Category Archives: Aviation history

Aviation Hall of Fame 2017 Inductees Announced

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James Errol Boyd was an early entrant into the Royal Naval Air Service from the Canadian Infantry. He flew anti Zeppelin operations over the UK and coastal patrols from Dunkirk until being interned in the Netherlands. Postwar, he flew mail along the St Lawrence and graduated to long distance over water, in record-setting flights to Bermuda and Haiti. His great claim to fame was his west to east trans-Atlantic flight in October 1930 in Bellanca WP-2 Columbia/Maple Leaf. It was the first crossing by a Canadian and completed in the hazardous autumn season, a feat not repeated again until made necessary by the demands of war ten years later.

Big news from Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame … Here is the press release for the Hall’s 2017 inductees. Have a good look to see the great work the CAHF is doing. Note the info about the upcoming induction dinner. This is an event anyone in aviation past or present will thoroughly enjoy.

 

Postwar Adverts

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-6-28-21-pmAdvertising normally is in symbiosis with daily wants, needs, events and trends. Together, they drive and nourish each other. But “ads” are fleeting, because the universe of buying and selling changes so whimsically. That’s why it’s fun and eye-opening to peruse old aviation periodicals just to take in the ads (click on any image to see it full screen).

With the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945, the world had to re-make itself by transitioning from war to peace. Ironically, wars’ end was a jolt, since people had become so used to fighting. Overnight, great militaries had to be dismantled – swords to ploughshares. In Canada something like a million men and women quickly were demobilized and sent home. Under War Assets Disposal Corporation, established by Ottawa to get rid of Canada’s tools of war, ships and tanks were sent for pots and pans, and by August 1947, 2157 airplanes already had been sold. Ottawa couldn’t act fast enough to dismantle what had been one of the most important Allied fighting machines.

Meanwhile, sprawling aircraft factories closed their doors, leaving great manufacturers like Boeing of Canada, Canadian Vickers, de Havilland Canada, Fairchild of Canada, Fleet and Victory Aircraft with nothing to do but send home tens of thousands of workers. Just as fast, however, these same companies were striving to come  up with new ideas to stay alive. After all, Canada’s airlines, bush operators, and flying clubs mainly had been without new equipment since 1939. Meanwhile, there were ominous signs of trouble between the USSR and the West, then war erupted in Korea. Canada’s aircraft industry suddenly was producing again

Lately, I started flipping through my set of Canadian Aviation magazine to see just what was going in the early postwar years. What a treasure of history these crumbing old magazines turn out to be. Here are some of the ads that caught my eye – they spotlight how Canada was starting to roll in the aftermath of WWII. All these come from the 1947 editions of this forgotten gem of a monthly.

Some of Canada’s most fascinating postwar ads cover War Assets. These informed the buying public about aircraft and associated equipment for sale at give-away prices. No sooner was the war over than Canadians were buying such planes as Hurricanes and Kittyhawks for $50 a piece. Although it was illegal to fly then, this did not deter some keen fellows operating in the countryside, beyond the prying eyes of Department of Transport inspectors. How do you like this ad … a fine Harvard for $800, a lovely Cessna T-50 Crane for $600, etc. In these brief years, huge fortunes were made by the more energetic of the war surplus hustlers.

Some of Canada’s most fascinating postwar ads cover War Assets. These informed the buying public about aircraft and associated equipment for sale at give-away prices. No sooner was the war over than Canadians were buying such planes as Hurricanes and Kittyhawks for $50 a piece. Although it was illegal to fly then, this did not deter some keen fellows operating in the countryside, beyond the prying eyes of Department of Transport inspectors. How do you like this ad … a fine Harvard for $800, a lovely Cessna T-50 Crane for $600, etc. In these brief years, huge fortunes were made by the more energetic of the war surplus hustlers.

Anton AIC

Bob Kashower of Oshawa, near Toronto, became a serious war surplus dealer, assembling hundreds of aircraft to scrap or re-sell. He ran goofy-sounding ads far and wide, but these worked – he sold anything from Tiger Moths to Ansons. Here he’s pushing Anson Vs, which he converted for civil use. Most had low time airframes, some with not even a hundred flying hours. Also flogging Ansons was Joe Lucas’ Aircraft Industries of Canada, which had taken over the RCAF training base at St. Jean, Quebec. Besides finding local buyers, AIC exported Ansons throughout the US and Latin America, even a few to Norway. For the War Assets surge, which pretty well had petered out by 1950, many pilots looking for a flying job could count on the war surplus industry for a bit of income delivering all these ex-RCAF aircraft. The Noorduyn Norseman covers a great story of four Norsemans being ferried to Argentina by a bunch of adventuresome young fellows. The Anson shown in the AIC ad bears Peruvian registration. All throughout Latin America ex-RCAF Norsemans, Cranes, Ansons and Cansos would give years of valuable service, until operators could get re-establsihed and afford more suitable equipment.

Anton Kashower

Charles Babb of California was the “King of War Surplus”. Eventually, he brokered a large percentage of RCAF home-based surplus aircraft. Just in Harvards and Cansos he supplied air forces around the world. Here, Babb lays out the basics of the versatile Canso, of which he sold dozens. He listed these from $9000 to $15,000, and they sold redaily. In another case, the enterprising Found brothers of Edmonton bought 44 Lancasters ( 2½ squadrons worth) at $325 a piece. With a great deal of backbreaking work, these were parted out, a good profit being made on the bits and pieces. Then the Founds re-sold several airframes plus 165 Merlin engines back to Ottawa for a fortune, when the RCAF realized it had let go too many Lancasters! I initially told this story in my 1979 book, Aviation in Canada.

Charles Babb of California was the “King of War Surplus”. Eventually, he brokered a large share of RCAF home-based surplus aircraft. In Harvards and Cansos alone he supplied air forces around the world. Here, Babb lays out the basics of the versatile Canso, of which he sold many. He listed these from $9000 to $15,000, and they sold readily. In another case, the enterprising Found brothers of Edmonton bought 44 Lancasters ( 2½ squadrons worth) at $325 a piece. With a great deal of backbreaking work, these were parted out, a good profit being made on the bits and pieces. Then the Founds re-sold several airframes plus 165 Merlin engines back to Ottawa for a fortune, when the RCAF realized it had let too many Lancasters go! I initially told this story in my 1979 book, Aviation in Canada (also see some great details and photos in Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace, Vol.3).

Meanwhile, commercial aviation was springing back to life, whether those rugged little bush operators, or the nation’s “Flag Carrier” -- Trans-Canada Air Lines. Bush operators were looking for new equipment … they hadn’t seen a new plane since before the war. Noorduyn thought it had the answer for local carriers in its updated Norseman V. But it wasn’t catching on and Noorduyn was having trouble paying the bills. The Norseman V was sold to Canadian Car and Foundry, which had some spare cash. However, nothing much happened. Problem? Come the peace and the US Army had several hundred Norsemans to get rid off. These flooded the market – mainly good, low time planes for cheap -- $5000 up towards $12,000. Meanwhile, a Norseman V was $30,000. In this way, the war surplus market was detrimental to the postwar aircraft industry.

Meanwhile, commercial aviation was springing back to life, whether those rugged little bush operators, or the nation’s “Flag Carrier” — Trans-Canada Air Lines. Bush operators were looking for new equipment … they hadn’t seen a new plane since before the war. Noorduyn thought it had the answer for local carriers in its updated Norseman V. But it wasn’t catching on and Noorduyn was having trouble paying the bills. The Norseman V was sold to Canadian Car and Foundry, which had some spare cash. However, nothing much happened. Problem? Come the peace and the US Army had several hundred Norsemans to get rid off. These flooded the market – mainly good, low time planes for as cheap as $5000. Meanwhile, a Norseman V started at $30,000. So … ironically, the war surplus market could be detrimental to the postwar aircraft industry.

A great new postwar Canadian idea was the Husky, designed at war’s end by Fairchild of Canada at Longueuil, Quebec. Fairchild’s thinking also was, “Hey … the war’s over, all the bush operators are going to be scrambling to re-equip.” Fairchild, however, learned the same lesson as Noorduyn. Even before the war, few bush operators ever had money for a new plane. They just kept patching up their old crates. On top of this, at the same time, in 1947 De Havilland in Toronto was introducing the new Beaver, which swept the market , forcing Fairchild to close its doors. Notice the basic means of communications mentioned in such ads. In this case not even a phone number, just a straight forward “Why not write today”, but they don’t even give a PO box number! But everyone knew back then that the post office would get any letter through. Only a few Huskys were sold. Even so, they made their mark as one of Canada’s great bushplanes, the final 2 or 3 lasting in service for more than 30 years. The Husky story is told best in Air Transport in Canada and A Life in Canadian Aerospace. Periodically, a rumour floats around that someone’s planning a Husky revival, but we’ll believe that one when we see it.

A great new postwar Canadian idea was the Husky, designed at war’s end by Fairchild of Canada at Longueuil, Quebec. Fairchild’s thinking also was, “Hey … the war’s over, all the bush operators are going to be scrambling to re-equip.” Fairchild, however, learned the same lesson as Noorduyn. Even before the war, few bush operators ever had spare money for a new plane. They just kept patching up their old crates. On top of this, in 1947 De Havilland in Toronto was introducing the Beaver, which swept the market , forcing Fairchild to close its doors. Notice the basic means of communications mentioned in such ads. In this case not even a phone number, just a straight forward “Why not write today” – they don’t even give a PO box number! But everyone knew back then that the post office would get any letter through and speedily so. Only a few Huskys were sold. Nonetheless, they made their mark as one of Canada’s great bushplanes, the final 2 or 3 lasting in service more than 30 years. The Husky story is told best in Air Transport in Canada and A Life in Canadian Aerospace. Periodically, a rumour floats around that someone’s planning a Husky revival, but we’ll believe that one when we see it.

 TCA fleet lodstars

Great things developed for Trans-Canada Air Lines early after the war. New aircraft like the DC-3 and North Star were the biggest change. These allowed for a much expanded route structure. More than 20 newly rebuilt DC-3s were delivered by Canadair starting in 1945, so the well-worn fleet of Lockheeds was sold. This basic “advert” tells the story. No doubt the planes went at give-away prices. Toronto-based buyers alone included Imperial Oil, which took CF-TDB, BA Oil– CF-TCH and CF-TDE, Massey Harris farm equipment company in Toronto, -- CF-TDG and Noranda Mines – CF-TCV. For their new role as corporate planes, the basic old TCA Lockheeds were gutted, then rebuilt with swish interiors. As such, they served into the early 1960s – Rolls-Royces of the airways, the granddaddies of today’s Global Express. The route map shows how TCA, recently re-equipped with Canadair North Stars, was eagerly expanding domestically and on the Atlantic. As you can see, 1947 advert graphics could be quite basic.

Great things developed for Trans-Canada Air Lines early after the war. New aircraft like the DC-3 and North Star were the biggest change, allowing for a much expanded route structure. More than 20 newly rebuilt DC-3s were delivered by Canadair starting in 1945, so the well-worn fleet of Lockheeds was sold. This basic “advert” tells the story. No doubt the planes went at give-away prices. Toronto-based buyers alone included Imperial Oil, which took CF-TDB, BA Oil– CF-TCH and CF-TDE, Massey Harris farm equipment company in Toronto -CF-TDG and Noranda Mines – CF-TCV. For their new role as corporate planes, the basic old TCA Lockheeds were gutted, then rebuilt with swish interiors. As such, they served into the early 1960s – Rolls-Royces of the airways, the granddaddies of today’s Global Express. The route map shows how TCA, recently having added Canadair C-4 North Stars, was eagerly expanding domestically and on the Atlantic. As you can see, 1947 advert graphics could be quite basic.

Avro-tudor

New airliners such as the North Star were entering the market even before war’s end. Meanwhile, surplus C-54s and C-69s were becoming available as the DC-4 and Constellation. Meanwhile, new designs were starting to roll off the lines, the UK’s Avro Tudor included. Britain’s industry was especially anxious to win market share in order to help jumpstart its rock-bottom economy. The Avro York was ordered for the RAF, BOAC and other UK carriers, but it was nothing but a transport versions of the Lancaster – nothing very new. Then Avro produced the Tudor, but it soon was plagued by technical woes and accidents. The Handley Page Hermes also faltered. Happily, Canadair had the C-4 coming down the line at Cartierville. BOAC ordered a fleet, which would give more than a decade of solid service. Dubbed the Argonaut, it became BOAC’s salvation on long-range services.

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Another of the many British aircraft pushed in the Canadian press in 1947 was the Bristol Freighter. Bristol quickly sent a couple to drum up business in Canada. At first little happened, even though operators were impressed. Finally, TCA and the RCAF ordered small fleets. The story is told in Air Transport in Canada. Eventually, the Freighter made a real mark in Canada’s north. Even in the 1990s there were a couple earning their keep in the BC mining industry. Museum examples of this rugged postwar workhorse may be seen in Winnipeg and Wetaskiwin.

Great Britain also introduced Britain’s de Havilland Dove in the 1940s, de Havilland of Canada being the distributor. There was an initial flurry of sales for corporate with companies as Federal Equipment, Massey Harris and Shell Oil – the Dove provided comfortable, speedy transportation on short runs. However, US competition in the form of the superior Beech 18 made the Dove a tough sell. DHC adapted the Dove to floats – it worked OK during trials, but really was impractical, so never saw service. In these years the Dominions were doing everything they could to support the UK aircraft industry -- times were tough in Great Britain. However, at every turn there were problems selling British planes in the face of (usually) better US types, and the flood of cheap war surplus planes. The concept of the “feeder liner”, as mentioned in this ad, really was a pipedream in Canada in the 1940s. The feeder liner didn’t really emerge for another 25-30 years, when it became reality with such types as the Beech 99, Beech 1900 and (ultimately) the Dash 8 and ATR.

Great Britain also introduced the de Havilland Dove in the 1940s, de Havilland of Canada being its distributor. There was an initial flurry of sales to such companies as Federal Equipment, Massey Harris and Shell Oil – the Dove provided comfortable, speedy transportation on short runs. However, US competition in the form of the superior Beech 18 made the Dove a tough sell. DHC adapted the Dove to floats – it worked OK during trials, but never saw service. In these years the Dominions were doing everything they could to support the UK aircraft industry — times were tough in Great Britain, where food still was rationed and unemployment was high. However, at every turn there were problems selling British planes in the face of (usually) better US types, and the flood of cheap war surplus planes. The concept of the “feeder liner”, as mentioned in this ad, was a pipe dream in Canada in the 1940s. The feeder liner didn’t really emerge for another 25-30 years, when it became reality with such types as the Beech 99, Beech 1900 and (ultimately) the Dash 8 and ATR.

12 miles aerovan

The UK turned out one new type after another, few of which had a hope of becoming “best sellers”. Several were almost in the “oddball” category, as was the Miles Aerovan. Built largely of plywood, it had decent specs, and flew well with a ton of cargo, etc. However, it couldn’t even get rolling in the UK, so the campaign to sell it in Canada, as represented by this 1947 advert in Canadian Aviation magazine, went nowhere. The great Ron Pickler, DFC, of Canadair had flown the Aerovan in the UK before moving to Canada. Years ago he told me how much he had enjoyed this quaint little freighter. In the fullness of time, the Aerovan concept attained success under the Short Skyvan banner.

The UK turned out one new type after another, few of which had a hope of becoming “best sellers”. Several were almost in the “oddball” category, as was the Miles Aerovan. Built largely of plywood, it had decent specs, and flew well with a ton of cargo, etc. However, it couldn’t even get rolling in the UK, so the campaign to sell it in Canada, as represented by this 1947 advert in Canadian Aviation magazine, went nowhere. The great Ron Pickler, DFC, of Canadair had flown the Aerovan in the UK before moving to Canada. Years ago he told me how much he had enjoyed this quaint little freighter. In the fullness of time, the Aerovan concept attained success under the Short Skyvan banner.

In 1946-47 it also was a tough go for Canada’s once thriving aircraft industry. However, Canadian Pratt & Whitney Aircraft (today’s Pratt & Whitney Canada) adapted well, finding jobs and sales no matter how small by turning over every stone. It sent its great wartime tech reps out on trains and busses to bang on doors from Debert to Senneterre, Timmins, Fort William Flin Flon, Prince Albert, Edmonton, Prince George, Vancouver and Campbell River – any place where there might be spare parts to sell, a propeller to straighten, or an engine to overhaul. CP&W corralled the war surplus R-985 and R-1340 markets by buying up Ansons and Harvards just for their engines, then scrounged up buyers whether in Canada or abroad. By great good fortune, de Havilland Canada suddenly was looking for R-985s for its new Beaver – CP&W got right in on that opportunity. Meanwhile, it became Canadian rep for another of its US parent company branches – Sikorsky. It brought the revolutionary S-51 into Canada for a demo tour, sold a small fleet to the RCAF, then introduced the larger S-55, placing the first with Hudson Bay Air Transport and Okanagan Helicopters. See Power: The Pratt & Whitney Canada Story, Air Transport in Canada, the Aviation in Canada: Noorduyn Norseman, etc. for these seminal Canadian stories. In ads such as this, you can see that CP&W demanded a higher-than-usual graphic design standard.

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At war’s end Northwest Industries took over the vast Aircraft Repair facilities in Edmonton to get on the war surplus bandwagon and do who knows what else “to make a million” in postwar Canada. However, few were surprised when NWI’s attempt to remanufacture a 1920s Bellanca bushplane (the Skyrocket, shown in this cheap-looking ad) flopped. However, NWI did get a dealership for the snappy new Bellanca 4-seat sport plane. But the plumb for NWI was landing some long-term RCAF overhaul contracts for such types as the C-119. The NWI story is detailed for the first time in Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story.

Standard-aero

In 1945 Standard Aero of Winnipeg turned its wartime engine overhaul plant into a much-reduced operation serving the light airplane market, which was making a comeback. In this ad it’s promoting a line of small Continental engines that powered many pre-war 2-seaters. Nearly all those planes had been in storage through the war, now private flying again was allowed. Standard Aero gradually made its comeback, also overhauling RCAF engines and P&W engines used by bush operators and airlines. The company today does more business than ever, as its website explains: “StandardAero offers extensive MRO services and custom solutions for business aviation, commercial aviation, military and industrial power customers in more than 80 nations around the world. More than 3,500 professional, administrative and technical employees work in a dozen major facilities in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia …” What a story, eh. The advert below is for Weston Aircraft Ltd. of Oshawa, another busy postwar surplus dealer. Sold to Air Gagnon in northern Quebec, Norseman CF-FDP (ex-RCAF 491) was wrecked at Mistassini Post in May 1947.

Endless new products poured onto the market in the late 1940s, parachutes for airliners and private planes included. Irvine Air Chute Co. of Fort Erie and Buffalo was selling these, but there were few takers. The chutes were packed as tightly as possible in seat backs, but their cost and use of scarce space soon saw this exotic idea fade. Interestingly, Cirrus aircraft today equips each of its aircraft with a parachute to lower the entire plane to the ground in case of dire emergency.

Endless new products poured onto the market in the late 1940s, parachutes for airliners and private planes included. Irvine Air Chute Co. of Fort Erie and Buffalo was selling these, but there were few takers. The chutes were packed as tightly as possible into seat backs, but their cost and use of scarce space soon saw this idea fade. Interestingly, Cirrus aircraft today equips each of its aircraft with a parachute to lower the entire plane to the ground in case of dire emergency.

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Bonanza

North America’s light plane market was incredible in the postwar 1940s. You can scroll back to our earlier blog item “The Beech Bonanza at 70 and the Golden Age of Post-WWII Light Planes” to review this story. Stinson got off the mark with its lovely Flying Station Wagon and Voyageur series (Piper soon bought out Stinson). Cessna was right in there rolling out 30 new Ce.120s a day. Check out their “Mr. and Mrs. Farmer” advert, eh! Think this one would go over in today’s advertising world? Next, here’s yet another beautiful Beech ad for its incomparable new Bonanza. Finally, enjoy this timepiece from Luscombe, promoting its spiffy little Silvaire 2-seater. Thousands of these 1940-50s US alight planes soon would be in the sky. In Canada, Fleet of Fort Erie also got into this game, producing its Canuck 2-seater. Meanwhile, in the UK there was little opportunity to develop such new sport planes. No money, no market, so worn out pre-war Austers, Moths, etc. had to endure. The occasional new type like the Miles Gemini had no hope of North American sales mainly because of too much use of wood and fabric, and British engines for which there was little technical support in booming North American.

Luscombe

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In 1946-47 there were few ads in Canadian magazines for military aircraft. However, production of such types as the Avro CF-100 was just around the corner.

Mosquito Warbird Projects and Norseman Updates

Restoration of the Calgary-based Mosquito and Hurricane is progressing. Have a look at this recent update.

Why not get involved and become a supporter of this world class Calgary project? Visit the Calgary Mosquito Society for more info.

Another new Mosquito flew in New Zealand this September. Watch the video above to see the final engine runs-ups and first flight. The work of all these dedicated warbird restorers is astounding. Good on them right!

Meanwhile, the Norseman world is on the move again. The big Canadian news is that in 2016 the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum of Hamilton was regularly flying its Norseman, CF-GSR. Also this year, former Swedish Norseman, SE-CGM, which in recent years was flying on floats, returned to Norway, where it had begun in 1945 with the RNoAF. You can see it in action as SE-CGM at the 2015 Kjeller airshow at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VSIjLEJVx5w. Then, you can check out https://www.jaermuseet.no/flyhistorisk/568-2/norseman-fra-norwegian-spitfire-foundation/ and http://luftfartsmuseum.no/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/NLM-NOORDUYN-NORSEMAN.pdf to see it restored to original RNoAF markings, Now registered LN-TSN, it’s owned by Norsk Luftartsmuseum and operated by the Norwegian Spitfire Foundation. Finally, at http://blhf.org/?id=731534676 you can read about the recent recovery of LN-PAB — Norway’s first civilian Norseman and one with a really exotic history.

The world’s best Norseman history “in  print” is CANAV’s Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman Story, which comes in two beautifully-produced volumes. Take a look at our blog coverage — you can order your set on line. Cheers … Larry

Old Hamilton Airport

Hamilton airport old

“Old” Hamilton Airport circa 1940.

 The blog photos of Bonanza “The Flying Chef” raised the question, “At which Hamilton airport did Bob Finlayson take these photos?” Hamilton’s first permanent airport dates to 1926, when Jack V. Elliot established a flying school along Beach Road. In 1928 the federal Air Board, established in Ottawa in 1919, recognized Elliot’s airfield. In 1927, however, with funding from the city of Hamilton and International Airways, work began on a new airport about a mile from Elliot’s field. The facility was ready for use in 1930. It included two hard-surface runways, two hangars, field lighting and a navigation beacon to help guide planes flying the Detroit-Toronto mail.

The airport was owned by the city and managed by the aero club. Cub Aircraft of Canada set up a factory in the late 1930s (see below) to manufacture small Piper planes and the aero club won a contract early in the war to train RCAF pilots. However, the airport by then was waning. It had only marginal facilities and was too close to the city for expansion. Instead, the DND built a major new training base up on the Niagara Escarpment at the rural center of Mount Hope – the site of today’s modern John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport (YHM).

Although outdated, Hamilton’s old airport continued through and after the war, especially with Cub and a new company, Peninsula Air Service. However the aero club had moved to Mount Hope, and urban sprawl was encroaching on all sides of the airport. In 1951 what by then was known as “Hamilton Municipal Airport” closed. Henceforth, Hamilton focused its aviation interests at Mount Hope.

In our rare heading photo of “old” Hamilton airport around 1940, you can see the same old hangar that’s in Bob photos. In his shots you can see that by 1950/51 the hangar had become the main base for Glen White’s Peninsula Air Service. Glen, however, inevitably relocated to Mount Hope, and old Hamilton Municipal Airport was ploughed under for development. The hangar to the right is Cub Aircraft of Canada, considerably expanded by 1950 since erected in 1939. In the more detailed photo of the Cub hangar (found in the rich collection of aviation photographer, the late Al Martin) you can see how Cub had raised its roof considerably, probably to accommodate wartime manufacturing and overhaul contracts. Several Hamilton-built Cubs remain airworthy in 2016.

Hamilton Airport hangar

 

Bonanza and Norseman Updates

blog-bonanza-1-n5002c_LRblog-bonanza-2-n5002c-aug-2018-1_LRBonanza D-2264 Had a Sad Ending

One day back in the early 1950s, my great pal, Bob Finlayson, snapped these lovely views of Bonanza N5002C “The Flying Chef”, visiting “old” (pre-WWII) Hamilton airport. Piloting it was owner/operator, Joseph E. Graves of South Bend, Indiana. These were the days when companies small and large were proud to fly the company logo on their planes. This made something like N5002C all the more interesting to photograph. I well recall the Canadair, Goodyear, Ontario Paper and Eaton’s DC-3s at Malton Airport (today’s YYZ) taxiing by “showing the corporate flag” back in the 1950s. They were always more interesting to photograph than the “no name” examples.

In the early days of bizjets, one of the more interesting logos that flew (if only briefly) was on the tail of a Falcon 20 operated for Conrad Black. I wish I had a photo, for it showed a snake suffocating a bunny. As one of the company pilots told me, this represented Conrad’s view of management vs labour. Try showing that logo in 2016, eh! These days one of the most secretive businesses on the planet is corporate aviation, so to see a corporate logo such as “Jack’s Foods Inc.” on a private plane is rare, Donald Trump’s Boeing 757 excepted.

Built in 1950, Bonanza N5002C (serial number D-2264) last was registered to the G&R Corp of South Bend, Indiana, but that was long ago – whatever happened to it, for it disappeared from the US civil aircraft register in 1953?  A report in the Williamsport, Pennsylvania Gazette And Bulletin tells the sad story of this lovely Bonanza. While flying from South Bend to New York City for a potato chip convention on January 26, 1953, Joseph E. Graves and three food industry companions all died when N5002C crashed in an orchard at State College, Pennsylvania. The newspaper noted: “The single-engine four-passenger plane which was almost out of gas, according to investigating state police, crashed as it approached the airport runway at this Central Pennsylvania community. The plane clipped off the trunk of a tree in the orchard and plowed into a mudhole … A few minutes before the crash the pilot of the plane contacted the nearby Phillipsburg Airport and reported he was lost and had only 10 minutes gas supply left.” Subsequently “N5002C” was re-used on a Ryan Navion in New Jersey.

Forrest Klies’ “Oshkosh” Norseman Has New Home

N78691 IMG_2394N78691 IMG_2396

The story of UC-64A Norseman N78691 is told in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.2. Originally US Army 44-70372, it had a postwar career as NC58691 with the US Department of Agriculture, before joining Ontario Central Airlines in 1961 as CF-LSS. Further adventures followed with such Ontario and Manitoba operators as Cross Lake Air Service, Perimeter Aviation, Bob Polinuk and Kyro’s-Albany River Airways. CF-LSS seemed to have been dormant since 1975, then retired crop duster pilot, Forrest Klies of Montana, acquired it in 2011. Registering it N78691, he told me in 2013 that he spent $700,000 rebuilding the airframe and zero-timing the engine. For several seasons, Forrest showed his pristine “Big Beautiful Babushka”, as he called N78691, at Oshkosh. Eventually, he felt that he was getting a bit too old for such a big plane. In 2013 he offered it for sale for $300,000 or “a Beaver on wheels plus cash”. Others were seeking buyers for their own Norsemans, but not many operators or collectors were shopping. The picture looked bleak.

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On p.111 of “Norseman, Vol.2” are two excellent Lambert de Gavère photos of Norseman N225BL (formerly CF-GUE) in Alaska in Ingram Air colours. N225BL later flew for Wade Renfro’s Alaska Adventure of Bethel, but on July 11, 2009 it went into the trees following engine failure. By then, however, Wade had come to appreciate the special features of this classic bushplane. His passion led him to purchase Forrest’s old beauty for a price north of US$160K. This week Lambert sent me these three fine views of N78691 on Lake Hood in Anchorage, waiting for the right weather before flying the 600 or so kilometers to its new home in Bethel, an isolated spot on the Kuskokwim River delta in western Alaska.

Update: Alaska Adventure Norseman N78691 flew off Lake Hood for Bethel on August 31 carrying a hefty load. Sad to say, however, the company lost a Super Cub the same day in a disastrous mid-air collision at Russian Mission in Western Alaska. In clear weather, it collided with a Hageland Aviation Cessna Caravan. All  five aboard the two bushplanes died. It's often a tough world out there in the wilds of coast, bush, valley and mountains.

Update: Alaska Adventure Norseman N78691 flew off Lake Hood for Bethel on August 31 carrying a hefty load. Sad to say, however, the company lost a Super Cub the same day in a disastrous mid-air collision at Russian Mission in Western Alaska. In clear weather, it collided with a Hageland Aviation Cessna Caravan. All  five aboard the two bushplanes died. It’s often a tough world out there in the wilds of coast, bush, valley and mountains.

In other recent Norseman news, Rodney Kozar reports that Glenn Crandall’s famous Norseman CF-UUD (see  Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.2) now is N164UC with Wendell Phillipi of Minnesota. Rodney adds that Norsemans CF-JIN, CF-KAO and CF-ZMX all flew at this year’s Norseman Festival in Red Lake and that 80-90 visitors slapped down the cash for a Norseman flight.

Summer’s here, so it’s time to treat yourself to a set of CANAV’s wonderful Norseman books!

CF-GLI, delivered by Noorduyn to the US Army in February 1944

CF-GLI, originally delivered to the US Army in February 1944, now is under restoration in the Netherlands (click to enlarge).

One of Canada’s most historic Norsemans is CF-GLI. Delivered by Noorduyn to the US Army in February 1944, this UC-64 Norseman served on the US homefront as 43-5374. After its brief Army career, it was retired and sold in the summer of 1945 by the US Reconstruction Finance Corp. (the US equivalent to Canada’s War Assets Disposal Corp.) to Los Angeles based Aero Service, where it flew as NC88719. It’s history there still isn’t known, but in September 1951 it was sold to Queen Charlotte Airlines of Vancouver, thence to Air-Dale of Sault Ste. Marie in 1953 and Lee Cole’s Chapleau Air Services in 1982. Other operators followed until CF-GLI joined Gogal Air Services of Snow Lake, Manitoba in 1994, where it worked steadily in the summer tourist trade until a crash in the bush in June 2010. Old ‘GLI now seemed to be kaput.

In January 2011, however, the bent old Norseman was hauled out in pieces by helicopter and trucked away for safe keeping. In 2015 ‘GLI was sold to a group in the Netherlands (headed by Arno van der Holst) with plans to rebuild it to flying status. For the latest about this important project, check out their Facebook page.

Also, you can read all about CF-GLI’s many adventures in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.2.

Recently, Chris Cole sent along this great new photo, above, of CF-GLI. Chris writes: “I attach this picture of CF-GLI that I took one summer at my dad’s business — Sunset View Camp/Chapleau Air Service — on Unegam Lake just south of Chapleau on Hwy 129. I remember going out in a boat, so I could take this  picture.”

You can order your set of Norseman books right here: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.

Cheers and I hope your summer goes well so far … Larry

Canada Council Shenanigans: CAE Story Rejected, Small Canadian Publishers Need Not Apply + New Book Review + More on Canada Post at the End

 

Canada Council logoEach year the Canada Council presides over the Governor General’s Literary Awards. This year’s finalists came from among hundreds of submissions in the non-fiction category. Finalists mainly were books published by one American company and American branch plants in Canada:

Mark L. Winston’s Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive, from the giant American publisher, Harvard University Press.

Ted Bishop’s The Social Life of Ink: Culture, Wonder, and Our Relationship with the Written Word, from the Canadian branch plant operation of giant American publishing conglomerate Viking/Penguin/Random House — Viking/Penguin Random House Canada.

Michael Harris’ Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover, from the Canadian branch plant operation of giant American publishing conglomerate Viking/Penguin/Random House — Viking/Penguin Random House Canada.

David Halton’s Dispatches from the Front: Matthew Halton, Canada’s Voice at War, from McClelland & Stewart, a subsidiary of American branch plant operation Penguin — Penguin Random House Canada

Armand Garnet Ruffo’s Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing into Thunderbird, Douglas & McIntyre, a subsidiary of Howard White’s BC-based Harbour Publishing

Good on the winning authors. However, Armand Garnet Ruffo’s Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing into Thunderbird appears to be the only actual all-Canadian title this year. His publisher, Howard White, of BC’s Harbour Publishing/Douglas & McIntyre is a true Canadian success story all the way. Having begun as a kitchen table publisher, Howard has built up his company, which is a major operation doing important books. The company has some 600 titles to its credit.

As far as US publishers and their Canadian branch plants taking home all but one of the Governor General book awards, good on them as well. They met the Canada Council’s specs. However, it seems a bit goofy of the council that, at the bottom end of the book publishing “food chain”, small all-Canadian, internationally acclaimed publishers such as CANAV Books get the bum’s rush out of Rideau Hall regarding the Right Honourable David Johnston’s Governor General’s book awards. Here’s the story.

Since 1981 CANAV Books has published 36 important Canadian titles honouring Canada’s aviation heritage. CANAV has established the standard for publishing in its niche. Several of its titles are official best-sellers and all have been reviewed glowingly in the Canadian and international press. Besides my own CANAV titles, I’ve published seven other Canadian authors.

For the first time since 1981, in 2015 I decided to enter a book in the Governor General’s awards competition, non-fiction category. I submitted Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story which, by the initial feedback, meets the mark as an authoritative, finely-produced piece of work covering a major Canadian success story. CAE itself is Canadian to the core. By now it’s “way up there” in the big leagues, having started humbly in a grubby little war surplus hangar in 1947. So … The CAE Story certainly warranted a good look as a real book entered in the the Governor General’s awards.

Months went by with no word from the Canada Council. Finally, in late October 2015 the finalists were announced, Bee Time from Harvard University Press in Massachusetts taking top prize. CANAV had no word about the awards celebration, etc., dead silence until, that is, I received a letter from the council dated May 4, 2016, explaining how The CAE Story did not even qualify as a Canadian book worthy of the Governor General’s consideration.

In its letter the Canada Council explains: “The publishing house does not meet the eligibility criteria established in the program guidelines”, since, “over 25% of titles published by CANAV Books were written by owners, family or employees of the publishing house.” Apparently, The CAE Story is not a real book. Can you imagine? Guidelines … what in the world, eh! Does the Governor General know about his organization’s arbitrary rule freezing out an important niche in Canadian book publishing?

The fix seems to be in at the Canada Council. Instead of encouraging legitimate, homegrown Canadian book publishers, it’s partying with its mainline/A-team US book publishing pals, while small Canadian players summarily get thrown under the bus by draconian fiat. It looks like a bit of a crock up at the Canada Council. The organization needs to get back to the basic business of encouraging (not squishing) legitimate, world-class, Canadian book publishing.

Let’s hope the Governor General might take the Canada Council to the wood shed for a good straightening out. Maybe then we can get the “Canada” back into “Canada Council”, eh.

Meanwhile, the worldwide press and our loyal readership continue to comment. Today, I heard from aerospace professor, writer, blogger (“Passion Aviation: Blogue aéronautique de Pierre Gillard”) and photographer, Pierre Gillard, who reviews The CAE Story:

Infatigable, Larry Milberry s’est lancé dans la rédaction de l’historique du célèbre fabricant de simulateurs de vol CAE. Après les deux ouvrages de référence consacrés au Noorduyn Norseman, voici donc un autre sujet diffusé dans la série « Aviation in Canada » relatif à une entreprise établie au Québec. L’histoire de la compagnie débute à l’aéroport de Saint-Hubert où CAE occupe un hangar situé le long du chemin de la Savane pour y effectuer de la maintenance et du reconditionnement d’appareils électroniques issus de surplus militaires. La compagnie prend ensuite de l’expansion, notamment, en étant associée au développement de tours de transmissions destinées au système de navigation LORAN dans le nord-canadien. Puis les activités commencent à se diversifier dans d’autres secteurs industriels comme la télévision, par exemple, et, simultanément, CAE s’établit dans de nouvelles installations situées à Ville-Saint-Laurent à Montréal. Avec l’acquisition de l’Avro CF100 par l’Aviation royale canadienne débute réellement le développement de l’expertise de CAE dans le milieu des simulateurs de vol. C’est assurément cette activité qui rendra la compagnie célèbre dans le monde entier. L’auteur détaille donc méticuleusement la chronologie des différents projets de simulation, qu’ils soient civils ou militaires. Mais il n’oublie pas en chemin le volet humain de l’aventure de CAE grâce à de nombreuses entrevues et récits de membres du personnel qui viennent rehausser le texte d’histoires vécues et d’anecdotes. Il détaille aussi les nombreuses autres activités, souvent un peu moins connues, de la compagnie que ce soit dans le secteur médical, les centrales nucléaires ou la maintenance d’aéronefs à Winnipeg, par exemple. Même s’il manque l’un ou l’autre contrat dans l’immense énumération détaillée de l’ensemble des projets de simulateurs de vol, ce livre va au-delà des attentes que l’on peut avoir pour ce genre d’ouvrage. Tout comme l’ensemble de l’œuvre de Larry Milberry, “The CAE Story” est un incontournable et deviendra, très certainement, une référence mondiale en ce qui concerne l’histoire des simulateurs de vol.Canav Books, Toronto, ON, 2015, 392 pages, environ 750 photos. ISBN 978-0-921022-44-2.

You can see CANAV’s years-long Canada Post lamentations by scrolling back to various blog items. Have you heard today (June 22) that Canada Post CUPW this summer is threatening another strike? Talk about depressing, eh. Yesterday yet another neighbour brought me my very important First Class mail, which he had received from the letter carrier. Should we really be giving these well-paid public employees another raise so they can regularly deliver our private mail to other people’s houses? To tell you the truth, we’re getting a little tired of Canada Post’s “Get to Know your Neighbours” mail delivery plan. Someone needs to whip this once-wonderful public service back into shape, but to where, to whom do we turn for help?