Category Archives: Aviation history

Norseman Updates: Finnish Norseman Pushed Outside

Finnish Norseman OH-NOA, which is mentioned in Norseman Vol.2 (page 121 and earlier on our blog) now is freezing outside at the Finnish aviation museum. Blog follower Henk van Capelle sent us this excellent photo and reports: “I visited Tikkakoski in Finland on 9 March 2015 and found OH-NOA dumped in the snow behind the museum. So, unfortunately she is no longer in safe storage and is likely to deteriorate further. She is in a rather sorry state.” (click on any image to see it full screen). Finnish Norseman OH-NOA, which is mentioned in Norseman Vol.2 (page 121 and here) now is freezing outside at the Finnish aviation museum. Blog follower Henk van Capelle sent us this excellent photo and reports:

“I visited Tikkakoski in Finland on 9 March 2015 and found OH-NOA dumped in the snow behind the museum. So, unfortunately she is no longer in safe storage and is likely to deteriorate further. She is in a rather sorry state.”

*Click on any image to see it full screen.

US Military Norseman

Photo 2 0U4A3887 Paul Bigelow One of the really eye-catching sights at the National Museum of the USAF at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio is this Noorduyn UC-64A Norseman in its flashy Alaska Air Command colours of early postwar days. I featured Sheldon Benner’s photo of this Norseman in Vol.2. Now, here’s a fresh view of it taken this March by LtCol Paul Bigelow, USAF. In other news, the Canadian Warplane Heritage in Hamilton awaits the arrival of Norseman CF-GSR, acquired from Ernie Nicholl’s Huron Air; and CF-GLI, the salvage of which is covered in Norseman, Vol.2, now is in the Netherlands. It will be restored to flying condition. Airworthy Norsemans CF-FQI, CF-LZO and N78691  have been  on the market since 2014.

CF-MPL Accident and Memorial

A clipping from the Kapuskasing Northern Times of June 2, 1965 reporting the tragic end of CF-MPL. (Ellis Culliton Collection)

Norseman CF-MPL in RCMP service. The colour scheme was standard RCMP Air Division dark blue with yellow. (John Henderson Collection)

A clipping from the Kapuskasing Northern Times of June 2, 1965 reporting the tragic end of CF-MPL. (Ellis Culliton Collection)

A clipping from the Kapuskasing Northern Times of June 2, 1965 reporting the tragic end of CF-MPL. (Ellis Culliton Collection)

One of the tragedies reported in CANAV’s 2-part Norseman history involves CF-MPL. On May 27, 1965 Percy Bradley, an ex-RCAF pilot, was on a trip to a fishing lodge in CF-MPL with passengers Palma Leclair, Elma Mulvenna, Victor Prendergast and John Wright. Severe weather suddenly engulfed them. As a precaution, Bradley decided to land on Powell Lake south of Kapuskasing, but crashed in thick bush. He, Leclair and Mulvenna lost their lives. Prendergast later reported: “Mr. Bradley … decided to try a landing, but when we were about five feet off the water, he realized the lake was too short and attempted to pull out. The pontoons hit the tree tops … and the plane stalled and went nose first into the bush.” Searchers needed two days to reach the crash. One of the RCAF’s new CH-113 Labrador SAR choppers from Trenton rescued the survivors.

Ontario Provincial Air Service pilot Ellis Culliton photographed the accident site from his Beaver. It’s clear that CF-MPL crash violently and that it was very good fortune that anyone survived.

Ontario Provincial Air Service pilot Ellis Culliton photographed the accident site from his Beaver. It’s clear that CF-MPL crash violently and that it was very good fortune that anyone survived.

In 2010 members of the Kapuskasing Flying Club visited the crash site to survey the wreckage and set up a temporary marker. These good citizens have returned since to do further work, everything being done reverentially. Here are a few of their photos.

The main wreckage of CF-MPL after the fuselage was righted and the starboard wing raised out of the muck. Note how the standard RCMP colour scheme still was in use in Percy Bradley’s time.

The main wreckage of CF-MPL after the fuselage was righted and the starboard wing raised out of the muck. Note how the standard RCMP colour scheme still was in use in Percy Bradley’s time.

Photo 8 marker DSCF1112

The temporary marker that the KFC party set up at the crash site.

Above and below: KFC team members study the main wreckage, then pose in a group for the historic record.

Above and below: KFC team members study the main wreckage, then pose in a group for the historic record. Standing are Jack Pope, Michel Jauvin, Rene Larabie, Richard Drolet, Roger Isabell and Oneill Lapointe. Bob Pellow is in front wearing the red cap. Miro Spacek was behind the lens.

Photo 10 KFC team DSCF1144

Keeping Current with Canadian Aerospace: From Baddeck to the ISS

Skies Cover We’re really swamped with information – it’s a day-by-day battle to keep current with what we need to know, especially with the subject matter that grabs us personally. This means we have a lot of stuff to filter out, right.

It seems as if most who follow aviation are leaning on the web for basic data, but many good paper sources still beckon, whether books, magazines or journals. Those on the ball are using all these assets. Here are some of my favourites.

In magazine form and free on line is Skies Magazine, Canada’s leading aviation and aerospace periodical from Mike Reyno’s MHM Publishing in Kitchener. See skiesmag.com to subscribe to the spectacular bi-monthly Skies. It’s a bargain at CDN$23. Skies Digital is free for your first two years, while daily-informative Skies News is free. No arguments with these, eh. Skies will keep you current in all areas – industry, airlines, RCAF, recreational flying, you name it and just what you need. If you’re in the rotary world, go to verticalmag.com, also from MHM.

2 Air Force Magazine OVuyd7Ylqd1WOI1xDlz0oeWqJEhejDsZyTo8hXW0J5p7xzwzQkxJv_veI0pFoJPoXKHLeDhak9Rae-8OPu3s9uWiP8qsbSG2M_B3VkHr1UjjFWTmZwpjqOsrxRSbiKOpdu9ymmxmdlvcIc65sew-fTORRmdc_6R631_8Qw6a4sHGXTVjpI3rnU4X1mG5lppdCZzzSMIf you want more RCAF info than all the other niche sources, you need a subscription to Air Force Magazine. Always packed with on-the-spot RCAF developments, plus important RCAF historical articles, Air Force is a fantastic publication. See airforce.ca for all the info and set up your subscription. Go on … just do it!

3 CAHS Journal Midst a long list of Canadian aviation publications, another especially stands out: The Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal. Fans owe it to themselves to get a membership and keep it current year after year. I’ve been a member since 1963 and have a full set of those invaluable CAHS Journals to attest to my brilliant decision to join 52 years ago. For a nominal annual membership fee you receive four outstanding journals packed with coverage of all aspects of Canada’s fantastic flying heritage. So no more excuses or procrastinating, folks … get on board with the CAHS.

This year’s CAHS annual convention takes place in June in Hamilton. Naturally, a day at the astounding Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is on the program. This year’s main theme is Canada’s aircraft industry since 1909. See cahs.ca for membership and convention info.

Now you’ve got the good gen. These are really essential publications for anyone seriously interested in Canada’s aviation and aerospace scene. Be part of it, eh!

…Larry

 

More Norseman Tales: CF-JIN ex-RCAF 2482

RCAF Norseman 2482 in wartime days.The colour scheme was standard yellow overall. Postwar, 2482 became CF-JIN,  remaining in service into 2015. (CANAV Books Collection)

RCAF Norseman 2482 in wartime days.The colour scheme was standard yellow overall. Postwar, 2482 became CF-JIN, remaining in service into 2015. (CANAV Books Collection)

One of the busier Norsemans in modern times has been CF-JIN. Originally RCAF 2482 in 1941, it was struck off strength in 1953. It eventually re-appeared in 1957 as CF-JIN with Austin Airways, where it toiled into 1969. The next few years are a puzzle as to operations. There was a long dormancy, then, in 1988 it popped up at Red Lake Air Service in NW Ontario. In 1995 it moved across Howey Bay to Chimo Air Service, where it remained into 2015.

CF-JIN stuck in the boonies circa 1960 during Austin Airways times. Looks like an engine change is under way. (CANAV Books Collection)

CF-JIN stuck in the boonies circa 1960 during Austin Airways times. Looks like an engine change is under way. (CANAV Books Collection)

In October 2002 JIN went south for overhaul at Mo Nesbitt’s Corporate Aircraft Restorations in Oshawa. Specializing in such vintage types as the Tiger Moth, Harvard and Chipmunk, CAR found JIN to be in reasonable condition, even its wooden wing. On May 1, 2003, by then looking like a factory fresh Norseman, JIN was trucked to Oshawa Harbour, assembled, craned into the water, then towed to nearby Whitby, whose beach made test flights convenient. JIN next made a short hop to Lake Scugog for post-test flight checks, then flew home to Red Lake. In the following years it has worked summers in the fly-in fishing and tourist camp trade.

CF-JIN at CAR

Work is nearly done retoring CF-JIN in the CAR hangar. Al Wingate, looks on. Al knew a thing or two about Norsemans having ferried one to Argentina after the war. a story related in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman. (Wally Norris)

 Work is nearly done retoring CF-JIN in the CAR hangar. Al Wingate, looks on. Al knew a thing or two about Norsemans having ferried one to Argentina after the war. a  story related in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman. (Wally Norris)

Following overhaul, CF-JIN heads through the streets of Oshawa towards Lake Ontario for assembly and test flying. (Wally Norris)

Flying JIN in the season following its rebuild was Bob Cameron of Whitehorse. In 2015 Bob recalled:

When I first arrived at Red Lake in May 2002, I was put to work flying Norseman CF-KAO. CF-JIN was still sitting up on shore in “winter mode”, but soon also was busy hauling fishermen out to the lodges. After I had been on KAO for a couple of weeks, chief pilot Dave Robertson announced: “So you think you’re a Norseman pilot now that you’re comfortable with KAO. Well, anyone can fly KAO. The real test is to make JIN haul a load. It’s now your turn.”

JIN had been maligned, in my opinion, hung with a reputation of being a “dog”. The Norseman is legendary for long take-off runs, and for that certain talent required of a pilot to work the “sweetspot” in getting his plane off the water. True, KAO seemed to dispel that traditional reputation with its amazing agility. Nonetheless, to me JIN was more of a “normal” Norseman, demanding that the pilot work the sweetspot with precision. I found that the sweetspot subtly moved incrementally forward from the moment it was established on the step, to when it smoothly lifted off. Dave Robertson told me that JIN didn’t fly any differently even after all the money that was spent on its rebuild.

Even though Chimo recently has been operating one of those fine, ever-efficient Turbo Otters, JIN proved its value at Chimo last season. We’ll have to see how much longer it lasts. Sad to say, but going into 2015 there’s a lengthening list of Norsemans consigned to “Norseman Limbo”.

Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman includes many details and photos of the famous CF-JIN. You can order this spectacular 2-volume set right here: Volume 1 and Volume 2 (Canadian orders only). US and overseas, contact larry@canavbooks.com.

CF-JIN in a typical over-wintering scene at Red Lake. This is how the planes dedicated to summer tourism spend their off-season. (Larry Milberry)

CF-JIN in a typical over-wintering scene at Red Lake. This is how the planes dedicated to summer tourism spend their off-season. (Larry Milberry)

The bare-bones interior of Norseman JIN as it was the season  Bob Cameron flew it. (Bob Cameron)

The bare-bones interior of Norseman JIN as it was the season Bob Cameron flew it. (Bob Cameron)

The typical Northwestern Ontario country over which JIN has been operating for almost 30 summers. (Bob Cameron)

The typical Northwestern Ontario country over which JIN has been operating for almost 30 summers. (Bob Cameron)

Jim Court flew the Quebec North Shore for decades. In his retirement, one of his hobbies is scratch-building magnificent models. In recent times he crafted this lovely version of CF-JIN for Bob Cameron. (Jim Court)

Jim Court flew the Quebec North Shore for decades. In his retirement, one of his hobbies is scratch-building magnificent models. In recent times he crafted this lovely version of CF-JIN for Bob Cameron. (Jim Court)

On January 31, Jim Court of Sept-Îles added a bit to the JIN story:

Hi, Larry … here’s a little more news about JIN in that hazy period you mention. After Austin Airways, it was with Labrador Mining and Exploration, which had been operating Beaver IUU and Norseman ECG. In 1969 ECG was sold to Baie Comeau Air Service, since there wasn’t enough work for both airplanes.

Within a summer or two, however, business picked up with the drilling at Jerido Lake south of Kuujjuaq. So LM&E bought JIN. However, one day Lloyd Hogan  crashed it into a swamp north of Schefferville after running a tank dry (Lloyd had his own story about this). JIN was salvaged and, years later, got rebuilt and went back to work.

A Norseman Visual Treasure Surfaces

Blog SGAS Norsemans Mochulskyjpg(Click on photo to see it full screen.) There’s a shadowy “archive” that slowly leaks out wonderful new Canadian aviation history. This treasure trove comprises the scrapbooks, albums, log books and correspondence of people who spent their lives in aviation.

Sadly, much of this material still ends in the dump after people leave aviation and fade away. We’ve heard this story all too often. One day a fellow called to report that his brother (my acquaintance) had passed. Before we signed off, I enquired about my old pal’s aviation collection. The caller reported that, since he had to clear his brother’s apartment quickly, he had boxed everything and put it out to the side of the road on garbage day – library, photos, log books, everything. A sad old tale, just pitiful.

Happily, others have family members with an interest, so good material gets passed along for safe keeping. Many have sent me such goodies, knowing that their treasures will be cared for and put to good use. One day the late, great Robert Halford invited me to lunch, showed me his life’s collection of material gathered through decades of publishing Aircraft Magazine and The Canadian Aircraft Operator. Then, he handed the whole collection – box upon box – over to me. Since then, I have used many of Bob’s photos in my ongoing series of Canadian aviation titles.

On another occasion, Harry Mochulsky, a renowned old-time Canadian air engineer, sent me some of his vintage Kodachrome slides. He was done this such stuff, but knew I could use it. I published the first of Harry’s photos in Power: The Pratt and Whitney Canada Story in 1989. Wonderful old material that likely would have ended in the landfill, had Harry not thought of me.

Harry photographed anything with wings — it was a natural activity, part of his trade. Here is one of his lovely old Kodachromes of the Saskatchewan Government Airways Service base at LaRonge about 1955 (click on the photo to see it full screen). What a typical Canadian bush flying scene. Nearest, and resplendent in SGAS black and yellow, is Norseman V CF-BEM, one of the stars in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.2. Then is an SGAS Beaver, another Norseman and Beaver and, far on the right, a Cessna 180. Everything is on skis. Note the neat nose hangars and custom wing covers used by SGAS. Can’t you just hear the snow squeaking under your boots and feel that crisp northern Saskatchewan air.

Having spent 1945-53 mainly in the NWT, CF-BEM served the SGAS 1954-64, Next, ‘til 1970 it was mainly a fish hauler for LaRonge Aviation and Canadian Fish Products. Later, came a stint with a tourist lodge, until CF-BEM was sold in the USA in 1979. Last heard of it was a shabby wreck in a Denver scrap yard.

CANAV is always on the lookout for ordinary old photos to bring to light in its next book. If you have any such still lying around, I’m interested, so drop me a note: larry@canavbooks.com.

Thanks for a great year of reading, writing, photographing and sharing aviation. Warmest holiday wishes and all the best in New Year 2015!

Larry Milberry

Typhoon and Tempest – Reminiscences

Spectacular Typhoon MN235 dressed in 440 Squadron markings for the CASM’s 2014 D-Day remembrance event. (Larry Milberry)

Spectacular Typhoon MN235 dressed in 440 Squadron markings for the CASM’s 2014 D-Day remembrance event. (Larry Milberry)

Typhoon dust jacketPublished in 1989, Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story is the only book dedicated to the heroic young Canadians who fought in these rugged World War II fighters. With some justification, through the postwar years these fellows felt sidelined by historians specializing in the 1939-45 air war. Their gripe was about how history eagerly embraced the Hurricane, Mustang, Spitfire, Thunderbolt, etc., but where were the books about the Typhoon and Tempest? Well, the books (all by UK publishers) were there, but only a handful by comparison. Their authors, the renowned Francis K. Mason, Christopher Shores and Christopher Thomas included, did outstanding work.

In the early 1980s, Hugh A. Halliday, a historian at the Canadian War Museum, became interested in the Typhoon and Tempest and the Canadians who fought and (often) died in them. Hugh developed a manuscript, but could find no publisher with the interest. At some point we talked over his project. It did not take rocket science to decide: “Let’s publish, Hugh”, I impulsively concluded.

And publish we did in 1992. Robin Brass did our graphics and editing, Tri-Graphic in Ottawa did the printing and binding. Our book launch at Canadian Forces Staff School in Toronto was a gala event. The Officers Mess was packed with fellows who had survived tours on Typhoons and Tempests to go on to postwar careers in aviation and many other professions. A bit later we held another book launch on a blustery winter’s night in the 410 Wing (Air Force Association of Canada) mess at Rockcliffe. I was certain that few would brave the slippery highways that night, but they showed up. Even Honourary Colonel André Lord of 438 Squadron attended, buzzing in through the storm in a 438 Kiowa chopper from St. Hubert. His pilots looked ashen, but the old Typhoon warrior was ready to get right into it!

Hugh’s book now was off on its 20+ year career. We earned several glowing reviews from critics who actually knew an important book when they got their hands on one. Where such reviewers have disappeared to, I have no idea. Unless an author is a rock star (preferably not Canadian), there’s no way today to beg, borrow or buy a review for any such a world-class Canadian book as Typhoon and Tempest.

Much great fun was had in post-book launch times. Thanks chiefly to Ed McKay (438 Sqn), a Typhoon and Tempest pilots association came into being and various events were organized. The fellows made Hugh and I their only honourary members. We gathered periodically for lunch in and around Toronto, and in Niagara-on-the-Lake; and each year several also would team up for a Normandy tour. Gradually, however, the fellows began to drop away. Our lunches that often numbered 25 or 30 pilots in the 1990s, by 2013 had dwindled to 5 or 6.

Pilots from the Typhoon and Tempest association at one of their annual get lunch gatherings. This one was held on October 14, 1992 at the Mississauga Golf and Country Club. Standing are Jack Cook (439 Sqn), Ed Flanagan (440), Jim Ruse (439), Jim Beatty (439), Ed McKay (438), Staff Marlatt (247, 439), George Lane (198), Jack Brown (193), John Flintoff (440), Harry Hare (175), Al McMane (182, 274), Murray Hallford (439), John Friedlander (181), Norm Howe (175), Clayton Leigh (182) and Bill Baggs (164). In front are Bill Clifford (439), Frank Johnson (174), Norm Dawber (438) and Rod Davidge (193). (Larry Milberry)

Pilots from the Typhoon and Tempest association at one of our annual lunch gatherings. This one was held on October 14, 1992 at the Mississauga Golf and Country Club. Standing are Jack Cook (439 Sqn), Ed Flanagan (440), Jim Ruse (439), Jim Beatty (439), Ed McKay (438), Staff Marlatt (247, 439), George Lane (198), Jack Brown (193), John Flintoff (440), Harry Hare (175), Al McMane (182, 274), Murray Hallford (439), John Friedlander (181), Norm Howe (175), Clayton Leigh (182) and Bill Baggs (164). In front are Bill Clifford (439), Frank Johnson (174), Norm Dawber (438) and Rod Davidge (193). (Larry Milberry)

Typhoon Dawber

How a couple of these fellows appeared in combat times – typical gung-ho RCAF fighter pilots Norm Dawber (above) of Toronto and John Flintoff (below) of Montreal. (RCAF)

4 Typhoon Flintoff

One of the best post-book launch Typhoon and Tempest events was an evening hosted by Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion at her municipal art gallery. I forget just how this got going, but the late George Broomfield’s war art was on show. His widow, Bambi, was guest of honour, along with a contingent of wartime pilots and “erks” (mechanics and other groundcrew).

F/L George Broomfield’s chalk rendering entitled “Inoculation Parade at Dispersal, 143 Airfield England ‘44”. This piece (the front endpaper of Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story), features 439 Typhoon “5V-D”. (Canadian War Museum)

F/L George Broomfield’s chalk rendering entitled “Inoculation Parade at Dispersal, 143 Airfield England ‘44”. This piece (the front endpaper of Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story), features 439 Typhoon “5V-D”. (Canadian War Museum)

George Broomfield (1906-1992) painted widely as RCAF 143 Wing (where he was a transportation officer) moved across Europe after D-Day. The only RCAF Typhoon wing, 143 comprised 438, 439 and 440 Squadrons. The wing would play a prominent role in the brutal chore of sweeping the Germans from France and the Low Countries, then back across the Rhine to final defeat. As a curator of war art at the Canadian War Museum, Hugh Halliday knew of Broomfield and recommended that we use some of his 143 Wing pieces. This was done, with Bambi’s approval. On the night the exhibition opened, a solid contingent of Typhoon people turned out. Here are a few of the snapshots that I came away with that evening.

Typhoon pilot Bill Baggs (164 Sqn) and his wife Nan enjoy the Broomfield show at the Mississauga Living Arts

Typhoon pilot Bill Baggs (164 Sqn) and his wife Nan enjoy the Broomfield show at the Mississauga Living Arts

Bambi Broomfield and Mayor Hazel McCallion surrounded by Typhoon men Bill Baggs, John McCullough, Norm Howe, George Lane, Jack Brown, Norm Dawber, Dave Davies, John Friedlander and Ed McKay.

Bambi Broomfield and Mayor Hazel McCallion surrounded by Typhoon men Bill Baggs, John McCullough, Norm Howe, George Lane, Jack Brown, Norm Dawber, Dave Davies, John Friedlander and Ed McKay.

Mayor McCallion, Ed McKay, Bambi Broomfield and Norm Dawber.

Mayor McCallion, Ed McKay, Bambi Broomfield and Norm Dawber.

The mayor with Norm Dawber and John McCullough.

The mayor with Norm Dawber and John McCullough.

The RCAF Central Band ready to lead the festivities at Rockcliffe. (all, Larry Milberry unless noted)

The RCAF Central Band ready to lead the festivities at Rockcliffe. (all, Larry Milberry unless noted)

Over the summer of 2014 a few survivors of our Typhoon and Tempest community gathered at the Canada Air and Space Museum in Ottawa. This was a bit of a last fling to honour them and included the world’s one-and-only surviving Typhoon — arrangements had been made to transport it from the RAF Museum at Hendon on loan. The reunion was part of D-Day celebrations held in Ottawa. Attending pilots made their ways to Ottawa from as far away as Victoria, BC. On June 6 they all arrived at the CASM/Rockcliffe aboard the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum DC-3 in D-Day markings.

CASM Typhoon Ceremony CWH DC-3 6-6-2014 colour

The CWH DC-3 arrives at the CASM from nearby Uplands carrying a contingent of WWII Typhoon pilots. Then, below, views of the excitement around the “Dak” as the fellows moved into the crowd.

12 Typhoon - IMG_5922 colour OK?Typhoon For the next year or so you’ll be able to see the awesome Typhoon at the CASM and, later, at the RCAF Memorial Museum in Trenton. Don’t miss your chance, if in the Ottawa or Trenton area. Here are a few other photos of the Ottawa “Typhoon roll-out” on June 6, 2014:

Wally Ward steps down from the CWH Dakota.

Wally Ward steps down from the CWH Dakota.

15 Typhoon - CASM Peter Roper & John Thompson 6-6-2014Peter Roper (a Brit on 56 and 198 Sqns) with John Thompson (245). Peter came in from Montreal, John from Woodbridge.

Ken Hanna (181 Sqn) with Frank Johnson (174) and publisher Larry Milberry. Ken wears the following medals: Distinguished Flying Cross, 1939-1945 Star, Aircrew Europe Star with Clasp denoting post-D-Day service, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, War Medal 1939-45 and l’Ordre national du Quebec. Otherwise, he displays an Operation Wing, 181 Sqn crest, a Typhoon pin and (on the right) the Normandy Campaign Medal -- an honour created by a private veteran’s association (people had to purchase it with proof of qualifying service). John’s medals are: 1939-1945 Star, France and Germany Star (post-D-Day service), Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, and War Medal 1939-45. Both the fellows sport “Typhoon” ties.

Ken Hanna (181 Sqn) with Frank Johnson (174) and publisher Larry Milberry. Both the fellows sport their “Typhoon” ties.

HarryHardy_JohnFriedlander_StephenQuick

Harry Hardy (left, 440 Sqn) from Vancouver greets John Friedlander (181, 247) of Mississauga as CASM director, Stephen Quick, enjoys the goings-on.

Harry Hardy

Harry Hardy in an RCAF wartime PR photo.

 Harry Hardy autographs an admirer’s copy of Hugh Halliday’s renowned book.

Harry Hardy autographs an admirer’s copy of Hugh Halliday’s renowned book.

John Thompson is interviewed by one of the media types covering this grand D-Day/Typhoon event.

John Thompson is interviewed by one of the media types covering this grand D-Day/Typhoon event.

Typhoon pilot Norm Howe from Niagara-on-the-Lake with a CWH Dakota pilot. The “canned” citation to Norm’s DFC notes: “By his keenness and enthusiasm, this officer has set a fine example to the rest of the squadron.” In comparison, Harry Hardy’s DFC citation is detailed, including such comments as “He has attacked many heavily defended targets including bridges, railway sidings, enemy strong points, barges, locomotives, canal locks and V-1 objectives.”

Typhoon pilot Norm Howe from Niagara-on-the-Lake with a CWH Dakota pilot. The “canned” citation to Norm’s DFC notes: “By his keenness and enthusiasm, this officer has set a fine example to the rest of the squadron.” In comparison, Harry Hardy’s DFC citation is detailed, including such comments as “He has attacked many heavily defended targets including bridges, railway sidings, enemy strong points, barges, locomotives, canal locks and V-1 objectives.”

 Ted Smith was excited to see the CASM Typhoon in the markings of his beloved 440 Squadron. Ted arrived this day from his residence at Sunnybrook veterans hospital in Toronto.

Ted Smith was excited to see the Typhoon in the markings of his beloved 440 Squadron. Ted arrived this day from his residence at Sunnybrook veterans hospital in Toronto.

Typhoon - winter scene

Some general scenes with 143 Wing showing typical conditions. It was no piece of cake for anyone in “the Typhoon business”. First, a 440 “Tiffie” awaiting winter “ops” at Eindhoven (the erks had the dirtiest ground jobs of all on 143 Wing).

Typhoon - taxying through the puddles

A Canadian Typhoon heads out on operations from Eindhoven lugging a typical load – a pair of 1000-lb general purpose bombs.

Typhoon - gerry cans I8-P

440 Squadron’s I8-P runs up in a sunnier setting with 5-gallon cans of aviation fuel supplying the foreground. Thanks to Andrew Yee for tweaking some of these photos. (RCAF)

Do you have your copy yet?

Be sure to have Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story on your aviation bookshelf. The final 50 of our 3000 print run are on sale (Canada) at $37.50 + $12.00 Canada Post + $2.47 tax = $51.97. Use PayPal (to larry@canavbooks.com) or mail a cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto ON M4E 3B6 Canada. US and overseas — CDN$61.00 all-in by PayPal or any cheque on any CDN or US bank (sorry, no plastic). Call Larry if any queries: (416) 698-7559.

Aurora Aviation

B-25 fuel hauler CF-DKU of Aurora Aviation as photographed by Leslie Corness at Edmonton Industrial Airport on July 18, 1973.

In the early 1970s some 435 Squadron C-130 aircrew stationed at CFB Edmonton (Namao) decided to get into business as “Aurora Aviation”, hauling fuel by air to remote mining and construction sites north of Edmonton. Involved were Duke Dawe, Bob Hopper, Harley Koons, Jack Rees and Neil Tobie. Tobie was a USAF officer on exchange with 435. This was a chance for the fellows to get some experience in business, make some money and maybe move up the line in civil aviation (Koons and Rees soon were to leave the air force.

As young RCAF pilots in the early 1950s Koons had flown the B-25 Mitchell, Rees had been an aero engine tech on RCAF B-25s, while flight engineer Dawe had solid experience on such types as the Lancaster, Neptune, Yukon and Norseman. They studied up on the practicalities of fuel hauling and decided that a B-25 would make a suitable and economic tanker. They located a dormant B-25J in New Jersey, one of several used over the years in flight research by Bendix. Ex-USAF 45-8835, this plane had been delivered so late in the war that it saw no service. In October 1945 it had been ferried straight into storage at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, where Bendix acquired it a few months later. As N69345, it began its R&D career at Tedeboro, NJ.

After many useful years, in September 1972 N69345 was sold to Aurora for $20,000. Ferried to Edmonton, it became CF-DKU and work began under Dawe and Rees to convert it for tanking. Several tanks were installed: one in the nose (modified T-33 tip tank), dorsal turret, bombay and rear fuselage. Tankage totalled 1400 Imp. gallons. “DKU” soon was licenced and put to work hauling fuel from Yellowknife to an ice strip at Hope Bay near the Arctic coast, where a silver mine was being developed. Other good business was supplying fuel for the resource railroad being laid by BC Rail from Fort St. James to distant Dease Lake. An airstrip was bulldozed along the route at Mosquito Creek, as construction proceeded. During DKU’s fuel-hauling years, Harley Koons and Jack Rees did most of the flying, assisted by Jeff Hutchison and Al Seitz. Speaking of the BC Rail job, Duke recalled in 2014: “We flew two trips per day from Smithers. I was the AME and co-pilot with Harley Koons.”

DKU twice suffered a collapsed nose gear during operations at Mosquito Creek. Duke recalls: “On checking my log book, the accident site was called Mosque – a gravel strip along the Skeena River.” He and his crew made some interim repairs, then DKU flew to Dawson Creek with the nose gear “down and welded”, then on to St. Albert (near Edmonton). Duke then visited Kamloops, where several ex-RCAF B-25s were rusting. For $500 he acquired the nose from one, then hauled it back to St. Albert to graft on to DKU, which soon went back to work.

The rugged airstrip at Mosquito Creek into which DKU operated from Smithers. (via Duke Dawe)

The rugged airstrip at Mosquito Creek into which DKU operated from Smithers. (via Duke Dawe)

Duke Dawe’s crew makes temporary repairs to DKU. The nose was bashed in and the prop tips bent.

Duke Dawe’s crew makes temporary repairs to DKU. The nose was bashed in and the props bent.

Looking quite unsightly, DKU returns to Edmonton for permanent repairs.

Looking a bit unsightly, DKU returns to Edmonton for permanent repairs.

In 1975 DKU was converted into a water bomber at St. Albert (near Edmonton). Thereafter, it was part of the G&M fleet of three B-25s fighting fires in Wood Buffalo National Park from their base at Fort Smith, NWT. Under chief pilot Jack Rees, G&M held the fire fighting contract for the park until 1991, when Ottawa decided no longer to fight fires in Wood Buffalo. In 1993 CF-DKU was sold back into the US, where it became N5672V. After several years being restored, it flew again in 1999. Today it’s warbird “Betty’s Dream” in California.

“DKU” with its new nose at Edmonton on May 31, 1975. (Leslie Corness)

“DKU” with its new nose at Edmonton on May 31, 1975. (Leslie Corness)

In Scott Thompson’s excellent book B-25 Mitchell in Civil Service, you can read Jack Rees’ personal recollections of his time flying CF-DKU, and his notes comparing the B-25 and A-26 as fire bombers. Scott also covers other Canadian civil B-25s. Copies of his book usually can be found at abebooks.com.

Blog B-25 No.6 Book Cover

Publisher Milberry in the Toronto Sun!

Air Canada's new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, landing at Toronto Pearson International

Air Canada’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, landing at Toronto Pearson International

From Mike Filey’s Saturday column in the Toronto Sun:

Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 12.37.03 PM