

Canada’s next Heron was CF-IJR (c/n 14074), which De Havilland of Canada operated as a corporate plane from 1956-67. With DHC “IJR” had many uses, from getting executives to meetings around eastern Canada and the US, to rushing spare parts to customers in distress. Here is an early view of “IJR”, then one a bit later showing a DHC zapper plus the Ontario provincial flag. DHC sold “IJR” into the US, where it became N570PR with Prinair in Puerto Rico. On July 11, 1975 it was taking off at Puerto Rice when a propeller blade failed and sliced into the cabin. Happily, no one was hurt. As with N570PR, many Herons were modified by Riley to use four Lycoming IO-540 engines. Prinair’s own conversion lengthened the fuselage by 17 feet and used the Continental IO-520 engine. Prinair folded in 1985. (Al Martin)
Toronto-based CF-HLI (c/n 14053) operated from Malton with Canadian Comstock Co. from 1954. It and CF-IJR were Mk.2s with retractable undercarriage. It was finished in an attractive forest green-and-white colour scheme. About 1962 Comstock replaced “HLI” with an A-26 Invader. “HLI” then became N1420Z with Apache Airlines in the USA. Other operators followed until it was wrecked in Hawaii in a May 1984 forced landing. (CANAV Books Col., Larry Milberry)
Canada’s only Riley Heron, CF-RAB (c/n 14061) began in 1955 with the predecessor of Turkish Airlines. Next, it came to the US in 1966 as N484R, was converted by Riley, then sold to Royalair of Dorval for proposed service on a commuter route from Dorval along he St. Lawrence Seaway as far as St. Catharine’s in the Niagara area. This, however, did not catch on and “RAB” returned to the US, where it had several registrations and owners, the last being N15FB with Allegheny Commuter (1977-83) and Susquehanna Airlines (1983-84). It then migrated to distant Fiji (1985-91), then to Heron Airlines in Sydney, Australia as VH-NJI (1991-2001). “NJI” now resides at the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society at Parkes, NSW. (CANAV Books Col.)

For years there was no sign of the Heron in Canada. Then there was a resurrection, when entrepreneur and brilliant inventor, Dave Saunders, devised a canny scheme to convert the Heron to the PT6 turbine engine. This became the Saunders ST-27, an excellent airplane, but that’s a story for another time. Any reader can see that there certainly is enough good, interesting material to produce a modest book about the Dove, Heron and ST-27 in Canada. Sad to say, however, but few remain on the Canadian aviation history scene with the fortitude to take on such projects. Everyone is too busy texting and playing video games.

Here are two last-minute extras. I found this nice print of 9L-LAG (c/n 14019) in the Leslie Corness collection. Les probably took this photo during his tour in Nigeria. Sierra Leone Airways used three Herons 1962-74. “LAG” eventually came to Canada for Dave Saunders. It was registered C-GCRN, but didn’t become an ST-27, instead being cannibalized for parts.
Heron XG603 (c/n 14058) served the RAF 1954-68. Here it is at Dorval over the summer of 1969, likely soon after being ferried across the pond. It’s in the overall Da-Glo red scheme in which it recently had been flying as part of “The Queen’s Flight” (notice the Queen’s emblem on the door). On leaving the RAF in 168, XG603 was acquired in Denmark and registered OY-DNP, but Saunders soon acquired it to convert to his Saunders ST-27 prototype, CF-YBM-X. It later was sold in Colombia, becoming HK-1286. Of February 9, 1976 it had an exciting day. A hijacker took control of “1286” on the ground at Medellin soon after it had landed. He forced the captain to fly to Chigordo, where 8 passengers were allowed off. The pilot then was obliged to return to Medellin. Later that evening, the plane was stormed by special forces, who killed the hijacker. In 1976 “1286” returned to Saunders at Gimli, Manitoba. There it became C-GYCQ and in January 1979 was sold to Otonabee Airways of Peterborough, Ontario. It was withdrawn from service in 1980. Eventually, “YCQ” was converted into pots ‘n pans. (Al Martin)
Last second Doves. These two magnificent views of CF-BNU surfaced just as we went to press. These were taken at Downsview in 1946 when DHC was hosting Toronto’s first post-WWII air show. Visiting from New Jersey, John C. Barbery took these fine views of “BNU”. It served Imperial Oil for several years, before being sold in the US in 1953.

A Bit More Douglas B-23 Coverage

In our last session I featured the exotic B-23/UC-64 Dragon. Since then one of our readers supplied a bit of further history. Tom Appleton recalled how Juan Trippe, chairman of Pan-Am in the 1940s, had purchased a batch of surplus B-23’s. This is where the movement to convert B-23s to corporate use began, Trippe taking one of these for Pan Am’s own use. He then assigned one of his pilots, Al Ueltschi, to be his personal B-23 captain and B-23 marketing man. Tom notes: “Al thought it might be a good idea to offer PanAm’s training expertise to the fledging biz aircraft pilot community. So began Flight Safety International, now owned by Warren Buffet. I knew Al quite well, as I brought FSI to DHC when I was running customer support, and negotiated the building of a training center with simulators for the Dash 7 and 8, along with a Twin Otter. It turned out to be a very successful venture and DHC was the first regional aircraft manufacturer to offer simulator training with every Dash sold.”

Al Martin photographed B-23 Dragon N1G at Malton in the 1950s. Al had the advantage of working with TCA at Malton. On his breaks, he could wander around the ramp with his camera. Originally delivered to the USAAC as 39-0047, this B-23 finished the war as an instructional airframe, then was sold as war surplus from the storage depot at Bush Field, Georgia. We’re not sure, but it well may have been one of the PanAm aircraft. Soon it was converted, registered NR45361 and sold to the United Rexall Drug Co, where it flew into 1954, then joined the GE corporate fleet (dates unknown). Later in the 1950s it was with General Tire and Rubber of Akron as N1G, then was N244AG with Aerojet General, a California rocket research company associated with General Tire. About 1960 it moved to L.B. Smith Aircraft, a Miami company specializing in corporate conversions. Other owners and registrations ensued, and this glorious old Dragon somehow managed to survive. It may be seen at the Castle Air Force Base museum in Atwater, California.

Tiger Moth & Mosquito Tidbits

Every week I come across interesting photos as I work through my files. Lately a tiny b/w print popped up showing ex-RCAF Tiger Moth CF-CLF (ex-RCAF 4353) on skis. Tiger Moths were seen everywhere after the war, when they were important in getting the Canadian flying clubs movement re-started, and were the delight of hundreds of private pilots. Back in the day, a good Tiger Moth could be bought very cheaply, $500 being top price. 4353 was sold initially in December 1945 to the Hamilton Flying Club and seemingly remained dormant still in RCAF colours until sold in June 1947 to Weston Aircraft of Oshawa. Weston then overhauled it and painted it “Consolidated Blue” (a dark blue). It then was sold to Aloysius La Marsh of Hamilton in November 1947. He was one of hundreds of ex-RCAF men taking advantage of war surplus prices to own his own plane. On June 30, 1948 “CLF” was one of four light planes on an overnight “Dominion Day” weekend jaunt from Hamilton to Rochester, NY across Lake Ontario. Coming home in the afternoon next day, La Marsh ran out of fuel and was forced to crash- land at Hamilton airport. He was badly injured and his passenger, Peter Revie, died. Gradually, of course, all such war surplus types faded away and the Tiger Moth became a rare collector item. Prices these days are in the USD$100,000 range.

Here’s another interesting postwar scene — a pair of ex-RCAF Mosquitos time and place not known. This scene was captured for posterity by the late Leslie Corness of Edmonton. You can see a rare Canadian-built “Mossie” at the CASM in Ottawa. Did you know that many Canadian-built Mossies were sold to the Chinese Nationalist Air Force in China soon after the war? This story was kept very quiet at the time. It was approved by Ottawa and DHC personnel travelled to the Far East to train the Chinese techs and pilots. These Mossies flew combat missions against Mao’s communist forces, until Mao prevailed in 1949. M.L.”Mac” McIntyre and George Stewart have covered this important story in the Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal. You can (and should) joined the CAHS. Go to cahs.ca

Air Show Season is on the Horizon

After two dud airshow years, there will be some good shows this season across Canada. The Snowbirds just announced their schedule, so check their web page. The team will celebrate its Golden Anniversary this year in Moose Jaw. Here’s a classic airshow crowd scene. It was one of those steamy Abbotsford Airshow days — August 13, 1972. The Snowbirds were part of the scene, flying their white-and-red Tutors. I wonder if any of this season’s Tutors were on the ’72 team? Do you have your copy of A Tradition of Excellence, Dan Dempsey’s magnificent history of Canada’s flight demo teams from the Siskins to the Golden Hawks to the Snowbirds? “TradEx” is what I call “The World’s Grandest Aviation Book”. If you don’t have a copy, do yourself a favour and buy one. Dan tells me: “The book can be ordered directly from me at afteams@gmail.com using e-transfer or through PayPal on my website www.CanadasAirshowHeritage.com

Take a look at the 2022 Canav Books Booklist

Canada’s Last Dove + Some Great Heron Covers

I hadn’t realized that there still was a Dove in Canada. Ken Swartz alerted me to this, explaining that for many years Dove N4913V has been sitting idle at Chilliwack airport in BC. Is this Canada’s last Dove? If so, what a treasure of an acquisition it might be for some adventuresome Canadian aviation museum. A 1949 model (c/n 4272) N4913V sometimes has been identified as previously having been OO-CLV (Belgium) and CC-CLV (Chile). In the USA c.1970-83 it is said to have flown with Apache Airlines and New World Airways. (Ken Swartz)
In the 1950s, the UK aviation press was very hot re. the Dove and Heron. Check out these lovely Heron front-page adverts in “The Aeroplane” from 1954 and 1958. Such adverts often featured first-rate aviation artists of the day, or, the top commercial photographers and designers. I think that the advertising kingpins should bring back this important trend of using original art and supporting our aviation artists. But… this seems to be beyond the interest of our corporate leaders.
For the day, the Heron was as flashy a new light business plane as a company could have. Note what was a very big deal at the time for a corporate interior. We’ve come a long way, right, considering today’s corporate 747s, Globals, etc. When I was on one of my An.124 junkets away back, someone from Antonov told me there even was an oligarch with an An.124 for his private jet. I wouldn’t be surprised!

Old DHC Adverts

I’m still on my kick of flipping through ancient magazines to enjoy the advertisements. Here are two from “The Aeroplane” in 1954. The Beaver is  a wonderful piece of art by the incomparable Robert W. Bradford, Order of Canada. I wonder what became of Bob’s many originals from this era? In his late 90s, Bob still was painting a bit in 2022. When the founder of Canada’s national aviation museum in Ottawa, K.M. “Ken” Molson, left the the museum, where  he had been the boss, Bob took over. He and Ken put the museum on a steady course, where it has continued over the decades (thanks to their road map). But do you think anyone there today has a clue about them? The men who set it up and made it work are barely remembered at today’s CASM. Happily, Bob has been inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame, but, so far Ken Molson is not considered worthy enough. But … I digress.

Here’s some important news. E-Planes are making progress!


The Douglas B-23 Dragon + Big News from Buffalo Airways

As the 1930s came to a close, America’s aircraft industry was booming, and the US Army Air Corps and US Navy were ordering new aircraft fleets in the rush to be ready for potential war. In one case there was a competition among manufacturers to produce a new medium bomber to surpass the current frontline type, the Douglas B-18 Bolo. Douglas proposed a revamped B-18, the result being the B-23 Dragon, first flown in July 1939. However, as impressive as the B-23 was – it was fast, had good range, carried a load, etc., it  did not compare overall with the competing North American B-25 and Martin B-26. In the end, only 38 B-23s were built and these spent their forthcoming war on the home front more or less in the shadows as advanced trainers, glider tugs, etc., and UC-67 transports.

What makes the story of extra interest by 2022 is how – immediately after the war — the B-23/UC-67 became a sudden star, once discovered by corporations needing a fast, comfortable, impressive executive transport plane. Soon many large companies and some wealthy individuals were operating UC-67s. That’s how we young “airport rats” got introduced to the UC-67 as we hung around Malton airport near Toronto, and travelled around with our cameras spotting between Chicago and Montreal.

As promised a few weeks ago, here are some of my UC-67 black-and-whites. For a good source of B-23/UC-67 history, google “Warbird Information Exchange B-23 Project”. For simplicity, in the captions I call these planes B-23s, but feel free to substitute UC-67.

B-23 Dragon N58092 caught my eye during my visit to Malton on a gorgeous June 16, 1960. The first things we noticed about the B-23 was its DC-3-style wing and massive empennage. Originally USAAC 39-0053, among other things during the war, N58092 was an RB-23 reconnaissance plane based at Muroc Lake, California. At war’s end it joined the countless thousands of surplus equipment being disposed of by the federal Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and was sold for scrap. Instead, however, it was acquired by some dealer, converted for executive use, then served Lehman Brothers in NYC from 1946. Next (1954-64) it was with H.K. Porter Co. of Pittsburgh, a famous manufacturer of steam locomotives by this time in the defence industry, one product line being components for the Nike series of anti-aircraft missiles. One wonders all these 60+ years later what N58092 was doing at Malton this day. Little is known about this impressive big corporate plane’s history, but what stories its log books could tell, right! Later owners included Monarch Aviation of Monterey, California (1966) and Trans Aero Systems of Miami (1969-70), whatever such companies were doing with N58092. Its ultimate fate is not known.
Frequent visitors to Toronto in the 1950s-early 1960s were General Electric’s N33310 and N33311 (GE had operations in Hamilton, Peterborough and Toronto). N33310 had been 39-0062 through the war, then was with such owners as Pan American World Airways of NY, the famed air racer Roscoe Turner, and Fairbanks-Morse Company (manufacturer of scales, pumps and engines). In 1954 it joined GE. It served there into 1966, when it was sold to Florida-based Palm Beach Yacht Sales; then various change-of-ownerships followed. By 1973 the once glorious executive plane was derelict in Panama. It’s said to have gone for scrap in 1978. Here is N33310 at Malton on July 12, 1960. Then, N33311 (39-0064, the final B-23) landing at Malton on August 11, 1960, then on the ramp there in the same period. It had a similar history, going postwar to Pan Am, then to GE in 1954. A decade later it was sold to the Los Angeles Board of Education. One wonders for what purpose. There’s a story that the majestic old plane was destroyed in a fire during the LA riots of 1965. While serving GE, these two lovely UC-67s were based at White Plains, NY.        
B-23 N4000W (39-0031) at Detroit Municipal Airport on April 16, 1963. It also had been acquired postwar by PanAm, which seems to have been brokering B-23s and maybe doing the conversions. I didn’t make a note this day about its ownership. Note the modern Douglas logo on the rudder. In 1968 N4000W was sold to an operator in Ecuador and survives today in Ecuador’s national aviation museum in Quito.
Pittsburg Construction Co.’s N34C (39-0051) at Detroit Municipal on the same day as N4000W. It also had begun postwar with Roscoe Turner, then was with Celanese Corp. of America. Also on the ramp was a new Grumman G.159 Gulfstream, a sign of things to come. About this time, the Gulfstream and F.27 were starting to nudge the older DC-3s, B-23s and Lockheed twins out of their envied position at the top in corporate aviation. Then, N34C landing at Dorval  September 5, 1960. In 1966 N34C moved to Ohio State University, then had further owners. Today it may be seen in Tucson at the renowned Pima Air and Space Museum.

News From Buffalo Airways of Yellowknife (March 26, 2022)

Buffalo Airways is on the verge of the jet age. Famous for its DC-3s, DC-4s, C-46s and Electras, the company has just announced its purchase of a Boeing 737. Here’s the work straight from Mikey McBryan of Buffalo: http://www.pierregillard.com/blog/index.html

Communism and Putin in a Nutshell + A Goldmine of History in One Old Copy of “The Aeroplane”

Talk about déjà vue … have a look at how Communist doctrine worked when the USSR invaded Finland (they’re threatening to do the same thing 80+ years later) See Winter War: The 1939 Soviet Invasion Of Finland In Crystal-Clear Photos (rferl.org) (also see https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/russians-finland-1.6379693). Exactly the same today with Ukraine. Brute force, merciless bombardment, intimidation, starvation, lies, lies, lies, etc. That’s the traditional Communist way. Civilized people rightly call this “pure evil” and so it is. In January 1940, Winston Churchill noted about the Finnish invasion: “Finland shows what free men can do…. Everyone can see how communism rots the soul of a nation; how it makes it abject and hungry in peace, and proves it base and abominable in war. We cannot tell what the fate of Finland may be, but no more mournful spectacle could be presented… than that this splendid northern race should be at last worn down and reduced to servitude worse than death by the dull brutish force of overwhelming numbers.”

“Aviation Advertising – A Goldmine of History in One Old Copy of “The Aeroplane”

Many of you enjoyed our blog post “Postwar Adverts” from November 2, 2016. Even if you’ve seen it before, take a look back to enjoy again what emblems of technology history these old adverts have become. Really … they are fascinating, and in many cases literally are works of art, for the lead magazines such as “The Aeroplane” in the UK and “Canadian Aviation” on this side of the pond employed actual artists (i.e. with bushes and paints) to create the artwork required. Thus might you enjoy the great Frank Wootten’s original paintings as cover art and in advertisements in “The Aeroplane”, and Canada’s top aviation artist Robert Bradford’s originals as the foundation of adverts for De Havilland Canada’s Otter, Caribou, etc.

Here are a few adverts from “The Aeroplane” of October 21, 1955. What quickly caught my eye (once I got over the dramatic cover art by top British commercial artist, Vic Carless) was the page taken out by Avro Canada featuring the all-red CF-100 that it was operating experimentally as a target tug. Otherwise, there was page after page of fascinating adverts portraying the aviation industry of the times, when Britain’s V-Bombers were just coming out, and types such as the Gannet for ASW and Supermarine 525 fighter held great hope for Britain’s postwar aviation industry. Adverts for the Britannia, Vanguard and Herald announced the way ahead for the airlines, while the Skeeter helicopter was where the light helicopter market was heading (so hoped Saunders Roe). Also, take a look at the want ads page to get a better sense of what was happening.

CANAV’s Late Winter BLOG for Early 2022!

This quintessential CF-100 photo shows prototype 18101 from a wonderful angle. One of history’s great CF-100 photos, right! Avro always had the best photographers, and this image says it all. In this era the fellows normally used the Avro Jetliner, a Lancaster or a B-25 as their photo ship. The CF-100 made its first flight on January 19, 1950 (72 years ago) with the great Bill Waterton at the controls (see Bill’s excellent book The Quick and the Dead). It then evolved into one of the famous “Fighters of the Fifties”. Deliveries totalled 692 by 1958. The last CF-100s retired in 1981 from 414 Sqn at a great event in North Bay, which hundreds of us attended. Happily, many CF-100s have been preserved. You can google this recent CBC item to see how one is getting a long-overdue facelift this year: Historic Canadian aircraft set to get a facelift, courtesy of the City of Moncton

Welcome to the CANAV Books blog for February 2022. As usual, there’s a lot to cover. You can start right here by downloading our Spring/Summer 2022 Booklist. Any reader will find something enticing — guaranteed! For one thing, you’ll spot some excellent Avro Canada books, including a top new CF-100 history, Canadian Cold Warriors. “CCW” nicely complements the Jan Zurakowsi and Bill Waterton test pilot autobiographies. Chris Gainor’s Who Killed the Avro Arrow caps off this selection. There’s also Paul Ozorak’s new Abandoned Military Installations of Canada, Vol.4, a massive production for anyone with the least interest. Covering Gander in wartime, North Atlantic Crossroads is another gem. What else? Any Canadiana reader will revel in The Company, ditto for Chris Hadfield’s Apollo Murders. And don’t miss our special offers on Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace and Air Transport in Canada, two monumental and legendary Canadian aviation book publishing projects that are beloved anchors in many an aviation home library. Here’s your list … have at it!

Russian assault on Antonov airport February 24. If you google these bits, you should be able to see these dramatic scenes as Russian commandos take the airport by helicopter assault. Not a happy sight — so far not a single nation is willing to help Ukraine. Putin has the world terrorized. pic.twitter.com/SnvmwQ1Ge


9:03 AM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Two of our top new titles this season.

Vintage Canadian Aviation

It’s not too well known by 2022, but Canada had an aviation industry as long ago as 1915, when Glenn H. Curtiss established a small factory and flying school in Toronto. In late 1916 this was taken over for wartime needs by the Imperial Munitions Board, which turned out more than 2000 Curtiss JN-4 airframes in the city’s west end. Through the 1920s other companies got into the business, including De Havilland in Toronto and Canadian Vickers in Montreal. By 1930 there was a blossoming industry, one of several Montreal companies being Reid Aircraft at Cartierville Airport. Founded early in 1928, at year’s end it was acquired by Curtiss, to become Curtiss-Reid Aircraft Co. Only one production design was turned out – the Rambler, a tandem 2-seater that for some years was an important club and RCAF trainer. According to the great K.M. Molson’s seminal book, Canadian Aircraft since 1909, 43 Ramblers were built. These were powered by D.H. engines of 80, 90 or 120 hp. Unfortunately , the Depression by then was getting into full swing. Even with its US backing, Curtiss-Reid did not make it and folded in 1933. Shown is Rambler CF-ABO in an evocative Cartierville scene. Built in 1928, “ABO” was short-lived, being wrecked in an accident on October 6, 1930. The Curtiss-Reid hangars beyond survived into modern times. I remember them from the 1960s, but am not sure when they finally went. No original Rambler exists, although the outstanding Montreal Aviation Museum has created an excellent replica that has a few original parts. Definitely tour the MAM website: https://www.mam.quebec › discover-our- museum-2
Our second vintage photo for this session is a rare aerial view of Vancouver Airport c.1930. I have no idea how this tiny, original print got into my collection eons ago, but it’s sure worth a look in 2022. Beyond the new terminal building is the Lower Fraser River and miles of farmland, which today make up the sprawling Vancouver suburb of Richmond, where a tiny patch of land sells these days for $1 million. The cornerstone for Vancouver’s modern terminal building was laid on September 13, 1930, then the airport opened the following July 22. For 1931 the original “YVR” welcomed 536 passengers on 309 flights. The basic source of all such history is Tom McGrath’s incomparable 1992 book, History of Canadian Airports. Do yourself a favour and find yourself a copy.

Old Hamilton Airport

If you scroll back you can find one of our more popular blog items, “Old Hamilton Airport”. Why this topic again? Mainly because a few fascinating archival photos have surfaced in one of my dusty old Fred Hotson files. For any fan of Canada’s early airports, you’ll enjoy today’s aerial view of this long ago redeveloped urban landscape (see Tom McGrath’s book for details). Dated June 30, 1937, this original 8×10 was taken by a long-forgotten Toronto company called “Airmaps Limited”. Great name, eh! This is one of those delightful old photos that interested folks love to sit and stare at. The longest runway seen here measured about 2800 feet. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a photo from the same vantage point as per 2022?
Here’s another photo at old Hamilton Airport, this one c.1940. This style of stacking planes allowed a lot more to be kept inside. Some of these planes? CF-AWF Taylor E-2 Cub probably when W. Nixon of Woodstock owned it; CF-BGE Taylor J-2 Cub owned by Fred Gillies of St. Catharines; RCAF Stinson 105 No.3486; and J-3 Cub CF-BOU. “BOU” ended badly, crashing vertically into a farm field near Campbellford, Ontario (east of Peterborough) on October 24, 1956. Owner George Stafford age 30 and Gary Stapley age 17 died. Young Gary recently had earned his wings and his father had just purchased him his own Cub. George had his own airstrip near Campbellford from where he did some flying instructing, and where several local people kept their planes. Formerly in the RCAF, George had flown during the war as an air gunner. No reason for the crash ever was found.
Here are two ancient gems from my ever-fascinating Fred Hotson files. First, a spectacular scene with G-CAOT, one of the few Loening 23 Air Yachts (three of about 15 manufactured served in Canada). Designed in the early 1920s by Grover Loening, the Model 23 used a 400-hp Liberty engine, similar to that in the OPAS’s HS-2L fleet. The design concept was unique: instead of being an integral flying boat, the Model 23 cabin, wings and engine were mated to a flying boat hull. G-CAOT was purchased from Loening in New York City in January 1926, but was wrecked one day following a hard landing on Ramsay Lake in July 1927. Then, probably the most modern airplane to visit Canada this year — the Cities Service Oil Company’s DC-2 NC1000 at the Toronto Flying Club’s North Toronto airstrip on October 19, 1934. NC1000 went to Pan American Airways in 1939 and later (1942) to South American owners. Eventually, it was seized for smuggling and went for scrap in 1951. But … in this scene it was a marvel of modern aeronautics to behold.

More Oldies — Wartime National Film Board Aviation Short

During WWII, Canada’s National Film Board’s primary job was turning out propaganda shorts. 75-80 years later these are a window on the day’s documentary standards from storyline to editing and presentation. By today’s standards, the acting seems almost ridiculous in how the NFB narrators (this one is the great Lorne Greene) put across their message in that panicky style of the times, but that was then and this is now. Here’s a good example of the NFB’s wartime effort. I’m sure you’ll be able to overlook the aggravating presentation to enjoy the fascinating film clips from Canadian aviation “way back in the day”. Google it at:


More Martin Martin News: The mighty Mars miracle

Cargo Airlines Post-WWII

In Air Transport in Canada all of our post-WWII air carriers are covered in decent detail, for such a general book. You see all about the roots of such carriers as Maritime Central Airlines, Mont Laurier Aviation, Wheeler Airlines, Transair, Queen Charlotte Airlines, etc. for which air cargo was so important. “ATC” provides solid background for what was happening – the war was over, surplus airplanes were available, markets beckoned (or did they?), on and on. To the credit of the visionaries, many companies survived for decades, until gradually absorbed into larger ones. If this sort of business/aviation story interests you, there are good books to track down. Besides “ATC” for the Canadian story, two of my favourites are R.E.G. Davies Airlines of the United States since 1914 and Commuter Airlines of the United States, but so far I’ve yet to see a book about the US postwar cargo airlines. Is this one in the works? Here’s an excellent old movie covering Sante Fe Skyway, a short-lived 1940s carrier with DC-3s and DC-4s. It’s an excellent business case study and the ancient propliner footage is not to be missed. Sante Fe Skyway reminds me of such great Canadian companies as QCA and World Wide Airways. For an informative and enjoyable 18 minutes, google The Failure of Santa Fe Skyway – YouTube

More of Les Corness’ Unique Photography

Two ex-RCAF P-40 Kittyhawks that Les Corness spotted at Edmonton “Muni” on July 18, 1968, a time when such rusty old wrecks still went to the scrap yard. This was at the beginning of the serious warbirds movement in Canada, when pilots and mechanics showing an interest in such exotic planes were considered a bit eccentric. Now we realize what a debt we owe those pioneers. Where are these historic old Kittyhawks in 2022?

Any time I glance through a pile of old Les Corness transparencies from the 50s, I spot many that I’d like to share. Regardless of their sometimes rough condition with scratches and crud, or Les’ preference (when called for) to favour content over form, there’s always something inspirational about his photos. You’ll know what I mean if you have your copy of The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection (if you don’t, see the booklist for a great deal). Also, you can search for earlier blog items featuring Les, this item included: “Leslie Corness Propliner Review” which features lots more of his magnificent photos.

During his years toiling in the High Arctic, Les went through many rolls of Kodachrome. If a subject looked interesting, he got out his 35mm range-finder and shot off at least a frame, even if at too great a distance to make for a prize- winning photo. Case in point … this abandoned Avro York freighter at Hall Beach, NWT on June 15, 1957.
At Hall Beach the same day, Les grabbed this distant photo of one of the most legendary DEW Line freighters, DC-3 CF-JIZ “Arctic Rose” of Don McVicar’s Dorval-based World Wide Airways. Problem? Blurred DC-3, but any view of this famous plane is fascinating for the true fans. After all, this gives a good idea of the colours for the next modeller to built “JIZ”, or, the next artist to start a painting. A photo that’s a “dog” to some perfectionist can be the solution to someone else’s niggling question about paint details. Arctic pilot Tony Jarvis adds about this scene: “Hall Beach was the settlement and the Dew Line site there was Fox Main. Many years later I dug through the York site was and recovered the instrument panel, which you photographed in Yellowknife. CF-HFQ was the first Avro York brought into Canada for Arctic work.”
An everyday scene at Frobisher on July 25, 1957. One of Kenting’s Oshawa- based, aerial survey B-17s has dropped by, and a USAF Grumman Albatross is getting ready for a transit maybe up to Thule, or it could be on a search. A USAF C-54 is off on its next long leg north to Thule, east across the pond, or back south. This exact line of hills could be used today to frame a photo of something like a 737, ATR or Dash 8 taking off.
Les appreciated the close-up. This RCAF Neptune was in Frobisher Bay on a search on November 17, 1958, when Les got interested in its big engine heaters steaming away, so he snapped off a frame. Then his excellent detail shot out the window when he was a spotter in RCAF Lancaster FM122 on a search of November 4, 1958. What you see below is pure Baffinland. Having flown once each in the North Star and Lancaster, I still can here the roar of those Merlins!
Every airplane was a photo op for Les. He’d have been ecstatic this day (May 22, 1959) when nine ex-RCAF Expeditors passed through Frobisher with their C-47 mother ship on the way to France. (Canada recently had gifted a large number of “Exploders” to France, where they gave years of good service.) Even though the day was bleak for photography, Les didn’t let this historic moment pass.
Les’ postwar photo of Lancaster FM159 in Nanton, Alberta. This old relic subsequently was saved and meticulously restored by the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton. Today all its engines are serviceable. For the detailed story of FM159, google Dave O’Malley’s superb history — LAST CALL FOR LANCASTERS – Vintage Wings of Canada
In September 1980 Les photographed this rare ex-RCAF CF-100 Mk.IVB at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. Behind is Britain’s great technological wonder, the TSR-2, which was terminated at the height of the Cold War due to budget and technical issues. Writer David Nolan has commented about the TSR program: “Nearly 50 years later, TSR-2 cultists still talk of conspiracies, cover-ups, and sinister U.S. efforts to sabotage the project.” Sound familiar? Isn’t this exactly what we never stop hearing from Canada’s Arrowmaniacs – those “cultists” who’ve never done any actual research into the demise of the Arrow? Then, a lovely Wilf White photo of 18393 while in squadron service. Wilf spotted it one day c.1960 at Scottish Aviation Ltd. at Prestwick. It looks factory fresh, so could be on its delivery flight from Avro, or, maybe it’s right out of overhaul at SAL. Happily, it evaded the breaker’s torch.

RCAF Procurement

Northrop Delta NC13777, the Richfield Oil Company’s speedy executive plane c.1930. For high-class air travel, the “Richfield Eagle” would have had no rival for several years in speed, comfort and ability to “impress the Joneses”. You may see NC13777 today in the National Airline History Museum in Kansas City, MO. The civil Delta became the basis for one of the RCAF’s first modern airplanes 85+ years ago. (William J. Wheeler Col.)

Over the decades CAF/RCAF aircraft procurement has been a subject of discussion, analysis and befuddlement. Project timelines themselves have been mindboggling at times. How long, for example, long did it take to replace the Argus? It seems that since the late 1960s the Argus was going to be “replaced”. Finally, the Aurora arrived at Greenwood in 1980. So it went with the F-104/CF-5/CF-101 replacement, which culminated with the delivery in 1982 of Canada’s first CF-188 Hornets. Then there was the Sea King replacement, which finally has arrived in the form of the Cyclone, a much modified civilian Sikorsky. Most recently, the fantastic old Buffalo has been phased out after 50+ years of stellar service. Its replacement, the C-295 Kingfisher, has arrived, but with a list of either unacceptable features or yet-to-be sorted out mods (so it also went with the Cormorant). Somehow, each such fleet gradually has been sorted out. The main thing about DND procurement seems to be that Canada rarely acquires an airplane without massive gobs of time to contemplate and complicate everything, plus astounding (sometimes unjustified) over-spending.

When, lately, I spotted the wonderful old photo (above) of Richfield Oil’s NC13777, I was reminded of how the RCAF had acquired its first modern, all-metal airplane in 1936. Just then it needed a new type to replace its ancient Bellancas and Fairchilds of 1920s vintage. Somehow, RCAF engineering HQ learned of the Northrop, maybe simply by a salesman knocking at the door, or spotting a trade magazine advertisement or article. It looked like a good airplane, and (RCAF HQ soon learned) industrial and trade skills spinoffs were available. But the Delta was a civil design. The great Joseph P. Juptner describes it as “a highly advanced single-engined airliner, a speedy conveyance … for medium roads on the trunk airline routes”.

Unfortunately, TWA had cancelled its order for 15 Deltas when the US government ceased licencing single-engine airliners for night schedules. Northrop was left holding the bag, but the RCAF came to the rescue, buying three Deltas from Northrop’s surplus, then contracting with Canadian Vickers for licence production of 17 more. These served well into early WWII, then had extra duty into late the war as ground training aids. In the end, the RCAF saved Jack Northrop’s bacon by buying his orphan. In RCAF service, the Delta proved to be a solid, versatile plane. Meanwhile, it must be admitted that DND procurement can get things rolling in a hurry if necessary, not just with the Delta. Look how it acquired its fleets of C-17s and C-130Js – they seem to have come out of nowhere compared to the decades needed to replace the Sea King or Buffalo.

The first RCAF Delta at Canadian Vickers in Montreal before its delivery in September (CANAV Books Col.)
RCAF Delta 675 (left) at Vancouver, where No.1 Squadron recently had accepted 10 newly-arrived (by sea) Hurricanes. The Delta served here as a makeshift advanced trainer to give 1 Squadron’s pilots some time on a reasonably modern plane before trying out the Hurricane. The Delta had some similar features, but not a retractable undercarriage. This role illustrates how versatile the Delta could be. While acquired for aerial photography (at which it proved to be excellent), it also was a useful trainer, and flew many armed coastal patrols on the East Coast in the first year of WWII. It’s odd how the RCAF acquired this Northrop orphan and on the spur-of-the-moment. A plane was needed, RCAF engineering liked what it saw, some irresistible offer likely was made by Jack Northrop (“Have we got a deal for you.”) and the rest became history. Try pulling off something like that at DND procurement in 2022. This is thought to be a Gordon S. Williams photo.

Canada’s Hornets –Retrospective

CAF “Desert Cats” Hornets that I shot at Doha back in January 1991 during Gulf War I.

We fans started following the CF-18 Hornet back in 1982 and since then haven’t missed much about this exciting, ongoing episode in CAF/RCAF fighter history. My first chance to photograph Hornets was at Cold Lake in 1983. Since then I’ve chased them all over the place, and even had some backseat rides (starting at Baden-Soellingen in 1987). Other highlights were at Maple Flag at Cold Lake, various exciting events at Bagotville, fighter meets at Tyndall AFB, Langley AFB and Burlington, Vermont, a few days with 437 Sqn refuelling Canada’s last NATO Hornets between Lahr and Goose Bay via Keflavik, Doha for Gulf War I, and airshows from coast to coast. Another historic event occurred in 1993, while I was waiting at CFB Lahr to catch a Hercules back to Canada. There on the ramp sat a lone Hornet getting ready for departure. Here’s that story as it appeared in the November 1993 edition of “Wings” magazine.

Hornet 188761 has had a typically fascinating history. Having risen like a phoenix, it served on the line at Cold Lake and Bagotville, and from Bagotville was an airshow demo jet for three seasons. Here are three great Richard Girouard photos of ‘761 wearing its special airshow colours. This month ‘761 made the trip from 410 Squadron at Cold Lake to begin another tour at Bagotville. To date it has logged more than 4900 flying hours. As such it’s one of the RCAF’s “youngest” Hornets, certainly when compared to 787 at more than 8300. Theoretically, Canada’s Hornets are time-expired at about 10,000 hours. This is spectacular for any third or fourth generation Western fighter.
Canada’s Hornets continue to give solid service decades after the process started to find their replacement. So far our only “replacement” has been a batch of ancient RAAF Hornets, which the Aussies put out to pasture starting in 2018, when they started taking delivery of their 72 F-35s. One consolation for Canada? When it ordered the Hornet more than 40 years ago, DND made the best possible choice.

Harsh Realities in Space Flight

Terranauts … here’s an important Space Program retrospective. The topic is melancholic, but needs to be contemplated to have a realistic sense of where we’ve been and where we’re going tomorrow in space exploration. Chris and Helene Hadfield are the guests. Google this: We remember – A special episode of Terranauts with Helene …

Scrolling Back

You’ll never run out of solid history to read or photos to enjoy on our blog (which dates back to 2009). What are your interests? Here are some of the worthwhile topics you can find in a flash via the search box or by scrolling back through the years:

440 Squadron Gets Together in Ottawa
A History of Austin Airways
Aircraft of the USAF Museum
Antonov AN-124
Apollo 40 th Anniversary
Beech 18 Boeing 727 Turns 50
C-119 The Travels of Nick and Larry
Canada’s Enduring DC-3s
Canadian Fighter Pilots Association
Canadian Forces in Ethiopia, Somalia and Rwanda
CF-104 Warbird Emerges
Dash 8 No.1000 Is Delivered
Fox Moth Discoveries
From the Wilf White Collection
Homebuilding Roots in Canada
Last Lockheed Jetstar Retires
Light Planes
Lockheed Lodestar
More CF-TGE Nostalgia
Northern Aviation in 1977
Old Canadair Originals
Postwar Adverts
Super Connie Field Trip
The Crash of CF-100 18417
The Great Bob Halford
The Great War Flying Museum
Toronto/Winnipeg Turn-Around
Winter Photography

Next Time on the CANAV Blog?

I’ll be rolling out some more of my prehistoric black-and-white shots of the great corporate planes of the 1950s. Emphasis on the amazing Douglas B-23 Dragon. Here’s a teaser – Dragon N34C.

Have a close look at our promo sheet for CANAV’s grand history of CAE Inc. of Montreal. If you pride yourself in having a serious Canadian aviation home library, The CAE Story belongs in it. There isn’t a more wide-ranging aerospace history book with this depth of coverage anywhere in the world, nor a more beautifully-produced book at such a bargain price.

TTC Winter Photography in Years Gone By

Since we’ve had a very snowy winter here in Toronto this year, I got thinking about winter photography in years gone by. I was further encouraged by Pierre Gillard’s recent winter aviation photography at St. Hubert — see http://www.pierregillard.com/blog/index.html This is not to be missed!

First, here’s a January 1976 scene from the bad old days of the Queen St. East morning commute. Well do we remember packing ourselves onto such PCCs as 4690. Talk about the wretched lives of sardines, eh! Then, 4449 rounding the loop at Neville Park on January 15, 1968 ready to battle its way on another cross-town Queen Street grind. Finally for this trio … PPCs 4230 and 4309 stored at the Wychwood Barns as I spotted them on December 6, 1969.

Old Magazines Are Real Treasures

There is no more fun with the printed page than flipping through old magazines reading the articles and perusing the wonderful old advertisements. Lately, I spotted these two wonderful old “adverts” in “The Aeroplane” from 1955 — one featuring the Viscount for TCA, the other the Avro CF-100. The first one illustrates the heyday of the UK’s post-WWII aviation industry; the second — Canada’s at its peak, a time when such other types as the Beaver, Otter, Tracker and Argus all were coming off the lines. Canada was at the top of its aviation industry game. For more such delightful reading, see our earlier item “Postwar Adverts”.