Category Archives: Aviation in Canada

Remembrance Day 2022

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

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

News From CANAV

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

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

CANAV introduces its latest booklist

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

RCAF Centennial Book Project

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

Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada

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

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

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

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

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

Old Hamilton Airport Update

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

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

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

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

Canada Post in the Crosshairs … Again

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

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

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

Cemetery Studies

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

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

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

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

Hot Off the Press … Red Lake Norseman Project Finale!

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

Canadian Aviation Society: Beginnings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill and Charlie

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

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

A History of Austin Airways

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

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

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

Fox Moth Discoveries

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

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

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

Three More Glorious Les Corness Photos

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

Northern Aviation in 1977

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canadair Revelation

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

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

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

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

CL-260 Turbine Otter Caravan

Wing Span: 54’ 58’ 52’1”

Length: 43’2” 41’10” 37’7”

All-up Weight: 8000 lb 8200 lb 8000 lb

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

JFCiesla’s albums | Flickr

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

Bush Caddy Update

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

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

Arsenal of Democracy” Check out this impressive AOPA video of this September 2020 warbirds event — includes the great WWII types from Hurricane to Spitfire, P-40, P-51, Corsair, Mosquito, Tiger Moth, T-6, B-25 on to the A-26 and B-29 … all in the air! Hosted by the Commemorative Air Force’s Capital Wing, this took place at Culpeper Regional Airport, Virginia. Not be missed! https://youtu.be/yIvTgqFe1cA

Norseman Update … Good news from the Norseman Festival in Red Lake. Google

SAVE DRD – Red Lake’s Norseman icon – GoFundMe

to get the latest news about the restoration of Red Lake’s world famous Norseman CF-DRD. Since “DRD” was badly pounded by hail several years ago, this has been a long haul by many dedicated enthusiasts. Be sure to make a donation to the cause while catching up at the site. Help get “DRD” to its $50K goal! Cheers … Larry

End of “The Quad” Era — The Mighty A380 Bows Out

This melancholic piece is a nice encapsulation of an important and exciting piece of the global air transportation story: https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/final-airbus-a380-assembled/index.html Well worth a look. Reminds me of the fighter pilot’s frequent claim — “Timing is everything.” Also, you can scroll back to see a bit about Canada’s role in A380 development (see A380 Cold Weather Trials at “YFB” Iqaluit).

Here’s the current CANAV booklist. Be sure to have a least a quick browse. If you’re an aviation reader, you’ll find some real treasures here.

CANAV Booklist Summer_Fall 2020

40 Years for CANAV Books (Part 2 September 2020): An Interesting Detour to 1979

Welcome to all who have been enjoying, or, have just discovered, this little ramble through the dusty boxes and files of the CANAV Books archives. Thanks for your many calls and emails. I’ve especially been interested in how often you’ve been referring to our 1979 McGraw Hill-Ryerson book, Aviation in Canada, as the book that initially got you fired up about aviation back in your school days (the very same book that launched me into CANAV Books). A few have commented about how Aviation in Canada actually was the inspiration that steered you into a life in aviation. Very nice to hear for your aged scribe! It’s also a bit sobering, when you add that by 2020 you’ve ploughed through your career in flying and now are retired! Talk about time flying, right!

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

As the evening progressed, I sent Aviation in Canada up and down both sides of the dinner table to collect as many autographs as possible. I got away with this, probably because I was the only civilian attending, was known by this time as the budding RCAF history publisher, and was about to release Sixty Years. Here are two pages that give you an idea of the incredible “whose who” of aviation history that this was.

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

Thanks for reminding me about this fine old book and how it provided the incentive to some keen Canadian highschoolers to go into aviation. Amazingly, worn and dusty old copies of Aviation in Canada still can be found in public libraries across Canada. However, they’re usually a bit lonely, since most other aviation books on the shelves tell the story of American aviation. I have not had an order from one Canadian public library for as much as a single book for years. Perhaps the Canadian Library Association can explain?

Austin Airways: Canada’s Oldest Airline 1985

Better get going again with the serious side to Part 2 of the CANAV Books story. In 1985 CANAV published a history of the famed Northern Ontario bush operator, Austin Airways. This had an odd genesis, something that today reminds me of a quote from the great writer and literary thinker, Graham Greene (The Power and the Glory, Our Man in Havana, etc.): “Books are a labour to write and a hell to publish. Why does one do it?” Here’s the genesis part of it. In Aviation in Canada of 1979 fame, I had included a bit about Austin Airways. The coverage was typical for this type of general interest book that tries to encapsulate the fundamental aspects in Canada’s aviation history. My point with Aviation in Canada was to update and complement Frank Ellis’ superb 1954 book, Canada’s Flying Heritage (you need a copy, see http://www.bookfinder.com, etc.) with just such interesting highlights of our aviation history. Who would object? Well, when Jack Austin, the renowned founder (along with his brother, Chuck) of Austin Airways read the book, he called to complain quite bitterly about how little his company was covered (Graham Greene would agree that it’s not unusual to hear from irate readers). Jack and I talked this over and, in a few weeks, were getting together planning an Austin Airways history project (at my expense other than for the artwork). All this is for some future chapter, but (suffice to say), the result of one phone call was a lovely book — Austin Airways.

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

Another Fine Success Story

Book that it is, it’s no surprise that Austin Airways was well received. We began with exciting launch events in Sudbury, Timmins and Toronto. The Timmins “Daily Press” covered our book launch at the Senator Motel, where a crowd of fine Austin employees, retirees and local fans attended. Stan Deluce and family, who recently had acquired Austin Airways, picked up the tab, and also flew some Milberrys and friends to Timmins from Toronto on a “748”. Those were the days!

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

Our print run soon sold out, then McGraw Hill-Ryerson turned out a 1500 reprint. As usual, we received much praise in the aviation and general press. In one case, “Air Classics” (February 1986) observed, “This finely-produced book (typical of what we have come to expect from CANAV) is the exciting story of Austin Airways … illustrated with a fabulous selection of … photographs [and] an excellent selection of quality color profiles …” Then, “Canadian Geographic” of February/March 1986 had its say (it always was a highlight when a publisher had a book reviewed by this stellar journal). Given the reviewing task was Robert “Bob” Bradford, at the time the associate director of Canada’s National Aviation Museum under the great K.M. “Ken” Molson. After nicely reviewing the book’s chapters, Bob concluded, “Anyone who has even a passing interest in bush flying or a good Canadian success story will enjoy it,”

A lot happened with Austin Airways since 1985, including how the new owners absorbed a string of air carriers west to Air Manitoba, brought things together under the Air Ontario banner, built up Toronto Island Airport as a serious commuter hub, etc., all the way to 2020, when the Deluce family’s renowned Porter Airlines remains the direct descendant of Austin Airways of 1934. It’s probably a good time for an updated Austin Airways book. Interestingly, a used copy of Austin Airways in 2020 will be a deal at around the old $24.94 sticker price. On September 15, I noticed that http://www.bookfinder.com had 54 used copies listed, most being in the $40 – $80 zone, but nine were above $100. Cheap at twice the price, right!

It Can Be Aggravating, but the Perks Are the best!

Remember what novelist Graham Greene said long ago? He was right — books are huge investments in time, energy, misery and money. In my work over the decades, however, I’ve been able to temper the pain that’s a big part of the process with a great deal of good fun. I’ve gotten to fly all over the world in 100+ aircraft types from the Piper J-2 to the Chipmunk, then so many others from the DC-3 to the DC-4, C-46, Caribou, Buffalo, T-33, AT-37B, Tutor, CF-5, CF-101, F-106, F-16, B-52, EB-57, LACV-30, Beech 18, Lancaster, Turbo Otter, C-130, Argus, Aurora, CH-54, Kiowa, Chinook, Sea Knight, IL-76, AN-2, AN-124, on and on. We keen types are always up for any new such adventure. Here are a few miscellaneous photos from my days laying the groundwork for the Austin Airways book. I got to ride along on several company types:

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

In creating of the Austin Airways book, I got to spend several years interviewing Austin Airways pioneers and flying throughout the company’s vast northern domain with its great people. I had some exciting trips in everything from the Ce.185 with the legendary Jeff Wyborn, to the Twin Otter, DC-3 and HS 748 ranging from Pickle Lake to Cape Dorset. In the end, I was happy with the results. Austin Airways tells the basic story well, it has few gaffs, and, thanks to the CANAV team, became a model with its many rare photos, in-depth, authoritative text, premium production qualities, and Peter Mossman artwork. Just look at cover art alone – what true aviation fan could resist buying a copy!

And I Shall Fly 1985

Another early CANAV title was And I Shall Fly, a fine autobiography by Canadian aviation pioneer, Zebulon Lewis “Lewie” Leigh. A prairie boy, Lewie lived his dream, learning to fly in the 1920s, barnstorming and operating in the bush, becoming the first pilot hired by TCA in 1937, then founding RCAF No.9 Transport Group, which carried the “troops mail” in WWII via 168 Squadron B- 17s, B-24s Dakotas and Lodestars. No.9 Group reformed in 1945 as RCAF Air Transport Command, G/C Z.L. Leigh being the founding commander. Postwar, he continued in uniform with such postings as station commander Goose Bay. In 1947 he received Canada’s top aviation award, the McKee Trophy. Retired, Lewie and his wife, Linny, enjoyed life in the Niagara Peninsula, where once a month Lewie had a few friends for lunch in what became known as “Club Zeb”. Our members included such characters as Ray Munro, a wartime Spitfire pilot, and postwar newspaper man, restaurant bouncer and Pitts Special pilot. Ray’s own autobiography is The Sky’s No Limit, which his friend Anna Porter (Key Porter Publishing) produced. Ray so admired Lewie that he changed his name to Raymond Zebulon Munro, and the licence plate on his Mercedes sports car was “ZEB 2”. How’s that for adulation! In the 1980s Ray pushed hard to establish what today is Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. Deservedly, Lewie Leigh became one of the first inducted members. Old-time Canadian aviation writer, Ross Wilmot, covered And I Shall Fly in the 1986 “Canadian Book Review Annual”. He beautifully summarized it, simply concluding how Lewie, “deserves credit for making public his memoirs” (book reviews need not be verbose, right). Over the decades, several people have told me how much they have enjoyed And I Shall Fly to the point of reading and re- reading it. For good coverage of our And I Shall Fly book launch, it’s all here on the blog, including photos of many a kingpin from Canadian aviation. In the blog search box just enter: “And I Shall Fly” Book Launching 1985

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

Shooting the Great Douglas Propliners

For the 1950s-60s, I’m tempted to say that of all the categories of airplanes to photograph, none were so attractive as the classic Douglas 4-engine propliners – the DC-4, DC-6 and DC-7 series. What gorgeous, photogenic flying machines! Here “for your edification” are a few that I picked randomly from my old files.

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

Important Reminder … Two Magnificent Canadian Books that Belong on your Bookshelf!

A Tradition of Excellence: Canada’s Airshow Team Heritage CANAV’s pleased to re-introduce you to Dan Dampsey’s ace of a book. Here at CANAV HQ, I have my autographed copy on a shelf with what I call “the finest aviation books in the world”. This truly is a magnificently-produced Canadian aviation book, a treasure deserving a place of honour in your library. “TradEx” will give you decades of fabulous reading. Full coverage from 1919 into the 2010s of such great teams as Bishop-Barker, the Siskins, Golden Hawks, Golden Centennaires and Snowbirds. Everything from the Fokker D.VII to the Harvard, CF-100, Banshee, Sabre, T-33, Tutor, CF-104, CF-18, Kiowa – even such surprises as the Argus & Sea King in “demo” mode! Fascinating civil types also pop up. Some 2000 photos + 42 original paintings by the great Peter Mossman. You’ll revel in every page. Treat yourself & show your support for someone who put it on the line for Canada’s aviation heritage! 766pp, 4 kg, hc, 9.5×12 in., app’x, biblio, index. Your signed copy: all-in just $130.00 Order directly from Dan at afteams@gmail.com

The Bell 47 Helicopter Story … And — here’s a reminder about another extra special book, one to be savoured by anyone with the remotest interest in aviation history. Here’s a summary (for the full story, just search for the title): This landmark book has been very nicely printed and bound by Friesens of Altona, Manitoba. Bare bones it weighs an amazing 2.9 kg. It’s a hardcover with dust jacket. There are 730 pages with 1200 b/w and colour photos. Sincere fans of aviation history owe it to themselves to get hold of a copy … If you have not yet delved into helicopter history, a fast flip through this book will convert you. Order your copy at helicopterheritagecanada.com or … e-mail author Bob Petite in Leduc at bpetite@telusplanet.net

Homebuilding Roots in Canada

The original powered airplanes were “one off” homebuilts, the “Silver Dart” (built and first flown at Glenn Curtiss’ farm in Hammondsport, NY in 1908) being first to succeed in Canada. J.A.D. McCurdy flew it in Cape Breton in February 1909. Since then, homebuilding has been part of Canada’s aeronautical fabric.

WWI brought advances in aeronautics that boosted postwar homebuilding. For a few hundred dollars in the 1920s-30s, anyone could build a tiny Corben, Heath, Pietenpol, etc., and many did. However, with recreational flying on hold through WWII, all such planes were grounded.

Homebuilding was slow to re-emerge, but it did – one project at a time, modified Taylor Cub CF-ANT-X possibly being the first. Then, in the 1950s several homebuilders started a movement. Led by pioneers Keith Hopkinson and Gus Chisholm of Goderich, the first Canadian branch of the US-founded Experimental Aircraft Association arose. Soon there were EAA chapters across Canada.

Some really enjoyable events in my early days as an aviation fan were flying club and EAA breakfast fly-ins. A few of us kids usually attended, armed with our twin-lens cameras. On a typical sunny weekend, among the 250 planes showing up at the Oshawa Flying Club on June 18, 1961 were eight little homebuilts each with an “R” registration — “R” for restricted: Corben Baby Aces CF-RAO and CF-RCB, Jodel Bébés CF-RAM and CF-RBE, White Parasol CF-RCT and modified Taylorcraft, Piper J-2 and J-3 CF-RAG, CF-RAS and CF-RCX.

Above is a shot I took on July 9, 1961 at the Waterloo-Wellington fly-in showing Keith Hopkinson taxiing his famous Stitts Playboy “Little Hokey” CF-RAD. This was Canada’s first officially registered (1954) post-WWII homebuilt. Years later I learned from Gus Chisholm that CF-RAD had cost about $1000 and took 1200 hours over 11 months to build. It weighed 685 lb empty, 960 all-up, and was 17’4” long with a 22’ wingspan. With its 100-hp Lycoming, it cruised at 125 mph, burning about five gallons of fuel per hour. To illustrate the meaning of “homebuilt”, CF-RAD had a Piper engine cowling, Cessna 170 spinner, Tiger Moth struts, Cessna 140 undercarriage and Stinson wheel pants. Today you can see this wonderful little aviation treasure at Canada’s national aeronautical collection in Ottawa.

Corben Baby Ace CF-RAC

At the same time that “Hoppy” Hopkinson was building his Playboy, his pal Gus Chisholm was building a Corben Baby Ace. Through their enthusiasm, many others in Canada were getting involved in the homebuilding movement.

The Baby Ace was designed about 1932 by West Virginian, O.G. “Ace” Corben. Having learned about it in a 1955 issue of “Mechanix Illustrated”, Gus ordered plans for $125. Just scrounging for the bits ‘n pieces was a chore – wood, steel, wheels, struts, fabric, instruments, an engine, etc. Luckily, one day Gus found an old 65-hp Continental, for which he paid $100. He slowly built his Baby Ace wings at home in his basement, while the fuselage took shape in Keith’s “Sky Harbour” hangar on the edge of Goderich. Finally, after 2 years, 8 months and 15 days of meticulous effort, the Baby Ace was done. Registered CF-RAC (Gus’ initials) and christened “Bits and Pieces”, it had cost $620. Keith did the taxi tests on August 1, 1958, made the first flight on the 3rd, then Gus took up CF-RAC the same day.

“Little Hokey” and “Bits and Pieces” became the talk of the homebuilding movement throughout Canada and south of the border. Many an enjoyable day’s flying followed. Each summer meant a few breakfast fly-ins and Gus once even ventured as far as Oshkosh. Finally, having logged about 200 hours in it, in July 1965 he sold CF-RAC to Tony Brown in nearby Stratford. Tony flew it to the 381:45-hour mark by the time he sold CF-RAC in 1977. Other owners followed until 2017 when, more than 50 years since first flight, “Bits ‘n Pieces” is still on the go, owned in Guelph in 2017 by Canada’s famous aircraft restorers – “The Tiger Boys”.

Over the decades, many pilots added “Bits ‘n Pieces” to their logbooks. Keith Hopkinson’s son, John, made his first flight in it on May 16, 1962. From Guelph, pilots have included pioneer post-WWII homebuilder, Andy McKimmon (May 1, 1993) to Fern Villeneuve, none other than leader the RCAF Golden Hawks in 1959-60 (September 18, 2005). To July 2017 the famous little Canadian beauty had logged 783.5 flying hours. Meanwhile, the Tiger Boys, always eagle-eyed about preserving aviation heritage, have acquired another of Canada’s 1950s homebuilts – Jodel D.9 Bébé CF-RAM. Above is a photo I took of Steve Gray landing CF-RAC at Guelph on November 25, 2007. Below, Gus Chisholm beside his pride and joy on the same day (Gus has since passed on).

Announcing … Two Important New Canadian Books

Exile Air: World War II’s Little Norway in Toronto and Muskoka by Andrea Baston and  Bagotville: 75 Years of Air Defence by Marc-Andre Valiquette

Andrea Baston has spent years working on this epic WWII story. To begin, she provides a detailed backgrounder ref. the 1940 Nazis invasion of Norway, and how Norway and the UK struggled to stave off disaster. Coverage of the air war includes RNoAF 1920s Fokkers and RAF biplane Gladiators putting up strenuous opposition.

Norway is overwhelmed, but the government, treasury and many citizens make it to the UK. By June 1940 arrangements are made to establish a Norwegian air training plan in Canada. “Little Norway” is established at Toronto Island Airport, with almost a hundred aircraft initially assigned, Curtiss P-36 fighters included. All the details about planning, contracts, administration, training, dovetailing everything with the BCATP, housing, sports, social life in Toronto and — sad to say —  accidents are part of this outstanding book. The Norwegians also open a base in Muskoka to the north. Here, new pilots train on the Fairchild Cornell. Eventually, the Norwegian graduates end up manning RAF squadrons flying Spitfires, Catalinas, etc. All this also is carefully covered.

Many personal profiles (based on in-depth research and interviews) are interwoven and everything is carefully covered to war’s end, the aftermath included, e.g., important events such as unveiling the commemorative monuments in Toronto and Muskoka. This beautifully-produced, large format, 240-page softcover is one of the most important Canadian aviation stories in recent years. Many photos, essential maps, notes, bibliography, index. An all-around beauty of an aviation book. $30.00 + $12.00 Canada Post + $2.10 tax = $ 44.10 (Canada). USA and overseas CDN$52.00. PayPal directly to larry@canavbooks.com, or post a cheque by snailmail to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario M4E 3B6 Canada.

Here’s the info about Canada’s aviation blockbuster book for 2017. It’s a heavy duty effort – 512 pages, hardcover, some 1600 photos, 30 paintings and colour profiles – on and on, so no one will be disappointed in this wonderful production. Marc-André has done his usual in-depth coverage, assembling the exciting history of one of the great RCAF air stations, while blending both languages in his attractive/seamless layout. The book begins with WWII, with Bagotville training fighter pilots on the Harvard and Hurricane. Many famous aces pass through on instructing tours, many students go on to stellar careers. Next, comes the postwar era with Vampires, Sabres and CF-100s – all the historic squadrons, especially the all-weather CF-100 units – 440 and 432 — form with CF-100 Mk.3s in 1953-54. Then come steady developments – 440 goes overseas, 413 forms up, the CF-100 Mk.4 and 5 arrive, there’s a steady stream of NORAD exercises, etc.

The CF-100 gives way to the CF-101 Voodoo era (410 and 425 sqns), then the tactical world arrives with the CF-5 with the renowned 433 Squadron. Finally come the CF-18 Hornet years with 425 Sqn. The evolution of Base Flight/439 Sqn is also covered – from T-33 to Griffon helio. Many other aspects of life at “YBG” are included in this huge colour production, from DEW Line helicopter times to Air Cadets and airshows. So don’t think that this overview begins to cover all the exciting content – the photo presentations alone will knock you out!

All things considered, Marc-André’s book is a bargain at its sticker price of $60.00 + $12.00 postage (Canada only, so USA and overseas please contact me for a shipping price) + tax $3.60 … Total in Canada $75.60. How to order? PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com, or post a cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto ON M4E3B6.

Have a fine summer and make sure to read some good books (stay off those dopey, mind-numbing “devices” eh).

~ Larry Milberry, Publisher CANAV Books

 

 

Air Transport in Canada Hits 20 + Huge “ATC” Deal + Some CAHS & CAE News

Stop the Press! Here is some important news about this year’s annual convention of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. Please have a look here:

2017 is a good year for aviation anniversaries + the best deal you’ll ever see for a lovely new set of Air Transport in Canada. Two big ones are the Beech 18 (turns 80) and the Boeing 737 (turns 50). There’s even a CANAV Books 20th anniversary. In 1997 CANAV launched its grandest title – Air Transport in Canada. It was an exciting evening out at the since-demolished Constellation Hotel on Airport Road near YYZ. However, at one point I’d been worrying about how the whole thing would go, for by mid-afternoon “ATC” still hadn’t arrived from the printer in Manitoba. Finally, the shipment — all 20 tons of it — pulled into the warehouse and we were in business. A solid crowd turned out for a good old aviation get together. A bonus was the presence at the front entrance of former TCA Super Constellation CF-TGE (now part of the Museum of Flight in Seattle). Several of the old timers attending knew this old classic personally.

“ATC” remains one of the world’s grandest-ever aviation titles – 2 volumes, 5 kg, 1030 pages, 9×12 format, 3000+ photos, etc. It’s 53 chapters include a solid outline of the early days of commercial aviation in Canada, everything imaginable about the evolution of Canada’s airlines and air transport in the RCAF to the modern era, the first comprehensive history of the helicopter in Canada, ditto for corporate aviation and aerial surveying, on and on.

Just this weekend I heard from a new reader in the US who has received his set in the mail. His immediate reaction was pretty typical: “Larry, the books arrived today. I wrenched my back picking the box up! Just kidding. Boy, I had been prospecting up in them “Internet Hills” to find some Canadian aviation history and by golly I struck the “Mother Lode” in CANAV. Many thanks for preserving so much history.” Another fan of “ATC” is John Timmins, founder of Timmins Aviation, etc. In the afterword of his biography, I Don’t Know Where I’m Going, But I’m Making Good Time, John writes:

A special note: I want to acknowledge and thank Larry Milberry for having given all of us in Canadian aviation “Air Transport in Canada”, a history of our industry in two magnificent volumes containing over 1000 pages. Never has air transport in any country been so thoroughly and well covered. I cannot imagine anyone attempting to write on Canadian aviation without it.

If you still don’t have this spectacular 2-volume set, here’s a great chance to fill that gap on your aviation bookshelf. Normally $155+ shipping + tax, “ATC” is on special from CANAV at $65 all-in. USA orders CDN$80 all-in, International (surface post) CDN$160 all-in. To put it mildly, you will not be disappointed with this impressive production. If ordering by mail, post your cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario M4E3B6. Or … use PayPal or Interac and email your payment to larry@canavbooks.wordpress.com US and EU readers also will enjoy a worthwhile kickback from the exchange when paying in CND dollars, so you win all around! Only 300 of my original 4000 sets of “ATC” remain. Each comes with a special 20th Anniversary inscription from the author. Thanks as always and keep in touch via the CANAV blog.

All the best… Larry Milberry

**PS … This offer has been brought back. For 2021, its again available at the above special prices!

CAE Updates

CAE retiree Arthur Grynspan adds a tidbit of valuable info about one of the group photos in The CAE Story: “I would like to identify an “unknown ” person, assuming you may re-issue the CAE Story one day. On Pg 217, in the bottom photo, the person in the last row, immediately to the right of the bearded fellow  is Ron Harmison. He and I spent an afternoon together recently during which he skimmed through your fine book and found himself. ” For the latest news about CAE — its many new contracts, etc., see http://www.cae.com as well as CAE is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2017 Learn more

First CAE-built Bombardier C Series Full Flight Simulator Receives Level D Qualification

On June 22, CAE reported some big C Series news. Get the full story of CAE’s magnificent heritage in Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story. See how the company began, did its first “sim” for the CF-100, build major components for the L1011 and 707, got into regional airlines, overhauled Viscounts and T-39s, built bushplanes, on and on — a fantastic legacy that culminates in today’s multi-billion dollar CAE. This is the grandest-ever aerospace company history, a book to be treasured by any serious reader. To order, see the main CANAV 2017 booklist and scroll back to read the book reviews. Cheers … Larry

CAE reports: CAE Bombardier Commercial Aircraft and CAE announced, during the International Paris Air Show, that Transport Canada, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the European Aviation Safety Agency and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) have qualified the world’s first C Series aircraft full-flight simulator (FFS) to Level D, the highest qualification for flight simulators.

The qualification by the civil aviation authorities represents a new milestone in the pilot-training activities for the C Series aircraft program. Bombardier Photos
The qualification by the civil aviation authorities represents a new milestone in the pilot-training activities for the C Series aircraft program. Bombardier Photos


The Bombardier C Series FFS, located at the Bombardier Training Centre in Montreal, Que., is the first C Series FFS to receive Level D qualification.

“This Level D qualification represents another milestone reached in the C Series aircraft program and allows pilots to complete all their training in the simulator before they fly the real aircraft,” said Todd Young, vice-president and general manager, customer services and Q400 Aircraft Program, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “With this qualification, our simulator reproduces to the highest level of fidelity, the characteristics of the C Series aircraft, as certified by the civil aviation authorities.”

The Bombardier C Series FFS, located at the Bombardier Training Centre in Montreal, is the first C Series FFS to receive Level D qualification.
The Bombardier C Series FFS, located at the Bombardier Training Centre in Montreal, is the first C Series FFS to receive Level D qualification.


“We are proud to highlight another key milestone with the achievement of the highest-level qualification for the first C Series full-flight simulator in the world,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE’s group president, Civil Aviation Training Solutions. “This highlights years of collaboration with our longstanding partner Bombardier in the development of the simulator. We are honoured to contribute to ensuring Bombardier customers receive the highest fidelity training for its C Series aircraft.” There are currently in operation, or on order, a total of five CAE-built C Series simulators worldwide.

2017 Spring-Summer Booklist is here!

Introducing CANAV Books’ 2017 Spring/Summer book list! You’ll find the best in Canadian aviation and general military/transportation reading. Download it here and have a look. Then get in touch when you find what you’re looking for!

Canada Post update I haven’t commented for a while about Canada Post, so here are a few notes. I wish I had a better review than last time, but no such luck, sad to say. For the past year or so mail delivery in postal code M4E remains spotty. Some days mail, some days no mail, various letter carriers on the route, who knows what time the mail will arrive, etc.

CANAV still regularly receives its neighbours’ mail and and vice verse. Apparently, being able to read is not a requirement for getting a letter carrier job at Canada Post.

This week Canada Post outdid itself by mis-delivering the same piece of first class mail to me for the third time. This item arrived a week ago, so I dropped it back into system. Then it came back to me two days later. I again re-posted the letter. Today (March 27) I received the same letter yet again. The addressee isn’t anywhere near 51 Balsam, and the postal code is not even close. So, what’s the story Canada Post? This time I’ll have to do your job and take a walk up to my distant neighbours’s place to make sure she gets her first class mail. Is there something like a Darwin Award for which we can nominate Canada Post?

1) A Few Typhoon Books Left 2) Bob Hoover “Ole Yeller” Update 3) Norseman Readers React

Typhoon dust jacketYou can see the interesting history of Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story by scrolling back through this blog (for example here and here). After waiting pretty well a quarter of a century, I thought the day would never come.However,  our original stock of about 3000 copies is now down to the final 10 as of February 4, 2017. These are available to the hardcore aviation history bibliophile at (for Canada) the collector’s price of  $90.00 + $12.00 Canada Post + $5.10 tax = $107.10. For USA and overseas each book CDN$90.00 + CDN$21.00 postage = CDN$111.00. Otherwise, you sometimes can find a lower price on a used copy at such sites as http://www.abebooks.com or www.bookfinder.com, so all is not lost!

When ordering, please use PayPal (pay to larry@canavbooks.com) or mail a cheque/MO to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto ON M4E 3B6 Canada. Tel: (416) 698-7559.

AND… Our Readers write (or email)

Here’s an update re. Bob Hoover’s Mustang from Ottawa CAHS member and Oshkosh devotee, Tim Dubé:

“Hi, Larry … here is one of my photos of N51RH taken at AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, ‘Ole Yeller’, now owned by John Bagley of Idaho.”

Bob Hoover mustang

“Also, in 2016 the Ford Motor Company donated this Ford Mustang (below) painted like Bob’s ‘Ole Yeller’ to the EAA ‘Young Eagles’ program. At auction it sold for US$295,000.

Regards … Tim”

Ford

Norseman Update

Meanwhile, readers of Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman history keep reporting back with their bons mots about this major 2-volume set. Since the publisher needs to crow a bit once in a while, here I go. First, comments from a UK* aviation bibliophile, then a few words from France**:

*How do you manage to produce such super books at such short intervals? This clearly is a fascinating subject, and Bob Noorduyn’s background was entirely new to me. I didn’t know that he had come to UK to work with Sopwith and Armstrong Whitworth. It’s good that you have done him and his achievements justice in your meticulous CANAV treatment. Also, what a lovely selection of well-reproduced old photos. These recreate the atmosphere of the Norseman era. As an aside, I’d never even heard of the Fairchild Husky.

**I hope all goes well, with lots of great projects to keep you busy in 2017. I just wanted to say that I was going through part of the Norseman book (second volume) yet again in a quiet moment yesterday evening…. it truly is an outstanding piece of work. I don’t think there is anyone out there who comes close to matching your unique blend of great research, depth of content, variety and accessible style. Congratulations again, a spectacular achievement!

Three top aviation book choices for year’s end 2016 and heading into the New Year.

In case you don’t happen to have a really good new book at your elbow this time of year, here are three wonderful titles. Pick one up and you’ll be a happy camper.

Canadair SabreThe Canadair Sabre is respected far and wide as the loveliest book ever produced about the F-86 Sabre. This beauty is the story of Canadair turning out 1815 North American Sabres in the 1950s, mainly for RCAF NATO squadrons. It starts with all the background from early postwar days when Mustangs and Vampires equipped the RCAF at home. With a better day fighter needed in the face of the USSR’s MiG-15, Canadair proves itself up to the task, setting up the production line at Cartierville. Soon the RCAF is known as No.1 in the NATO day fighter game. Sixty Canadian Sabres even fight in Korea with the USAF, where they account for several MiGs.

The Canadair Sabre covers the development story, then operations at the famous Sabre OTU at Chatham, details of NATO operations from the four Leapfrogs to daily patrols right up to the NATO/Warsaw Pact buffer zone, service back home with the home front squadrons in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal and much more. Then come South Africa and Colombia, and there’s even a failed deal with Israel. As earlier Canadair Sabres are replaced by the hotter Orenda-powered models, earlier examples go down the line to such allies as Italy, Greece and Turkey. Some even end in Yugoslavia. A large number of ex-Luftwaffe Sabres end clandestinely in Pakistan, where they down India AF MiG-21s in a brutal 1971 air war. Talk about Sabre coverage, eh!

With 372 pages and some 600 photos, production and accident lists, fold-out line drawings, maps, index, etc., you won’t find a much more impressive or beautifully-produced aviation hardcover. Air Fan called The Canadair Sabre “The aviation literary event of the year.” Air International added, “There seems scant prospect of a better history”, and Greece’s aviation monthly Ptisi concluded: “A real oasis for F-86 fans and anyone interested in the Golden Years of the 1950s-60s.” You can have your own copy autographed by author Larry Milberry at the all-in special price (book, shipping, tax) of CDN$44.00 (USA & Int’l CDN$56.00). Cheque or MO by mail OK, or pay via PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com

LostLost: Unsolved Mysteries of Canadian Aviation offers top coverage of this theme including such famous crashes and disappearances as the Flying Bank Robber, Johnny Bourassa & Chuck McAvoy in mysterious NWT cases, and hockey star Bill Barilko. Other episodes include long-distance Russian flier Levanevsky, and TCA’s tragic Lodestar and North Star crashes in the BC mountains. 224 pages, softcover, photos, index. CANAV’s all-in price (book, shipping, tax) CDN$33.00 (USA & Int’l CDN$36.00). Cheque or MO by mail OK, or pay via PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com

CotliffeUnder the Maple Leaf by Kenneth Cothliff recounts the remarkable adventures of four young Canadians in Bomber Command during WWII. Four lads from different backgrounds fight overseas in deadly night skies punctuated by flak and crawling with heavily armed, radar-directed night fighters. Somehow, they beat the survival odds and get home, but each is much changed from the innocent fellow who had enlisted back in Canada. Says one reviewer, “Ken Cothliff’s book is extremely valuable in telling of Canada’s vital contribution to the air war against Germany.” 240pp, hard cover, photos. CANAV’s all-in price (book, shipping, tax) $60.00 (USA & Int’l CDN$68.00). Cheque or MO by mail OK, or pay via PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com

Click here for CANAV’s complete list for more great titles tailor-made for any serious reader:

Canadian Aeorplanes Ltd. marks 100th anniversary!

December 15. 2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd. CAL was the first company in Canada to have an aircraft production line. Its operations in west Toronto (1917-18) turned out more than 2000 Curtiss JN-4 Canucks. These were used by the Royal Flying Corps (Canada) to train Canadians to fly. Many of the RFC (C) graduates would fight overseas with the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service, then the Royal Air Force (once the RFC and RNAS merged in 1918).

JN 4s in productionIn these two fine photos from CANAV’s archives JN-4s (above) are seen on the CAL line. JN-4 C142 (below) is seen dormant in a typical Southern Ontario winter scene. The RFC (C) operated training bases from Leaside and Armour Heights in suburban Toronto, to Camp Borden, Beamsville, Deseronto and Texas. Flying continued in the toughest of winter weather in the rugged wood-wire-and-fabric JN-4C.

Production