Category Archives: Beaver

Still *More* New “De Havilland” Images

In addition to our new Norseman selection, John Wegg also provides these fantastic DH/DHC photos, ranging from Rapide to Comet. All of these build beautifully on the foundations provided by CANAV’s widely-acclaimed De Havilland in Canada and The Noorduyn Norseman. Nice, eh!

Below, three new views of Canada’s last flying D.H.80 Puss Moth — CF-AVC. Brought to Canada in 1935, ‘AVC served various private owners. In 1965 it was sold in the UK, becoming G-FAVC. Here it is some time in the 1950s in period colours – dark blue fuselage with orange wings and tail. When photographed in the UK in the 2010s it still bore these colours.

Wegg 1 CF-AVC Puss Moth-1 Wegg ColWegg 3 CF-AVC Puss Moth-3  Wegg Col

Wegg 2 CF-AVC Puss Moth-2 Wegg Col

Blog D.H.80 Puss Moyj CF-AVA Tim Dube

I had no idea that there was a second Canadian Puss Moth still around. Here it is — CF-AVA aka N223EC — photographed by CAHS Ottawa chapter president Timothy Dubé in the vintage aircraft camping area at Oshkosh on August 2, 2013. Sold originally by DHC in 1934 to Consolidated Mining and Smelting of Trail, BC, there were subsequent BC owners in 1936 – 42, then the plane “disappeared”. The next record that I’ve spotted is of a 1962 sale to Ed Carlson of Spokane. On August 1, 2014 Vancouver Island aviation buff, Dave Fletcher, provided us with an update: “CF-AVA passed through Courtenay Airpark this week. Interestingly, the US register shows it as ‘amateur built’, so I don’t know if it is the original, or, a superb replica.”

Ex-RCN Tiger Moth CF-IVO when owned by Rev. John MacGillivray, an early member of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. Painted navy blue and white, it’s seen at an EAA fly-in at Rockford, Illinois. John attended his first Rockford event in 1959, flying ‘IVO all the way from Summerside, PEI. Following the 1964 fly-in, John donated ‘IVO to the budding EAA museum, where you may see it today. Before the handover, John made a final flight at Rockford, his passenger being the great aviation historian, EAA pioneer and photographer, Pete Bowers.

Ex-RCN Tiger Moth CF-IVO when owned by Rev. John MacGillivray, an early member of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. Painted navy blue and white, it’s seen at an EAA fly-in at Rockford, Illinois. John attended his first Rockford event in 1959, flying ‘IVO all the way from Summerside, PEI. Following the 1964 fly-in, John donated ‘IVO to the budding EAA museum, where you may see it today. Before the handover John made a final flight at Rockford, his passenger being the great aviation historian, EAA pioneer and photographer, Pete Bowers.

Tiger Moth CF-BXT on floats, at Fort William circa 1950. Built as 8889 for the RCAF in 1942, ‘BXT served O.J. Weiben’s Superior Airways of Fort William starting in 1944. Later homes included Atikokan, Jackfish Lake and Sioux Lookout, Ontario. The last known owner (1953) was J. Clancy of Terrace Bay, Ontario.

Tiger Moth CF-BXT on floats, at Fort William circa 1950. Built as 8889 for the RCAF in 1942, ‘BXT served O.J. Weiben’s Superior Airways of Fort William starting in 1944. Later homes included Atikokan, Jackfish Lake and Sioux Lookout, Ontario. The last known owner (1953) was J. Clancy of Terrace Bay, Ontario.

CF-GTU at Rockford circa 1960, when owned by Adriaan Cappon of Sarnia, Ontario. Last heard of, this ex-RCAF Tiger Moth was with Classic Wings of Courtice, Ontario.

CF-GTU at Rockford circa 1960, when owned by Adriaan Cappon of Sarnia, Ontario. Last heard of, this ex-RCAF Tiger Moth was with Classic Wings of Courtice, Ontario.

 In 1946 de Havilland Canada introduced the DHC-1 Chipmunk as its natural post-WWII Tiger Moth replacement. CF-CXE was shot at Rockford circa 1960. Last heard of in the 2000s it was N143P in Salem, Oregon.

In 1946 de Havilland Canada introduced the DHC-1 Chipmunk as its natural post-WWII Tiger Moth replacement. CF-CXE was shot at Rockford circa 1960. Last heard of in the 2000s it was N143P in Salem, Oregon.

Beaver CF-ICL at Vancouver soon after being delivered new in 1955 to Queen Charlotte Airlines. After countless bush, coast and mountain flying experiences, in the 2000s this long-lived Beaver was N67DL -- beautifully restored and based in Everett, Washington.

Beaver CF-ICL at Vancouver soon after being delivered new in 1955 to Queen Charlotte Airlines. After countless bush, coast and mountain flying experiences, in the 2000s this long-lived Beaver was N67DL — beautifully restored and based in Everett, Washington.

Built in 1956, Wheeler-Northland Otter CF-IUZ-X did “aeromag” survey work in the 1960s. In 2014 it was a Turbo Otter based in Vancouver with Harbour Air. Much can be learned of any such DHC plane by fishing around on the internet.

Built in 1956, Wheeler-Northland Otter CF-IUZ-X did “aeromag” survey work in the 1960s. In 2014 it was a Turbo Otter based in Vancouver with Harbour Air. Much can be learned of any such DHC plane by fishing around on the internet. The diehard fans, of course, always have De Havilland in Canada to consult!

There always were other interesting de Havilland types to photograph in postwar Canada. DHC at Downsview usually marketed and serviced these – anything from the D.H. Dove and Heron to the RCAF’s Vampire fighters and Comet jetliners. The Heron always caught any photographer’s eye. Three of these attractive mini-airliners had long and useful Canadian careers: CF-EYX with the Department of Transport (usually based in Moncton) CF-HLI with Canadian Comstock (based in the Genaire hangar at Malton) and CF-IJR based at Downsview with DHC. Here is the DOT’s fixed-gear Heron CF-EYX. In 1970 it was exported to Honduras.

There always were other interesting de Havilland types to photograph in postwar Canada. DHC at Downsview usually marketed and serviced these – anything from the D.H. Dove and Heron to the RCAF’s D.H. Vampire fighters and Comet jetliners. The Heron always caught any photographer’s eye. Three of these attractive mini-airliners had long and useful Canadian careers: CF-EYX with the Department of Transport (usually based in Moncton) CF-HLI with Canadian Comstock (based in the Genaire hangar at Malton) and CF-IJR based at Downsview with DHC. Here is the DOT’s fixed-gear Heron CF-EYX. In 1970 it disappeared into Honduras.

RCAF Vampires in a nice flightline scene of the day, location unknown. The natty Vampire served frontline and reserve squadrons from 1948 to 1956, by when the last had been replaced by Sabres. Once retired, 17068 was sold “south of the border”.

RCAF Vampires in a nice flightline scene, location unknown. The natty Vampire served frontline and reserve squadrons from 1948 to 1956, by when the last had been replaced by Sabres. Once retired, 17068 was sold “south of the border”

 An ancient scene at Keflavik, showing RCAF Comet I 5301 on the tarmac. Such early jet transports did not travel far before having to refuel somewhere. Depending on winds, if westbound from Prestwick or Shannon, an RCAF Comet almost certainly would have to stop at Keflavik, maybe also at Frobisher Bay or Goose Bay, before reaching home base in Ottawa. The RCAF was the world’s first air carrier with scheduled trans-Atlantic jetliner service. The story of its Comets is covered in such CANAV titles as Air Transport in Canada and Sixty Years.

An ancient scene at Keflavik featuring RCAF Comet I 5301 on the tarmac. Such early jet transports did not travel far on North Atlantic routes before having to refuel. Depending on winds, if westbound from Prestwick or Shannon, an RCAF Comet almost certainly had to stop at Keflavik, maybe also at Frobisher Bay or Goose Bay, before reaching home base in Ottawa. The RCAF was the world’s first air carrier with scheduled trans-Atlantic jetliner service. The story of its Comets is covered in such CANAV titles as Air Transport in Canada and Sixty Years. Thanks for all these beauties, John!

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CANAV Special Offer: De Havilland in Canada

 De Havilland in Canada

by Fred W. Hotson

** N.B. From 2016, new copies of this famous title available only through Viking Aircraft of Victoria. Contact Viking at (800) 6727-6727 or info@vikingair.com

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An aviation hound since he was a little boy, while still in high school Fred Hotson built his own plane – a tiny one-seater, mail-order Heath. Fred ordered it one part at a time, finally finished it and got it airborne. Finished with school, Fred got on at de Havilland Canada before WWII. He flew through the war, including with Ferry Command, then had a distinguished postwar career in corporate aviation. Eventually, he returned to DHC, where he demonstrated Twin Otters and trained pilots all over the world.

As an early member of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, Fred promoted Canada’s aviation heritage every chance he got. His special passion was DHC, about which he spoke and wrote much until the time came to do a comprehensive history. First published by CANAV in 1983, his best-selling The De Havilland Canada Story eventually needed an update. We did that in 1999, creating a new book, De Havilland in Canada. This production gives all the details of an incredible success story from the 1920s to the present. You won’t find a lovelier aviation book. Not only does DHC cover all the great planes from tiny Moths to wartime Mosquito and postwar Beaver, Buffalo, Dash 7 right to today’s Q400 and Global Express, but the key people also all are there. This is a story of humble beginnings and grand success, how a dubious gamble ended with a Canadian company influencing the entire world.

Revered as Canada’s leading aviation history personality, Fred Hotson was a fastidious collector of aviation documents, photos and memorabilia. He was a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame and there’s a list of other honours. On his passing in 2012 Fred’s priceless collection was offered gratis to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, which turned it down as irrelevant (your Ottawa mentality at work, eh – can you believe it!). Fred already had donated his magnificent library to me, so the estate offered me the pick of everything Ottawa had no use for. I selected a few items, the rest was snapped up by the quick-minded folks at the Provincial Archives of Ontario, who know valuable Canadiana when they see it. Anyone doing serious DHC research will do well in visiting Fred’s collection, located in the new provincial archives building on the York University campus in northwest Toronto. Masses of photographs and a very rare collection of DHC 16mm movie reels are included.

Here are a few of the astounding de Havilland Canada photos from Fred’s collection. Some of these you’ll enjoy in the book, some not. Check every so often to see what new DHC photos have been added. Click once on any photo to see it full frame. Have a great day, have fun with the CANAV blog and thanks for your loyal support … Larry Milberry, publisher

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As young fellows, Fred Hotson and his pals, including C. Don Long and George Neal, were totally keen about aviation. Not surprisingly, they usually carried their cameras — even in his 90s Fred was avid about photography. C. Don Long, a DHC engineer, carefully covered the aviation scene at least since the late 1920s. Fred inherited his old pal’s collection, including this fabulous view of a pair of Moths circa June 1928 in front of the first de Havilland Canada building. This was at de Lesseps Field in Mount Dennis, on the northwest fringes of Toronto. C-GAKX was a Cirrus Moth newly assembled for the Halifax Aero Club. The following summer ‘AKX was wrecked landing on floats near Halifax. By this stage, unfortunately, there remains almost no record of how any of these old planes were painted. Call it a black-and-white world, right! (Click on any photo to enjoy it full screen.)

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Don photographed Fox Moth CF-API at the Toronto Flying Club on some pleasant weekend. As you can see, the aviation set always was pretty sharply turned out in these early times. That’s the renowned Leigh Capreol standing by the cockpit. Canada’s first Fox Moth, CF-API arrived in Toronto in a crate from the UK in May 1933. That winter it joined General Airways of Rouyn to toil in the Quebec and Ontario bush. In 1937-39 it was in Western Canada, then returned east for Leavens Brothers. Wrecked in the Ontario northland, it was rebuilt as CF-EVK, then worked into the 1950s, before fading from the scene.

Another early DHC type was the D.H.84 Dragon. Powered by two 130-hp D.H. Gipsy engines, the Dragon carried six passengers at about 100 mph. CF-APJ was delivered to Canadian Airways Ltd. of Montreal in May 1933. That summer it served the tourist trade, joy-riding from Cartierville airport, making a lot of money for CAL. It then joined CAL’s Maritime’s division. Eventually, it was cannibalized, so that Dragon CF-AVD could be reconditioned. The Dragon was an early example of a solid, economic, general purpose “airliner”, kind of a Dash 8 of its day. Don photographed it while DHC was getting it ready for delivery. Note the classic CAL “Goose” emblem.

Another early DHC type was the D.H.84 Dragon. Powered by two 130-hp D.H. Gipsy engines, the Dragon carried six passengers at about 100 mph. CF-APJ was delivered to Canadian Airways Ltd. of Montreal in May 1933. That summer it served the tourist trade, joy-riding from Cartierville airport, making a lot of money for CAL. It then joined CAL’s Maritimes division. Eventually, it was cannibalized, so that Dragon CF-AVD could be reconditioned. The Dragon was an early example of a solid, economic, general purpose “airliner”, kind of a mini-Dash 8 of its day. Don photographed it while DHC was getting it ready for delivery. Note the classic CAL “Goose” emblem.

De Havilland in the UK refined the somewhat dowdy-looking Dragon into the nifty-looking D.H.89 Rapide. Many Rapides served the Canadian scene into the late 1940s. CF-BBG was one of Canada’s early corporate planes. Delivered in June 1937 to Toronto-based Globe and Mail, Don photographed it “factory-fresh” on Toronto Bay. Dubbed “The Flying Newsroom”, it was intended for use on news gathering expeditions. But fate intervened -- CF-BBG was soon was lost. Fred tells the story in his book.

De Havilland in the UK refined the somewhat dowdy Dragon into the nifty-looking D.H.89 Rapide. Many Rapides served the Canadian scene into the late 1940s. CF-BBG was one of Canada’s early corporate planes. Delivered in June 1937 to the Toronto-based Globe and Mail, Don photographed it “factory-fresh” on Toronto Bay. Dubbed “The Flying Newsroom”, it was intended for news gathering expeditions. But fate intervened — CF-BBG was soon was lost. Fred tells the story in his book.

From Mont Dennis, DHC moved to Downsview, where airplanes still are built under the Bombardier banner. Here is the factory set-up circa 1938. Very little empty space remains here today – it’s now all jam-packed with “Toronto megalopolis” development.

From Mont Dennis, DHC moved to Downsview, where airplanes still are built under the Bombardier banner. Here is the factory set-up circa 1938. Very little empty space remains here today – it’s now all jam-packed with “Toronto megalopolis” development.

Further pre-war DHC development at Downsview.

Further pre-war DHC development at Downsview.

The hangars shown in this spring 1940 photo are easily seen in the aerial view. By now the place had picked up wildly. The war is on and Tiger Moth trainers were being churned out – more than 1400 would be produced. No.4043 (nearest) was delivered in May 1940. Sad to say, the following March is was lost in a crash at the RCAF flying school in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

The hangars shown in this spring 1940 photo are easily seen in the aerial view. By now the place had picked up wildly. The war was on and Tiger Moth trainers were being churned out – more than 1400 would be built. No.4043 (nearest) was delivered in May 1940. Sad to say, the following March is was lost in a crash at the RCAF flying school in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Also mass-produced at Downsview were more than 1100 Mosquito bombers. This is the view as Mosquitos were coming down the line. This very production bay still stood in 2014, but it likely soon will disappear, now that the former Toronto Aerospace Museum has been rousted from the place. The Mosquito story is well covered in Fred’s book – you’ll love it!

Also mass-produced at Downsview were more than 1100 Mosquito bombers. This is the view as Mosquitos were coming down the line. This very production bay still stood in 2014, but it likely soon will disappear, now that the former Toronto Aerospace Museum has been rousted from the place. The Mosquito story is well covered in Fred’s book – you’ll love it!

How Downsview looked during the Mosquito era. Hovering over this spot in a helicopter today, you would see Hwy 401 sweeping across the bottom left to right, the sprawling Yorkdale Shopping Center and a major TTC subway station.  You would not see much unused real estate!

How Downsview looked during the Mosquito era. Notice how suburban development already was encroaching on the airport. Hovering over this spot in a helicopter today, you would see Hwy 401 sweeping across the bottom left to right, the sprawling Yorkdale Shopping Center and a major TTC subway station.

DHC author – the great Fred Hotson in his home office in Mississauga in 2012. Age 97, Fred still was busy researching and writing. On the wall is the painting Bill Wheeler did of Fred’s tiny Heath homebuilt.

DHC author – the great Fred Hotson in his home office in Mississauga in 2012. Age 97, Fred still was busy researching and writing. On the wall is the painting Bill Wheeler did of Fred’s tiny Heath homebuilt.

PS … are you keen about the F-104, that fantastic “Fighter of the Fifties”? If yes, then here’s something to light your burner …  check into The Canadian Starfighter Museum. Located in Manitoba, the CSM is restoring one of the oldest CF-104s — RCAF 12703. It also has many important “collectibles”, including one of the RCAF’s CAE-built CF-104 flight simulators. Make sure you see what excellent work these dedicated, hardworking folks are doing!

CF-104 12703 on arrival in 2013 at the CSM hangar at St. Andrews Airport, a short drive north of Winnipeg.

CF-104 12703 on arrival in 2013 at the CSM hangar at St. Andrews Airport, a short drive north of Winnipeg.

The CSM's beautifully-restored CAE-built CF-104 flight simulator. Based at Cold Lake, No.6 OTU/417 Squadron trained Canada's CF-104 pilots from 1961 into the early 1980s.

The CSM’s beautifully-restored CAE-built CF-104 flight simulator. Based at Cold Lake, No.6 OTU/417 Squadron trained Canada’s CF-104 pilots from 1961 into the early 1980s.

The CF-104 flight simulator cockpit restored by the CSM to the smallest detail. (photos via Steve Pajot/CSM)

The CF-104 flight simulator cockpit restored by the CSM to the smallest detail. (photos via Steve Pajot/CSM)

PPS … Are you a self-respecting airliner fan? If so, you must have these essential sources to be “au courant” (including the “fashionable” and “stylish” versions of the translation):

1) Your subscriptions to Airways: The Global Review of Commercial Flight  and Propliner Aviation Magazine.

2) Your personal connection to Henry Tenby’s airlinehobby.com. There you can order books, buy/sell aviation photos and other collectibles, etc.

3) Your copies of The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection, The Wilf White Propliner Collection and Air Transport in Canada. These now are on sale, see CANAV’s current booklist.

Canada Post — spare us from the yahoos in Ottawa, please! You can scoll back a bit to see about CANAV’s Canada Post woes. We still are missing delivery days in M4E. So be that, but others in Canada seem to be getting really royally screwed over —  little or zero mail for them. So why are we paying taxes and is it time for a tax payer revolution? How about it, citizens?

Can you believe this crapola about King Deepak Chopra and his do-nothings at Canada Post? Have a look at this little news item:  Herein, “$500K Deepak” discusses the Canada Post charter. His summary is a real hoot — Deepak bleets how the terms of the charter are what “we try to strive for”. Huh? Not actually striving, just “trying” to strive — Homer Simpson couldn’t have put it better. Hey, Your Eminence, you don’t strive for the terms of the Canada Post charter — you deliver as promised or get outta town.

Bush flying in Ketchikan

Similar to Canada, Alaska has a rich aviation heritage dating from early post-WWI days. Every  settlement in the state remains dependent on air transportation. Aviation hounds consider Alaska one of the world’s best “hunting grounds” for photographing old planes, from Beavers and Otters to C-46s and DC-4s.

The Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage and the Alaskaland Pioneer Air Museum in Fairbanks tell the story of Alaska aviation through the decades. The Norseman, of course, has its place. Many US Army UC-64s served in Alaska during the war. Civil examples operated postwar, several with Wien Airlines. In 2014, however, Alaska didn’t have a single airworthy Norseman. You’ll find museum examples N725E in Anchorage and N55555 in Fairbanks. There also are 2 or 3 “project” Norsemans around Alaska awaiting restoration.

The town of Ketchikan has produced this gem of a video honouring its bush flying lifestyle. Here it is and you won’t regret taking a look:

Ketchikan: The Bush Pilots from Laurel Lindahl on Vimeo.

One of my Alaska aviation pals comments after watching it: “Great footage and what good quality! Ketchikan is a pretty special town, lots of old style bar life going on. The houses in the red light district had hatches in the floor, so the customers could arrive under the house unseen in skiffs.”

Here are three shots I took on August 3, 1993, when Sandy Parker flew me up to Ketchikan from Prince Rupert in his Wagair Beaver. It was a perfect summer’s day for such a swan.

Ketchikan 1

Shown above is recently-converted Turbo Otter N51KA of Ketchikan Air. Note the Turbo Beaver in the distance. To this day Beavers and Otters remain at the heart of bush and coast flying in this region. In 1957 N51KA came off the production line at DHC in Toronto as Otter 270. It was delivered to the US Army as 57-6128. Its Army days over, in 1978 it became C-GLFK back in Canada with Air Saguenay in Quebec, then migrated to Alaska, sporting a PT6 turbine engine. By 2014 N51KA had been re-registered N270A of Pro Mech Air, also of Ketchikan.

Ketchikan 4 N4787C of Yes Bay Lodge began as Beaver 1330 in 1959, then spent its entire career on the West Coast. It last was in the news on July 24, 2013. While on a Pro Mech Air flight-seeing trip from Ketchikan, the engine failed. N4787C crashed into trees, but all four aboard were rescued.

Ketchikan 2

Here’s a typical view from town looking across to Gravina Island, site of Ketchikan International Airport. An Alaska Airlines 737 is on final approach.

Special note to serious fans: The Regina Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society is hosting the 2014 CAHS national convention in early June. For info, here’s the link: http://cahs.ca/Convention-2014/2014-agm.html

And … Check out Steinar’s Hangar for a fabulous website about one of history’s great little bushplanes/sportplanes — the Republic RC-3 Seabee. Visit www.seabee.info — don’t skip this one or you’ll really be missing out! Steinar also covers such topics as Norway’s Otters and Twin Otters, so there’s plenty of Canadian content.

Lately I dug out some Seabee photos I took 50+ years ago and sent them to Steinar. Now everyone can see these nifty old shots, uselessly buried in my files for so many years. So … if you have any Seabee photos or info, kindly share with Steinar at steinar.saevdal@gmail.com. Thanks … Larry

People sure do need their Norseman fix! Readers keep getting in touch to order Norseman books and tell me a bit about their Norseman connections. Eric Boyce in Alaska writes on February 14, 2014:

I worked on CF-FQI when it was owned by Sept-Iles Air Service in Sept-Iles, QC. That was in 1961 and ’62. I was 14. FQI was the first airplane I ever got to fly — I got to hold the controls for 30 minutes from Lac Manitou to Lac Des Rapides. 
 
In 1999 I brokered CF-GUE to Bear Lake Air, a company in Seward Alaska. I flew it back with my engineer buddy and fellow Canadian, John “Alan” Wakefield. I flew GUE a bit here in Alaska for the last operator, Renfro Air. I modified it by putting Sikorsky S-58 axles, wheels and brakes on it (just like having Otter wheels). I sent Gordy Hughes a copy of the FAA approval and blueprints. Renfro said he could beat the Cessna Caravans hauling freight into the Eskimo villages, because the Norseman was fast and a lot cheaper to operate. He said the wheels and brakes made it taxi, takeoff and land with great control. As you may know Renfro’s engine quit and he rolled it up in the muskeg trying to make the airport.
 
Anyway, I love the Norseman and have since 1961. So I need the books to complete my love affair. Thanks a million for making these books available.

Canada’s Cadet Program … One of our country’s best organizations for teens is “Cadets”. Th Cadet movement is under attack from the Harper Government (our great pals in Ottawa, right). Not only is the HG campaigning to destroy our post services, etc., now they’ve put their sights on the Cadets. Please look at this item. Please sign the petition and forward. Thanks again … Larry

http://www.change.org/petitions/stephen-harper-and-government-of-canada-end-the-cuts-to-cadets-canada-training-and-uniforms-and-cut-the-expansive-regional-cadet-bureaucracy-instead?share_id=RKtrcoJlib&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

Three Books to Check Out: “Bush Flying Captured” is CANAV’s Pick of the Year!

Howdy good readers … if ordering this lovely book, you’ll receive a free copy of “Tales from the Lakeview”.

For any true fan of aviation this could well be “the” book of 2011. Bush Flying Captured has just been released. Author/publisher Rich Hulina had done us all a gigantic favour by turning out this magnificent tome. A large-format hardcover, Bush Flying Captured features hundreds of fabulous colour photos of the great Canadian and Alaskan bushplanes. Informative captions accompany each photo. The turbine Otter on the cover (one of Rich’s own planes from his Slate Falls Airways fleet), gets your attention immediately, and shows you what to expect from Page 1 to Page 164 of this hefty, finely-produced book.

What else do you like? Well, if it’s northern aviation, Rich includes much of it from the Beaver to the Otter, Twin Otter, Norseman, Beech 18, Beech 99, Founds, Cessnas, Pipers, DC-3, C-46, CL-415 and BAe748.

Rich is the very definition of the knowledgeable, avid aviation photographer. I need to tell you that, because he’s too low-profile a guy to tell you so himself. He’s won more than once in Aviation Week’s annual photography contest!

Bush pilot and entrepreneur Rich is no weeny when it comes to photography. He shoots in all weather and seasons, so you’ll see float scenes, ski scenes, even tundra tires throughout the book. You’ll see the planes hard at work, hibernating over the winter, at sunrise,  at sunset and there are scads of air-to-air photos that the aficionado always expects.

You know what … I can’t say enough about this magnificent book. It’s at once a solid work-a-day presentation and an artistic masterpiece. Order your copy from CANAV: Canadian orders … $40.00 + $12.00 shipping (it’s a heavy one, so a bit pricier to mail) + 5% GST $2.60 = $54.60 and a heck of a bargain at that! PayPal is good or send your cheque by post to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, ON M4E 3B6. (US and overseas Cdn$64.00).

Tales from the Lakeview: Collected Aviation Stories by Robert S. Grant

Take note, folks … now (March 2015) available from CANAV Books for $15.00 all-in. Thanks!

Since he was a boy, Bob Grant has been nuts about aviation, so he and I hit it off when we were getting started. Bob went into the bush and pretty well stayed there, flying whatever they’d trust him with — Cessnas, Founds, Pipers, then moving slowly up to the big leagues — to the MU-2 “Rice Rocket” and DC-3. Finally, Bob got a real job — the Ministry of Natural Resources hired him and he was in heaven with everything from the Turbo Beaver to the CL-215.

All along we also had our airplane photography and magazine writing gigs. We did a decent job at those and the writing opened many a door — we got to travel all over the world chasing aviation stories and got our first books out.

Bob had a real knack turning his bush flying experiences into some of the best stories. Everyone to this day enjoys them, especially his Red Lake yarns that always seem to feature something about “the Lakeview”, where local aviators and other n’er-do-wells seem to hang out and where Bob himself is always known (and proudly so, it seems) as the cheapest tipper.

Well, here is Bob’s latest book, just an excellent collection of his best stories. Great coverage of pilots, air engineers and the classic bushplanes of the Canadian backcountry — Beaver, Beech 18, C-46, DC-3, Junkers, Moth, Norseman, Otter, PBY, Twin Otter, etc. Tales from the Lakeview is a mini-treasure chest of a book for anyone who enjoys this great topic. 192 pages, softcover, photos galore. $29.95 in the stores, CANAV price as of March 2015 is $15.00 all-in. CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto M4E 3B6

Mayhem to Mayday: The Two Air Wars of Andy Mackenzie

**Please note, folks. This title no longer available at CANAV Books. You can look for a copy at abebooks.com.**

Norm Avery has produced this fine biography of one of the RCAF’s renowned WWII/Korean fighter pilots — the great Andy Mackenzie. Andy’s youth, his training, then his Spitfire years start off the book. Postwar, he flies Vampires and is posted on exchange on Sabres in Korea. There his career takes a very bad turn — his USAF wingman shoots him down over enemy territory. Andy spends two years as a guest of some of the rottenest members of the human race, but somehow comes out in one piece (more or less).

Back in Canada Andy remained in the RCAF, but never received another promotion. But he always loved airforce life and became a founding member of the Canadian Fighter Pilots Association. Mayhem to Mayday is a tribute to a great Canadian — you deserve a copy!

Larry Milberry, publisher

Notes about Picture Background and (by the by) a Visit to Toronto’s R.C. Harris Water Filtration Plant

Andy Michaluk waits in Spitfire N730MJ at the button of Runway 26. The background is appropriate, including the original Toronto Island Airport hangar built circa 1938. The vessel tied up beside it is the old Maple City, a former TIA ferry boat.

We were always taught in photography classes by the likes of Nick “NJW” Wolochatiuk to chose (or at least be aware of) the background in our photos. Background often needed to be neutral, we were instructed, so as not to distract from the central subject. There was a list of pointers about overhead wires and such, i.e., look out for what you really don’t want in your photo “back there”. On the other hand you sometimes wanted a certain background. If the subject was an Otter bobbing at the dock, composing your shot to include the Beaver taking off behind would be ideal. That usually took a bit of patience or happenstance. So background can polish your shot.

Back on August 29, 2003 I was with the gang down at Toronto Island Airport checking out the Canadian International Airshow action. There were a number of participants present from an American-registered Spitfire Mk.IX to the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association from Woodstock. In the usual course of milling around with the gang, I soon got chatting about doing an air-to-air shoot with Spitfire pilot Andy Michaluk.

Andy takes his Spitfire over the Eastern Gap. Next he crossed over Cherry Beach, Ashbridges Bay, the Eastern Beaches, the R.C.Harris plant, then reached the Scarborough Bluffs. His Spitfire was built in 1943, fought with the RCAF, then served the Italian and Israeli air forces postwar. It eventually returned to the UK for restoration, flying again in 1988 and coming to the US in 2000. Its markings are those of the CO of 32 Squadron while stationed in Greece in 1944.

Originally from Baltimore, Andy had his commercial pilot’s licence by 1960, then joined the Maryland Air National Guard. He trained on the T-37 and T-38 at Williams AFB, advanced to the T-33 and F-86H at Nellis AFB, then flew the F-86H with the 104th TFS Maryland ANG from Baltimore. A later stint was on F-100s with the 136 TFS at Niagara Falls, NY. Andy wrapped up his ANG career on the AT-37 and left the ANG in 1977. Meanwhile, he had been flying for American Airlines. Starting on the DC-6, he moved on to such types as the Electra, 727 and 767, off which he retired in 2001.

In 1988 Andy restored an AT-6, which he painted in Maryland ANG colours. He later checked out on the P-51 and recently had added the Spitfire. After we briefed for our photo trip, we taxied out and departed on Runway 26, the Harvard leading. As we turned back eastward, over my shoulder I spotted Andy blasting off down R26.

He soon was sitting on our port wingtip as we passed over the islands, crossed the Eastern Gap and headed for the Scarborough Bluffs, which always make such a fine background for air-to-airs. Nearing the bluffs we flew over my neighbourhood — the Beaches. Then in seconds we were over Toronto’s magnificent R.C. Harris water treatment plant. I banged off a few shots as we moved along at 130 knots. This was a photog’s dream scenario! A few rolls of Kodacolor later and we were on final back at TIA, another great “Kodak Moment” happily noted in my little passenger log book.

Passing over the magnificent R.C. Harris water filtration plant at the east end of Queen Street. Not surprisingly, this property often is used as a movie set.

A few weeks ago photography sidekick Andrew Yee called to remind me that there was an upcoming open house at R.C. Harris. This was too good to miss, so on May 29, 2011 there I was at (instead of over) this great Toronto landmark. Designed in 1929, the Harris plant was constructed 1932-37 and finally opened in 1941.

The Harris plant from ground level in a view that features many of its architectural fine points.

The guidebook published by the City of Toronto tells the story of the place:

The architect was Thomas C. Pomphrey [whose] career revolved around water supply and treatment plants … Dubbing it “The Palace of Purification”, critics attacked the plant’s appearance as early as 1938. The use of rich materials like marble and bronze in the interior, plus the extensive limestone carvings on the exterior is … characteristic of the times. While unusual for Toronto’s utilitarian structures, lavish treatment was typical in water treatment plants built across North America prior to World War II… The R.C. Harris is the largest unified ensemble of Art Deco buildings in Toronto. Inside and out, the plant features stepped, or set-back, profiles and a wealth of flattened, geometric and highly stylized ornament in stone, brick and metal. The plant is an excellent example of how the Art Deco style (1925-40) could integrate Late Romanesque Revival and Modern Classical forms, which are represented by the round-arched openings in the filter Building and the simplified pediments and pilasters on the Pumping Station.

You’ll chuckle at the bit about the critics. Those often-clueless cases are always out there casting their stones. Toronto gave us the R.C. Harris plant 75- years ago, thank goodness, but where are the dopey critics today? Long gone, lucky us! Every community has its landmarks, which the hobby photographer can always have fun shooting — day or night, summer or winter, rain or shine. So have a look at what’s around you where you live or travel and get to it. If in Toronto take the 501 streetcar down to R.C. Harris and enjoy the many photographic possibilities.

Some of the pumps in the low-lift room. The larger ones bring in raw water from Lake Ontario, the smaller ones pump filtered water into the city’s distribution system.

The data plate on one of the big old pumps. Such detailed photography adds to the overall picture, if you are building up any sort of a story line — some photos are wide, others are right in close.

Another useful and informative close-up.

Many historic photos and artifacts add to the tour of the Harris facility. What well-rounded aviation fan wouldn’t enjoy a visit to such a remarkable urban treasure!

Peter Mossman is one of Canada’s great aviation artists. On July 30, 2011 he sent me some reminiscences of boyhood days during WWII at the Harris plant:

“I saw your piece on the waterworks in the east end–I grew up playing there. We had a sophisticated baseball club going urged on by a local retired pro player. We played football being careful not to tackle near the steel water tank covers, hockey down by the turbine building, and handball on the fountain terrace. We sleighed down the hill before they added the other wing. And soap box derby was held on the roadway. We also used to dive off the pier,  sun on the beach and fly our rubber powered model airplanes.

During the war, when my big brother was flying operations overseas, there was barbed wire and guards in huts to protect the place. Then one morning when I went for my walk with my 2 spaniels and it was all gone — the grass which had not been cut was up to my waste and I couldn’t see my dogs running through it! I could not begin to guess at the hours of my childhood I spent there. Never once did we get told to leave or go play somewhere else. You sure opened a floodgate of great memories. It’s funny, but we kids never knew the name of the place — it was always just “the waterworks” to us.

History is where it pops up

C-FETE is Beaver No.1204, delivered new circa 1959 to Father W. Leising of the missionary order Oblates of Mary Immaculate at Fort Smith, NWT. Later owners included North Coast Air of Prince Rupert and Odyssey Air of Richmond, BC. Several accidents marred the career of  OMI/ETE through the years, but each time it returned to the air better than before. You can find the history of nearly every Beaver at Neil Aird's amazing website dhc-2.com. (Larry Milberry)

C-FETE is Beaver No.1204, delivered new circa 1959 to Father W. Leising of the missionary order Oblates of Mary Immaculate at Fort Smith, NWT. Later owners included North Coast Air of Prince Rupert and Odyssey Air of Richmond, BC. Several accidents marred the career of OMI/ETE through the years, but each time it returned to the air spiffier than before. Here, it takes off on September 8, 2009 from Downsview, the place of its birth decades earlier. You can find the history of nearly every Beaver at Neil Aird's amazing website dhc-2.com. (Larry Milberry)

While the photogs were fussing about getting their Arrow-Snowbirds pix this day, a few realized that there was another bit of good history cooking at Downsview. As some beautiful Q400 regional airliners and Global Express bizjets waited on Bombardier’s flight test ramp, a solitary Beaver came rumbling out for takeoff. Minutes later it took off nonchalantly behind a fresh-off-the-line Global Express. Two fabulous airplanes manufactured at Downsview, but half a century apart.

 A "green" Global Express (the 363rd example) blasts off on a test flight from Downsview on September 8. This grand bizjet contrasted totally with our pair of iconic Canadian "time machines" -- the Avro Arrow and the DHC-2 Beaver. (Larry Milberry)

A "green" Global Express (the 363rd example) blasts off on a test flight from Downsview on September 8. This grand bizjet contrasted totally with our pair of iconic Canadian "time machines" -- the Avro Arrow and the DHC-2 Beaver. (Larry Milberry)

Fantasyland: The Arrowmaniacs Strike Again

Canada sure has its mythology under many a banner. Aviation myths involve Billy Bishop shooting down 72 enemy planes in WWI (not), the Beaver being the world’s greatest bushplane (not) and the Avro Arrow being the greatest everything ever made by anyone in the universe (not).

No one with any sense can besmirch the reputation of a Billy Bishop – read The Brave Young Wings, for example, to get a taste of the war in the air 1915-18. Anyone who died, got wounded, cracked up, or somehow survived in that cauldron of death is a special hero in my books. The only argument is with the statistics and some odd details. These things were manipulated by the generals and their PR lackeys far behind the lines where they were suffering no lack of anything – there was no mud but there were clean underwear, silk sheets and booze. These people could make Donald Rumsfeld look like a beginner at fact-twisting, and they didn’t need a Blackberry (no shortage of very effective, hi-tech communicating devices in WWI). Billy Bishop certainly scored high, but not likely anywhere near 72. But it suited “Colonel Rumsfeld i/c propaganda” back there to say that Bishop did so do all that and should have a Victoria Cross. Explanations for this are in the best of books, such as mentioned above, Canadian Airmen and the First World War, etc.

Of course, the 1948 Beaver is a tremendous little workhorse. Who would say no? But not even 2000 Beavers were ever built. Meanwhile, the DC-3 or Beech 18 had been working the bush since the late 1930s, and far exceeded the Beaver in numbers alone on every continent! Then came the Cessna 180/185. Well, Beaver, please stand aside.

The ultimate bushplane in my view has to be the Antonov An-2 biplane: more than 10,000 built, service since 1947 on all continents, incalculable loads carried, current presence still in the many hundreds if not a few thousand, production life from pre-Beaver to post-Beaver, on and on. However, mention this in Canada and you make a new brigade of furious enemies wishing you every malevolence imaginable: “Puleeze, keep the facts to yourself, we Canadians prefer our myths!”

Then comes our beloved Arrow, Canada’s grandest aviation tall tale, and one that never goes away. Wonderful technology project that it was, it wasn’t to be and for all the good reasons. Even so, Arrow silliness again crops up in this April 3, 2009 Toronto Star article. Not surprisingly, the perpetrator is an academic – ironically, when it comes to history, these folks can be pretty sloppy with the facts.

In “Privatization of AECL Radioactive Issue for Ottawa”, Prof. Duane Bratt of Mount Royal College in Calgary, begins irrelevantly and erroneously by harkening back to the Arrow: “In 1959 the Diefenbaker government shut down the Arrow, the world’s most technologically advanced interceptor aircraft. Not only did it mean the demise of a uniquely Canadian high tech invention, but it also forced thousands of highly skilled scientists and engineers to leave the country.”

Well, talk about a crock of doggy doodoo (as I have commented before)! The Arrow was one of many similar advanced fighter projects underway throughout the world during the 1950s. Most of these aircraft concepts never reached production, and all the participant nations moved ahead. Only Canada created a myth out of its unsuccessful effort. Like the Arrow, all the other shelved projects had proved too costly or had been superseded by advancing science or geo-politics. (Two Cold War designs that did succeed in entering service were the superb US-built McDonnell F-4 Phantom II; and the SR-71 which, in speed alone, would leave an Arrow in its wake – so much for the generally unproven Arrow being the “mostest” of everything.)

Professor Bratt states that the Arrow cancellation “forced” ex-Avro workers to leave Canada — the alleged post-Arrow “brain drain”. However, nearly every worker worth his/her salt let go by Avro soon had a new and, often, better job in Canada. In researching history in the subsequent decades, I have interviewed many of these workers (and workers they were). Most moved quickly and naturally to other aviation or science-type employers, where they shone with their successes developing truly useful products for humanity — as opposed to fighters. (In the late 1950s, do you really think that the world needed yet another jet fighter?)

Development of the PT6 engine by Pratt & Whitney Canada, and of the
Dash 8 by de Havilland Canada are proof positive that fabulously important spin-off products resulted from the timely demise of the Arrow program. So the loss of the Arrow “forced thousands” of Canadians to flee the country in search of meaningful work, eh? In truth, but a handful of ex-Avro workers emigrated to the US or UK. Meanwhile, hundreds of the best minds behind the Arrow in its heyday circa 1952 to 1959 had been post-WWII immigrants to Canada from other nations. Now we’re talking brain drain, but into Canada.

Without these reverse brain-drain people there would have been no Avro Arrow. Canadians did not have the ability to single-handedly produce such an advanced airplane. Had it not been for WWII, they would still have been building wood and fabric airplanes by 1950. Typical of the reverse brain-drain genii were design team leader James C. Floyd from the UK; and Arrow test pilots Jan Zurakowski and “Spud” Potacki, and designer Waclaw Czerwinski, from Poland. Why is this important reality never mentioned in the Arrow nostalgia debates? Well, for one thing, it wouldn’t help book sales in Canada’s “Avro Arrow” publishing industry (there’s always a new Arrow book looming somewhere).

Bottom line on the brain drain? Canada gained immensely by draining brains from many countries in the post-WWII industrial boom, but contributed very few in terms of any outflow of brains to the US, etc. On top of that truth, some of the ex-Avro emigrants from 1959 returned later to Canada, as did James C. Floyd himself.

Some basic research into aviation history would reveal these and other facts – not as charming or exciting as our cherished myths, but true all the same.
Larry Milberry, publisher

PS … The never-ending lament for the Arrow includes one in the Montreal Gazette of January 23, 2012 reiterating the moronic old claim about John Diefenbaker, etc., and has the predictable anti-American crapola about some Washington conspiracy being behind the Arrow’s downfall, since Americans can’t stand anyone out-doing them, bla, bla, bla. Talk about pitiful! Here is what this simple-minded “reporter” says in the Gazette: “It was killed by John Diefenbaker’s government, presumably at the behest of Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower on behalf of his country’s aerospace industry (which hates competition).” Can you believe this garbage? Where does the Gazette find its muse? Maybe from the “Coast to Coast” loonie bins … or the National Enquirer?