Category Archives: Air Canada

Remembrance Day 2022

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

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

News From CANAV

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

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

CANAV introduces its latest booklist

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

RCAF Centennial Book Project

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

Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada

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

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

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

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

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

Old Hamilton Airport Update

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

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

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

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

Canada Post in the Crosshairs … Again

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

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

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

Cemetery Studies

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

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

Have a Look! CANAV’s Fall/Winter 2021-22 List — It’s a Blockbuster Season. Also … Norseman Update, CAHS History, Bill Wheeler, Neil A. Macdougall, Austin Airways, Fox Moth Discoveries, Les Corness Treasures, James Bay Airlift, Canadair CL-260 Re-Discovered, John Ciesla’s fantastic Transportation Files, Ghost Canso/Bush Caddy Update

Welcome to CANAV’s Fall/Winter 2021-22 booklist. As usual it includes all the standard CANAV classics, with some excellent deals, especially for Air Transport in Canada at a give-away, all-in price. There are numerous new offerings, all enticing for the serious fan. It’s hard to say which is the real standout of the bunch., but I’m tending (for one) towards Chris Hadfield’s The Apollo Murders. I’ve just started to read it and I’m reminded right away (as far as writing style and enticing content go) of Ernie Gann’s Fate is the Hunter. That’s about as grand a compliment as I could give any aviation/space author. I think you need this book, but so do you need a boxload of others from this fall’s list. Take a look, you’ll see what I mean … stock up for winter.

Hot Off the Press … Red Lake Norseman Project Finale!

Norseman CF-DRD finally has been fully refurbished and again graces the Red Lake waterfront at the head of Howie Bay. To see this week’s posting, google: Kim posted an update to Save DRD – Red Lake’s Norseman icon
Please drop a few bucks in DRD’s gofundme kitty while you’re there. How painful will that be? Not at all, but you’ll have helped push the project fund to its goal of $50K, a target that a couple of years ago must have seemed so impossible. Not today it isn’t! Cheers … Larry

Canadian Aviation Society: Beginnings

Canada’s premier aviation history organization for 60+ years has been the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. Lately, I came across two historic documents that reveal some key CAHS history. Have a look at the minutes of the society’s original meeting, when it was known as “The Early Birds of Canada”. This was a name suggested by the original US-based “Early Birds of Aviation”, which included pilots who had flown prior to December 17, 1916. Soon, however, we realized that this name would restrict the breadth in coverage, so the more general, all-encompassing “CAHS” name was adopted at our second meeting. To my knowledge, none of those mentioned in the minutes are still with us. The second document from a few months later in 1963 is under the CAHS banner and states the society’s rationale. These documents were printed on a 1950s “spirit duplicator”, so it’s a miracle that they haven’t faded away to nothing by now.

A Few Photos by the Great W.J. “Bill” Wheeler, CAHS No.5

Bill Wheeler (right) and Neil A. Macdougall were two of Canada’s leading aviation writers, editors and historians. Rick Radell took this wonderful photo of them at the 2011 event at the CWH in Hamilton, when Bill so deservedly was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.

Bill Wheeler (1931-2020, CAHS No.5, Member Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame, etc.)) spent more than 40 years as editor of the Journal of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. As such, he really was the beating heart of the CAHS. He also spent a tour as CAHS national president. Residing in Markham since the 1960s, his day job in his younger years was commercial illustrator for such publications as Toronto’s legendary “Star Weekly”. He also produced some renowned book covers, and his illustrations fill our Journal from the early 1960s onward. For today, here are a few of Bill’s ordinary airplane photos, of which there are too many to count. We early CAHS members had much in common. While many had been involved in the development of early aviation, others were more the “arm chair” type, sharing such pastimes as reading aviation books and magazines, taking in airshows and CAHS events, being enthusiastic aviation photographers, etc.

When we met in 1962, Bill was still earning his living as an artist and illustrator. Happily, before long he got into teaching art, then enjoyed a long career at West Hill Collegiate in east Toronto, finishing as art department head. Over the decades as a hobby photographer he amassed other photos from countless sources. All these he kept lovingly in huge albums. For example, here’s a very rare photo that he saved ages ago of Leavens Brothers famous Pitcairn PAA-1 Autogyro CF-ASQ.

Leavens had started on a farm near Belleville, Ontario in the late 1920s, then moved to Toronto’s Barker Field and Pelee Island on Lake Erie. Leavens became legendary delivering supplies and mail to Pelee, teaching thousands of young Canadians to fly, and leading the way for years in spruce budworm aerial spray campaigns, and in aircraft sales and service.

Leavens’ sole Pitcairn had come to Canada in 1932, then spent more than 20 years doing everything from joyriding at country fairs to spraying and – as you see – banner towing. A bit of self-promotion is going one in this scene – Leavens always had a flying school. Thanks to Bill, this rare Pitcairn photo survives. I doubt that few in 2021 have ever before seen this one. Here also is an old b/w print from Bill’s collection showing a JN-4 on the Leavens farm in the late 1920s. One or more of the Leavens may have learned to fly on this old crate.

Here are three nice Bill Wheeler snapshots taken at Toronto’s Malton Airport c.1960. First is one of the Department of Transport’s beautiful little Piper Apaches, CF-GXV. This was an early Canadian Apache, having entered the CCAR in 1957. It served the DOT into 1965, then had a long list of operators including Calm Air in Manitoba and Drumheller Air Service in Alberta. It was missing from the CCAR by 1976. What was its fate, I wonder? Its registration eventually was assigned to a Maule. We always thought that this DOT colour scheme was the best over the decades. The only complaint here is the tiny registration. One would think that the DOT of all outfits might have known better.
Bill’s nice shot of a pair of DOT Beech 18s at Malton: CF- GXT is nearest. Just beyond is the old Canada Customs shack at Malton’s north end. Looming in the background is the recently built Skyport hangar. It’s still there in 2021 “GXT” was ex-RCAF 1540. It served the DOT 1957-69, then St. Félicien Air Services to August 19, 1971, when lost in a northern Quebec crash. Types like the Apache and Beech 18 were work-a-day DOT planes. Inspectors used them daily to travel around to dozens of airfields. They were used for check rides for private and commercial pilots getting qualified. They tested new radio or nav equipment, etc. As time passed, the Apaches and Beech 18s were replaced by newer planes such as the Aztec and Queen Air. This is one of those photos printed on a popular paper from back in the day that was somewhat mottled, so (as you can see) it’s not easy to read small details like registrations. Photographic paper makers were always trying out such new surfaces, looking for marketing gimmicks, but if only they’d stuck with a nice flat, glossy surface our photos would have more archival value in the 2020s.
Here’s a snap that Bill clicked off on the Genaire ramp at Malton showing one of the prototype Found FBA-2C bushplanes in the early 60s. CF-OZW crashed at Parry Sound on Georgian Bay in 1965. This really shows the Found for the tough little bushplane it was. It remains so to this day — a few of Founds built in the early 1960s still are at work in the bush. The first detailed history of Found appeared in Air Transport in Canada (1997). Then, in 2017 Rick Found wrote a further history – the “inside story” that he entitled Bush Hawk. With these two histories, the Found story is well covered.

Bill and Charlie

Charlie (left) and Bill out at Buttonville airport (near Toronto), where Charlie kept his beloved little CF-LVI. Looks as if this day he was doing some tinkering with LVI’s engine. Charlie was an ace of a tinkerer. Two finer Canadians one would be hard-pressed to find.

If the CAHS had two real pals from Day 1, those were Bill Wheeler and Charlie Catalano. While Bill was teaching, Charlie was a fellow who did almost anything. Once, he was managing a theatre where we held some early CAHS meetings, at other times he was repairing radios and TVs, yet again he was tinkering with a system of lights under the wings of his war surplus T-50. He’d fly over Toronto at night with the lights spelling out various advertising messages. Charlie was an innovative fellow. He and Bill were real CAHS stalwarts. There could have been no society without such members. For many years Charlie kept his own little 1945 Aeronca at Buttonville – CF-LVI. He flew it summer and winter. He and Bill made many a flight together. Here are shots that Bill took of Charlie’s “Airknocker” on skis, then towing a banner promoting a CAHS Convention some time in the 1960s. Last heard of in 2018, “LVI” was based in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

A History of Austin Airways

It was a big deal publishing CANAV’s short history of Austin Airways back in 1985, then adding to the details fairly substantially in Air Transport in Canada (1997) and The Noorduyn Norseman (Vol.2, 2013), but there’s much more to know about this great company than CANAV’s efforts. Long before I had a clue about it all, in the 1950s Neil A. Macdougall (1927-2021) of Toronto was covering the Austin story. By this time, Neil, having begun in aviation while in high school in Vancouver during WWII, was well known as a polished, professional aviation journalist.

On assignment from “ESSO Air World”, Neil did an in- depth study of Austin, visiting the company from its base at Toronto Island Airport to Sudbury and other points north. He talked to many of the key Austin people, flew in Austin aircraft, did all the photography, then put together this solid company profile. For the periodical genre, this is as good an air operator istory as you’ll find. If any writer in our so-shallow “social media” era could do half as well, he’d be a winner.

Here’s Neil’s finished product as it appeared in the January – February edition of the prestigious “ESSO Air World”. See what a professional writer and photographer at his peak could do out in the field 60+ years ago. Also, see Neil’s obituary at the end. Talk about a solid Canadian’s life well lived.

Fox Moth Discoveries

It’s always fun to come across any new airplane photo. Out of the blue, these two just popped up lately from Bill Wheeler’s files – a couple of D.H.83 Fox Moths. These planes were from the small batch built at Downsview in 1945-46 as DHC was getting back into civil aviation after its booming war years had come to a sudden halt in August 1945. Right away business in the north started to roll again, so airplanes were needed. While the DHC design team was working on what would evolve into the Chipmunk and Beaver, there was a small market for old pre-war Fox Moths. DHC turned out 53½ of these useful planes. Many went north, including one to Yellowknife for a young pilot, Max Ward.

I wonder who got this lovely air-to-air shot of Fox Moth CF- DIW? Notice the chief detail that makes this a Canadian-built version – its attractive sliding canopy. “DIW” was around Toronto when we were kids. Dave Marshall, a young fellow flying a DC-3 at Malton for the Abitibi Power and Paper Company, sometimes flew “DIW” (that looks like Dave in this shot). In 1959-60 it was based at Maple airstrip just north of Toronto. Its fuselage was red, the wings and tail feathers were yellow. I took a nice landing shot of “DIW” at one of the local fly-ins about 1960. Dave was flying that day. I happily used that shot in my first book, Aviation in Canada.

Fox Moth CF-EVK had a long career but it’s a bit of a complicated story. “EVK” had begun as the very prototype D.H.83 Fox Moth — G- ABUO. It came to Canada in May 1933, became CF-API, and that winter joined General Airways of Rouyn to toil in the northern bush. In 1937-39 it was in BC with Ginger Coote Airways, then returned to Ontario, where it hauled sturgeon in 1939 for Baillie-Maxwell of Nakina. Starting in 1940, it worked for Leavens Brothers from their Larder Lake base in northern Ontario. Damaged in a wind storm at Barker Field in January 1950, it was rebuilt by Leavens to D.H.83C standards, acquiring a new identity — D.H.83C No.54. This transpired when the salvageable parts of “API” were mated with the 54 th and last fuselage built by DHC. Re-registered CF-EVK, it appeared in DOT records as D.H.83C No.54. In 1959 it was listed in the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register to L. Lavoie of Amos, Quebec. Its C of A was current to March 1960, so it’s sometimes described as Canada’s last commercially- operated D.H.83C. After 1960, nothing is known about “EVK”. I once heard that it was destroyed when the shed it was stored in burned. Here, “EVK” looks very spiffy on skis, place and date unknown.

Three More Glorious Les Corness Photos

As usual, hardly a week passes that I’m not salivating over another of Les Corness’ wonderful old black-and-whites. First is a really classic scene from the early years of “modern” air transportation in Canada. A crowd of well-wishers is seeing off TCA DC-3 CF-TDT at Edmonton’s famous downtown airport. Here’s your basic definition of “airport security” in Canada c.1950. Delivered initially to the RCAF as FZ558 in late 1943, “TDT” next served TCA 1946-61. I photographed it in Winnipeg when it was in its final weeks with the company in September 1961, just before it was sold to Matane Air Service in Quebec. Last heard if, “TDT was derelict in Nassau in 1971 as N7709.
Next is another classic Les Corness Edmonton airport scene c.1960 showing Wardair’s Bristol Freighter CF-TFX loading a Bell 47. Great ramp action and content, right, even it Les botched his focus a titch. Happily, “TFX” eventually was saved for posterity. Today, it flies on forever atop its pylon at Yellowknife.
Since Edmonton was an aviation crossroads, hardly a day passed that it attracted some exotic transient airplane. Les must have been on Cloud 9 when he spotted this beauty one day – N5546N, a rare civilian Martin B-26 Marauder executive conversion. Having originally been USAAF B-26C 41-35071, in 1946 it was acquired by United Air Lines, then other owners followed. In 1949 it participated in the Bendix Trophy Race. From 1951-56 (or so) it served the Tennessee Gas Corp. I suspect that this was the period it visited Edmonton – there was much oil/gas industry corporate air travel to and from Edmonton and Calgary from the 1950s onward (to the present). Eventually, N5546N was acquired by the Confederate Air Force in Texas and restored to CAF warbird standards. It flew again in WWII markings in 1984. Airworthy B-26s were so rare that it a grave shock when N5546N crashed near Odessa, Texas on September 28, 1995. That day it was airborne with the pilot and four others aboard. It seems that power was lost in at least one engine, causing the plane to go down uncontrollably. All aboard perished.

Northern Aviation in 1977

In 1977 Hugh Whittington, the renowned editor of “Canadian Aviation” magazine, asked three writers to cover Canada’s Northern and Arctic Aviation scenes. Hugh Quigley headed for Yellowknife, Ted Larkin for Resolute Bay, and I for the heart of James Bay country along Quebec’s Great Whale River. This was a super opportunity for us. Besides, it always was a privilege to work for Hugh and Canada’s premier aviation trade magazine.

To start, I connected with SEBJ – la Société d’énergie de la Baie James – in Montreal to make arrangements to fly into its vast hydro development region, get briefed about what was going on up there, and how my transportation and lodging would go. In a few days I was at Dorval, where I met the man running SEBJ’s air transport operation, the legendary Frank Henley. A hardcore aviation fan and renowned aviator/businessman, Frank was keen to fill me in and get my flight north organized. Only recently he had set up an exclusive SEBJ corporate air operation using several Convair 580s. Their main task was to fly personnel, freight and mail back and forth between Dorval and SEBJ, with stops at Quebec and Bagotville.

This assignment was one of my first big breaks in aviation journalism. Even though I was getting published in the aviation press, there rarely was more than a few dollars in it for any piece of work. By comparison, Hugh was offering $750 for the SEBJ assignment. Our stories appeared in his November 1977 edition. My trip really panned out, including some very good flying in the Convairs, a couple of commercial Hercules, and some Bell choppers. I had one heck of an exciting few days. Here’s what I turned out for Hugh:

Forty-four years later? By now, the SEBJ that I saw in 1977 long-since has been producing hydro electricity for Quebec, New York and Ontario. The project has gone on to additional phases and still is on-going. Of course, the aviation scene is much changed. Long gone are the Convairs, DC-3s, Otters and Hercules. Today, such types as the PC-12, King Air and Dash 8 serve the region. Many of the fellows I met also have departed, from Frank Henley to Blake Smiley and Roy Heibel. Frank’s now a member of Quebec’s Aviation Hall of Fame. Roy later died in a helicopter crash.

Some of the SEBJ aircraft came to dramatic endings, including CF-DSX. Following SEBJ and other northern projects, in 1984 it became N39ST with Trans America, then was S9-NAI with Transafrik working in diamond mining regions of South Africa. On April 9, 1989 “NAI” was hauling fuel for the Angolan Air Force when it came under fire near Luena airfield. With two engines ablaze, it crash-landed. The 4-man crew survived, but that was the end of what once had been a famous Canadian Hercules.

The other “Herc” that I flew in on SEBJ, PWA’s CF-PWN, also had a bad ending. As N920ST, by 1989 it was doing shady work for the CIA. On November 27 that year was approaching Jamba airport in Angola. The “Aviation Safety Network” summarizes what happened: “The aircraft, flown by Tepper Aviation’s chief, reportedly was carrying out a flight on behalf of the CIA to provide the Angolan UNITA guerrilla forces with weapons. It crashed while coming in to land at Jamba. These flights were flown at night at a very low altitude to avoid MPLA radar detection. The runway at Jamba was dirt, the approach was over trees, and the portable runway lighting was probably marginally adequate.”

Here’s a page from Air Transport in Canada with photos of some commercial Hercules having Canadian connections, some quite sad. These days you can order “ATC” at a real bargain. Get this 2-volume, 5 kg, 1030-page treasure (usually $155++) for these all-in prices (pay by PayPal, etc. in Canadian dollars): Canada $65.00, USA $80.00, Int’l $160.00. No one ever has regretted having “ATC” on his/her bookshelf, and what a spectacular gift this duo always makes.

Canadair Revelation

Back in 1995 we published one of the grandest corporate aviation histories – Canadair: The First 50 Years. It really is a lovely book and will be treasured for decades by those who own the 24,000 copies that came off the bindery at Friesen printers in Manitoba. However, there’s always the reality that no matter how we try, we never really can produce the “all singing, all dancing” aviation book. All that our Canadair can do it whet a reader’s appetite for more. Well, today here’s a bit more for the avid fan.

Just like all aerospace companies, Canadair created hundreds of projects “on paper”, few of which ever developed. That’s too bad in some ways, for some of these surely would have made grand successes.

Out in today’s aviation boonies are hundreds of Cessna Caravans, DHC Beavers, Otters and turbo Otters, Kodiaks, AN-2s and other such common workhorses. They serve niche markets in a hundred-and-one ways. They’re absolutely indispensible for isolated northern communities from Labrador to Alaska, across Africa and Latin America, in the Aussie outback, in Siberia, etc. Each type has its general history, even some fame and glory, but who knew, for example, that the Caravan had its beginnings in the late 1970s as a glint in to eyes of Dick Hiscocks and Russ Bannock of De Havilland Canada in Toronto? Strange but true. The fellows envisioned an Otter replacement, took their idea to Wichita, and the rest is history (you might not see this part of the Caravan story in any official Cessna history).

All very interesting, but did you know that the first such brilliant and serious idea for an Otter replacement hailed not from Hiscocks/Bannock, but from Canadair at Cartierville in suburban Montreal? This was the Canadair CL-260 utility plane of 1970. As a builder of Sabres, Argus and CF-104s, who would expect the great Canadair to be dabbling with such a “small fry” project? That I do not know and nearly all the Canadair old boys from that era by now have passed. Does anyone out there know the details? Failing all else, here’s a nifty bit that emerged lately from the depths of the CANAV archives.

CL-260 Turbine Otter Caravan

Wing Span: 54’ 58’ 52’1”

Length: 43’2” 41’10” 37’7”

All-up Weight: 8000 lb 8200 lb 8000 lb

It’s just another fantasy airplane by now, but “what if” Canadair had produced the CL-260? Would it have changed the world long before the ubiquitous Caravan, and the other light utility planes that serve today? It’s always fun to speculate. Anyway, here are the GA drawings direct from Canadair. Who will be the first keen modeller to give this one a try? If you dare try and follow through, please send me some photos for the blog.

JFCiesla’s albums | Flickr

Have a look at John Ciesla’s fantastic transportation files. Lots of wonderful Canadian content from the great airliners of the 50s-60s to streetcars, busses, you name it. Many a trip down memory lane!

Bush Caddy Update

The last time I updated the story of the “Ghost” Canso of Gananoque, one of the photos (taken by Nick Wolochatiuk) shows a bit of a sorry-looking yellow Bush Caddy in the hangar beside the Canso. CANAV reader Jim Golz has found the story behind this interesting airplane. It’s a classic “cautionary tale” in detail, including some questions about of aircraft certification competence at Transport Canada. Use the blog search box to find our original story by entering “Bush Caddy”. Here’s the link that reveals this really amazing story … not to be missed by any true history fan, or anyone who aviates in kitplanes: https://www.eaa.org/eaa/news-and-publications/eaa-news-and-aviation-news/bits-and-pieces-newsletter/12-25-2019-wing-spar-failure-on-a-bushcaddy-l-164

“Arsenal of Democracy” Warbird Video + Norseman CF-DRD News + The A380 Bows Out + 40 Years for CANAV Books (Part 2 September 2020) + Photographing the Great 4-Engine Douglas Propliners + Two Books You Need

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

SAVE DRD – Red Lake’s Norseman icon – GoFundMe

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.

CANAV Booklist Summer_Fall 2020

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!

Here’s how the cover of one my special copies of Aviation in Canada looks 41 years later. This is the copy I took along to the RCAF 60th Anniversary mess dinner held at Canadian Forces Staff College in Toronto on March 30, 1984. The CFSC Commandant deserves a medal for pulling off this historic event, which included several First World War combat pilots, many prominent RCAF WWII types, others from the Korean War and early Cold War, along with many serving members on staff and on course. This was an evening to remember.

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.

Some of the RCAF serving officers and veterans on hand for the CFSC RCAF 60th Anniversary Mess Dinner in Toronto. I only have some of the names so far, but hope to fill in the gaps. In the back row are: AJ Bauer (OC 421 & 430 Sqns, CF-104s), Col Fraser Holman, 2 unknown, Ron Lowman (Mosquito nav), Daniel Reevy Walker (617 Sqn dams raid, nav), Jim Hanna (Spitfires), Don Bell (617 Sqn Tirpitz raids), Bob Hayward (Spitfires), Peter Gilchrist (Bomber Command, OC 405 Sqn). In the middle are Nelles Timmerman (Bomber Command, OC 408 Sqn), E. Dean Kelly (Spitfires), Bill Swetman (Bomber Command, OC 432 Sqn), R.J. “Herbie” Herbert (OC 440 Sqn, CF-100s), Paul Davoud (OC 409, 410, 418 Sqns Mosquitos, OC 143 Wing Typhoons), unknown, John Gellner (Spitfires), Chester Hull (Bomber Command, OC 428 Sqn), unknown, Don Morrison (Spitfires, POW), Ken Hayroe (Mustangs), Richard Rohmer (Mustangs, OC 400 & 411 Sqns, 2020 Honorary LGen of the Canadian Armed Forces). In front are Lew Twambley (CF-101s, pilot), C.H. “Punch” Dickins (WWI pilot, D.H.9), Mel Alexander (WWI ace, Naval 10 “Black Flight”, Sopwith Triplane), two unknown, BGen Bill Murdoch (CFSC Commandant).

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.

Here’s the invoice for the first printing of Austin Airways. Again, you can see how such a job got billed for the 2590 copies delivered. I always ordered a few extra dust jackets as replacements for the occasional damaged ones, and to use as promotional items. These soon paid for themselves.

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!

Autographs that I scrounged at some of the Austin Airways book events 35 years ago. Many who worked for Austin, who were company clients, suppliers, etc., or just fans of bush flying and books attended these gatherings. At a glance on these two spreads I see such famous Austin names as Helen Austin (her husband Jack had passed on by this time), Hal McCracken, Ray Lejeune, Johnny Der Weduwen, Brian Steed, Ray McLean, Larry Raymond, Frank Russell,
Len Harper, Frank Fisher, Bob Petus and Al Scully; plus such good general fans and supporters as George Thompson, Archie Van Hee, Bob Halford, Ron Lowry and Fred Hotson. What a priceless little piece of history such a book becomes as the decades roll by.

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 the late 1970s and early 80s Austin Airways still was turning a good profit with the DC-3, which by then finally was showing its age. But, DC-3s were cheap to buy, maintain and operate, all things considered. Here’s Austin’s CF-NNA loading groceries at Kapuskasing, Ontario on August 23, 1979. It might have been heading for some remote town, or maybe a mine site. Originally RAF KG448 in February 1944, post WWII “NNA” was RCAF 993, then Stan Deluce acquired it in 1975 from Crown Assets Disposal Corp, in a period when a nice ex-Canadian Forces DC-3 could be bought for around $10,000. Sad to say, but “NNA” crashed at Sachigo Lake in NW Ontario on January 19, 1986. On nearing destination in “woxoff” conditions (weather overcast, ceiling obscured, visibility zero in fog), “NNA” ploughed into the Sachigo Lake NDB tower and crashed. The captain and a passenger were badly injured. C-FAAM is seen on August 31, 1982, a good day for me as I got to ride along Timmins-Cochrane-Detour Lake-Timmins with Capt Serge Lavoie and FO Wally Watts. One detail I learned along the way was that, by this day in its long career, “AAM” had piled up 19,300 flying hours. “AAM” had been delivered to the RAF as FD941 in July 1943. It then had tours with BOAC and Northwest Airlines, before joining the RCAF in 1951 as 10910. It finally went to Austin in 1968, then battled along until sold in 1989 to Central Northern Airlines of Smithers, BC. “AAM” crashed disastrously at the Bronson Creek mine on January 14, 1993, killing both pilots, including my pal, Captain Grant Webb.
Once Stan Deluce took over at Austin and Air Manitoba, he brought in a fleet of HS748s to replace the DC-3 and to build much bigger markets. On August 21, 1979, I got to ride along on a typical “748” trip. It was a good solid day to see a 748 and crew earning their salt. Here, 748 C-GSXS loads groceries from a Jessel truck at Kapuskasing, a short hop for us from Timmins early that morning. Next, we flew to LG-2 “LaGrande” in Quebec, thence to Fort George (today’s Chisasibi) on Quebec’s James Bay shore, then we crossed the bay to Attawapiskat and Fort Albany back on the Ontario side, thence home for a beer in Timmins. Here’s the crew that day – pilots Jacques Giroux and Joe Deluce, and crewman Barry Sahler – 41 years ago. New in 1970, “SXS” had spent its early years in Mexico, before coming to Austin in 1977. It later served Air Creebec of Val d’Or. “SXS” went for scrap in 1999. Before going for pots ‘n pans, it had earned a great deal of revenue for Austin Airways.
A couple of scenes as we cruised north up the Hudson Bay coast. The scenery is spectacular all the way.

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

Lewie Leigh (centre) during our 1989 launch for Power: The Pratt & Whitney Canada Story. This grand event was held in one of Carl Millard’s hangars at YYZ. On the left is another great Canadian aviation pioneer, Archie Vanhee. “Ye olde scribe” and publisher is on the right. I have a few new copies left of And I Shall Fly each at CDN$28.00 all-in. If interested, let me know at larry@canavbooks.com For our next “episode” of this on-going story, we’ll begin with another legendary CANAV project – Helicopters: The British Columbia Story.

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.

Built in early 1945 for the USAAF as C-54E 44-9035, this DC-4 (civil designation) was sold within months by the US government Reconstruction Finance Corp. to Pan American World Airways. “Pan Am” operated it as N88882 “Clipper Malay”, until selling it in 1951 to CPA, where is became CF-CUJ. “CUJ” would fly many a trans-Pacific trip supporting UN efforts in the Korean War, and later to the Arctic, during DEW Line construction. In 1957 CPA sold “CUJ” to Maritime Central Airlines, where it became CF-MCI. We spotted “MCI” at Malton Airport (YYZ) several times in the early 1960s, when it mainly was busy on two accounts here – either flying in rhesus monkeys from India by the thousands (at a time) for the production in Toronto of polio vaccine, or, doing summer tourist charters in the trans-Atlantic trade. One wonders if they ever got the smell of the monkeys completely out of the plane, so that passengers could be carried! On this occasion, “MCI” is arriving at Malton on a very blustery January 30, 1960 with a load of monkeys. Imagine crewing on such a flight that would have taken a good 3 – 4 days from India on the other side of the world at a plodding 170-180 mph. I wish some of the old time Canadian DC-4 pilots had written their memoirs, so we could get the inside story of their work. But … the lazy sods traditionally have been loath to pick up a pen. “MCI” later served Eastern Provincial Airways and Nordair. Its flying days ran out in 1968, after which it disappeared for scrap.
Another handsome DC-4 at Malton … at this time (on April 22, 1960) D-AMIR of LTU also was in the European tourist trade. I caught it in this ¾ front view as it started up in front of the old Malton terminal. To get this shot, I had to stroll illegally across the tarmac, then wait for the engines to get running. Meanwhile, even though I was clearly visible to those in the nearby DOT tower, no one rousted me. This is the standard spotter’s “ideal” DC-4 shot, with the company name, logo and registration clearly seen and the whole scene “pristine” to the eye of the fanatical airplane photographer. D-AMIR was a 1945 C- 54D. Initially, it served the US Navy until becoming N6874C with Twentieth Century Airlines in 1957. It next served LTU 1958-60, then bounced around to British, Belgian, other German, and Italian operators. Long- lived, in October 1979 it became N8060C with Tiburon Aircraft in the smuggling business. A few weeks later – November 19 – it crashed fatally in flames while trying to land near McCormick, South Carolina, loaded to the hilt with more than 7 tons of marijuana. A case of “You pays your money, you takes your chances.” In the distance here is the newly-built Imperial Oil hangar, where the company kept its Convair 240, DC-3 and Lodestar. This historic hangar still stands 60 years later. Also at Malton this day (the reason that I hitchhiked out in the first place) were two Air France L.1649 Starliners supporting the state visit to Canada of Charles de Gaulle.
The first place that I photographed a DC-4 was at Dorval in 1959. Here’s a later scene there showing CF-JIR in Nordair colours on September 5, 1960. Delivered to the USAAF in 1944, it had gone to Pan Am in 1947 as N88923 “Clipper West Wind”. It migrated to Colombia in 1953, before reaching Canada in 1957 for Eastern Canada Stevedoring Col, which used it to position ships’ crews around the country). Various Dorval-based air carriers later flew “JIR”. It returned to the USA in 1969 as N3802. Various adventures ensued, some suggesting that the old crock still could get into trouble. It was scrapped in Florida in 1984. Check out the always-interesting 1950s Dorval background.
In this era the DC-6 dominated at Malton for American Airlines, but it was soon to be replaced by the glitzy new Lockheed Electra turboprop. Here, AA DC-6B N90767 “Flagship Indianapolis” taxys early on the morning of November 2, 1959. Its beautiful Douglas lines could not be any better portrayed. Having served AA 1951-65, N90767 moved on to the Ecuadorean government. It last was noted as stored at Quito in 1974.
The spotters of the times would call this an almost ideal DC-6 landing shot, spoiled only by my having clipped the tip of the fin. This is so typical of our landing shots taken at Malton “back in the day”. But these were not the busy times of hundreds of daily flights at today’s YYZ. We often waited half an hour between arrivals. Shown is N90733 “Flagship Albany”. It served AA 1947 – 66. It went for scrap in Tucson in 1980.
Malton’s classiest DC-6s were the CPA Empresses. These were almost daily Malton visitors into 1961, although CPA’s Britannias were taking over. Seen on November 28, 1959 is CF-CZV “Empress of Suva”. These long-range beauties ranged far and wide on CPA’s routes from Vancouver to Hawaii, Fiji and New Zealand, down to Chile and across to Amsterdam. Anywhere that they wouldn’t step on TCA’s toes back in those deeply regulated Canadian airline days. Delivered new in August 1957, “CZV” served CPA into late 1961, when it was sold in Sweden. Many global operators followed (Greenland Air included), with the old classic eventually ending in 1998 with the South African Airways Historical Society. In 2010 it was made airworthy for a final flight to a private dirt strip in the RSA. See this exciting event at http://www.aerialvisuals.caAirframeDossier
On February 2, 1963 I was visiting Buffalo, NY. Among other nice surprises that day was United Airlines’ DC-6B N37560. In a way, just another “shot for the record”, but 50+ years later, we’re always delighted to have shown the interest in the first place. N37560 served United 1952 – 68, so it carried tens of thousands of passengers and earned millions in revenue. Its subsequent career looks pretty spurious. It went for scrap in Miami in 1986.
Always a real coup for spotters at Malton was a BOAC DC-7C. These were not easy to catch, since they tended to arrive in the late afternoon, by when were usually had headed home for supper. However, sometimes we were lucky to photograph a landing such as this one, featuring G-AOIF flaring to land on Runway 32 mid-afternoon on June 4, 1960. By this time, the DC-7C was starting to give way at BOAC to the Britannia. G-AOIF had joined the fleet in December 1956, then remained into 1965. Many subsequent operators ensued. G-AOIF ended in the aerial application business with T&G Aviation at Chandler Arizona in 1994, around when it went for scrap. Could a photographer hope for a better DC-7C photo that this one!
Yet another wonderful landing shot, this one showing Northwest Orient Airlines’ N291 at Minneapolis on August 20, 1963. This was during one of the great cross-country driving trips that Nick Wolochatiuk and I used to make in Nick’s VW “Beatle”. In this case, we were on the road living like street people on a few dollars a day — for 3 weeks! How is this for a perfect angle on a DC-7C? Notice how these old propliners were so filthy underwing, where the exhausts spewed out their smoke and crud. N291 served NWA 1957 – 65, then it spent a few years as CF-TAY with Transair of Winnipeg. Again, many outfits followed, the plane finally ending as freighter HI-524CT in the Dominican Republic and going for scrap around 1990. That’s all for now. I’ll see what nifty old negs I can resurrect for our next blog session.

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 Dan at afteams@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 bpetite@telusplanet.net

Flight Simulators Save Lives

SAS ConvairBefore the airlines had fully embraced flight simulation about 1975, many aircraft were lost unnecessarily in training accidents. In Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, such dreadful cases as the Air Canada and Air New Zealand DC-8 training flight crashes are cited. Someone could write a lurid book about all those avoidable accidents.

From the 1950s the airlines took a good 25 years before concluding that such advanced pilot training must be done only in a modern flight simulator equipped with motion and visual systems. Some airlines came kicking and screaming to the flight simulation table, but that era finally had become ancient history by 2015.

In doing some misc. research lately, I came across yet another crazy mishap caused by taking up a crew-in-training in an expensive airliner, then introducing them to a dangerous scenario. This involved an SAS Convair 440 training instructor at Stockholm retarding the power on one engine as the Convair lifted off. Usually, such challenges to the pilot-in-command were not announced in advance.

This incident involved Convair 440 SE-BSU on November 1, 1969 (shown above is a fine period view of “BSU” taken by my old photography pal, the late, great Wilf White of Glasgow). The accident report (available at the Aviation Safety Network) concludes: “An engine failure was simulated during the takeoff (at V1). The yaw was corrected and the Convair lifted off the runway. When airborne, the left wing dropped slowly, causing the aircraft to drift to the left. Power was restored to the No.1 engine, but the left wing hit the ground and the aircraft crash-landed. The nose and right main gear collapsed.”

End result? One lovely Convair 440 unnecessarily wrecked. Happily, the four pilots aboard survived, but with many similar training flights since 1960, there were tragic outcomes. In another of the hundreds of such crashes over the decades, on February 6, 1992, USAF C-130B Hercules 58-0732 crashed near Evansville, Indiana, while simulating engine failure during an in-flight training session. This “real life” exercise cost 16 lives. Although they have clearly been slow learners, today’s airline and military operators finally are with the program, almost all such training now being done “in the sim”

You can get the big picture about how the airlines gradually adopted flight simulation, by ordering yourself a copy of Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, 2015’s blockbuster aviation book of the year.

 

UPDATE *New pics* – The Boeing 727 Turns 50

The 1960s were exciting years in commercial aviation — this was the era when the major airlines were making the transition from propliner to pure jet. So it was in Canada that TCA and CPA introduced the DC-8 to replace the Super Constellation, DC-6B and Britannia. Suddenly we aviation fans were sitting anxiously at the end of the runway at Malton watching for a distant blotch of black smoke signaling the arrival of a Boeing 707, 720 or 727, or a DC-8. We got so mesmerized by the big new jets, that we began passing up the propliners that were interspersed on approach. Oh well, we were dumb kids, right, and had a pretty limited sense of history.

One of the great thrills, of course, was the sight of a “727”. Soon we were seeing them all over as we wandered around Canada and the US. They were sleek and shiny and in a great variety of lovely paint jobs.

The Boeing 727 had flown initially at Renton, Washington on February 9, 1963. Coincidentally this also was the 54th anniversary of the flight of the Silver Dart at Baddeck, Nova Scotia, i.e., the first manned, powered, heavier-than- air flight in Canada.

Boeing envisioned a market for 250 727s but, in the end, 1832 rolled off the line, the final example in March 1987. I flew on the 727 earlier, but the first flight that I bothered noting was that of July 8, 1987 – an Air Canada trip from Toronto to Regina. My last 727 flight was on First Air’s C-GXFA travelling from Ottawa to Iqaluit on February 16, 2007.

Here are a few of the many 727s that I had great fun photographing over the decades. Click on any photo to see it full screen. Andrew Yee has done the image processing, to make each of these old Kodachromes really sing:

American Airlines 727-23 “Astrojet” N1908 approaches Chicago O’Hare on August 28, 1966. I was there that day with pal Nick Wolochatiuk on one of our periodic Great Lakes trips in Nick’s VW. Delivered the previous May, N1908 served AA into 1992, when went into storage at Maxton, North Carolina. The following year it was sold to cargo specialist Emery Worldwide Airlines for parts and scrapping.

American Airlines 727-23 “Astrojet” N1908 approaches Chicago O’Hare on August 28, 1966. I was there that day with pal Nick Wolochatiuk on one of our periodic Great Lakes trips in Nick’s VW. Delivered the previous May, N1908 served AA into 1992, when went into storage at Maxton, North Carolina. The following year it was sold to cargo specialist Emery Worldwide Airlines for parts and scrapping.

Having joined AA in February 1965, 727-23 N1988 served to 1993. Here it is at Buffalo, NY on a blustery March 20, 1965. Buffalo was one of the best spots for aircraft photography. Almost never were we rousted from the tarmac, beside a taxiway, from a hangar, etc. A friendly place for sure! N1988 later served on various leases. It was sold in 1998 to Million Air Charter of Johannesburg, where it was seen derelict in recent years. Some 727s accumulated more than 50,000 flying hours.

Having joined AA in February 1965, 727-23 N1988 served to 1993. Here it is at Buffalo, NY on a blustery March 20, 1965. Buffalo was one of the best spots for aircraft photography. Almost never were we rousted from the tarmac, beside a taxiway, from a hangar, etc. A friendly place for sure! N1988 later served on various leases. It was sold in 1998 to Million Air Charter of Johannesburg, where it was seen derelict in recent years. Some 727s accumulated more than 50,000 flying hours.

Boeing 727-35 N4620 of National Airlines smokes in for a landing at Miami on December 28, 1966. When National folded in 1980, N4620 (named “Lynn”) moved to Pan American as “Clipper Sportsman”. In 1984 it went to a US company called Gulf Air Transport, then migrated to AVENSA of Venezuela. Last being heard of there in Y2K.

Boeing 727-35 N4620 of National Airlines smokes in for a landing at Miami on December 28, 1966. When National folded in 1980, N4620 (named “Lynn”) moved to Pan American as “Clipper Sportsman”. In 1984 it went to a US company called Gulf Air Transport, then migrated to AVENSA of Venezuela. Last heard of there in Y2K.

727-35 N4616 “Doris” in a subsequent paint scheme adopted by National. It later served Pan Am, then others until purchased by Boeing in 1985 to be converted into a USAF C-2. As such it served into the early 2000s, then was sold to a new owner in El Paso. “Doris” is seen at Washington National on May 2, 1972.

727-35 N4616 “Doris” in a subsequent paint scheme adopted by National. It later served Pan Am, then others until purchased by Boeing in 1985 to be converted into a USAF C-2. As such it served into the early 2000s, then was sold to a new owner in El Paso. “Doris” is seen at Washington National on May 2, 1972.

N8110N of Eastern Airlines taxis from the terminal at Dorval on February 19, 1966. By now all the buildings in the background have been demolished. EAL was the first 727 operator, N8110N being its 10th example. It served into 1981, then went for scrap.

N8110N of Eastern Airlines taxis from the terminal at Dorval on February 19, 1966. By now all the buildings in the background have been demolished. EAL was the first 727 operator, N8110N being its 10th example. It served into 1981, then went for scrap.

N8833E lands at Toronto on August 1, 1970. Delivered in December 1969, this 727-225 served EAL into the mid-eighties. Thereafter, it had periods on lease or in storage. In 1996 it was leased to Kelowna Flightcraft. Registered C-GACU, it operated to about 2010 doing Purolator cargo runs from Hamilton, Ontario.

N8833E lands at Toronto on August 1, 1970. Delivered in December 1969, this 727-225 served EAL into the mid-eighties. Thereafter, it had periods on lease or in storage. In 1996 it was leased to Kelowna Flightcraft. Registered C-GACU, it operated to about 2010 doing Purolator cargo runs from Hamilton, Ontario.

Another renowned 727 operator was Northwest Orient Airlines of Minneapolis. Here its recently-delivered 727-51C N490US lands at O’Hare on August 28, 1966. It served NWA into 1984, then flew cargo for Emery Worldwide Airlines 1984-92. N490US ended its days with UPS, from where it retired to storage in New Mexico in 2003.

Another renowned 727 operator was Northwest Orient Airlines of Minneapolis. Here its recently-delivered 727-51C N490US lands at O’Hare on August 28, 1966. It served NWA into 1984, then flew cargo for Emery Worldwide Airlines 1984-92. N490US ended its days with UPS, from where it retired to storage in New Mexico in 2003.

TWA was another key 727 operator. Here its “Star Stream 727” N848TW, delivered in September 1964, lands at  O’Hare on August 28, 1966. Later named “City of Vienna”, N848TW ended on the scrap heap in Y2K.

TWA was another key 727 operator. Here its “Star Stream 727” N848TW, delivered in September 1964, lands at O’Hare on August 28, 1966. Later named “City of Vienna”, N848TW ended on the scrap heap in Y2K.

From 1974 the 727 was the backbone on Air Canada’s medium-haul routes. Shown is C-GYNG, which served 1981-87 including a stint with affiliate Air Jamaica. “YNG” was sold to FedEx in 1991. There it operated as N280FE into 2011, when it was banished to the airplane bone yard at Victorville, the former George AFB near San Bernardino.

From 1974 the 727 was the backbone on Air Canada’s medium-haul routes. Shown is C-GYNG, which served 1981-87 including a stint with affiliate Air Jamaica. “YNG” was sold to FedEx in 1991. There it operated as N280FE into 2011, when it was banished to the airplane bone yard at Victorville, the former George AFB near San Bernardino.

Boeing 727 C-FRST YFB Combi 15-8-92

Last to operate the 727 on scheduled routes in Canada was Ottawa-based First Air. Here are two views of First Air’s “combi” C-FRST at YFB Iqaluit on August 12 and 15, 1992. A 727-90C, “RST” originally had been delivered to Alaska Airlines in 1966, from where First Air acquired it in 1985. “RST” left service in Y2K. Several all-cargo 727s still operate in Canada with Cargo Jet Airways and Kelowna Flightcraft.

Last to operate the 727 on scheduled routes in Canada was Ottawa-based First Air. Here are two views of First Air’s “combi” C-FRST at YFB Iqaluit on August 12 and 15, 1992. A 727-90C, “RST” originally had been delivered to Alaska Airlines in 1966, from where First Air acquired it in 1985. “RST” left service in Y2K. Several all-cargo 727s still operate in Canada with Cargo Jet Airways and Kelowna Flightcraft.

Blog new 727 C-GAFA landing_sm

First, Air 727 C-GXFA approaches to land at YFB Iqaluit on a clear day in February 2006. Then (below) it’s seen from the control tower as the passengers deplane. From 1975-90 “XFA” had been Air Canada C-GAAG, then was with Air Transat ’til joining First Air in 1994. In about 2008 “XFA” went into long-term storage at Trois-Rivieres, but no longer is there. Scrapped, perhaps, or flown away in some new resurrection?.

First Air 727 C-GXFA approaches to land at YFB Iqaluit on a clear day in February 2006. Then, "XFA" is seen from the control tower as the passengers deplane. From 1975-90 "XFA" had been Air Canada C-GAAG, then it was with Air Transat 'til joining First Air in 1994. In about 2008 "XFA" went into long-term storage at Trois-Rivieres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On February 10, 2012 Bob Bogash of the Museum of Flight in Seattle reported:

Fifty years ago today the 727 — one of Boeing’s greatest —  roared down the runway at Renton Municipal Airport. Pilot Lew Wallick pulled back on the control wheel and the great airplane lifted into the skies. That airplane landed at Paine Field in Everett — its first-ever landing. It went onto fly over 60,000 hours for United, then made its last landing (to date) again at Paine Field, where it has resided for the past 22 years. It was followed by another 1831 siblings, who made the 727 truly a great airplane.

We hope to fly her one more time – to Boeing Field in Seattle – her REAL last landing. We had hoped to do it today on its Golden Anniversary. Not all things that are hoped for come true, but we have come a long ways to make it happen. Together with super dedicated Crew Chief T.C. Howard and help from some other folks like Boeing and FedEX, hopefully we can make it happen yet –  this year 2013, the 727’s Golden Anniversary. Happy Birthday 727. You are something special.

For another take on 50 years of the 727, check out Pierre Gillard’s excellent piece.

During its gaudy orange era, CPA operated four 131-seat 727-117s (1971-77) and two 189-seat -217s (1975-80). "CUS" later served in Mexico and Ecuador before being cut up for scrap in Miami in 1998. It's seen on approach at Toronto on March 6, 1972.

During its gaudy orange era, CPA operated four 131-seat 727-117s (1971-77) and two 189-seat -217s (1975-80). CF-CUS later served in Mexico and Ecuador before being scrapped in Miami in 1998. It’s seen on approach at Toronto on March 6, 1972.

CP Air 727 CF-CPK in the background at Toronto on March 16, 1973. At the time I was panning the taxiing McCullough's Electra -- ex-American Airlines N6118A. Having served CP Air 1970-77, CF-CPK migrated to Mexico, Ecuador and the UK. It made its final landing in Ecuador, where it was photographed in derelict condition as lately as 2006.

CP Air 727 CF-CPK in the background at Toronto on March 16, 1973. At the time I was panning the taxiing McCullough’s Electra — ex-American Airlines N6118A. Having served CP Air 1970-77, CF-CPK migrated to Mexico, Ecuador and the UK. It made its final landing in Ecuador, where it was photographed in derelict condition as lately as 2006.

727-22 (F) C-GBWY began with United Air Lines in 1966, where it served 25 years. It joined FexEx in 1990 and the following year came to Canada for FexEx contractor Brooker Wheaton, then Max Ward's Morningstar Air Express. In 2004 it returned in the US as N192FE, retired from FedEx in 2007 and presently is a ground-based training aid at Denver. The FedEx website in February 2013 noted that 79 727 remained in the fleet, but these fast were being replaced by more fuel-efficient 757s. C-GBWY seen at Calgary on July 4, 1993.

727-22 (F) C-GBWY began with United Air Lines in 1966, where it served 25 years. It joined FedEx in 1990 and the following year came to Canada for FedEx contractor Brooker Wheaton, then Max Ward’s Morningstar Air Express. In 2004 it returned to the US as N192FE, retired from FedEx in 2007 and presently is a ground training aid at Denver. The FedEx website in February 2013 noted that 79 727s remained in the fleet, but these fast were being replaced by more fuel-efficient 757s. C-GBWY is seen at Calgary on July 4, 1993.

Blog Extra 727s-1677_sm

Air East Africa 727-44 N723JE started in 1965 as ZS-DYR with South African Airways. It served there until sold in Colombia in 1982. In 1985 it became N723JE, then found its way back to Africa, still as N723JE. When I photographed it at Nairobi, Kenya on August 4, 1994, it was associated with the Texan company, Custom Air Transport, whose DC-4 is in the background (ownership of such tramp planes often is tricky to follow). While based here, both aircraft were operating in the Great Lakes region in the time of the horrendous turmoil in Rwanda/Congo/Burundi. Tramp freighters always swarm to such regions in search of quick money carrying anything or anybody for a price. N723JE finally went for scrap at Miami in 2001.

Angolan 727 D2-FLZ at Kigali, Rwanda on August 3, 1994. This 727-542 had begun in 1968 as N1965 of American Airlines, where it worked into 1993. It last was heard of as TN-AFZ with Trans Air Congo in the early 2000s. D2-FLZ worked for the nefarious South African/Angolan mercenary outfit Executive Outcomes, which specialized in brute force regime changes.

Angolan 727 D2-FLZ at Kigali, Rwanda on August 3, 1994. This 727-542 had begun in 1968 as N1965 of American Airlines, where it worked into 1993. It last was heard of as TN-AFZ with Trans Air Congo in the early 2000s. D2-FLZ worked for the nefarious South African/Angolan mercenary outfit Executive Outcomes, which specialized in brute force regime changes.

9Q-CAV at Goma, DRC in August 8, 1994, where pandemonium reigned and everyone seemed to be carrying a weapon. Having begun in 1966 as N8143N with Eastern Airlines, this 727-25 later flew for Trump Shuttle, before going to the DRC in 1991. 9Q-CAV is thought to have been put out to pasture in 2007.

9Q-CAV at Goma, DRC in August 8, 1994, where pandemonium reigned and everyone seemed to be carrying a weapon. Having begun in 1966 as N8143N with Eastern Airlines, this 727-25 later flew for Trump Shuttle, before going to the DRC in 1991. 9Q-CAV is thought to have been put out to pasture in 2007.

All in a CANAV Week’s Work: Toronto/Winnipeg Turn-Around – ACEAF is off the Press

Bright and too early at “YYZ T-1”. A window seat is always fun for checking out what’s doing on the ramp. (All photos Larry Milberry)

On July 26, 2010 I was on the road early to catch Air Canada AC257, an A-320, to Winnipeg. The mission this time? To re-visit my good friends at Friesens printers down in lovely Altona, not far from lovely Gretna, close to lovely Winkler. I looked forward to the trip, having enjoyed Friesens and Altona since first visiting in 1995 with CANAV’s big Canadair project.

As it always seems to go these day’s, our A-320 was chock-a-block, not a seat in the house. It departed “YYZ” (Toronto) as advertised and at 0810 — 2 1/2 hours after pushback at YYZ — our pilot (or his auto-land system) greased AC257 onto the runway in Winnipeg. Taxiing in, we could see how far along is “YWG’s” new terminal — lookin’ good! Perimeter Metros and Dash 8s were all over the place, as were Westjet  and FirstAir 737s and various Air Canada types. All looked pretty normal on a glorious Manitoba morning.

If there are a few minutes to burn, it’s always a blast to sit at the end of the runway to catch a few arrivals. Here comes Perimeter’s Metro C-FBTL, likely in from one of the northern First Nations centres.

Picking up a zippy little Accent at Enterprise, I headed to the top end of the ‘drome to catch a few landing shots. There are some good spots for shooting up there, right near Eagle & Brookside. Brookside Cemetery is itself worth a visit and has a huge military section. No time today, however, for the dearly departed. After grabbing some interesting arrivals, especially Perimeter and Bearskin, I headed back to the ‘drome to get some research done at the Western Canada Aviation Museum.

The WCAM is home to one of Canada’s premier aviation libraries/archives, but this is a well-kept secret (don’t tell anyone). A researcher hardly knows where to begin and your head swirls as astounding material pops up at every turn. Typical of the WCAM holdings are the Found Brothers and Transair archives, each with boxes and boxes of goodies. It’s encouraging to see so much material so well and safely stored, and available to the earnest researcher. With decades of experience, the WCAM can boast a fine cadre of archives volunteers, who fastidiously catalogue material and take time to ably assist any visitor. The WCAM is a model institution rich not only in airplanes, artifacts, programs, books, journals and rare tech manuals, but also in priceless personal and corporate collections. This is what aviation museums/archives should be all about.

Research “finds” at the WCAM: A certificate awarded to Roy deNevers following a course on the Firefly at RNAS Lossiemouth.

A wooden Bolingbroke model tested in the National Research Council wind tunnel in Ottawa in 1942

By 1400 it was time to push off to Altona, so down Hwy 75 I drove on a classic Manitoba day. By this time the “Towering Q” was a-building and storm warnings were being aired on all the radio stations. But the storms saved their fury for points north of Winnipeg. Turning onto Hwy 14, I stopped to photograph a winter wheat harvest, wildflowers, some impressive weather to the north, etc.

This monstrous towering cumulus was developing west of Hwy 75, but it eventually dissipated, while other such systems were clobbering points to the north of Winnipeg.

Going full tilt to bring in a half-section of winter wheat along Hwy 14 at Road 2 West.

Arrived at Friesens, I got T’d up with my good friends in book manufacturing. Tomorrow we had a job to do — print Vol.3 in CANAV’s new series — Canada’s Air Force: Evolution of an Air Force. After setting me up in some nice accommodations (the boss’ suite), Mike Fehr treated me to supper. Come 0800 next morning and CSR Elvira Filion was briefing me about the job. The first sheet for approval rolled off the press at 1000 and from then on the day was busy as we checked/approved some 24 sheets, including endpapers and dust jacket.

Friesen’s pressman Dennis Penner inspects a proof that he’s just been pulled from the press.

Then, the publisher does his annual thing — inspecting the job. This pallet has 1650 freshly-printed sheets of whichever pages of Evolution of an Air Force. (Photo by Dennis Penner)

In between press runs I took some time to photograph the windmill farm going up to the east of Altona.

Work progresses on the site of a future windmill a few km from Altona.

Local citizens are never overly sold on the “invasion of the windmills”, but there seems to be at least a bit of a payoff for everyone in the neighbourhood. Cash is king, eh! I also checked out Altona’s local ag operator, Steve Kiansky’s Southeast Air Service. Since last year he’s traded up from his piston-pounding Air Tractor AT-301 (R-1340) ag plane to a turbo-powered AT-502 (PT-6). Over at Winkler, the same trend – Arty’s is converting from his Weatherlys with their oft-cantankerous R-985s and now has three factory-fresh AT-402s (PT6). Back to the windmill story, one Manitoba business that is really vulnerable to these new “green” gizmos is crop dusting. Huge areas previously covered by aerial application become no-fly zones once the “war of the worlds” windmills are in place at 150-300 feet. Another reason maybe to scratch your head about the brilliance of “alternative” energy sources, eh! Later in the day, Mike Fehr sent me out to meet his farmer brother-in-law, Adam Wiebe.

Adam Wiebe pilots his John Deere 9750STS, then offloads his bin into a bulk trailer driven by his partner — his father.

Then, Adam flies his mighty machine as his passenger tries for a “cockpit shot”.

Miles of beautiful Manitoba fields, as the winter wheat is gobbled up by John Deere.

Adam was harvesting winter wheat and took me out for an hour’s “flight” in his mighty John Deere 9750STS. Powered by a 350-hp diesel engine (fuel cap. 250 US gal) and with a 300 bushel hopper, this beauty has a gross weight about that of a DC-3. While Adam filled me in about farming this year in Southern Manitoba, I tried to answer his many aviation history queries. Back at Friesens, I checked some final proofs, then knocked off for supper at Bravo’s — top notch.

Come the morning of the 28th and it was bye-bye to Friesens — see y’all next book. Back up I drove to the WCAM, stopping only in the cemetery in Morris to photograph a few RCAF stones.

History buffs are always fascinated by cemeteries, since they often have an aviation connection. In the restful cemetery in Morris, several fliers have made their final touchdowns, including AC1 Albert E. Porter. On September 21, 1940 Albert (age 27) was in Fleet Finch 4449 flying near Trenton. He was a mechanic, so may have been

up with the pilot on a test flight, or maybe was just on a joy ride. Somehow, 4449 collided with Finch 1018. Both planes came down. Of the four men aboard, Albert was the sole casualty. This accompanying newspaper clipping gives an outline of what happened that day.

Today’s job at the WCAM? Grinding for several hours over the astounding log books of Roy O. deNevers, one of the many unsung Canadian aviation heroes. Look for his story in Vol.4 — Aviation in Canada: The RCAF Overseas 1939-1945. Along the way, author Bill Zuk showed up, working with a team taping several RCAF Lancaster aircrew. Bill and I had a pleasant walk, then some cool ones in the Airport Hilton lounge (you’ll know some of Bill’s books, including his bio of the great Janusz Zurakowski of CF-105 renown).

Fairchild Super 71 CF-AUJ is the latest of the WCAM’s magnificent aircraft restorations. This project places the WCAM in the “world class” category of aviation museums. Its attendant library and archives give the whole place the perfect balance as an aviation history centre.

Finally, take one of your last looks at the terminal at YWG — in a few months things will start moving into the new complex.

Finally, it was time to catch AC268 (A-320) for a 1600-hour departure. Back on the ground ay YYZ after two hours, I caught a glimpse of the Emirates A380, collected my car at Park ‘n Fly and soon was home. Lots done, lots learned, bags of fun and all in a 3-day Toronto-Winnipeg CANAV turn-around. If you get the idea that CANAV never sits still, you’ve pretty well got that one figured out. Why sit around when the world awaits? If you have a minute to spare, read CANAV’s new booklist and get the details about the ACEAF and a hundred other excellent books.

Have a great summer!

Larry

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