This Week’s Topics … Canadair Sabre for museum in India + Long Lost Book Review + Why Do the Greens Disgrace Themselves Like This + 747 Retrospective + More Great Lakes History + The Airborne Classroom + 1963 Spotters’ Road Trip + Canadair Sabre & CAE Reader’s Comments + Smashing Review Surfaces for Our 1986 Book, The Canadair Sabre
Our blog follower, Jagan, submits this news about Canadair Sabre 1606 ex-Luftwaffe, ex-Pakistan AF, ex-Bangladesh AF. See pages 325-326 in The Canadair Sabre, including a photo of 1606 in poor condition in a scrap yard. Enjoy this link for the latest news — 1606 now will be well cared for by the IAF Museum.
It’s always good fun going back through copies of ancient aviation journals on a quiet day. Over the decades, one of the very best of these was Alan Hall’s “Aviation News”. Fans in the UK and around the world waited eagerly for each fresh edition to hit the news stands, or, to arrive in the mail.
In those exclusive years of super-quality aviation periodicals, we aviation book publishers were certain to send review copies of our new titles to each. Rarely would any decent quality book miss being reviewed by the top magazines, and there always was the hope of winning a lead review, or, “Book of the Month”. CANAV has had a good share of the best that the book editors had to offer from Canada to the USA, UK, across Europe and down to Australia/New Zealand.
In flipping through “Aviation News” back issues today, I was astounded to come across a review in a September — October 1986 edition of The Canadair Sabre that I missed all those decades ago. Our book certainly excited “Aviation News” from top man, Alan Hall, to his deputy, Lindsay Peacock, to the rest of the staff, which included in those days such other UK “Kings of Aviation History” as Arthur Pearcy and Brian Sturtivant. I don’t know who was in charge of the book pages, but he certainly was smitten by our book. I’ve seen many a wonderful review of our efforts since 1979, but few have exceeded the praise doled out here by “Aviation News”. How the review finishes in itself is enough to explode a publishers head! “Rarely does one find such a complete exposition of a popular aircraft. We feel that Larry Milberry has set standards that will be hard to follow.”
The Canadair Sabre … order your copy today at the best offer yet! Usually $40.00 + shipping, with this offer you can own your personal copy (signed by the author) at $30.00 all-in for Canadian orders, or CDN$40.00 all-in USA or International (surface mail). Send payment by PayPal straight to CANAV at firstname.lastname@example.org
PS … “Aviation News” today is one of the superb periodicals from Key Publishing. As Britain’s longest established monthly aviation journal, it’s renowned for providing the best coverage of every branch of aviation. Each issue gives you the latest info and in-depth features. Check out the details at the publisher’s website. You’ll be glad that you subscribed!
From the World Aviation News Front Page, March 5, 2021
What goes on with some of the extremist groups? How does moronic urban terrorism advance their ideological causes? Google this item and see what you think: Greenpeace Vandalizes Air France Boeing 777 in Paris ..
One of the great triumphs in aviation history since Day 1 goes by the simple name “Boeing 747”. You can learn all the basics starting with the Wiki 747 entry, then there’s a host of excellent books to read. Also, a real “must see” is Sam Chui’s nostalgic YouTube video – “The Last British Airways B747 Flight – An Emotional Farewell”. Sam has done a bang-up job covering the recent retirement of the 747 from British Airways. You can find this item by googling it by its title.
The 747 is such a magnificent story. In digging through old files lately, I came across some ancient Boeing PR photos and press releases. Inspired by Sam’s video and what I started unearthing around CANAV Books HQ, I decided to share a bit more about the 747, not that the interweb isn’t already bulging with material (I just know that you whiners out there know perfectly well where to find your favourite 747 content if this selection isn’t your cup of tea — yes there are whiners for any topic I can dream up). Mainly, you regular folks will be enjoying a few old 747 Kodachromes that Wilf White and I took in decades gone by, plus a few other pix that are credited:
The grand 747 is gradually fading, but 30 – 40 years from now there still will be 747s at work. I suppose it’s a natural sign of “progress”, but the 747-800 (now on the line at Boeing) itself is edging towards the end. This is some news from Boeing and Atlas Air as of January 12 this year: “Boeing and Atlas Air Worldwide today announced an agreement to purchase four 747-8 Freighters… The 747-8F is the best and most versatile widebody freighter in the market, and we are excited to bolster our fleet with the acquisition of these four aircraft … This significant growth opportunity will enable us to capitalize on strong demand and deliver value for our existing and prospective customers… With a maximum payload capacity of 137.7 metric tonnes (137,750 kg), the 747-8 Freighter allows customers to access 20% more payload capacity while using 16% less fuel compared to previous-generation 747s. The jet also features 30% quieter engines. The 747-8 airplanes in this agreement will be the final four aircraft to roll off the production line in Everett, Washington… Atlas Air has 53 747s in its current fleet, making it the largest 747 operator in the world… The 747 program has produced 1,560 aircraft since launching the jumbo jet more than 50 years ago.”
CANAV Books has so many top-level readers and we’re steadily in touch. According to the CANAV grapevine, our 747 pilot friends have one thing in common – they love their 747. Recently, one pilot, who’s flying the mighty “8”, wrote to us: “I must admit, between the – 400 and the -8, I prefer the -8. It really is a wonderful machine. You’re correct, the 747 is an absolute wonderful flying machine. Having flown the classic -100 and -200, and now the -400 and -8, I greatly admire the design team and their philosophy. One NASA test said that the basic 747 airframe is an aerodynamic masterpiece. Good description for sure! Sadly, the production line is shutting down in 2022, but with all this Covid around the world, we’re extremely busy. We’re hiring pilots and adding aircraft. Out of Hong Kong we’re always pushing back at 990,000 lb with the -8. She’s remarkable and really efficient with those GE engines. The flying is straightforward, the ol’ 7-4 is fantastic!”
More Great Lakes History
I wasn’t surprised to hear that many CANAV fans share an interest in shipping, so here are a few more random photos from my Great Lakes collection. First, a few scenes from Kingston, an important centre at the east end of Lake Ontario. Kingston started in shipping in the 1600s — the days of Count Frontenac of New France. For centuries it was noted for shipbuilding. Those days are long gone, but the history of it all is very much alive and to be revelled in by anyone with half a clue. When in Kingston, enjoy its historic waterfront and visit the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes.
The Airborne Classroom
From the beginning of our teaching careers c.1960, we young Toronto aviation fans had a real opportunity to pair our interests. Over the early years (before regulations rendered such teaching opportunities verboten), we could take our pupils on airport visits and even have airborne field trips. Over the years, our pupils had some exceptional learning experiences. We took our classes as far afield in the early 70s as the First Nations reservations at Ogoki Post in Northern Ontario, and Northwest River, Labrador. Visits to Toronto Island Airport were easy and, another time, I took a week-long Gr.8 history and geography field trip through the Kawarthas that included flights from Peterborough to see the great local drumlin fields and eskers. We got our keen young students up in such planes as the Ce.172, Beaver, Otter, DC-3 and 737. We were considered radicals, and there even was some negative gossip in the schools, mainly of the “How dare they” nature.
One of our more exotic trips sprang from the geomorphology that a few of us were teaching to our Gr.7 and 8 classes. This was based on a course that some of us had taken at the University of Toronto covering the geomorphology of southern Ontario. This covered the horseshoe-shaped area from Niagara Falls, around to a bit north of Hamilton, eastward towards Lake Simcoe and into the Kawarthas centring on Peterborough. Naturally, we also taught about the many human activities and features along the route. This field trip traditionally was done by bus, but in 1969 I dreamed up a plan to teach it in the classroom, then finish with an aerial review. This was agreed to by my principal and the parents all were happy. Each pupil had to come up with about $15.00. I talked it over with Carl Millard, who agreed to give us a DC-3 for two hours for $300 (the good old days, right).
Having briefed the class thoroughly about what to expect and what to see, we bussed out to Malton Airport on May 23, 1969. Everything was set, except that our DC-3 CF-WCO “The Voyageur” was short one seat. I forget how we got around that, but Carl figured things out and soon we were airborne on a sunny but too-steamy morning.
I handed our captain a map with the route roughly shown. This took us south from Toronto airport to spot the Lakeview generating station, on to Hamilton Bay to see the steel mills and Burlington Skyway, Niagara to see the Welland Canal, orchards/vineyards, Niagara Falls, etc., then out pilots swung around to give good views of the Niagara Escarpment and Credit River up towards “The Forks”. Next, we turned eastward to see the Holland Marsh, Barrie and Lake Simcoe. We skirted the Peterborough area to see the Trent Canal, then the great drumlins of Lake Scugog, and finally headed down along the Lake Ontario shore to take in the Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto Islands, Toronto central business district and back to Malton. All went well. The kids were elated, even if there was a bit of queasiness. After all, it was a really hot day and we were flying as low as legally allowed.
All this came back to mind when I happened across this old Kodachrome that I took in the cabin of “WCO”. My great little gang seems into it and keeping things together. I’m amazed that I was able to get such a decent shot with K64 in available light. Where are all these great little citizens in 2021? Did any of you go into geography, teaching, aviation? It was about 52 years ago, so you’re all in your 60s – hard to believe. What did Carl Millard think of all this? Carl was always keen to get involved, but also was watching for any opportunity. He looked over my lesson plan for this trip, “topo” maps included. Then what? He started marketing my brainwave of a trip to high schools in the Millardair catchment basin. He told me years later that he sold several trips to high school geography departments (but not likely at $300). He put one of his young pilots on this beat to bang on geography department doors. Good ol’ Carl Millard, a real case. I’d like to see him in Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame, eccentric reputation and all.
While most of his DC-3s were work-a-day cargo planes, Carl kept CF-WCO “looking sharp” for passenger charters. Notice its panoramic windows, perfect for our class trip. Here’s “WCO” at YYZ Terminal One (the old Aeroquay, long since demolished) dropping off passengers on January 4, 1974. “WCO” had begun with the US Army in 1944, then served several US corporations as a VIP plane after the war. Carl acquired it in 1967, then made good use of it into 1979, when he sold it in Florida. From there it went to the Colombian military, then finally went for scrap in 1989.
A Spotters Road Trip
We Toronto aviation nerds always were dreaming up our next adventure, and did we have adventures! A typical road trip began on April 15, 1963 with Nick Wolochatiuk and I driving (in Nick’s VW, as usual) from Toronto to Chatham airport in southwestern Ontario. Next came Windsor, Detroit Metro and Willow Run all by day’s end. Can you imagine the craziness! On the 16th we covered Pontiac Municipal, Berz Airport, Ann Arbor and Detroit Municipal.
So far we had spotted such planes as Stitts Flut-r-Bug CF-RAK at Chatham, a Mong Sport at Windsor, a flock of C-46s and ANG RF- 84Fs at Detroit Metro, a Lockheed 049, DC-7 and PV-1 at Willow Run, an A-26, B-25 and DH Dove at Pontiac, an SNJ-2 at Berz, and two B-23s at Detroit Municipal. Nick and I were already solid aviation generalists. To us, everything about aviation was fair game. Unlike today’s scene, right, when too many tend to be really shallow about aviation. You’ll see these types around shooting nothing but airliners, or F-16s, or whatever. There’s no chance of a real aviation conversation with them. They’ve cut themselves off the great wide world of aviation to be so-called “specialists”.
On the 17th we hit up Toledo Express Airport, where the Michigan ANG 112 th TFS welcomed us to shoot their spiffy-looking F-84F Thunderstreaks, even though they were in the midst of a hot exercise. We then visited Cleveland Municipal where we found such goodies as a B-25, several DC-3s and UAL Caravelles, and spotted (in the distance) an AJ Savage. That brought us to our final stop on the of the day and the best of it all for this outing – Port Clinton, Ohio.
Somewhere we had heard or read about two Ford Trimotors based at Port Clinton and that they were work-a-day planes. When we pulled into this basic little airstrip on April 17, 1963, our info proved to be correct and then some. Sure enough, there sat Trimotors N7584 and N7684, plus Boeing 247 N18E. A billboard announced this as Island Airlines, and the people were friendly. We wandered around taking our photos and getting our questions answered, then topped off our visit with a short flight in N7584 over to Put-In-Bay on one of the offshore islands. As I recall, the fare out and back was $7.50. I noted that outbound we took off at 11:55 with seven passengers (having waited a few minutes for some latecomer) and landed at 12:02. We returned at 1:19 to 1:31. Jan Shaffer was our pilot. He flew us along at 85mph at around 500 feet.
Most traffic from Port Clinton was to Put-in-Bay, chiefly the daily shuttle taking the island children to Port Clinton, where busses picked them up to take them to school. The routine was reversed later in the day. Here are some of my black-and-whites and Kodachromes from the visit. By now I had learned a bit from my airplane photography mentors, so had started taking the odd detail shot. Too bad, but I still hadn’t grown up enough to know that I should also have been photographing the people to do with the airplanes. That maturity came too slowly, but finally arrived. The engine detail was taken from the cockpit, where Nick and I took a turn in the right seat. You can see that the cabin was purely utilitarian. The landing shot turned out not too badly. Don’t forget, film advance still was manual 58 years ago. Pretty sure these were taken with my Kodak Pony rangefinder. This was a hand-me-down from Nick, who had progressed to one of the early Pentax SLRs. Finally, my souvenier Island Airlines ticket. Lesson here? Never used scotch tape on anything you might want to keep pristine. Scotch tape the record keeper’s No.1 enemy, since it eventually will discolour everything it touches, as you can see.
What became of the Island Airlines fleet that we saw in 1963? For starters, look on the web – there is a mass of info for these planes. In one case, on August 24, 1992 N7584 was badly damaged by Hurricane Andrew at Homestead AFB, Florida. Restored, it’s still out there, flying with Kermit Weeks’ museum in Florida. On August 21, 1972, N7684 crashed when an engine failed on departing Port Clinton. There were 16 aboard, but no injuries. Then, on July 1, 1977 N7684 lost two engines on takeoff at Put-in-Bay and was severely damaged in the crash that followed. It last was heard of with Yellowstone Aviation in Jackson, Wyoming in the early 2000s. Boeing 247D N18E now belongs to the UK Science Museum.
Be Sure to Have Your Copy of The Canadair Sabre
Here are a couple of lovely “new” Canadair Sabre photos. I shot 23066 at Trenton on May 28, 1960. The resolution is so good on this original old 120 negative that you can read the pilot’s name by the cockpit – S/L Villeneuve, the Golden Hawk’s revered “Team Lead”. This great Canadian died last year. I can’t quite make out the techs’ names except for LAC Savoie. This was the team’s second year. I had caught the Golden Hawks first in 1959 at the spectacular airshow in Windsor, Ontario celebrating the 50 th Anniversary of flight in Canada.
For the time being CANAV fans can order a copy of this world- famous book at a real saving. I’m standing by to sign a copy for you. Anywhere in Canada? $30.00 all-in. USA and International? CDN$40.00 all-in (pay in Canadian dollars by PayPal depositing directly to email@example.com and save another 25% or so on the exchange). Here’s a reminder of why you need this book (or an extra copy or two to use as knock-out gifts):
How about the official reviews for The Canadair Sabre? Well, they could not have been better. The leading French journal “Air Fan” loved The Canadair Sabre, calling it: “The aviation literary event of the year.” Greece’s journal “Ptisi” added, “A real oasis for F-86 fans and anyone interested in the Golden Years of the 1950s-60s.” Air International called the book, “A mine of information … there seems scant prospect of a better history.” Even more glowing commentary came from Bob Halford’s “Canadian Aircraft Operator”, Vol.24, No.20: “With The Canadair Sabre [Milberry] continues to enhance his reputation for producing top-of-the-class books that compare more than merely favourably with any of the works of the major publishing houses. This is a remarkable achievement …” Typically, “CAO” goes on to describe the book in detail. Bob, of course, knew his stuff … the Sabre in particular. He had visited Canadair during Sabre production years, also the RCAF’s NATO bases in Sabre years during his time editing “Aircraft” magazine. Bob concluded, “The book is, indeed, all that anyone could ever want to know about the Canadair-built Sabre … it’s a people book as well as an airplane book.”
Our second Canadair Sabre photo today by Wilf White. I assume this is at Renfrew or Glasgow, two key maintenance bases for the RCAF No.1 Air Division operating then in France and Germany. 23038 is a Canadair Sabre 5 in 441 Squadron markings. This dates to 441’s Sabre 5 era 1955-56; it converted to the Sabre 6 in August 1956. The squadron had first gone overseas with Sabre 2s in 1952 first to North Luffenham, UK, then to Zweibrucken, West Germany in 1954, finally to Marville, France in 1955. I have little info about 23038 other than its RCAF dates of December 1953 to May 1960, and that 422 also had flown it. Wilf’s setting could be at Scottish Aviation Ltd. at Glasgow in or around May 1956, when 23038 was struck off charge and when it probably went to SAL for scrapping. Wilf photographed many ex-RCAF Sabres and CF-100s being cut up at SAL.
Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story
Many readers have commented about CANAV’s widely acclaimed history of the great CAE Inc. After he read his copy of The CAE Story, Meher Kapadia, who spent 25 years as an engineer at CAE, sent me these comments:
Hi Larry … My son has just brought over your book to England, so I am now well immersed in it. It really is a great, well researched book. I find it most interesting going through the early history of CAE from long before I joined the company. You have to be complimented for the effort and care that you took. We Canadians have a bad habit of not blowing our horn, when we achieve something great. I am of the opinion that CAE was the world’s best systems engineering company for many years. I think I can say that, as over the years I dealt with most of the best, large US and UK engineering companies, I never came across any as good as us. My congratulations and I hope you will make a lot of sales.
This is a gem of an aerospace history, one of the world’s finest such books in decades. A large format hardcover, it has 392 pages, hundreds of photos, a glossary, bibliography and index. It’s all there! Usually CDN$65.00 + shipping + tax, you can order a copy all-in at $CDN60.00 for Canadian orders, CDN$75.00 all-in for USA orders, and $90.00 all-in for International orders. Pay by PayPal or Interac straight to firstname.lastname@example.org If any questions contact me at email@example.com Cheers … Larry
PS … for more reader comments, use the search box, just enter CAE Story.
The Canada Council — Kenneth Whyte Keeps an Eye on this Shady Outfit
Do yourself a big favour and google SHuSH by Kenneth Whyte, former editor of “Saturday Night Magazine”. If you like a bit of intellectual stimulation, this will work out nicely for you.
In his current piece, Whyte takes on the Canada Council, which today is a purely politically correct Ottawa institution doing the PMO’s bidding. Whyte reminds us: “The Canada Council was established as a crown corporation, arms-length from government, precisely to protect it from political interference from government officials (particularly the elected variety), preserving the freedoms of the arts community. The idea was to elevate the arts above politics.” Instead, the Canada Council has become a megaphone for Government of Canada causes such as “colonialism”, “systemic racism” and “climate change”. How do these get to lead the Canada Council agenda? Do these causes not already have their own super ministries? So much for “arms length from government” at the Canada Council. It looks as if social radicals/extremists are subverting the Canada Council.
CANAV Books has waged its own little campaign against the political correctness, etc. of the Canada Council, that grand, all-powerful Ottawa institution that places the 35+ world-famous books that CANAV has published since 1981 in the category of “not real books”. You can scroll back and see my rant about this. In a nutshell, when CANAV submitted Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story for consideration for the 2016 Canada Council Canadian Business Book Awards program, we were told in so many words, “The CAE Story is not a real book. Go away and start publishing real books.” The Canada Council then proceeded to award most of its 2016 business book awards to books published by the Canadian arms of huge American publishers. When I enquired about this at the Governor General’s office and the Canada Council, I received meaningless “Dear Sir or Madame” form letters in reply. Kenneth Whyte at SHuSH is doing Canada a good service with his latest item – take a look.
With today’s short section, our on-going CANAV Books history reaches the end of our era of randomly publishing titles. The last of these was Canada’s Air Forces on Exchange. Then began our “Aviation in Canada” era, which numbers eight titles into 2021. For today we’re covering Y2K to 2007 starting with our 3-volume history of the RCAF. This had begun a few years earlier as a project to produce a single book honouring the RCAF in its 75th year. However, as usually happens, the project took on a life of its own, ending in 2000-01 as our 3-volume Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace with more than 1000 pages.
All things considered (text, illustrations and presentation) “CAFWP” is a grand Royal Canadian Air Force history that readily complements the 3-volume RCAF Overseas official history (1944-45), and the DND’s subsequent 3-volume official RCAF history published in 1980, ’86 and ’94. I regularly nag CANAV readers about building a foundational library of all such RCAF books. Some have done so, of course, but far too many (pitifully) have capitulated to the internet as the source of all they need to know about the RCAF. I hope you don’t know any of these intellectual sellouts.
In some 20 years, not a negative word has been published about “CAFWP”, other than that Vol.4 remains conspicuous by its absence. Circumstances in 2001-03 kept delaying Vol.4, mainly a lack of funds. Time inevitably passed the project by. Happily, much of the material gathered for Vol.4 (CF-5, CF-104, etc.) will appear in our forthcoming RCAF 100 th anniversary blockbuster.
Here are a few “CAFWP” comments from our always well- informed and critical reviewers. To begin, Scale Aviation Modeller International selected “CAFWP” Vol.1 as its “Book of the Month”: “Well, what can we say! This is a book that truly deserves the ‘must have’ title… one that all RCAF and Canadian aviation fans will want…” Writes Airforce: “…the most comprehensive history of Canada’s air force ever produced.” Canadian Flight called Vol.1, “The grand-daddy of all Christmas presents for air force vets … a superb work to delight all RCAF or CF veterans.” Many such reviews ensued. Re. Vol.3, for example, Air Pictorial observed: “Milberry has excelled in this volume by combining riveting personal experiences from air and ground crews with an unrivalled selection of llustrations… rarely does a book so handsomely exceed the most sanguine expectations as does this outstanding publication.”
There’s a special price now for a 3-volume set of CAFWP: Canada $75 all-in, USA CDN$90 all-in, oversea CDN$180 all-in. Payment can be send directly by PayPal or Interac to CANAV’s email address firstname.lastname@example.org … or post a cheque or money order to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E3B6
Fighter Squadron 2003
For Fighter Squadron: 441Squadron from Hurricanes to Hornets (2003) we still are awaiting the first negative review. In one case the journal “Combat Aircraft” could only say in its review (regarding the difficulty of getting any book about a squadron right): “They are intrinsically difficult to write … the overriding need is to get the right balance… [Fighter Squadron] has achieved the elusive balance … Everything about this volume has the feeling of authority and authenticity.” Due to the steep cost in finishing this project, it had to be priced accordingly. As a result, Fighter Squadron joined the ranks of those books we have published that were born of red ink and are wallowing in it to this day. C’est la guerre. If one is in history and in book publishing for the long haul, be ready to take your lumps. For now you can order a copy of Fighter Squadron at a real bargain. Anywhere in Canada $30 all-in, USA CDN$45 all-in, Overseas CDN$60 all-in Payment can be send directly by PayPal or Interac to CANAV’s email address email@example.com … or post a cheque or money order to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E3B6
The Leslie Corness and Wilf White “Propliner” Collections 2005 and 2006
Years ago CANAV Books honoured two dedicated aviation photographers: Leslie Corness of Edmonton, and Wilf White, residing in Glasgow in the very house where he lived since a lad. I had known these stellar fellows since the 1970s, when we would exchange photos and airplane “gen” of all kinds. Sadly, both fellows long since have passed on.
The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection was published in 2005, The Wilf White Propliner Collection in 2006. Each was splendidly received. The respected journal, Airways: The Global Review of Commercial Flight, was quick to react, describing “LCPC” as, “A photo album with style and intelligence … to be savoured.” Airways next wrote about “WWPC”: “Milberry’s treatment of his subject is personal and meticulous, the photo selection is … evocative, the captions knowledgeable and informative … thoroughly enjoyable.” Who put these bons mots together? None other than the beloved John Wegg, author of such world class books as Caravelle, Finnair:The Art of Flying since 1923, and General Dynamics and Their Predecessors. What an honour to be reviewed by such a “King of Aviation History”.
Then came Vol.39, No.11 of the UK’s beloved “Aircraft Illustrated” with another masterpiece of a review covering “WWPC”. Here is how UK book aficionado, Denis J. Calvert, lays the groundwork for his magazine’s review for November 2006: “A few weeks ago, a photo album arrived … which genuinely merits the title ‘Book of the Month’”. Denis concludes, “This volume, beautifully produced, offers the very highest quality … and comes confidently recommended.” Here is the full review. Also … you can orderboth of these outstanding books at: Anywhere in Canada $45 all-in, USA CDN$55 all-in, Overseas CDN$80 all-in. Payment can be send directly by PayPal or Interac to CANAV’s email address firstname.lastname@example.org … or post a cheque or money order to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E3B6
Canada’s Air Forces on Exchange 2007
When we published Canada’s Air Forces on Exchange in 2007, the usual string of top reviews appeared. In one case, reviewer Robert Merrick (RCAF ret’d), himself having had a USAF exchange on RF-4s, and at this time reviewing for the prominent “COPA Flight” journal, summed up his feelings: ““Truly an enlightening book … Those pondering the ideal Christmas gift for your local Fireside Aviator need look no farther.” “CAFEx” remains one of the best ever RCAF histories that focusses upon a specific (and rare) subject. No one who opens “CAFEx” is ever disappointed, other than at not finding himself listed in the index. Quite a few such fellows have contacted me over the years, the odd one being almost distressed. The best consolation I can offer is to suggest that he write the next book about exchange postings. What else is to be said? Although “CAFEx” lost CANAV a lot of money, I can’t imagine not having published such an important RCAF history. So ends today’s episode. Next time we’ll start into “Aviation in Canada”. For now you can order a copy of Fighter Squadron at a real bargain. Anywhere in Canada $40 all-in, USA CDN$55 all-in, Overseas CDN$70 all-in Payment can be send directly by PayPal or Interac to CANAV’s email address email@example.com … or post a cheque or money order to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E3B6
The USAF Museum in 1964
For 1964 we local Toronto spotters didn’t do as much travelling as usual. I’d have to dig into the old files for a full explanation, but I’m pretty sure it was because the likes of Fred Guthrie, John Kerr, Nick Wolochatiuk and I were busy teaching school or doing university courses. Certainly, summer courses kept us grounded well into August. That’s when Nick and I decided to squeeze in a quick road trip the week before we returned to the classroom.
On August 26 we drove the Goderich airport on a rumour that there was a Lancaster to be seen. Good move, for we found ex-RCAF Lancaster FM213 recently arrived there to become a historic display. Happily, it still was on its own wheels, so was perfect for photography (it later went atop a pylon and today is airworthy with the Canadian Warplane Heritage). We also were happy to spot such planes as Fleet Finch CF-GER, Tiger Moth CF-IFB, Pitts Special CF-REH and Aeronca C3 N13886, but all were in the Sky Harbour hangar. We then pushed off for southern Ohio. Our mission? Visit the USAF Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base not far from Dayton. In the afternoon of the 27th we pulled in to a camp ground not far from “Wright Pat”.
Next day we spent several happy hours at the museum. Due to a shortage of hangar space, many aircraft still had to be kept outside. Meanwhile, it was so dark inside, that photography was hopeless. By contrast, today’s museum at Wright Pat is magnificent. Even where galleries are dark, today’s digital camera technology allows for photography. It’s also well worth a visit to the museum website, where you can take wonderful virtual tours. You’ll be able to spot most of the airplanes shown here – you can make a bit of a game with that. Don’t miss this, simply google: https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Virtual-Tour/
For today on the CANAV blog, here are a few photos that I took on this trip. These are un-retouched, just basic scans from my old “2¼” b/w negatives. Unfortunately, over the decades many of these negs have suffered in their individual glassine envelopes. Most hadn’t even been looked at for more than half a century, so I was disappointed finding so many to be blotched. I’d always assumed that the “glassines” we used for negative storage were the best solution. It’s hard to say what happened. Perhaps it’s more a humidity issue than a glassine issue? Happily, however, my trusty Epson V700 pro scanner has come to the rescue – I’ve been able to get a good basic scan in most cases. Some PhotoShop pro easily could make any one of these photos really sizzle. Anyways, on the CANAV Blog it’s a case of “content over form” any day of the week. After all, this isn’t a contest, just a hobby.
Aircraft of the USAF Museum in 1964
A Few More TTC Scenes
Have you had a look our earlier blog articles covering Toronto Transit Commission streetcars over the decades? If not, you can scroll back and have a look. After all, any grown-up aviation fan revels in all forms of transportation and the joys of photographing them.
Today, I’m adding a few TTC scenes that I captured long ago – photos of some unusual work cars plus some busses of the Sixties. The work cars were used on a host of duties including rail grinding, clearing snow and delivering supplies and equipment to track construction sites, etc. Many of these units were built around retired TTC passenger cars. The snow plowing cars disappeared by 1980, when city works took over the job, while the rail grinders made their final runs in 1999.
Canada’s Best Aviation History Booklist Is right here:Download
One title that you’ll really treasure in your library is Dancing in the Sky: The Royal Flying Corps in Canada. By 2020 few Canadians know much about this monumental WWI story. This gem of a book tells in details how the RFC, desperate for pilots in 1916, solved its problem by establishing a magnificent air training plan in Canada. Headquartered in Toronto, the plan almost overnight built massive aerodromes starting at Camp Borden, then Armour Heights and Leaside in Toronto, Deseronto east of Toronto, finally Beamsville in Niagara. There also were recruiting, indoctrination and trades training centres in Toronto and Hamilton. Soon thousands of young men were training here to learn to fight in the world’s first great aerial war. Thousands were sent overseas and by war’s end there still were 12,000 men in the RFC Canada system. The plan brought with it Canada’s first aircraft mass production, more than 1200 JN-4C trainers being built at a vast factory in west Toronto, plus parts for hundreds more.
Author C.W. Hunt presents all the fine details – how the plan was organized, the camps established, the training of pilots and mechanics, much about the problems of weather and accidents, and how thousands of Americans also passed through the RFC system.
Suddenly, the war ends and overnight the plan folds. Hunt brings the story right to the end in 1919. This is one of the really important Canadian books about WWI — how Canada went from being an aviation featherweight to an aviation powerhouse all in about two years. Believe it or not, but some of the sturdy hangars from RFC Canada days are still in use at Camp Borden and Beamsville! Order your copy by sending (for Canada) $43.00 by PayPal or Interac to firstname.lastname@example.org , or, post a cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Canada M4E3B6. USA or Int’l orders send CDN$50.00.
You’ll also be tempted by this new beauty — Flying to Extremes, Dominique Prinet’s new book about his career as an bush and Arctic pilot. Much about the Cessna, Otter and Beech 18, but many other well-known types as well. This is very much a book about the north and its people — not just the airplanes. Besides that, it’s really well designed with many colour photos, some excellent original aviation art and some very useful original maps. 278 pages, softcover, glossary, index. This one is irresistible! $42.00 all-in by PayPal or Interac to email@example.com or mail a cheque as mentioned above. USA or Int’l orders send CDN$50.00.
“Ghost” Canso Update – Something’s Up
Many of you regular CANAV blog followers enjoyed our recent item about Gananoque’s “Ghost” Canso, CF-NJL. Last August, my old pal from high school days, Nick Wolochatiuk, visited Gananoque to see what was doing, then submitted this summary:
Most of Gananoque’s triangle of 2530’ runways are now devoted to corn, but in the decaying hangar at the east side of Runway 36-18, Canso “NJL” still sits, outer wing sections by now removed. Fortunately, it’s an amphibian, as the hangar roof really leaks. Snuggled nearby is wingless Bush Caddy C-FZGG. Its elongated nose gives the appearance of an ant eater. Some other planes are scattered around, including Pietenpol C-ILTB. Due to COVID-19, the local parachute training school was shut down. Outside, we spotted Bush Caddy C-GIRU. For a very long time, not a BCATP Tiger Moth, Fleet Finch or Harvard has been seen at Gananoque. As you can see by the crumbling hangar, those glory days are long gone.
Here are two shots that Nick took in August. These can be compared with our main article to which you can scroll back, if you have the time. That’s all the current “intel” for “NJL”. Let me know what else you might hear via the grape vine.
CANAV Books Visits the 10th Mountain Infantry (Light)
The 1980s were full of great aviation history projects. Besides working on such books as Canada’s Air Force Today and AIRCOM, I was burning the candle at both ends doing a lot of aviation journalism. I had begun to dabble with this in the late 1950s by submitting photos and short items to such journals as “Air Pictorial”, that great UK monthly. Eventually, Toronto aviation editors such as Bob Halford (“Aircraft” magazine) and Hugh Whittington (“Canadian Aviation”) were giving me assignments, then I started writing feature stories for “Aviation News”, “Air Classics” “Air Combat”, etc. It was great to be making such connections. The pay ranged from zero in those days to $50 – $750 for a feature, even $2500 for something Hugh sent my way – a detailed overview of Canada’s aerospace industry. Every penny counted back in those times.
Meanwhile, with travelling pals Tony Cassanova and Mike Valenti I had begun branching out into New York, the nearest US state to our base in Toronto. I already was familiar with Niagara Falls, NY, home to the 136th FIS. My old pal, Merlin Reddy, and I first had visited the 136th for Air Force Day on May 16, 1959, then Nick Wolochatiuk and I covered the open house on May 20, 1960. These were a really impressive events. What we thought was amazing was how the general public was not herded around like cattle. Instead, we could wander on the ramps even as airplanes came and went, everything from an L-19 to a C-124. Here are a few photos that we took both years mostly using Merlin’s twin lens Yashika loaded with 120 b/w film. As I recall, I also was shooting with an old Permaflex. Everything in black-and-white, of course:
Fort Drum Visit
Through the 1980s we made good connections at Griffiss AFB near Rome, home to the 416th Bomb Wing (B-52s) and the 49th FIS (F-106). The 416th PR man, Carl R. Sahre, was keen to have us down to see what Griffiss had to offer. Another good spot for us was Syracuse, from where the 174th FS of the NY-ANG flew (AT-37, later A-10, F-16, Predator). Finally, through 10th Mountain PR man, Lee McTaggart, we got our connection to Fort Drum where the 10th Mountain Division (Infantry) recently had reactivated its aviation battalion. “Aviation News” would take a story about this famous unit. In typical US military style, he jumped at this as an opportunity to promote the 10th Mountain and my first visit was set up.
I drove down the NY State freeway early on March 13 and soon was busy doing interviews and shooting Kodachromes. There were no restrictions – whatever I needed, 10th Mountain PR was on it. An OH-58 piloted by 1Lt Richard F. Delev was at my disposal for getting out onto the Fort Drum Range, then I was offered something I hadn’t dreamed of – a famil flight in an AH-1G Huey Cobra gunship flown by CW4 Howard.
Typical of such trips, Fort Drum was a whirlwind affair, but chalk up another great experience in US military aviation history. Back home, as soon as I had my slides from Kodak, I got to work on the story. As things often went, however, the story didn’t see the light of day until November.
Here is a random selection of Kodachromes from my March 1989 trip and a copy of the ”Aviation News” report. Each such story tended to build up an aviation journalist’s reputation. I guess that was one good reason to keep up with such strenuous fieldwork. In the end, we “Canucks” got to know the USAF and US Army in upstate New York in the 1980s. Eventually, I visited, flew with and had stories published about the 416th at Griffiss (B-52 and KC-135) and the 49th (F-106). I also wrote about the 174th and flew on a photo trip in an AT-37 (PA-ANG) shooting some 174th A-10s. Finally came the helios of the 10th Mountain.
To add to up my knowledge of Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain, I revisited on January 8, 1990 accompanied by Tony Cassanova. That was another red letter day, as we again had carte blanche. Highlights included having the base commander’s UH-1 Huey as our taxi for the day, then each having a flight in a mighty CH-54 of the PA-Army Guard that was busy that day repositioning targets on the Fort Drum range
The CANAV Books Story Part 5
Moving right along with our rough ‘n ready story of CANAV Books, here’s a bit about three other leading titles of the 1990s (in the not-too-distant future, the plan is to refined these items into a book):
The Royal Canadian Air Force at War 1939-1945 1990
For 1990 CANAV Books published the grandest single volume covering the RCAF during WWII. This time, I teamed with Hugh A. Halliday, Curator of War Art at the Canadian War Museum (1976- 1985), RCAF researcher and writer, and long time member of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. This became another 480-page blockbuster. For this project I went to Bob Baglow in Ottawa for the graphics side of the project. I forget how this came about, but assume that Robin Brass was overworked that year.
Besides its massive text, the book ended with some 1600 photos and it could not have been better reviewed. Covering it for “Canadian Geographic” (January 1991) was David McIntosh. As was reviewer Ron Lowman of the “Toronto Star”, Dave had been an operational navigator on Mosquitos, and not one to suffer the least gaff by any author.
In early reviews of CANAV titles, Dave already had fired a few sharp rounds, when he found the least point with which to disagree. But both he and Ron mainly were fair. The fellows would read and digest every line. Both also had a quirk of straying off topic, something a bit odd for high-speed, low-level navigators. Dave got somehow distracted in this review when he launched forth with this tirade: “The RCAF at War at last fills a need that the government’s and the defence department’s lassitude has denied Canadians for nearly half a century. The official air force history is so far behind that it can be carbon dated. Milberry and Halliday, old and practiced hands at such compilations, have flown to the rescue of all the airmen- survivors of the war who have slipped the surly bonds of earth.”
Dave’s review was shaping up, but it wasn’t making friends for CANAV in official Ottawa circles. His comments suggest that he was unaware of two fairly recent, massive Canadian military histories – Canadian Airmen and the First World War (1980) and The Creation of a National Air Force (1986) produced by the University of Toronto Press for the DND Directorate of History. (These would be joined by a third volume in 1994, The Crucible of War 1939-1945. These absolutely essential books total some 2500 pages and beautifully cover Canadian military aviation from pre-WWI to the end of WWII.) How could Dave have missed the first two of these? Perhaps he just had an urge to take a shot from the hip at DND? Happily, he was bowled over by the masses of content in our book, which he described as “packed, crammed, stuffed and stomped into this bulging volume.” He also appreciated how the photo captions are “as informative as the narrative”, an important detail that evaded most reviewers.
Another top review appeared in the “Ottawa Citizen”. Brereton “Ben” Greenhouse, a respected military historian/author at DND Directorate of History, called our effort, “massive, heavily illustrated and thoroughly enjoyable … a book for browsing, focussed on operations and service life rather than concepts and policy”. Ben showed a clear awareness of good books by commenting about our $75 sticker price – “… no more than the price of a good meal nowadays”. A perceived “flaw” mentioned in passing is that such great RCAF wartime figures as “Moose” Fulton and John Fauquier are not widely covered. This is easily explained — we were looking to write more about “ordinary” (less-well-known) airmen, compared to those about whom so much already had been written. CANAV is always looking for new material, so those old, well-ploughed fields tend to be avoided when we set to work.
Reviewing RCAF at War in the “Cobourg Daily Star” of August 30, 1991, D.G. McMillan made a nice point: “While the authors claim this is not a definitive book on the RCAF, it comes mighty close… a vivid picture of a period of Canadian history that is now long gone.” McMillan considered the book’s 1600 photos/captions to be “a book within a book”. RCAF at War also was reviewed in detail by Dacre Watson on “The Log –Journal of the British Airline Pilots Association”. Again, the general plan of the book is neatly summarized around the concept of how the RCAF, “… came from a small, ineffective force to become one of the largest air forces by the end of the war.” He was struck by how we authors easily might have lost our readers in the book’s mountain of facts but, instead, “managed to circumvent this by dealing with each theatre of war individually and each command … in its own way. Not only does this make the book easily readable, but also easy to use for reference.” For its part, the amazing “Aviation News” concluded, “It is as comprehensive a record of the vital part played by this Dominion Air Force as any received in the editorial office. A goldmine of factual information.” More locally, Joe Chapman of “The Spectator” in Hamilton concluded his review in a no-nonsense way – “Even at $75, the enthusiast will find it one of the best investments in aviation history and treasure it forever.”
What days these were for book reviews. The book still reigned as far as the daily press was concerned, and subscribers to aviation journals never missed their monthly book review page or two. Only begrudgingly do the major dailies run a book review in 2020. Much worse, many of the aviation periodicals consider a book review a waste of a page. Too intellectual for the 2020s, perhaps? Any of today’s magazines that brought back the book review soon would see a spike in readership. Readers want such thoughtful content.
“Air Force Magazine” of the United States Air Force Association (December 1990) also was impressed by RCAF at War: “The Royal Canadian Air Force’s contribution to the Allied victory is an often overlooked segment of World War II history. This book remedies that omission … the authors have assembled a complete look at every facet of the RCAF’s wartime operations.” The UK’s famed “Air International” also could not restrain itself, beginning its review, “Any CANAV book is worthy of attention and the latest volume to appear, The Royal Canadian Air Force at War 1939-1945, is a splendid addition to the ranks. Those who have the same publisher’s Sixty Years: The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924-1984 will have an idea of what to expect… It is an excellent example of popular history that brings to life an important period as no academic work could. If you liked … Max Hastings’ Bomber Command, you will enjoy this massive work.” Good grief – imagine a couple of “colonial” authors being compared to one of the UK’s most revered historians!
In “Legion”, Brown’s Books had a solid go at RCAF at War. This excerpt is my favourite: “Larry Milberry … and Hugh Halliday … have done a magnificent job of compiling the most wide-ranging and complete book yet on WWII Canada in the air … A tremendous accomplishment by the authors.” Mike Filey of Toronto’s beloved “Sunday Sun” also covered RCAF at War glowingly (in his column “The Way We Were”). Mike even published my phone number and urged his fans to drop by my house for an autographed copy! Now that’s a review and a half!
In its December 1990 edition, Sidney Allinson reviewed RCAF at War in the “Canadian Defence Quarterly”. Seemingly thunderstruck by the book, Sidney produced the lengthiest review that we have seen of this title. His commentary includes at the start: “It is such a rich source of information, facts, anecdotes and images that the most avid aviation buffs can gorge themselves … the depth of research … indicates a labour of love by the authors. Nothing less could inspire such a comprehensive account.” Sidney goes on: “A good deal of thought has been given to the book’s organization … This logical form of presentation, coupled with a lengthy index, helps both the casual reader and the more serious researcher to home in on specific areas”, then winds up about the authors that they are to be complimented, “… for creating this fine testimony to the quarter-million members of the Royal Canadian Air Force who valiantly served the cause of freedom …”
Also in December 1990, one of aviation’s greatest journalists and publishers (the late) John Wegg wrote about RCAF at War in “In Flight” magazine. John began his review: “Stunning, superb, unrivalled.” After the usual summary of content and organization, he concluded: “Everyone who has had contact with the RCAF in this period will snap up this treasure, destined to be a collector’s item of the 21 st Century.” I really like John’s take on our $75 sticker price – “It works out to just 15 cents a page, or, 5 cents a photo”! Then again … no one knew an aviation book better than John Wegg. Rest in peace, old pal.
What place does RCAF at War hold today in the wide domain of RCAF history? Sad to say, but by 2020 it’s yet another forgotten Canadian aviation book. But did it ever bask in its well-deserved glory for a brief moment. Naturally, to this day RCAF HQ in Ottawa has no idea about this book.
What was the bottom line for this book? As usual, that starts with the invoice from our great printer back in those days, The Bryant Press. There were many other expenses from graphics (quoted at $15,356) to brochures, magazine and newspaper advertisements, book launching, thousands in postage and shipping, taxes galore, etc. In the end it never was easy to make a penny in books, but we were always dumb enough to keep trying. From Bryant came this rude awakening — $75,222.50 for 3959 copies. Some years later Van Well Publishing in St. Catharines did a 1500 reprint. There are no new copies left, but I see today (December 5, 2020) 72 copies for sale at http://www.bookfinder.com many being reasonably priced below $90++. If you earnestly follow RCAF history and don’t yet have a copy, you really ought to buy in. You’ll be making a solid long-term investment:
Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story by Hugh A. Halliday 1992
In 1992 CANAV published a ground-breaking history of two great WWII fighters, the Hawker Typhoon and Tempest. At the time this seemed to Hugh and I to be a good time to tell this story, since so many pilots who had flown these planes in combat in the RAF and RCAF still were on the go. We rolled out the book at a gala event at Canadian Force Staff School officers mess in Toronto, then let the book speak for itself. Naturally, all with an interest soon were reading Typhoon and Tempest, and the reviews were glorious. Today, the book is long out-of-print, but it did the job we set out to accomplish.
Here are excerpts from one of the many reviews. These comments are from Bill Musselwhite of the “Calgary Herald”: “A splendid book … pure history but … thoroughly readable… the book’s backbone is made up of those who climbed into the cockpits to dodge flak and telephone wires while taking out trains and tanks.”
This is how the French journal, “Air Action” reacted in its Vol.1, No.1, Summer 1993. Being the book professional that he is, reviewer Jean-Michel Guhl began by honouring the existing body of published Typhoon and Tempest history, while explaining that many extant books seemed a bit short of specific history of the people involved. He credited Halliday with visiting the archives to study the RCAF personnel documents for many individuals, and going out to interview many of them, to tap their memories, view their logbooks, and see what photos and documents they still might have. Guhl concluded, “Printed and bound to the high standards we’ve come to expect from Larry Milberry’s publishing company, Typhoon and Tempest is a superb and thoroughly researched work… In this truly pleasant book, Halliday provides us with action from cover to cover… One more ‘Must’ from CANAV Books.”
Meanwhile, in its February edition the inimitable “Aviation News” printed its own take on our Typhoon and Tempest effort. This sharp- minded reviewer also acknowledges the important existing literature, then explains, as did Guhl, how Halliday’s work in the official personnel records resulted in a valuable new perspective. “Aviation News” found our photo selection and appendices to be magnificent, then concluded that the book is “a very fitting tribute” to all the Canadians who had served on these two mighty fighters. Much respected “Aeroplane Monthly” also (September 1993) gave a positive run-down of the book, concluding, “The former Typhoon pilot certainly has nothing to complain about with this book.”
For production, this time I went to a good Ottawa book manufacturer, Tri-Graphic (also long ago defunct). This likely was based on the quotes I had received from other printers. Tri-Graphic was good to work with and turned out a really outstanding product. Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story is revered to this day by true fans of the RCAF’s great heritage. Anyone interested in a copy can fish around on the web. bookfinder.com has 51 on sale today starting at $64.00++. Here’s the quotation I received back in 1990 from Tri-Graphic. The book was still two years away, so these projects were never for the faint of heart.
Some Great Lakes Shipping Photos
As keen young aviation fans, most of us also were getting interested in photographing other subjects. The more we hung out together, the more we learned and broadened our horizons. Several of us having gone into teaching, we quickly realized how we could use our camera skills to boost our classroom productivity. To this day (50-60 years later) former students still comment about the slide shows we’d use to brighten up and intensify a lesson.
As good pals since about 1959, Nick Wolochatiuk and I became famous among the Toronto aviation hobbyists for our exotic non- aviation field trips. One of our many haunts was the Toronto waterfront, where we photographed any ship we came across. Soon we were making Great Lakes driving tours chasing planes, boats, trains, you name it. We could never understand why for some of our buddies there was nothing worth photographing than airplanes. But … chaq’un a sa choix, right.
I’ve dusted off a few of the ancient slides I shot of Great Lakes tankers mainly spotted in Toronto harbour about 50 years ago. The diehard Great Lakes fans will know more about these ships that I. Happily, I still have my hefty 1968 Canadian Department of Transport List of Shipping. This invaluable book provides the essential facts for most of the tankers shown:
Later, Imperial Windsor was sold to Hall Shipping as the Cardinal. This report showed up in “The Scanner” of April 1973:
As we announced recently, Hall’s subsidiary, Algonquin Corporation Ltd., had purchased the tanker IMPERIAL WINDSOR and was in the act of having her name changed to CURLEW. As the papers were being processed, the Canadian Government brought it to Halco’s attention that there already was a fishtug by the name of CURLEW on the register and accordingly this could not be used as the new name for the tanker. Since CURLEW was to be named for a former Hall vessel, the company did some quick checking into their fleet lists and came up with the name CARDINAL which will now be used. The new name will honour not only the town of Cardinal on the old St. Lawrence Canals, but also a wooden tug, built in 1875, which served the Hall fleet for a short period around 1911.
Reading this, anyone can see how pricelessly important are such historical society journals and newsletters.
What a great historical resource such a ship would be (museum- wise) on the Toronto waterfront. Sad to say, however, Imperial Windsor went for scrap in 1974. On May 23, 1974 she had been up- bound in fog on Lake Erie, bound for Sarnia, when she was in a serious collision off Pelee Island with the 7600-ton Great Lakes bulk carrier George M. Steinbenner. Two Cardinal crewmen had to be cut from their smashed forecastle and flown to hospital by US Coast Guard helicopter. George M. Steinbrenner was lightly damaged, but Cardinal was un-repairable (see http://www.boatnerd.com ). At https://amp.en.google-info.org/ there’s a short clip about life aboard Imperial Windsor.
In its August 26, 1974 edition, the “Globe and Mail” printed a very worthy letter-to-the-editor from former Imperial Windsor crewman, J.M. Prince:
You published a picture (Aug. 20) of the S.S. Cardinal being towed out of Toronto Harbor bound for the scrap yards of Hamilton. Such an ignominious end for such a fine ship. Since the mid-1920s she had served her owners well, carrying petrochemical products for years as the Imperial Windsor, part of the great Imperial Oil fleet, and for the past two years for Hall Corp. as the Cardinal. And now, after almost fifty years of service, to end up just another carload of scrap for Stelco’s furnaces. During my five weeks service on her as an Ordinary Seaman and then as Able Seaman, I rarely gave any thought to her cramped quarters, or grotesquely blunt shape, but rather, as did the rest of the crew under Captain Walter Poole, her ease of handling and plucky ability to plow through the roughest weather to her destination. Funny-looking she may have been, but she had a heart.
Norseman Update: Visit to Norseman Festival website www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/airworthy-norseman-list-2019/ to get the latest news, including what’s happening with the restoration of Red Lake’s famous Norseman CF-DRD. Also, see the great list there by Rodney Kozar of Norseman survivors current to 2020.
Formidable Hero Update:
Canada’s Air Force Today & AIRCOM 1987 & 1991
For this session I’ll pick things up with our blockbuster 1987 and 1991 titles, Canada’s Air Force Today and AIRCOM: Canada’s Air Force. This pair served well in updating Sixty Years of 1984 fame. We also put out a 24-page 1991 update for CAFT. All this was done when there was next to nothing else coming out in books about contemporary Canadian military aviation history.
These were really exciting times for CANAV, for the air force in those years had command people who appreciated our efforts. In researching for these books, I was welcomed to air force bases from Greenwood and Summerside to Namao and Comox, and invited to fly in all the aircraft in service, whether the humble Musketeer trainer, Tracker and Aurora patrol planes, the mighty Voodoo and Hornet fighters, T-33 and Tutor jet trainers, and all the helicopters. In these long ago times, AIRCOM commanders would be calling CANAV to invite me to special events, even to ride along on major overseas operations. These days CANAV Books doesn’t even qualify to receive RCAF press releases. But … times change and we go with the flow and get our books out one way or the other.
Both of these books were well received. Canada’s Air Force Today sold out its 4000 first printing. Then, McGraw Hill-Ryerson did a 6000 reprint that also sold out. AIRCOM followed (4000 copies). Both now are long out-of-print, but you always can find good, affordable copies on the web. I still hear from readers about how much they continue to enjoy these detailed, authoritative histories of Canada’s air force 3 – 4 decades ago.
Both of our modern day air force books were widely reviewed, including CAFT by Hector Lindsay in the 1989 “Canadian Book Review Annual”, one of the top sources for library acquisition staff. Canadian librarians ordered many copies of CAFT and AIRCOM, but, mysteriously, by 2020 they had lost all interest in such important Canadian subject matter. I suspect that this has something to do with Canada’s new national religion which worships at “The Church of Political Correctness”. Airplanes carrying bombs and rockets are nasty things for the PC crowd to contemplate, and Canadian public institutions such as libraries certainly at dominated by political correctness. Also of interest, if you check the usually puny aviation bookshelf in a typical Canadian public library, you’ll mainly find American books. In 2020 not one Canadian library ordered a single book from CANAV. In comparison, 25 years ago public librarians eagerly would anticipate receiving their seasonal CANAV Books mailing. Meanwhile, your neighbourhood library today has no shortage of the latest in American published sexercise books and many other such edifying “quality” titles. Canadian aviation? Not so much, although there are a few library branches where serious Canadian non-fiction still is respected. Perhaps there’s a public librarian out there with an explanation? But … I digress.
Hector’s critique is refreshingly different. Commenting on Canada’s declining defence budgets, he suggested (tongue in cheek, I suspect), “Perhaps Milberry’s book will help to tip the scales, as he illustrates how much our Air Force has managed to do with so little”! He adds, “The illustrations … are outstanding in every way … The author has done all Canadians a service with this loving portrait of our Air Force.” You must be convinced by now that CANAV must have paid Hector handsomely for this write-up, but … not so. I never knew Hector. He just told it as he read it. Good job, Hector, even if the people who need to see such solid commentary – RCAF HQ and library acquisitions people, for example — almost never seem to find such reviews as they coast along semi-oblivious to the importance of our military aviation heritage.
As you’ve seen by now in this series, the sources of book reviews vary. Some are local, such as a small town weekly, or, a base newspaper. Others are national, such as the “Globe and Mail” or aviation periodicals such as “Air Classics”, “Flypast”, or quarterlies such as the “Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal”. The US Navy’s authoritative journal, “The Hook”, wrote about AIRCOM in its Spring 1992 issue: “An up-to-date account of military aviation in Canada … a spectacular collection of over 300 color photographs … attractive layout, informative captions and overall attention to detail.” Nice, eh, but I suspect that no one in today’s RCAF HQ reads “The Hook”. Too bad. Further praise for both books came from the “Journal of Military Aviation” (July/August 1992): “Both are superb photographic collections … highly recommended.”
Topping AIRCOM’s reception is the lead review from “Aviation News” of December 20, 1991. This begins by congratulating CANAV for having survived its first 10 years in business, then outlines the book’s content in predictable style, concluding: “It is a timely production … Certainly an authoritative comment on a varied and contemporary subject.” With this kind of wide support, a small publisher back in those times could get the word about any such new book spread around the world in about a year.
Power: The Pratt and Whitney Canada Story 1989
Published in 1989, Power: The Pratt & Whitney Canada Story was CANAV’s first “mega” project. Although we already had turned out Fred Hotson’s De Havilland Canada Story, the P&WC project was different. I still recall how it all started. One day in 1987 the phone rang. When I answered, no one at the other end said “Hello”. Instead, there was this sudden blunt message: “My name is Smith. I work for Pratt & Whitney Canada. We’re having some trouble getting our company history into print. Can you help us?” That was it – a very direct call from the no-nonsense Elvie Smith, President and CEO of P&WC (CASI McCurdy Award, later Order of Canada, and Member, Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame).
Over the ensuing months there was a mad flurry of activity as I, co-author, Ken Sullivan, researcher Ken Swartz, P&WC PR vice- president, Pierre Henry, CANAV editor and graphics guru Robin Brass, and artist Tom Bjarnason teamed to complete in spectacular form the 60th anniversary history of this spectacular Canadian company. To this day, Power remains one of most beautifully presented and historically detailed aviation corporate histories. P&WC and the world loved the book from Day 1. But … what would the critics think? Well, if such a Canadian book could pass muster with Paul Dilworth, one of Canada’s senior aeronautical engineers, then Ross Wilmot, a dean among Canadian aviation journalists, let alone the great global aviation publisher, John Wegg, then I think Power “cut it” fairly well.
In his review of Power in “Engineering Dimensions” of September/October 1990, Paul summed up his thoughts: “This book is a fascinating, comprehensive history of Pratt & Whitney Canada, and contains a kaleidoscopic range of text and photographs on the company’s evolution… the book also serves as a convincing message, by example, for all Canadians concerned with our industrial health and ability to compete under free trade … Power should be required reading by Canadians responsible for the future of Canadian industry, including senior corporate executives, managers of engineering and marketing, and federal and provincial politicians, civil servants and advisors.” Talk about an endorsement! Ross Wilmot penned his own thoughts for the “Canadian Book Review Annual”, doing the expected summary of contents, then concluding (a bit blandly) how, “The book … would be of interest to general readers and aviation buffs alike.”
Bland is not the story of the great John Wegg’s review of Power in “Airways” magazine. After carefully scrutinizing our book, John described Power quite simply as, “an attractive example of how to make a company history come alive.” The “Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal” added, “”If you have enjoyed previous books published by CANAV, you will treasure this one.”
Power Goes off the Rails
Not everything went smoothly with the P&WC project. Big trouble came with production, which was done in the old T.H. Best plant in Toronto. Dating to the 1800s, Best was Canada’s oldest book manufacturer, so could turn out a nice product. This time, however, things went south in what I sometimes call, “the primitive art of book manufacturing”. Firstly, Power went on press during a brutal heat wave and something was not working in the plant environment. The heat combined with intense humidity resulting in the entire first run being lost due to offsetting – the problem whereby ink on sheets coming off the press does not dry instantly as needed. As sheets poured off the press at Best, ink from one sheet was offsetting to adjacent sheets, in spite of liberal use of a drying powder. Astoundingly, no one caught this, the run was spoiled and we had to start over. Then … another disaster. Once the final pallets of sheets off Best’s big 72-inch Harris presses were ready for the bindery, someone again was asleep, and too much glue was used in the binding process. Something like 10,000 books were pretty well ruined before “quality control” woke up. This was about as bad a week as Best and CANAV could have, but Best made good, and P&WC was delighted with their huge shipment of some 26,000 books — half in English, half in French. Part of the shipment comprised books salvaged from the botched-up run that we found could be bound as softcovers. Soon afterward, Best went under – a sad ending for a great company. General mismanagement was to blame, after Best’s “old guard” passed control to a new generation, which didn’t connect with the complexities of printing, binding, advancing technology, marketing, customer relations, etc.
Power Makes a Comeback
As the years passed, P&WC inevitably exhausted its stock of books, and CANAV sold its own 4000 copies (that’s how I had taken my payment for the project instead of in dollars). In 2012 P&WC wanted the book updated and reprinted – the company understood something about the importance of corporate history and culture, something that mainly is lost in Canadian aerospace by 2020 (the other exceptions that come to mind are Bombardier and CAE). The smoothest way to get this done was for P&WC to assume rights to the book and complete the project to its own specs. In 2013 “Pratt” turned out a straight re-print of the original book (which needed no correcting, so I heard), then produced a smaller companion volume covering 1990 to 2013. These books are presented in an attractive slipcase. The only glitch was that our Tom Bjarnason cover art was nowhere to be found. I had thought that it had stayed with Pratt, but to this day it has not re-surfaced. However, Pratt had two lovely new covers produced. So it goes that our world famous 1989 Power and Propulsion heads into its 4th decade.
“Power” Book Review Surfaces from 31 Years Ago!
I’m finding lots of good reading by going through ancient copies of all those famous and revered UK aviation periodicals. Lately, I found reviews of Woody and A Formidable Hero in “Aviation News”. Today, in flipping through “Aviation News” of August 4 – 17, 1989, to my pleasant surprise I spotted this really well-crafted and insightful review of Power. This one’s really worth a read, the reviewer was totally on the ball.
Power remains a treasure to this day for any reader following aviation history in depth. Yes, believe it or not there is far more to our favourite hobby than airliners or fighters. Although Power is long since out-of-print, any keen reader will love this book. You can find very nice and affordable copies on the web. See what you think of this resurrected book review:
Air Transport in Canada 1997
The research and info-gathering for this book kept me busy for years from the late 1980s. Travel alone took me to most parts of Canada and many international spots. Once we started putting things together, Robin Brass was committed for more than a year, as the book expanded. Eventually, it went to Friesen printers in Manitoba to become a 1040-page, 10-pound “monster” in two volumes having more than a million words and 3500+ photos. Why the move from Bryant Press? For one thing, Friesens was very hi-tech for the times (and has remained so), while Bryant was slower to adapt. Secondly, Friesens offered quite a better price.
Leaving Bryant was tough, for the company had been good to CANAV since 1981. It was well-run and very customer oriented. I learned the ropes there, having begun as a total dunce about book manufacturing. Founded in 1897, Bryant Press had been owned by the Weld family since 1903. In 2000 it was taken over by Gandalf Graphics of Toronto. In CANAV times, Bryant was headed by John Weld, and his son and daughter were there learning the trade. The quality of such business leaders as Mr. Weld (1928-2013) can be gauged by a few words from his obituary: “John was … educated at Ridley College and the University of Western Ontario. John started work in Winnipeg with the Farmers Advocate, but the majority of his career was with the family book manufacturing business, The Bryant Press, where he became President and C.E.O. He was a past president of the Ontario Printers Association, the Toronto Hunt Club, and a member of the Board of Governors of the North York General Hospital.”
Based in Altona, about an hour’s drive south of Winnipeg in Mennonite country, Friesens also was an old family business. When I started dealing with the company, it was still a closely-run family operation and very prosperous. The staff was tops for customer relations and quality work. Employees worked at a lower pay rate than union shops, but Friesens had a profit-sharing plan. People on the presses or in the bindery seemed like any other hourly workers, but many of them had profitted handsomely from the company’s generosity. From a fellow pushing a broom to the chairman of the board, everyone I met was friendly and helpful. The main book operation had the latest in printing and binding equipment, far ahead of Bryant and Best in Toronto (you can scroll back and see some Friesen photo coverage on the blog).
Friesens was a bit of a culture shock for a big city easterner, for the place was all Mennonite to the point that in 1997 when I started visiting, I was a bit surprised to see that men and women still had their own eating arrangements in the cafeteria. Friesens remains our printer, even if things gradually have changed in Altona. Many non- Mennonites now work at Friesens, and what once was almost at the heart of the operation – Friesens’ booming cafeteria – now is closed, replaced by a row of vending machines. All in the name of modern-day efficiency, I guess.
Published in 1997, ATC was the world’s largest ever such aviation history title. It also became one of the most costly trade book “indi” publishing projects in Canada. When the bills were tallied, CANAV had spent some $400,000, which it had no prospect of recovering. After almost 25 years ATC is going out of print still owing me about $100,000. C’est la guerre, oui!
Once launched at the old Constellation Hotel near “YYZ” in November 1997, ATC was hailed for its fine production qualities, wide coverage, and comprehensive treatment. There never has been since, nor will there ever again be anything comparable in Canadian trade book publishing. Much comes to mind when thinking back about ATC, including how – just hours before our Constellation Hotel launch – books still had not arrived from Friesens in Manitoba, and Friesens dispatch couldn’t say where the books were, especially since there had been bad winter roads along the way from Steinbach. Finally, at about 1500 on that blustery day, the truck finally pulled in to TTS Distributing in Aurora, north of Toronto. The load totalled 3650 sets weighing about 20 tons.
Yes … aviation book publishing in Canada can be a bit crazy, and definitely is not for the faint of heart. In the end, the launch turned out, with hundreds of fans from aviation braving the nasty weather to show their interest and support. At the time, it was especially fitting how the Constellation Hotel had an actual L.1049 Super Constellation as part of its set-up. The old-time “Super Connie” people who attended were delighted that they had made the effort that evening.
How did the press view “ATC”? We were all anxious to know, of course, but when the reviews started to appear, we had no worries. Wrote “Airways: The Global Review of Commercial Flight”: “These volumes are possibly the world’s most inclusive ever devoted to aviation history.” Added Ottawa’s famous graphics house, Aerographics: “This is the Oshkosh of aviation books”. The “Montreal Gazette” added, “Impressive! The word is sometimes misapplied to a book that is merely interesting, but for these two volumes, it may well be an understatement.” American Aviation Historical Society reviewer, Robert Parmerter, noted, “If I were to be stranded on an island and could chose just one aviation title to take, this two-volume set would be it.” Robert himself is author and producer of one of the world’s greatest modern aircraft histories, Beech 18: A Civil and Military History.
Own a Piece of Air Transport in Canada
Air Transport in Canada includes one of the finest galleries of original Canadian aviation art found in any such book. Here are three examples by one of our artists, Robert Finlayson of Hamilton. These paintings are another brilliant reason for having your own set of ATC, even for ordering several sets at our special price (see below) to use for VIP corporate gifts, etc. Here are Bob’s lovely acrylic renditions of RCAF wartime Goose 917, Don McVicar’s WWA C-46 CF-IQQ on the DEW Line as one of Don’s DC-3s arrives, then one of Spartan’s famous P-38 Lightning aero survey planes on a Whitehorse assignment in the early 1950s. The many large, original paintings from the ATC art gallery now are on the market, in case you spot one of these treasures that you really like. Prices start around $3500.
Should you still not have ATC in your aviation library, here’s the best chance to date to latch on to an autographed set. Sticker price? $155.00, but this special deal gets you ATC all-in (shipping & tax included) at CDN$65.00 for Canadian orders, CDN$80.00 USA orders, CDN$160.00 overseas orders (surface mail). Drop a note to me if any questions firstname.lastname@example.org That’s it for today for CANAV history. Thanks for dropping by and stay tuned for Part 5. Meanwhile, enjoy what’s below – an exclusive slide show from a fellow “who knew what’s what” in airplane photography.
Airplane Photographer Par Excellence: Bob Finlayson
One of the really dedicated Canadian aviation hobby photographers, aviation artists and all-around serious history buffs was Robert “Bob” Finlayson of Hamilton (1930 – 2000). The Finlaysons lived on Dalewood Ave. S., a few doors from another avid aviation photographer, Jack McNulty. Jack eventually would get Bob and I together. Bob’s father was interested in aviation and his older brother, Ross, flew Mosquitos with 409 Sqn during WWII, so Bob was keen on aviation from the start. His parents ran a sporting goods store, where Bob helped for decades. He also worked in a Hamilton camera shop, where he became expert in darkroom work back in “black and white” times. Around 1950, Bob took some flying lessons. He had a motorcycle, so got around to the local airstrips, where he mainly enjoyed photographing. In 1965 Bob became Member No.441 in the nascent Canadian Aviation Historical Society.
Bob also enjoyed sketching in pencil, especially in natural settings. The birds of southern Ontario became a great passion, along with airplanes. Eventually, Bob started using oil paints. By the time I met him about 1980, he had painted many airplanes, whether in scenes, or, as impressive side profiles. In the early 1980s, he painted a nice series of colour profiles for Sixty Years: The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924-1984, then some lovely pieces in the mid-1990s for the art gallery in Air Transport in Canada, including two of my favourites – the RCAF Canadian Vickers Vedette and the RCAF Grumman Goose.
Besides painting, over the decades, Bob printed innumerable photos for my projects in his basement darkroom (long before digital times). Also, having a vast research library, he could always be counted on to check some obscure fact of Canadian aviation history, should I be stuck. All along, Bob lived with diabetes, which he had contracted as a child. This was serious, forcing him out of school in about Grade 5. Regardless, Bob forged ahead as if all was well, he had a best disposition. He once told me about his first helicopter ride – a flight in a medevac chopper to hospital, when he collapsed at the Hamilton airshow one year! That was typical Bob, things didn’t get him down.
Besides photographing and reading up on airplanes like a real pro, Bob was always on the go spotting birds in the outdoors. I remember going along on one of his daily walks in the countryside. A flock of crows came our way and circled. Then Bob opened a bag and started tossing out chunks of wieners. Down came the crows to enjoy Bob’s treats. He called them “my boys” and apparently this was a routine. Something else we sometimes did was drive around Hamilton Harbour to photograph the ships. Bob was always a versatile fellow with a camera. Once, he had a contract with the Foundation Co. of Canada photographing bridges.
Bob had been feeling a bit down early in 2000. Typically, he didn’t complain. Then, on March 20 that year he suddenly left us. Brother Ross gave me the bad news and a few days later called me over to take away Bob’s vast photo collection, books and a few sample paintings. Sad to say, but Bob hadn’t had time to finish the blue jay he was doing for me, so all I got was his rough for that assignment.
Over the decades I’ve been able to feature some of Bob’s photos in various books. You’ll see more in our RCAF 100 th anniversary book in 2024. For today, I’ve selected a few Finlayson Kodak Ektachromes featuring the typical light planes that Bob loved to shoot at Hamilton’s nearby Mount Hope Airport. He spent endless enjoyable days there and, if it had wings, to Bob it was always worth a frame. Mostly, Bob was shooting black and white, but usually had a “35” along loaded with a roll of Ektachrome. Some of the fellows used to prefer this transparency film vs the richer-coloured but “slower” Kodachrome. It was about Ektachrome’s “softness” and higher speed (160 ASA vs 25 or 64 for Kodachrome). For today I’ve picked a random selection of Bob’s Ektachromes from 1966-68, all but one shot at Mount Hope. Any aviation fan will love these. They’re a nice break from the airliner and jet fighter photos that seem to dominate among today’s spotters. If you scroll back in the blog to such items as the Al Martin photo gallery, you’ll find lots of further details about the airplane types shown here today.
Not only had 1985 been a stellar year at CANAV with the Austin Airways book, but we also published our first collaboration, and turned out more than one title for the first time. Our baby steps were over. Helicopters: The British Columbia Story (1985) was the first major book covering the rotary-wing industry in Canada. Authors Peter Corley-Smith (1923 – 2002) and David N. Parker (1945 – 2018) then were historians at the BC Provincial Museum. They had an idea for a book, but the museum wouldn’t fund it. Such things are a mystery. Why would a major museum not recognize the great opportunity and honour in publishing such an important book, especially when the job could be done affordably and to the museum’s specs? Something to do with the eternal verities, I suppose.
A call from Peter and David to CANAV Books got them on the right track. The fellows worked well as a team. Peter was especially qualified – he was well-known as a pilot with experience flying large choppers on such projects as the Mid Canada Line (you can look up Peter on the web to see more about his aviation accomplishments). The fellows wrote an excellent manuscript, found all the essential photos, and produced an important map. Topping it off, they found Clive Brooks, a talented Victoria artist, to paint a series of impressive helicopter colour profiles. CANAV did the rest, paying all the bills, turning out a very fine book, etc. Oddly, the BC museum was less than happy about the book and ordered almost no copies. Nothing ever was explained, yet, over the decades everything that CANAV ever heard about the book was positive. Not surprisingly, Helicopters: The British Columbia Story sold out. That said, I still have a few copies. If you’d like one, email email@example.com All-in? CDN$33.50. Here’s a sample page from the book showing three of Clive’s wonderful colour profiles.
CANAV Books that Might Have Been
Also of interest in these early CANAV Books years, I had to turn down some tempting outside offers. Les Wilkinson wanted CANAV to publish the book he and his “Arrow Maniac” pals were doing about the Avro Arrow. Being buried in work with CANAV’s own CF-100 book, I had no choice. The Arrow book was published in 1980 by Boston Mill Press and went on to huge success in multiple printings. A bit later, Jim Floyd succeeded in having me at least consider his Avro Jetliner book. On April 1, 1985 Bryant quoted me $18,739 for 3000 copies. In the end, my own pace of work overcame things and I had to stand aside. In the end, his lovely book, The Avro Jetliner, was nicely produced by Boston Mills. Today (September 24, 2020) I noticed that bookfinder.com was listing 46 used copies, the cheapest at CDN$108.09++, the priciest $288.80++. Quite literally, these would be cheap at twice the price — book lovers understand such things. Another book that I had to turn down in these years was Ken Molson’s history of Canada’s national aviation museum. Ken was adamant that CANAV publish his book, but my workload and lack of experience led to my decision – can’t do it, Ken. In the end (1988), the museum published the book in co- operation with the University of Toronto Press. One of Canada’s finest aviation books to this day, Canada’s National Aviation Museum: Its History and Collections ought to be in your library. You can find a nice used copy on the web.
The Canadair Sabre 1986
While I still was struggling with the CF-100 and North Star projects, I was gathering material for a book about the Canadair Sabre. This just seemed “a natural” for our on-going series. In 1985 I already was making trips to Canadair at Cartierville, scrounging for old records and interviewing staff and retirees. I also got on the road to interview such Sabre luminaries in Moncton (for example) as Al Lilly, Ed Lowry and Jack Seaman, or, in Winnipeg — Bill Bristowe and John Greatrix, and. closer to home the likes of Ralph Heard and Bob Caskie.
I see from the CANAV archives that Bryant first quoted on the Sabre book on September 24, 1985. I already had decided to walk the plank by ordering 10,000 copies. This was pretty well an absurdly large quantity at the time for any Canadian trade book, but something told me that 10,000 was the way to go for the long haul. Bryant gave me a quote of $94,300 and I mustn’t have flinched! By then, thankfully, I was No.1 in their good books.
Besides doing interviews, I also was hunting down Sabre squadron DROs (daily routine orders), ORBs (operational record books), and annual reports to see what history I could unearth. Besides the RCAF, I also had to cover other air forces that had flown Canadair Sabres. In this quest, Roger Lindsay in the UK and Gerhard Joos in Germany laid the groundwork for two major chapters – the RAF and Luftwaffe. I also needed material for Colombia, Greece, Italy, South Africa, Turkey and Yugoslavia. There even was a story about an Israeli order to track down. Then, there was the question of what happened to all those Canadair Sabres after their military days. It was mind-boggling and to this day I have no idea how we ever finished the job. Somehow, things again came together in a glorious book delivered to me in August 1986. Some 35 years later The Canadair Sabre (all things considered – see the reviews below) still holds up well.
Over the summer of 1986 we put on several book launchings. If you have the time, scroll back in the blog to find “CANAV Anniversary Highlight: The Canadair Sabre” featuring our Toronto book launch on August 19 that year. People came from far and wide, Roger and Gerhard included. This was such a crazy time that some of our events are “missing” from the record. For example, we had a book launch at the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto, where the renowned 72nd scale model-building club – the “Aero Buffs” – turned up with dozens of beautiful Sabre models to play their part that afternoon. Sad to say, I’ve never seen a photo from that event. Of course, not everyone carried a camera back in 1986.
Sabre Book Launch in Ottawa, June 19, 1986
Another book launch from which I have no photos was the great one at Ottawa’s International Hotel located a stone’s throw from the Public Archives of Canada. Being “back in the day”, this was a fantastic event, a real who’s who Sabre people. There were something like seven RCAF pilots who had flown Sabres in action in Korea (Bruce Fleming, Omer Levesque, Andy Mackenzie and Eric Smith come to mind), there were Golden Hawks, COs, all sorts of squadron pilots, technical people, folks from DND HQ who came by after work, etc. Our big room was shoulder-to-shoulder and the great WO Vic Johnson had an AV program going, including a classic Golden Hawks 16mm movie.
The special bit about our book launches this summer was a sign- in book put together by Sabre pilot Paul Apperley. Paul carried this around with him to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal launch events to collect autographs without me spotting him (until the end), then presented this magnificent souvenier to me, something that knocked me over with surprise. What a treasure to still have decades later, after so many of my great Sabre pals (Paul included) have left us. Here are two sample pages from Toronto. Anyone familiar with the RCAF fighter scene of the 1950s-60s will relate to this astounding gallery of autographs. You can be sure that Paul Apperley was responsible to a fair degree for this large turnout, many of the fellows having travelled a good distance to attend …
… a page from the Ottawa launch:
… and one page from Montreal. At the top is the great Jean Gaudry’s signature. Eric turned 90 on October 9, 2020. Further down is Bob Carew, another RCAF Korean Sabre pilot. Several Canadair people also attended this launch, which we held at the International at Dorval.
Sabre Book Launch in Montreal
Here are a few photos from our Dorval book launch of June 25, 1986, where I finally got wise to Paul Apperley’s “sign-in book” skit.
Sabre Book Reviews
How about the official reviews for The Canadair Sabre? Well, they could not have been better. The leading French journal “Air Fan” loved The Canadair Sabre, calling it: “The aviation literary event of the year.” Greece’s journal “Ptisi” added, “A real oasis for F-86 fans and anyone interested in the Golden Years of the 1950s-60s.” “Air International” called the book, “A mine of information … there seems scant prospect of a better history.” Even more glowing commentary came from Bob Halford’s “Canadian Aircraft Operator”, Vol.24, No.20: “With The Canadair Sabre [Milberry] continues to enhance his reputation for producing top-of-the-class books that compare more than merely favourably with any of the works of the major publishing houses. This is a remarkable achievement …” Typically, “CAO” goes on to describe the book in detail. Bob, of course, knew his stuff … the Sabre in particular. He had visited Canadair during Sabre production years, also the RCAF’s NATO bases in Sabre years during his time editing “Aircraft” magazine. Bob concluded, “The book is, indeed, all that anyone could ever want to know about the Canadair-built Sabre … it’s a people book as well as an airplane book.”
Fighter Pilot Biographies 1987
In 1987 CANAV Books published the biographies of two important Canadian fighter pilots: Vernon C. Woodward, DFC and Bar — Woody: A Fighter Pilot’s Album, and Robert Hampton “Hammy” Gray, VC, DSC — A Formidable Hero: Lt R.H. Gray, VC, DSC, RCNVR. For production, I turned for some reason from Bryant Press the T.H. Best (located not far from Brant in east Toronto), then Canada’s oldest book manufacturer. Maybe I went to Best since these books were small format and small runs that Bryant wasn’t crazy about doing. Who knows at this stage, especially since both companies have long-since faded away. The main thing is that each of these biographies was welcomed and nicely reviewed. However, likely since they were small hardcovers and “quick reads”, reviewers made quick work of them. “Brown’s Books”, for example, simply concluded about Woody: “A worthy history of a relatively unknown Canadian ace.”
Hammy Gray biographer, Stuart Soward, himself had begun as a Canadian naval fighter pilot. Having earned his book authorship “wings” with A Formidable Hero, he went on to self-published a monumental (and essential) 2-volume history of aviation in the Royal Canadian Navy, Hands to Flying Station. Certainly, it was CANAV’s honour to publish Stuart’s first book.
As did The Bremen (see below), A Formidable Hero had important spin-off. After decades in the shadows, thanks to Stuart, “Hammy” Gray was re-introduced to the Canadian history scene. Our book launching was auspicious, being held in Ottawa at a convention of RCN aviators known as the CNAGs – Canadian Naval Air Group. From there, of course, word spread across the land about A Formidable Hero and our small 2000 print run sold out. In 2003 Stuart produced an important update of his book.
Yes, in 1989 Stuart’s dogged efforts led directly to a permanent monument in Hammy Gray’s honor. This was dedicated at Onagawa Bay, Japan, with Stuart in attendance, even if the DND could not find a place for him on the 707 it sent to Japan with VIPs and freeloaders. Get all the details from Stuart’s own edition of the book – this is one story you don’t want to miss! Subsequent to CANAV’s and Stuart’s Hammy Gray books, and to Stuart’s Onagawa triumph, late last year I had a call from the RCN seeking a copy of A Formidable Hero, although my caller wasn’t sure that the navy could afford a copy, or, if he could authorize a purchase (this really drives me crazy about Ottawa). We finally negotiated a price (what a laugh, eh), a purchase order was struck, and I mailed the RCN my last new copy. What was this all about? I was delighted to hear that the navy had decided to name one of its new Harry DeWolf-class offshore patrol vessels in honour of Hammy so, in advance of commissioning the ship in 2021, the navy wanted to know all it could about Hammy Gray himself, and what better source than Stuart’s book!
Hugh Halliday’s Woody also fared well. Although both books today are “OP” – out of print – nice used copies can be found at such internet book sites as http://www.bookfinder.com Today for example (October 10, 2020) I noticed that there were 83 copies of Woody for sale there, 61 of A Formidable Hero. Get these two little gems into your library before it slips your mind.
The Bremen 1988
Our 1985 book — The Bremen, by Fred Hotson — is the in-depth history of the 1928 trans-Atlantic Junkers christened “Bremen”. Beautifully designed by Robin Brass, this book caught the eye of many serious bibliophiles and aviation history organizations. In one case, the American Aviation Historical Society journal observed: “There are many books dealing with pioneer ocean flying, but only a very small number can be classified as important. This book belongs in that select group.” On top of the AAHS’s magnificent conclusion, for his decades of Bremen research and our efforts in publishing it all, in 1988 Fred received the “Best New Aviation Book” annual award from the Aviation and Space Writers Association of America.
Not only did The Bremen bring kudos to Fred and CANAV, but it had major historic spin-off in Germany. Firstly, Fred teamed with publisher, Josef Krauthauser (NARA-Verlag Books) to have a German edition – Die Bremen – – published in 1996. This spurred further interest in Germany in that the City of Bremen sent a delegation to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan to negotiate the repatriation of “The Bremen” to Germany. An agreement was reached, and Fred and I later were VIPs at the Ford Museum, when the Bremen delegation visited for several days. Plans were finalized and the tired-looking, dusty old “Bremen” was dismantled and flown home aboard two Luftwaffe Transal transport planes. A fastidious restoration was undertaken and the resplendent Junkers was dedicated in Bremen in June 1998. Fred Hotson was present as the very deserving guest of honour. How more delighted could a small aviation book publisher be than to see such results from his efforts – a war memorial erected in Japan and a historic airplane restored in Germany.
“Arsenal of Democracy” Check out this impressive AOPA video of this September 2020 warbirds event — includes the great WWII types from Hurricane to Spitfire, P-40, P-51, Corsair, Mosquito, Tiger Moth, T-6, B-25 on to the A-26 and B-29 … all in the air! Hosted by the Commemorative Air Force’s Capital Wing, this took place at Culpeper Regional Airport, Virginia. Not be missed! https://youtu.be/yIvTgqFe1cA
Norseman Update … Good news from the Norseman Festival in Red Lake. Google
to get the latest news about the restoration of Red Lake’s world famous Norseman CF-DRD. Since “DRD” was badly pounded by hail several years ago, this has been a long haul by many dedicated enthusiasts. Be sure to make a donation to the cause while catching up at the site. Help get “DRD” to its $50K goal! Cheers … Larry
End of “The Quad” Era — The Mighty A380 Bows Out
This melancholic piece is a nice encapsulation of an important and exciting piece of the global air transportation story: https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/final-airbus-a380-assembled/index.html Well worth a look. Reminds me of the fighter pilot’s frequent claim — “Timing is everything.” Also, you can scroll back to see a bit about Canada’s role in A380 development (see A380 Cold Weather Trials at “YFB” Iqaluit).
Here’s the current CANAV booklist. Be sure to have a least a quick browse. If you’re an aviation reader, you’ll find some real treasures here.
40 Years for CANAV Books (Part 2 September 2020): An Interesting Detour to 1979
Welcome to all who have been enjoying, or, have just discovered, this little ramble through the dusty boxes and files of the CANAV Books archives. Thanks for your many calls and emails. I’ve especially been interested in how often you’ve been referring to our 1979 McGraw Hill-Ryerson book, Aviation in Canada, as the book that initially got you fired up about aviation back in your school days (the very same book that launched me into CANAV Books). A few have commented about how Aviation in Canada actually was the inspiration that steered you into a life in aviation. Very nice to hear for your aged scribe! It’s also a bit sobering, when you add that by 2020 you’ve ploughed through your career in flying and now are retired! Talk about time flying, right!
As the evening progressed, I sent Aviation in Canada up and down both sides of the dinner table to collect as many autographs as possible. I got away with this, probably because I was the only civilian attending, was known by this time as the budding RCAF history publisher, and was about to release Sixty Years. Here are two pages that give you an idea of the incredible “whose who” of aviation history that this was.
Thanks for reminding me about this fine old book and how it provided the incentive to some keen Canadian highschoolers to go into aviation. Amazingly, worn and dusty old copies of Aviation in Canada still can be found in public libraries across Canada. However, they’re usually a bit lonely, since most other aviation books on the shelves tell the story of American aviation. I have not had an order from one Canadian public library for as much as a single book for years. Perhaps the Canadian Library Association can explain?
Austin Airways: Canada’s Oldest Airline 1985
Better get going again with the serious side to Part 2 of the CANAV Books story. In 1985 CANAV published a history of the famed Northern Ontario bush operator, Austin Airways. This had an odd genesis, something that today reminds me of a quote from the great writer and literary thinker, Graham Greene (The Power and the Glory, Our Man in Havana, etc.): “Books are a labour to write and a hell to publish. Why does one do it?” Here’s the genesis part of it. In Aviation in Canada of 1979 fame, I had included a bit about Austin Airways. The coverage was typical for this type of general interest book that tries to encapsulate the fundamental aspects in Canada’s aviation history. My point with Aviation in Canada was to update and complement Frank Ellis’ superb 1954 book, Canada’s Flying Heritage (you need a copy, see http://www.bookfinder.com, etc.) with just such interesting highlights of our aviation history. Who would object? Well, when Jack Austin, the renowned founder (along with his brother, Chuck) of Austin Airways read the book, he called to complain quite bitterly about how little his company was covered (Graham Greene would agree that it’s not unusual to hear from irate readers). Jack and I talked this over and, in a few weeks, were getting together planning an Austin Airways history project (at my expense other than for the artwork). All this is for some future chapter, but (suffice to say), the result of one phone call was a lovely book — Austin Airways.
Another Fine Success Story
Book that it is, it’s no surprise that Austin Airways was well received. We began with exciting launch events in Sudbury, Timmins and Toronto. The Timmins “Daily Press” covered our book launch at the Senator Motel, where a crowd of fine Austin employees, retirees and local fans attended. Stan Deluce and family, who recently had acquired Austin Airways, picked up the tab, and also flew some Milberrys and friends to Timmins from Toronto on a “748”. Those were the days!
Our print run soon sold out, then McGraw Hill-Ryerson turned out a 1500 reprint. As usual, we received much praise in the aviation and general press. In one case, “Air Classics” (February 1986) observed, “This finely-produced book (typical of what we have come to expect from CANAV) is the exciting story of Austin Airways … illustrated with a fabulous selection of … photographs [and] an excellent selection of quality color profiles …” Then, “Canadian Geographic” of February/March 1986 had its say (it always was a highlight when a publisher had a book reviewed by this stellar journal). Given the reviewing task was Robert “Bob” Bradford, at the time the associate director of Canada’s National Aviation Museum under the great K.M. “Ken” Molson. After nicely reviewing the book’s chapters, Bob concluded, “Anyone who has even a passing interest in bush flying or a good Canadian success story will enjoy it,”
A lot happened with Austin Airways since 1985, including how the new owners absorbed a string of air carriers west to Air Manitoba, brought things together under the Air Ontario banner, built up Toronto Island Airport as a serious commuter hub, etc., all the way to 2020, when the Deluce family’s renowned Porter Airlines remains the direct descendant of Austin Airways of 1934. It’s probably a good time for an updated Austin Airways book. Interestingly, a used copy of Austin Airways in 2020 will be a deal at around the old $24.94 sticker price. On September 15, I noticed that http://www.bookfinder.com had 54 used copies listed, most being in the $40 – $80 zone, but nine were above $100. Cheap at twice the price, right!
It Can Be Aggravating, but the Perks Are the best!
Remember what novelist Graham Greene said long ago? He was right — books are huge investments in time, energy, misery and money. In my work over the decades, however, I’ve been able to temper the pain that’s a big part of the process with a great deal of good fun. I’ve gotten to fly all over the world in 100+ aircraft types from the Piper J-2 to the Chipmunk, then so many others from the DC-3 to the DC-4, C-46, Caribou, Buffalo, T-33, AT-37B, Tutor, CF-5, CF-101, F-106, F-16, B-52, EB-57, LACV-30, Beech 18, Lancaster, Turbo Otter, C-130, Argus, Aurora, CH-54, Kiowa, Chinook, Sea Knight, IL-76, AN-2, AN-124, on and on. We keen types are always up for any new such adventure. Here are a few miscellaneous photos from my days laying the groundwork for the Austin Airways book. I got to ride along on several company types:
In creating of the Austin Airways book, I got to spend several years interviewing Austin Airways pioneers and flying throughout the company’s vast northern domain with its great people. I had some exciting trips in everything from the Ce.185 with the legendary Jeff Wyborn, to the Twin Otter, DC-3 and HS 748 ranging from Pickle Lake to Cape Dorset. In the end, I was happy with the results. Austin Airways tells the basic story well, it has few gaffs, and, thanks to the CANAV team, became a model with its many rare photos, in-depth, authoritative text, premium production qualities, and Peter Mossman artwork. Just look at cover art alone – what true aviation fan could resist buying a copy!
And I Shall Fly 1985
Another early CANAV title was And I Shall Fly, a fine autobiography by Canadian aviation pioneer, Zebulon Lewis “Lewie” Leigh. A prairie boy, Lewie lived his dream, learning to fly in the 1920s, barnstorming and operating in the bush, becoming the first pilot hired by TCA in 1937, then founding RCAF No.9 Transport Group, which carried the “troops mail” in WWII via 168 Squadron B- 17s, B-24s Dakotas and Lodestars. No.9 Group reformed in 1945 as RCAF Air Transport Command, G/C Z.L. Leigh being the founding commander. Postwar, he continued in uniform with such postings as station commander Goose Bay. In 1947 he received Canada’s top aviation award, the McKee Trophy. Retired, Lewie and his wife, Linny, enjoyed life in the Niagara Peninsula, where once a month Lewie had a few friends for lunch in what became known as “Club Zeb”. Our members included such characters as Ray Munro, a wartime Spitfire pilot, and postwar newspaper man, restaurant bouncer and Pitts Special pilot. Ray’s own autobiography is The Sky’s No Limit, which his friend Anna Porter (Key Porter Publishing) produced. Ray so admired Lewie that he changed his name to Raymond Zebulon Munro, and the licence plate on his Mercedes sports car was “ZEB 2”. How’s that for adulation! In the 1980s Ray pushed hard to establish what today is Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. Deservedly, Lewie Leigh became one of the first inducted members. Old-time Canadian aviation writer, Ross Wilmot, covered And I Shall Fly in the 1986 “Canadian Book Review Annual”. He beautifully summarized it, simply concluding how Lewie, “deserves credit for making public his memoirs” (book reviews need not be verbose, right). Over the decades, several people have told me how much they have enjoyed And I Shall Fly to the point of reading and re- reading it. For good coverage of our And I Shall Fly book launch, it’s all here on the blog, including photos of many a kingpin from Canadian aviation. In the blog search box just enter: “And I Shall Fly” Book Launching 1985
Shooting the Great Douglas Propliners
For the 1950s-60s, I’m tempted to say that of all the categories of airplanes to photograph, none were so attractive as the classic Douglas 4-engine propliners – the DC-4, DC-6 and DC-7 series. What gorgeous, photogenic flying machines! Here “for your edification” are a few that I picked randomly from my old files.
Important Reminder … Two Magnificent Canadian Books that Belong on your Bookshelf!
A Tradition of Excellence: Canada’s Airshow Team Heritage CANAV’s pleased to re-introduce you to Dan Dampsey’s ace of a book. Here at CANAV HQ, I have my autographed copy on a shelf with what I call “the finest aviation books in the world”. This truly is a magnificently-produced Canadian aviation book, a treasure deserving a place of honour in your library. “TradEx” will give you decades of fabulous reading. Full coverage from 1919 into the 2010s of such great teams as Bishop-Barker, the Siskins, Golden Hawks, Golden Centennaires and Snowbirds. Everything from the Fokker D.VII to the Harvard, CF-100, Banshee, Sabre, T-33, Tutor, CF-104, CF-18, Kiowa – even such surprises as the Argus & Sea King in “demo” mode! Fascinating civil types also pop up. Some 2000 photos + 42 original paintings by the great Peter Mossman. You’ll revel in every page. Treat yourself & show your support for someone who put it on the line for Canada’s aviation heritage! 766pp, 4 kg, hc, 9.5×12 in., app’x, biblio, index. Your signed copy: all-in just $130.00 Order directly from Danatafteams@gmail.com
The Bell 47 Helicopter Story … And — here’s a reminder about another extra special book, one to be savoured by anyone with the remotest interest in aviation history. Here’s a summary (for the full story, just search for the title): This landmark book has been very nicely printed and bound by Friesens of Altona, Manitoba. Bare bones it weighs an amazing 2.9 kg. It’s a hardcover with dust jacket. There are 730 pages with 1200 b/w and colour photos. Sincere fans of aviation history owe it to themselves to get hold of a copy … If you have not yet delved into helicopter history, a fast flip through this book will convert you. Order your copy at helicopterheritagecanada.com or … e-mail author Bob Petite in Leduc at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you scroll back a few items on the CANAV Books blog, you can see our coverage from last summer of CLRV streetcars ready for disposal at the Toronto Transit Commission’s Russell yard (“Connaught Barns”) on Queen Street East in Toronto. That was a really enjoyable session, but it was a steamy day. Here’s a winter take on the same subject + a few winter scenes featuring Toronto’s new Bombardier cars on the 501 line during the same winter blow . You can also look back to our March 5, 2011 item about photographing airplanes in winter — it’s all great fun, right! (You can enlarge any photo by clicking on it.)
The snow was cutting sharply across Russell yard mid-afternoon on January 18, 2020. CLRV 4155 had been loaded earlier, so is ready for transportation to the scrap yard. Looks like 4043 and 4085 beyond. Then, a different angle that includes one of those heavy big main trucks from a CLRV.
Since there was such a good winter blow in Toronto on January 18, it seemed like a good idea to get out for some true winter photography, so I rode a Flexity car westward over to Russell, where I spent an hour slogging around in the wind and snowdrifts at both the Queen St. and Eastern Ave. sides of the yard. Here are a few of the photos taken with my trusty little Lumix pocket camera.
A wider view looking southwest across the yard. I didn’t make a count, but there were about 15 cars present.
Car 4024 was the only CLRV in motion at Russell this afternoon.
Views from the Eastern Ave. (south) side of the yard showing cars 4193 and 4053 nearest. Then, 4179 away up the line on this blustery day.
Next, I rode along to Spadina and Queen. It was a real urban transit mess, but somehow things kept rolling. I was amazed at the crowds out there — most of the Flexity cars were packed. Eventually, I was happy to get inside at the old Horseshoe Tavern to have a beer with some aviation buddies. I’m sure they figured I must be going around the bend. After all, what sense does it make to be out in a blizzard taking photos of streetcars!
While waiting at Queen and Greenwood for a car to continue my outing, I snapped TTC bus 8963 on its way back north to the TTC Line 2 Greenwood subway station. Then a hefty plow came by clearing this stretch of Queen.
A Flexity makes a stop on Queen west of McCaul. Regardless of the storm, people were out in their masses.
Car 4446 westbound on Queen approaches Spadina. Then, the general scene there looking east towards Soho St.
More snow removal action. Plows head north on Spadina towards Queen.
Car 4564 ready to pull out from Spadina going west on Queen. Amazingly, the system seemed to function reasonable well in this fair little Toronto blizzard. Cheers … Larry
Canada has a long tradition in cold-weather aeronautical testing. As early as the winter of 1926-27 a Siskin fighter conducted a host of demanding trials from the RCAF station at High River, Alberta. Subsequently, the RCAF and National Research Council did much pioneering R&D re. cold weather. The pace of all such science was spurred by the war. Postwar, the RCAF’s famous Winter Experimental Establishment tested a long list of aircraft in severe weather from such bases as Namao (Edmonton), Fort St. John, Cold Lake and Churchill. See Sixty Years: The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924-1984 for a good history of WEE Flight. See Aviation in Canada: Evolution of an Air Force for further coverage in the pre-WWII period.
Yellowknife recently had a rare visitor and another chance to feature itself as a centre for cold weather trials. On January 12, 2020 Airbus A220-300 C-FFDO landed there from Winnipeg to undergo some special testing. On taxiing in at Yellowknife, “FDO” parked beside the Buffalo Airway Lockheed Electra, whose captain, Tony Jarvis, took this great photo. What a contrast in air transport history, right! (The Electra is C-GZFE, which had begun in 1961 as N138US with Northwest Airlines. There it gave good service into 1971, then flew with operators from Air Florida in the US to Atlantic Airlines in the UK (it had become a freighter in 1977). Finally, in 2013 “ZFE” was acquired by Joe McBryan’s legendary Buffalo Airways. Today it’s one of those “lifeline” Arctic freighters, delivering groceries and all sorts of other supplies and equipment to the north’s many isolated communities and mine sites.)
That afternoon Yellowknife had a temperature of -45C, so no one could complain about conditions. “FDO” sat outside being “cold soaked” (sitting outside with all aircraft power turned off). Apparently, this testing was about increasing the A220’s certified cold weather operations limit from -35C to -40C. On January 14 “FDO” — by then thoroughly cold soaked — made a 49-minute local flight. Ground testing continued until January 18, when it departed for base at Wichita via Calgary and Kansas City.
A220-300 “FDO” was manufactured in Montreal in March 2016 as Bombardier CSeries CS300. Designated “Flight Test Vehicle 8”, to January 20, 2020 it had logged 77 flights/207.46 flying hours. Last week Air Canada introduced the A220 to its fleet, so we’ll soon be enjoying this great new airliner on Air Canada’s North American services.
A380 Cold Weather Trials at “YFB” Iqaluit
Early in 2006 John Graham, the airport manager at Iqaluit, gave me a heads-up that an A380 was coming to town for cold weather trials. This sounded like a great opportunity, so I organized a trip north from Ottawa on a FirstAir 737 for February 3. The A380 was due on the 6th, so I had time to cover some other aviation. On the 4th, for example, I went over to Resolute Bay and back on a FirstAir 748. Next day I spent around town and the airport, then the 6th dawned as a fine, clear day. John gave me the A380’s ETA, so I had time to set up at the arrival end of the runway. Here’s one of the shots I took as the mighty A380 (call sign “AIB501”) was about to touch down. This was the first ever A380 landing in “The New World”. The aircraft was F-WWDD sn004 (the 4th A380, now in a museum in France). Some cold soaking was conducted with “WDD” parked off the main ramp — see photo of it with the Lynden Air Cargo L.100 Hercules. Does this look cold enough for you? “WDD” also made 1 or 2 test flights that week. In the other photos, “WDD” looms across the snow-covered ramp as a FirstAir BAe748 and ATR-42 await their next trips. Finally, a scene with “WDD” being de-iced for a test flight.
After another wonderful Arctic trip, I finally got back to Toronto on February 13. Thanks to Tony Jarvis for cluing me in to the A220 at Yellowknife, which led to this little bit of CANAV blog history. Cheers … Larry
In December 2019 the last flying Lockheed L-1329 JetStar retired to the Marietta Aviation History and Technology Center near Atlanta. The story recently was told by Marc Cook on the web at “Aviation News” (google “Last JetStar Retires”). The JetStar would have a prominent history in Canada as the country’s first corporate jet, and the first civil jet operated by the federal government. At a peak in the mid-1980s there were eight Canadian JetStars: C-FDTF, C-FDTX, C-FETN (Transport Canada), C-FRBC (Royal Bank of Canada), C- GATU (Cathton Holdings), C-GAZU (Allarco Group) and C- GTCP (Trans Canada Pipelines)
First flown on September 4, 1957, the legendary JetStar was designed for a USAF requirement for a small jet transport. When the USAF abandoned these specs, Lockheed pushed ahead to develop what became the first large jet for the corporate market. Lockheed was out on a limb with this exotic and expensive pioneer project, but pushed on to manufacture some 204 aircraft.
Flight and chase crew for the Jetstar’s first flight (s/n 1001 N329J). Note that the prototype had two engines vs four for production aircraft: Robert Schumacher co-pilot, Ernest L. Joiner flight test engineer, Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson head of design team, Jim Wood USAF test pilot, Ray Jewett Goudey pilot, Tony LeVier, Lockheed chase plane pilot. (Lockheed Martin archives)
The JetStar prototype flew first with a pair of British-made Orpheus engines, but Lockheed quickly shifted to using four smaller Pratt & Whitney JT12s, the design of which Canadian Pratt & Whitney had the lead role (see Power: The Pratt & Whitney Canada Story). All the details of the Jetstar are available at Wiki and innumerable other internet sources, and in many valuable books, including Walter J. Boyne’s seminal Beyond the Horizons: The Lockheed Story. Boyne concludes that Howard Hughes likely was the only one to make a profit from the project. Hughes had bought several production line slots when the plane was low-priced. Then, one by one he re-sold his JetStars at higher prices.
Canada’s first privately-owned JetStar was purchased by Toronto’s Eaton family of department store fame. Registered CF-ETN, it replaced the family’s renowned “Super DC-3” CF-ETE (search here to see the CF-ETE story in an earlier blog item). Seeing “ETN” at Malton airport in such early times was exciting for we local spotters. This was at a time when the speediest prop-driven corporate planes at Malton were J.F. Crother’s Gulfstream CF-JFC, Massey Ferguson’s Howard Super Ventura CF-MFL and Canadian Comstock’s OnMark Marksman A-26, CF-CCR. I first listed “ETN” in my spotter’s notebook at Malton on May 13, 1962, only noting that its paint job was similar to that on “ETE”.
The late, great Toronto aviation photographer, Al Martin, captured this fine view of “ETN” soon after its delivery to Malton. You can see that Lockheed built a glorious-looking airplane. I later used this excellent photo on p.480 of Air Transport in Canada.
DOT JetStar CF-DTX in a shot I took at Ottawa Uplands in the 1960s. Then, two snapshots of it by Al Martin at Windsor, Ontario in 1967. This classy DOT colour scheme of the 1950s-60s was fleet-wide from Apache to Beech 18, DC-3 and JetStar. Today, “DTX” belongs to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. There’s an ezToys 1:200 diecast model of “DTX” in its later red-and-white colour scheme.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Department of Transport was modernizing. With the growing amount of jet traffic in and over Canada (707, DC-8, etc.) the DOT was planning for a new world of air traffic control. Its aged Beech 18s and DC-3s could not serve indefinitely, as ATC technology evolved. Faster aircraft were needed to perform airport equipment (ILS, radio, etc.) calibration. Heading DOT flight operations in Ottawa was the great John D. “Jack” Hunter. He knew about the JetStar, was dreaming about one, but there was no budget. This obliged Jack (so he told me in a long ago interview) to get creative. The DOT just then was building a large hangar in Ottawa to house its fleet, including a new Viscount VIP plane. As the story went, Jack used some aspect from his hangar budget to pay for a JetStar – in the official paperwork, the JetStar appeared as something like an extra hangar door. Whatever happened, one day not long afterwards in 1962 JetStar CF-DTX landed in Ottawa wearing its handsome DOT colours. “DTX” was JetStar s/n 5018, “ETN” was s/n 5021, but I don’t know which was delivered first.
The DOT’s Jack Hunter accepts “the keys” to his shiny new JetStar CF-DTX at the Lockheed factory near Atlanta. If anyone can help with names for the other DOT men in this photo, please get in touch at email@example.com. Then, a PR photo showing Canada’s Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson, with US President, Lyndon B. Johnson, aboard “DTX” on a VIP trip (see caption at bottom). VIP duties seem to have been the raison d’être for “DTX”, although airways inspection and instrumentation calibration missions also were flown. (CANAV Books Collection)
Over the decades I photographed several JetStars. These below give you a sampling. Fishing around on the web, I have found little individual history for these aircraft.
After CF-ETN and CF-DTX, the next JetStar I photographed was N1 (s/n 1) of the Federal Aviation Administration. On this occasion, I was on a driving tour with fellow hobbyist, Nick Wolochatiuk. On July 3, 1966 we found N1 in the FAA hangar at Washington National Airport. Another classy paint scheme from a bygone era, right. “N1” appeared on a long series of FAA aircraft starting on a D.H.4 c1927; but it flew the longest on this JetStar (1963-86). N1 had been Lockheed’s No.1 production JetStar, the first with JT12s. With the FAA it mainly was in the transportation role. As late as 1978 it still was busy, logging 457 flying hours that year. In its March 1979 edition, “Flying Magazine” describes the FAA fleet in Washington, “Of the eight aircraft that currently call Hangar Six home, an ancient JetStar presides as queen bee over an orange and white hive housing a Gulfstream 1, Citation II, King Air 200, two Cessna 421s, Baron B55 and a Bell 206L helicopter.” Having by then been re-registered N7145V, JetStar No.1 left the FAA in 1990. Apparently, c.2006 it was purchased by White Industries Inc., a Bates City, Missouri company parting out and scrapping old airplanes.
Corporate JetStar N12R (s/n 5053) at Toronto Island Airport on June 4, 1966. The runway length at TIA in 1966 was 4000 feet, maybe a bit tight for a hefty JetStar. Eventually, due to noise restrictions, most jets were banished from the island. Today, the rule seems to be that only air ambulance jets can operate here.
One of the highlights for us during a trip to Buffalo, NY on May 20, 1967 was this gorgeous JetStar — N500Z s/n 5008. I found one historic reference to it in FAA document “FAA Aviation News” of May 1966: “The beginning of the switch to turbine aircraft for corporate business is generally logged as September 27, 1961, when Superior Oil of Houston put its brand on Lockheed Jetstar N500Z, which is still flying for the company.”
Amway Corporation JetStar N523AC (s/n 5013) on the Field Aviation ramp at Toronto YYZ on April 8, 1971. Built in 1961, N523AC is said to have ended as scrap at White Industries.
On the same ramp on March 24, 1972 I came across CF-DTF of Transport Canada (formerly known as the Department of Transport). On September 16 I spotted “DTF” at Halifax, by which time it belonged to the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum. How great that a few JetStars have found museum homes!
Special Notice I Happy 2020 to all you fine, solid friends of CANAV Books. Many of you have been behind my efforts going as far back as 1979. Gives new meaning to that old saying, “Keep on truckin'”. Thanks for all your genuine support, especially with a book order here and there! There’s so much on the web for New Year’s Day 2020, but one item caught my eye this morning. Well worth a look, something from Chris Hadfield. Just google this and you’ll be there: “I made a video to celebrate the new year of amazing things happening on Earth – An Astronaut’s Guide to Optimism 2020. I hope you like it!” Special Notice II … Attention avid collectors. Below are a few special collector items (and other things) on offer for New Year 2020 — from a rare Great Lakes freighter’s log book to a wide-ranging “airliner” collection. Prices include shipping (“all-in”). Prices are firm. If you see anything that you like, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Special Notice III … Feel free to scroll back on the blog. It’s packed with solid Canadian aviation history. Sometimes I do updates, as recently to this item — “Ancient CAE 737-200 Flight Simulator”. This “sim” is a real record-breaker, having been in use since “flight tested” at CAE 45 years ago. It’s still on the go at YVR! You’ll enjoy all such windows into our fantastic Canadian aviation heritage, just take a few minutes to browse. Cheers … Larry
SPECIAL ITEMS For Sale
Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story Hug Halliday’s seminal book covering this important part of the WWII air war in the UK and Europe. Canadians fight and die flying the renowned Typhoon and Tempest on the most dangerous of operations. Writes the Calgary Herald: “A splendid book … pure history but … thoroughly readable… the book’s backbone is made up of those who climbed into the cockpits to dodge flak and telephone wires while taking out trains and tanks.” Very nice copy. 300 photos, app’x, maps, lists of aircraft, sqns, casualties, index. 208 pp, hc. Collector item. This copy autographed by 11 RCAF (+ 1 RAF) Typhoon pilots (all appear in the book) at a special get together on May 2, 2004: Bill Baggs 164 Sqn, Norm Dawber DFC 438 Sqn, Jock Duncan 440 Sqn, Norm Howe DFC 175 Sqn, Frank Johnson 174 Sqn, Graham Kennedy 137 Sqn, George Lane (RAF) 198 Sqn, Walter McCarthy 440 Sqn, John McCullough 439 Sqn, Ed McKay 438 Sqn, John Thompson 245Sqn, Wally Ward 440 Sqn (John Thompson is the only survivor in 2020). Very nice copy. $350.00 A
Air-Britain News The first 4 volumes complete from Vol.1 No.1 January 1972 to Vol.4 No.12 December 1975. A very nice set. These were the early days of the 12-page 7×10 inch plain pamphlet format. Strictly for the collector. Set only $85.00 all in
Great Lakes History … Log book for the famous “laker”, SS VictoriousUpper Lakes Shipping Co. This laker’s log from Trip 1 1966 to her final sailing – Trip 18 1968. Vessel then was sold and used to help form a breakwater at Ontario Place, Toronto. All entries made in hand, showing departure and destination ports, cargo in detail by hold (Durham No.5 wheat, bushels per hold, coal (by type), salt) tons per hold, draft fore & aft, loading & discharging times, etc. Each page signed off by such officers as D. Fenton, H. Freeman, C. Hiscock, R. Smith. 198 pages, hardback logbook, first 74 pages are used for entries. Also includes various receipts for movements and transactions with such companies as American Grain Terminals Inc, Canada Department of Agriculture, Toledo Board of Trade. Great Lakes collector item only. Nice condition. CDN$150.00 all-in
Five Years of NATO: A Report on the Atlantic Alliance As it says. A very nice original 48-page history of NATO to date. Magazine format. Many fascinating topics from an overall 1954 summary to “Guarding the Seas’, “Strategic Air Power”, “Canada’s Contribution”, “Belgium’s FN Rifle”, reviews from the various members (e.g., “Norway: The Northern Flank”, and a very interesting (now outdated) overview of Turkey that suggests a future with such nations as Iran and Iraq also becoming NATO allies. Photos, chart, nice copy for any serious collector. $50.00
RCAF Meteor Mk.III EE361 Daily Reports SOLD The original hand-written, work-a-day, hardcover RCAF Winter Experimental Establishment log book for this famous RCAF jet fighter from November 20, 1946 to the last entry February 28, 1927: “A/C flown steadily since 16th of Feb. OAT -20C, no hydraulic troubles. Fuel consumptions tests, engines OK. Fuel very dirty from barrel and ice deposits. Streamline filter renewed in bowser …” Last page of the book lists “Ground Running Time” port & starboard engines Nov.5 1947 to January 10, 1948. This is an original RCAF “T35 Note Book for Workshop and Laboratory Records”. This item only for the serious collector deeply interested in the RCAF’s initial “hands on” experience with the jet fighter. Nice item just as it was on its final day of use in 1947. About the first ½ of the book has entries, the rest is blank. You have seen this diary referred to in CANAV’s books Sixty Years and in Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace, Vol.3. EE361 was on RCAF strength March 14, 1946 to March 5, 1948. CDN$250.00
Airy Somethings: The Extraordinary Life of the Aviation Pioneer Horatio Barber New book … Terry Grace and Maggie Wilson have thoroughly researched the life of this eccentric Englishman and his many interests. In his global travels in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Barber spent time in the Australia, USA and Canada too often getting into trouble with women and business ventures. In California he swindled investors in a ranching scheme; in Canada, his chief focus was hustling shares in northern mines. Back in the UK he spent years promoting pioneer aviation ventures, earned Royal Aero Club licence No.30, promoted airplane designs and sales, sold aviation insurance, and served in the RFC in WWI, supposedly even being in America for a time promoting what became the hugely successful RFC training plan. The book concludes with all Barber’s shady schemes in the 1920s-50s to his death in 1964. A fascinating, through, most interesting and important biography. 236 pages, large format, softcover, photos, diagrams throughout, bibliography, index. $55 Canada, $65.00 USA/overseas
Aerophilatelic Collection 12 cerlox-bound histories of postal crash covers. The amazing stories of pieces of Canadian airmail recovered from airplane crashes in Canada and around the world 1920s-60s. Each folder about 20 pages, all in fine condition, well illustrated. All research by renowned aero-philatelist, R.K. Malott. Collection only CDN$100.00
The Norman Flayderman Collection of Vintage Aviation Memorabilia, Tuesday, November 14, 2000 in San Francisco A magnificent catalogue from this huge auction. Beautifully produced 280pp, lf, sc, colour catalogue listing and showing 100s of items for sale up to a complete JN-4 Jenny. Nice collector item. For more info, google “Auction of Legendary Dealer Norm Flayderman Brings $1.1M” $65.00
The Great War Flying Museum: If You Haven’t Yet Visited … Make the Time!
Located at Brampton Airport northwest a bit from Toronto, the Great War Flying Museum is one of Canada’s extra special aviation history destinations. The GWFM website https://greatwarflyingmuseum.org (be sure to take a close look) nicely describes the museum in a few words: “Our mission is to provide the finest local presentation of World War I aviation history by acquiring, building, maintaining and flying representations of period aircraft as well as displaying period artifacts for the education, entertainment and benefit of our members and the visiting public.” At all this the GWFM succeeds eminently, as you’ll see in the following photos by grandsons Owen, Foster and Shannon Milberry and taken at various GWFM’s events in recent years.
The Great War Flying Museum is at Brampton Airport, a short drive up Hwy 10 (Hurontario St.) from Mississauga/Brampton. The first aerial view here shows the museum hangar near the end of Runway 08. Just passed it is the Brampton Flying Club complex with wide ramp area and rows of hangars. You can tell it’s an open house weekend by all the cars in the foreground. Then, a photo of the GWFM hangar with the museum building on its left and several WWI replica aircraft ready for the day’s flying. The flying club parking lot is mainly reserved for the vintage vehicle turnout. Third, the main building seen from the 892 (Snowy Owl) Air Cadet Squadron lot.
Many start their day at a GWFM open house by enjoying breakfast at the Brampton Flying Club. Here Foster and Owen get a start on their “Lancaster Bomber” platters. Then … they’re ready to roll.
On a sunny day such as this, the fans flock to the GWFM to get a close look at its wonderful collection. Here, people mill around the museum’s replica Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter. This type was one of the first 2-seater multi-purpose combat planes — in a way the CF- 18 of its day. Many Canadians crewed on the 1½ Strutter, especially doing bombing raids on enemy installations in eastern France, even into Germany. The 1½ Strutter also could dogfight if attacked by enemy scouts. The archival scene shows a line of Royal Naval Air Service 1½ Strutters in France c1916. More than 5000 of these versatile planes were built during WWI. Visitors can buy a ride in the GWFM 1½ Strutter. What a great way to get the feeling first hand of WWI aviating!
The GWFM 1½ Strutter sets off on a passenger flight. The “gunner” in the rear cockpit already appears to be into the right spirit.
The 1½ Strutter taxis by. Then, ersatz gunner, Larry Milberry, ready for a flight. His books The Pioneer Decades, and, Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939 cover this era in Canadian aviation history, the 1½ Strutter included. These are the best books on the shelves today covering Canada’s role in the air war a century ago. Notice the (replica) Vickers and Lewis (rear) machine guns. These famous weapons made such British 2-seaters into formidable fighting machines.
Always a real show-stopper at the museum is its replica of the Fokker Dr.1 Triplane, the dreaded fighter flown over the Western Front by “The Red Baron” – Manfred von Richthofen, the greatest ace of WWI. Here’s the Triplane in flight near Brampton. Then, German ace, Rudolf Stark, with his personal Triplane somewhere on the Western Front.
More views of the Triplane. Everything about this historic little beauty of a WWI scout is fascinating. But why was the Dr.1 so short-lived? Armed with just one machine gun, it quickly was outmoded when the British introduced their 2-gun Camel and SE.5.
The GWFM also operates a replica of the Fokker D.VII. The D.VII was another superb WWI single-seat scout. The museum’s example had been dormant for years pending a rebuilt, but came back onto the flight line for the 2018 season. Built to scale, it’s powered by a 200-hp Ranger engine. In the next photos it’s seen firing up for a flying display, taxiing out, then doing a fly-by.
A typical D.VII in wartime service. Then, D.VII 7685. In 1918-19 many Canadians got to fly captured D.VIIs, several of which came to Canada as war prizes. Standing beside 7685 is the revered WWI Canadian ace, C.M. McEwen, who is being inducted in 2020 into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. The sole surviving Canadian D.VII may be seen in the Brome County Museum in Knowlton, Quebec.
A GWFM D.VII detail.
The GWFM also operates the famous Royal Flying Corps SE.5 scout. Along with the Sopwith Camel, the SE.5 turned the tide against the Germans in the skies over France and Belgium in 1917-18. Many Canadians flew the SE.5. Several became aces. The museum flies both full scale and scaled down versions of the SE.5.
This is an actual SE.5A with the instrumentation, gun sight and Vickers gun well shown.
Canadian SE.5A pilots Harold Molyneux and Ken Juror of 56 Squadron. Ken was killed in action. Harold survived to serve in the RCAF during WWII. Their stories are told in Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939.
A typical operational SE.5A, this one of 85 Squadron on which many Canadian flew in WWI. Then, SE.5A F9029 of Canadian Air Force No.1 Squadron in the UK in 1919. Captain W.R. Kenny, DFC, is in the cockpit. Veteran CAHS member and dogged recorder of each and every civil-registered Canadian civil aircraft, Terry Judge, adds about this nice set-up shot: “The photo of SE5A (my favourite WWI aircraft) F9029 was taken at the historic Shoreham-by-Sea airport. On the horizon, above the serial, is the Lancing College Chapel. I grew up in nearby Hove so knew this airport well.”
The reality of the first great air war — how hundreds of SE.5s ended on the Western Front in 1917-18. This one is being gloated over by some Germans from local units. Pilot Harry Spearpoint ended as a POW – one of the lucky ones, right.
The museum’s Nieuport 28 ready for its next flight at Brampton. This type of scout was especially famous with the Lafayette Escadrille – a French air force unit manned by America pilots (some of whom had trained to fly in Canada in 1917-18). Many Canadians also flew Nieuports in combat, the most famous being W.A. “Billy” Bishop, VC, shown here demonstrating the Lewis gun.
Many local and visiting planes keep the crowd extra interested during any GWFM and Brampton Flying Club event. There’s usually at least one Harvard around. Here’s C-FRWN (ex-RCAF 3830 during WWII) as an SE.5 cruises by in the distance. Then, Auster C-FLWA, which formerly was Canadian Army 16671. “LWA” first appeared on the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register in 1960 and has been around southern Ontario ever since. I photographed it in black-and-white at the Oshawa fly-in of June 16, 1963. It was the same colour. To this day the colour scheme hasn’t changed much. It’s always great fun keeping an eye on such an airplane over the decades.
Homebuilts are always part of the scene at a GWFM fly-in. Here are Pitts S-1T C-GMMG and Rutan Varieze C-GNEZ in front of the flying club.
Cabin Waco C-FYOC visits the museum. Built in 1935, it was only in Canada 2013-17 before returning to the US. Such visitors add extra class to the whole setting.
Murray Kot’s beautifully restored Cessna L-19 in Canadian Army markings of the early 1960s period.
Ercoupe CF-IQA lands on Runway 08. Built in 1946 as N2227H, this little postwar beauty came to Canada in 1973 and has been around the Toronto area ever since.
Four Seasons Aviation’s big Sikorsky S-58T on display. A locally-based Tiger Moth is climbing out.
VAN’S RV-7A C-FVOS taxis for Runway 08 as Brampton Flying Club Cessna 172 C-GBNG lands.
Foster ready to do a photo mission in BFC Cessna 172 C-GBRF.
The Car Show
Besides all the great plane spotting around the GWFM, there’s plenty else to do. The annual vintage car turnout is fantastic. This Rolls-Royce 1924 Silver Ghost is treasured by owners Roger and Eleanor Hadfield of nearby Milton.
Some of the MGs arrive. Not to be outdone are the Morgan’s. Then another classic Brit gem – an early Jaguar XKE.
Two ’56 beauties – a Chevy and a Dodge.
Apart from the hangar, the GWFM museum building is full of wonderful displays. As well, on special days re-enactors run a typical WWI medical field station.
What Else Goes On?
Music of different kinds adds to the ambience of a GWFM event.
Re-enactors are on hand to explain various WWI topics. Otherwise, there’s lots going on in the hangar.
Some of the Great War Flying Museum old timers. They always show up – thank goodness. Then, Foster and Shannon with Al Snowie, one of the chief movers behind the 2017 “Vimy Flight”. This important Canadian organization took several WWI replica fighters to France that year, then flew them over the Vimy monument on the 100th Anniversary of that seminal battle. Finally, at day’s end some of the GWFM staff “debrief” back in the shop.
There’s a Book about All This!
The story of Canada’s pioneers of aerial combat is best read these days in Aviation in Canada: Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939. Below is one of our typical book reviews, this one from “Britain at War”. This is a book for any fan of Canada’s great role in aerial combat in WWI. To order a copy go to www.canavbooks.wordpress.com . Or, make a PayPal transfer of $67.20 (all-in) to email@example.com , or mail your cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto ON M4E3B6. All the best as usual. Be sure to keep tabs with the Great War Flying Museum website and see you there next season. Cheers … Larry Milberry
The Reader Speaks Out
Other than such great book reviews, I’m always keen to hear from my readers — the real lovers and cognoscenti when it comes to such books. Any publisher needs first and foremost to pay heed to these important supporters. Just lately I heard from a typical such reader, who writes about “Fighter Pilots and Observers”: Your new book has been open full time at the kitchen table where I get reading sessions at breakfast and lunch. Wonderful photos we see so rarely of this period and fascinating reading. Being more a student of WW II era aviation, I have limited knowledge of Canada’s participation in the aerial warfare of WWI, other than the classics, like Bishop. So it is somewhat of a revelation to read about Canada’s contributions to the air war and the efforts expended — and so much tragic loss of life. Incredible to think of the wild escapades so many young guys had flying those rickety early flying contraptions. Life expectancy was in very delicate balance and it seems just the luck of the draw for any that came out alive. If a fellow wasn’t being picked off by the enemy, his wings could be just as likely fall off! In part, I replied: Great that there are a few readers left who still appreciate the book and its ancient magic of enlightening, while entertaining. But, it’s all still trending away from lovely books to the stultifying, 90-second “quickie” info bit. So sad watching those stoned smartphone people gawking down obliviously all the time. Mesmerized by what? What pleasure is there in that, and where’s the long-term pay-off in actual knowledge and joy? It’s all mildly depressing, eh.