Category Archives: Air Canada

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 give 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

Canada Post’s boo-boo: A tail-less Silver Dart!

2009_silver-dart-stamp

The Toronto Sun’s Peter Worthington had this piece last week about Canada Post‘s new commemorative stamp marking the 100th anniversary of the Silver Dart, which was the first heavier-than-air machine to fly in Canada.

These stamp stories have been circulating lately, mainly about how the artist totally left the tail off the Canada Post plane. Talk about a boo-boo! That’s the real topic and the one that Jack Minor, retired RCAF and Silver Dart aficionado, should be grousing about. It’s probably not a “mistake” that the image of Douglas McCurdy on the first-day cover was used. My guess is that it was used because it’s such a nice picture of McCurdy, probably the best of him in any airplane. The McCurdy Biplane was a basic Curtiss design, likely built in Curtiss’ workshop in Hammondsport, NY. It was a far better plane than the Silver Dart.

Well, I’d say this just makes the first-day cover more interesting, as the collectors always love something to gossip about. I like the looks of the new stamp regardless of it being non-airworthy without a tail, and bought 4000, which I’ve been using on a mini-mailout. I’ll use the rest for the spring mailing (keep your eyes peeled!). Supposedly, the print run was small, maybe three million, so collectors will be loving these stamps for the next few centuries. Collectors really got off on the Canada Post stamp years ago showing an Air Canada Boeing 767 without engines! Now that’s pushing artistic licence…

There’s a version of the 767 called the 767 ER (extended range). Air Canada pilots call the plane on the stamp a 767 ER for another reason, ER standing for “engines removed”! Once when Canada Post botched a commemorative, they corrected the art and re-issued the stamp. Guess what that did to the value of the originals? Well, the philatelic folks just thrive on this stuff. Let’s see if CP re-issues the Silver Dart stamp.

Also great fun is how I wrote a year ago to Canada Post asking if they were planning to do an aviation commemorative for 2009. I’m still waiting to hear back about that! Any of our knowledgeable aviation history people sure could have saved Canada Post from putting out the tail-less Silver Dart stamp, if only they’d ask or answer their mail! Ah well, I guess that’s the Ottawa way…