Category Archives: Aviation in Canada

Air Transport in Canada Hits 20 + 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:

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

2017 is a good year for aviation anniversaries. 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 good chance to fill that gap on your aviation bookshelf. Normally $155, “ATC” is on special from CANAV at $95 + $16 flat rate postage + tax at $5.30 for a total (Canada only) of CDN$116.30. 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. Just email your payment to larry@canavbooks.wordpress.com. If you are in the US or overseas and would like a set, email me at the same address, and I’ll give you a price with shipping. Thanks to “Mafia Post”, this monster set of books will cost any buyer in the US at least $40 for delivery, more for overseas. Your only consolation is that you’ll be paying in CDN dollars vs US dollars or Euros.

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

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

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.

10-bristol-170

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.

14-nwi

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.

to

18-cessna

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

22-avro-meteor

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