Category Archives: de Havilland Canada

Evolution of an Aerospace Company History

 

CAE dust jacket

No sooner does any history get into print than the author starts hearing from the readership. Some have fresh material to contribute about some topic covered, others are pointing out the author’s sins of commission or of omission. All this is important stuff and provides an author with a close-in take on how a book is faring.

Over the decades the great Fred Hotson gathered tidbits and insights from his readers about his wonderful book, The De Havilland Canada Story. The book had its roots with Fred’s modestly-published 50th anniversary of DHC. Then, as the Dash 8 began taking shape at Downsview in the early 1980s, DHC president, John Sandford, asked Fred to expand on his “50th” effort. Late in 1981 I was brought into the picture as publisher. Mr. Sandford let us know that he needed the book for the Dash 8 rollout, so don’t even think of missing that deadline.

Working with Fred, editor and designer, Robin Brass, and such artists as Pete Mossman and Ron Lowry, I set my sights on the Dash 8 rollout. Somehow, it all panned out and The De Havilland Canada Story was delivered three days before the Dash 8 ceremony of April 19, 1983.

Publisher Milberry, DHC President Sandford and author Hotson at the Dash 8 rollout. The Dash 8 and the DHC book developed simultaneously and rolled out together on April 19, 1983. Plane and book are still going strong.

Publisher Milberry, DHC President Sandford and author Hotson at the Dash 8 rollout. The Dash 8 and the DHC book developed simultaneously and rolled out together on April 19, 1983. Plane and book are still going strong. New copies of the book now are available via Viking Aircraft in Sidney, BC.

No sooner was the book in print, than Fred was wanting to get our fast-selling first edition “cleaned up”. Our second edition included numerous tweaks, still more were added in a third. As the years passed, Fred faithfully kept on top of his story to the point that, in 1999, we ended with such a pile of DHC history updates, that not a fourth edition, but a whole new book came about, re-titled De Havilland in Canada. Since then, more than 15 further years have floated by, so yet another major makeover of Fred’s book beckons.

So it has happened with Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story. Launched last September 30, the book has panned out nicely so far. Major criticisms mainly are of perceived omissions – why not more details about this project or that, why so much about such and such, etc. Of course, that’s where subjectiveness arises – everyone’s a critic, right. Were ten authors to write ten histories of CAE, there would be ten completely good, but, different takes, yet all ten still wouldn’t satisfy some readers. However, it’s rare that even two takes are ever made about a company’s history. So … for now, Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story is “it”.

Among the many readers from whom I’ve heard since the CAE book appeared last September is Roy Lefebvre, a company retiree, who specialized in flight simulator evaluations and installations. Formerly an RCAF CF-100 pilot, Roy loved his time getting flight simulators to work at their best. He even was involved with Air New Zealand’s amazing DC-10 “terrain model board” flight simulation system. In the book I also describe one of Roy’s visits to TWA to evaluate and tweak its B.727 simulator. On p.213 is a beautifully staged photo by Pierre Giroux of this shiny new CAE “sim” with the cockpit crew looking sharp and ready to “fly”. But who was this crew? So far, no one could remember their names, not even the folks at the TWA museum in Kansas City, Missouri, whom I asked. Finally, however, we have cracked into this mystery with one name.

 

The TWA crew on the flight deck of their new 727 full flight simulator at CAE in Montreal during the acceptance phase. Until now, we didn’t know the fellows’ names. Now we know that senior TWA Captain George André is in the left seat. (Pierre Giroux)

(Click to see the picture full screen.) The TWA crew on the flight deck of their new 727 full flight simulator at CAE in Montreal during the acceptance phase. Until now, we didn’t know the fellows’ names. (Pierre Giroux)

This is what Roy Lefebvre wrote to me on March 25, 2016:

While leafing through “CAE” recently, I noted the picture at the bottom of page 213 and now recall the name of the pilot in the captain’s seat – it’s George André, whom I had gotten to know, when he was the TWA pilot in charge of CAE 727 sim procurement and acceptance.

I had been involved in the marketing process with TWA in Kansas City, and developed a great respect for George. He was a prince of a man, but you had to work hard to learn much about his background. I did learn that he had flown the SR-71 Blackbird, but George wasn’t revealing too many details back in those days.

So, today I did a google George, and what a resume! I found that in 2013 he published an amazing personal story, Wingspan – from J3 to Mach 3. In 2014 he had spoken to the Missouri Aviation Historical Society, which summarized his main accomplishments: “Over his impressive flying career, George has served as a USAF fighter pilot, Lockheed Martin test pilot flying (among other types) the SR-71 Blackbird out of Groom Lake, a longtime airline pilot for TWA, an airshow pilot, and the oldest Reno air-racer in show history — among many other achievements. The presentation was truly magnificent and shed light on some of the greatest milestones in American aviation from someone who flew them firsthand.”

As well as being the CAE pilot assigned to TWA’s 727 sim, I worked with marketing to help secure this contract, which was a first for the 727 from a mainline US air carrier. Among other “firsts”, with this project CAE introduced the popular Fortran computer language, which was considered a breakthrough. This led to some difficult times during in-plant acceptance, in that the less efficient (but user friendly) Fortran overloaded our computer, resulting in some apparent shortfalls, where I felt compelled to support George. This was the first time I felt the squeeze between us and the customer.

Last week, even more details about the photo and the TWA 727 “sim” emerged. Earlier I had tracked down George André and had a great chat with him. I ordered a copy of Wingspan, and George promised to add his own details about the p.213 photo. Here’s what George sent:

Hi Larry … The picture in question is not the one I envisioned.  I am in the left seat and my flight engineer, who was my assistant in the program, is Stacy Patterson. At the time, Stacy was the 727 flight engineer training manager, later to become the 727 pilot training manager. In the third seat is a TWA simulator engineer/technician whose first name I remember is Tom, but I forget the last. Being forty years ago, I have no idea who might be around to ask.

Regarding some stuff from the CAE book- I was tasked to be the project manager for the acquisition of two 727 advanced simulators for TWA purchase around 1976. The only viable contenders were Link, which had furnished all of our previous simulators, Redifon in England, and CAE.

Link obviously felt it had the job, hands down, and that was evident by the apparent lack of enthusiasm in pleasing us in order to win the contract. Redifon wanted badly to gain a foothold with a major US carrier, and bent over backwards. This, delightfully, included considerable wining and dining, hosting at the Paris Air Show and about anything else my team desired.

In the end, I believed CAE with a new DEC computer had the most promise for achieving the nirvana in simulation. Having a simulator so advanced that it would replace the entire flight envelope, meant, primarily, that it could be used for landings. CAE was most co-operative. Together we developed an advanced instructor station that greatly modernized the instructor tasks and capabilities.

After many months of construction and proving runs, and nearly full time residence in Montreal for me, we had our machine. The biggest glitch would turn out to be the new computer, which had a lot of growing pains. I would personally take a lot of heat for my CAE decision, putting faith in a new computer design, but, in the end it all worked out.

I spent many enjoyable work and social sessions with Byron Cavadias and David Tait, and regret not staying in touch with them. At that time I was involved with the restoration of my WWII Bücker Jungmann biplane. Byron informed me that the famed Adolf Galland, a senior Luftwaffe commander in WWII, was a CAE representative in Europe. Byron kindly informed the General of my plane and we received a nice letter from Herr Galland, saying that he had flown the plane and had good memories thereof. I still have that letter somewhere.

Some comments in the CAE book differ somewhat from my recollections, which could be erroneous on my part. You point out how United achieved first Phase III simulator approval in the early eighties with a CAE unit. This is what I remember. United did achieve the first approval of a simulator for the landing maneuver around 1979, but it was done with a Link unit with a staff of four 727 pilots and numerous (10, I heard) engineers from Link. We were trying to beat them to the punch. I was the only pilot on TWA’s effort and had the help of one CAE engineer. We did all of the tests and downloaded reams of data to prove the simulator replicated the aircraft with high fidelity.

I personally hand-carried several heavy boxes of evidence to FAA headquarters in Washington and presented our request for approval. It was given and we achieved the second landing approval behind United, sadly a few weeks later. To this day, it is one of my proudest professional achievements. Subsequently we were able to completely train a 727 pilot totally in a simulator, a feat unheard of in earlier times. Cheers … George

 

 

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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!

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.

Dash 8 No.1000 Is Delivered

There were historic doings at Bombardier in Downsview on November 12, 2010, as staff and visitors gathered for a red letter event. This double-header included celebrating delivery of the 1000th Dash 8 (a Q400 going to United Express/Continental/Colgan) and the 400th Global Express (going to China).

Following Remembrance Day ceremonies on the 11th, Fred Hotson and I headed up to the Canadian Aerospace Museum at Downsview to attend a dinner honouring many of the old-time de Havilland Canada people who had helped the Dash 8 along during its bumpy formative years.

Ken Swartz, Barry Hubbard (pilot, DHC, etc.) and John Shaw (DHC, engineer), with Bob Fowler and Fred Hotson in the background. (Larry Milberry)

There were people from design engineering, test flight, marketing, etc., as well as several of today’s leaders at Bombardier in the high stakes Q400 and Global Express game.

Next morning we joined hundreds of guests and employees in one of the vast production bays at Downsview to formally honour two great airplanes and all those past and present who have been involved.

Front row fans Larry Milberry (CANAV Books), Bob Fowler (pilot, Dash 8 first flight), George Neal (pilot, Otter first flight) and Fred Hotson (pilot, Ferry Command, DHC, etc., author De Havilland in Canada). All are members of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame, Bob and George have the McKee Trophy and Bob has the Order of Canada. (Ken Swartz Aeromedia Communications)

Robert Deluce, President of Porter Airlines, chats with Russ Bannock, a wartime Mosquito ace, pilot on the first Beaver flight and former President of DHC. Porter operates a fleet of Q400s from Toronto's waterfront airport. Russ and Bob's famous father, Stanley Deluce (White River Air Service, Austin Airways, Air Ontaro) also are members of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. (Larry Milberry)

Following some presentations, we all enjoyed watching a Q200, Q400 and Global Express take off on a magnificent autumn day to do their individual fly-bys. Then it was back to work for the Bombardier people. But they’ll long be remembering this great day in Canadian aviation history.

A United Express/Continental Q400 does its fly-by. Soon after, it was delivered to its US base. (Ken Swartz Aeromedia Communications)

The Dash 8 evolved as a natural offspring of the Dash 7. Both had begun “on thin ice”. The Dash 7 had been tentatively supported by Ottawa in an era when many were skeptical that Canada could succeed with such a sophisticated product, especially since the global economy was in a slump and the regional airline market in its infancy. Sales and marketing had a painful time getting commitments from the airlines, so the order book sat almost empty for ages. Meanwhile, millions were being gambled at DHC in design of the Dash 7 and at P&WC in developing a unique new power plant, the P&WC PT6A-50.

Q400s on the production line

Q400s on the production line at Bombardier Downsview on November 12. (Ken Swartz Aeromedia Communications)

Unfortunately, only 113 Dash 7s were built and the whole concept of a modern 40/50-seat turboprop airliner was in doubt. In his book De Havilland in Canada, author Fred Hotson refers to this as “the most traumatic period in the history of de Havilland Canada”. Yet, from such troubled times would emerge one of the finest commuter airliners in aviation history. Things finally got rolling when DHC president John Sandford sided with his engineering and marketing people in pursuing an improved design, the Dash 8, to be paired with another new P&WC engine — the PW100. Ottawa went along and on April 19, 1983 the Dash 8 was rolled out at Downsview. Fred Hotson and I were there, having three days earlier delivered to John Sandford 3000 copies of The De Havilland Canada Story. A year earlier, John had given Fred the go-ahead to finish writing the book, and me the green light to publish it. To his great credit, John agreed to steer clear of the history-writing process, so Fred had a clear path to do his job. Sandford’s only words to me were to deliver the book in time for the Dash 8 rollout — or else.

Getting the Dash 8 built and the book finished both were touch-and-go, but we pulled it off. The beautiful Dash 8 came off the line on time, and The De Havilland Canada Story squeaked through. At a VIP event in the plant, a leather-bound copy of our book was presented to Prime Minister Trudeau and, as far as CANAV was concerned, a dream project was “in the bag”. Although Chapters/Indigo would tell you today, “We don’t think aviation books will sell”, in 1983 their far smarter predecessors at W.H. Smith and at Classic Books sold several thousand copies of Fred’s books.

A Global Express and Q400 on the ramp at Downsview (Larry Milberry)

New Downsview-built beauties ready for delivery. The Q400s are for US, Ethiopian and Greek operators. Each Global Express departs "green". Meaning? They fly away in bare bones condition to the customer's finishing centre for all their specific cockpit equipment, cabin decor, exterior paint, etc. (Larry Milberry)

Downsview has witnessed four "1000th" roll-outs over the decades. First came the 1000th Tiger Moth in June 1942, then the 1000th Mosquito in June 1945. Circa November 1956 came the 1000th Beaver, which was kept by DHC for general duties. Truth be known, Beaver 1000 CF-PCG was P.C. "Phil" Garratt's personal aircraft, while he was DHC's president. Finally, came the 1000th Dash 8 in November 2010.

CF-PCG, the 1000th Beaver, during a photo session over Toronto Island Airport. CF-PCG is still in service, these days with Vancouver air carrier SeaAir. (DHC Archive/DHC-2.com)

In 1997 we attended other roll-outs at Downsview — the Global Express on August 26 and the Q400 on November 22. Airplanes that the pundits had panned years earlier, went on to bring honour and glory to DHC/Canadair, Bombardier and, perhaps above all, Canada.

If you still don’t have a copy of Fred Hotson’s latest version of the DHC book, De Havilland in Canada, here’s your chance to add this beauty to your aviation library … and please don’t tell me that you don’t have an aviation library! Learn all about this treasure of a book by clicking on CANAV’s booklist here or at canavbooks.com. Usually $45.00, you can get a copy on sale today at $25.00 + $10.00 shipping + tax $1.75 for (Canada only) $36.75. If you are overseas or in the USA, email larry@canavbooks.com for a price (book + postage) to your part of the world. Pay by cheque, MO or PayPal (if the latter, let me know by email). You’ll congratulate yourself for landing a copy of this world-class book, even if it’s the first book you’ve ever paid for!

All the best … Larry Milberry, publisher

Aviation in Canada: Evolution of an Air Force: Launched and in Orbit!

*ORDER ONLINE*

After dozens of book launches, such events sure can be predicable but, in CANAV’s experience, every one has turned out to be a blast. I sometimes am asked about book launches of yore, and those days sure race back to mind. The first was with McGraw Hill-Ryerson’s Aviation in Canada back in 1979. That one I held in the back yard at 51 Balsam, which then became the venue for several similar excellent thrashes — Sixty Years and Austin Airways are memorable.

The first all-CANAV event was held at Pete Mossman’s great uptown domicile in the summer of ’81. There we launched The Avro CF-100, for which Pete had done the fabulous artwork. November 2, 1982 came next — my first $3000 hotel splash, held at the Cambridge Inn out by what we used to call Malton Airport (today’s YYZ). The idea was to kick off The Canadair North Star, but the weather closed in — IFR all the way and I could foresee disaster. Astoundingly, things panned out beautifully. Piles of North Star fans from Canadair, TCA and RCAF times suddenly materialized. Through the efforts of Canadair exec Dick Richmond, the company Lear flew to Malton with several senior Canadair retirees, Dick included; other folks turned up wearing old time TCA stewardess and pilot outfits and, miracle of miracles, a good few North Star books were sold.

John McQuarrie and old team mate Larry Milberry have just exchanged their new books at The Brogue. John got his start in publishing after a conversation with Larry back around 1990. That day he showed out of the blue with a series of questions starting with, "I think I'd like to get into publishing. Where does a fellow start?" He began by producing some world-class Canadian military titles, branched off into a series on ranching, then got into cities, canals, etc.

A 1986 Ottawa launch for The Canadair Sabre brought out a fabulous crowd of Sabre pilots and groundcrew. Included were several who had fought in Sabres in Korea — Ernie Glover (3 MiG-15 kills), Andy Mackenzie, Omer Levesque (1st RCAF MiG-15 kill), Claude LaFrance, Eric Smith, Bruce Fleming. Talk about the cream of the crop. There also were Golden Hawks milling around and Vic Johnson screened a fine team video. It was either here or at our Ottawa launch for Sixty Years that the Soviet air attaché showed up — some former MiG-21 pilot who pretended not to speak English. A CanForces general in the crowd explained that such fellows attend any such Ottawa event just to check on who’s in town, in this way getting some “intel” to pad their reports back to Moscow! Sadly, no one seemed to be taking photos that night in Ottawa — I don’t have a one.

The De Havilland Canada Story was launched at the roll-out of the Dash 8 in 1983, Power: The Pratt & Whitney Canada Story at Hart House at the University of Toronto, and Canadair: The First 50 Years took flight at a glitzy affair down in old Montreal. That was an amazing one with hundreds of Canadair retirees and VIPs, including three CanForces generals. At each of these affairs, books were given out by the hundreds, so what a way to spread the good word at your clients’ expense!

Another zany book launch was for Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story held at 410 Wing RCAFA at Rockcliffe (Ottawa). As Hugh Halliday and I were setting up in mid-afternoon, a blizzard descended. By the time we had been hoping to see a crowd, only a few old 410 regulars were on hand. They’d been sitting all afternoon at the bar, so weren’t much interested in books. Never mind, however, for people gradually started to filter in, storm or not. About 8 o’clock there was a clatter outside. I looked but could only see snow streaking by horizontally. Then, out of this cloud entered 438 Sqn Hon. Colonel Andy Lord, a former 438 Typhoon pilot. Andy had commandeered a 438 Kiowa helicopter to fly up weather-be-damned from St. Hubert. Naturally, he looked ready to party or take on the Hun, but not so his young pilots — they were white as sheets!

Book launch show-and-tell: John Hymers, Dennis, Rick, Kelly and Andrew look over a photo album put together by John showing WWII PR photos taken by Goodyear Rubber in Toronto. No one had seen these since the war. Happily, John had rescued the negs from the trash one day ... such amazing scenes as a Bolingbroke on show at the CNE.

Tony (Aviation World), Rick and John looking to be in decent form.

So what happened on the book launch scene last week — August 19, 2010? It was as predicted — a super bunch of supporters, old friends, some of whom have been there for CANAV since Day 1. Renowned author Fred Hotson (age 95 or so) made it with  his chauffeur, Dave Clark, an old-time Canadair type. A few other vintage CAHS members turned up — Bill Wheeler, Shel Benner, Pete Mossman, Gord McNulty, etc. Rae Simpson, with whom I used to photograph planes in boyhood days, showed, fresh in on a King Air flight from The Soo. Photographer-publisher John McQuarrie blew in from an assignment in Kingston, showing off the glitziest book of the day — his magnificent new “Spirit of Place” title — Muskoka: Then and Now. Ace photographer Rick Radell and Aviation World stalwarts Tony Cassanova and Andy Cline showed with all their great support — lugging boxes and such. Two other fine party guys on the scene? AC 767 and CWH Canso driver John McClenaghan and geologist George Werniuk. John Timmins, of Timmins Aviation fame, was taking in his first CANAV event. Milberrys Matt and Simon/Amanda (plus wee ones) arrived as per usual.

Fred, Sheldon and Gord. Fred spent years as national president of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, was an early member of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute and of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association. A former DHC employee, Sheldon became an early CAHS member. Gord followed his famous father, Jack, into the hobby aviation world and in recent years has been an indispensable member of the CAHS Toronto Chapter.

Larry makes a sale to Gord as ex-RCAF radar tech and military policemen Al Gay watches. Al and some friends have been developing a flight simulator series based on all 100+ aerodromes of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. (Tony Cassanova)

Rick wants a book but is having trouble letting go of his $50 bill. The aviation gang ... what a bunch, eh! This joke is no laughing matter to anyone publishing aviation books: "Question: Who invented the world's thinnest copper wire? Answer: Two airline pilots fighting over a penny!" Sad to say, but this seems to be true. As a group, airline pilots religiously avoid CANAV book launchings. (Tony Cassanova)

Wartime-wise? Well, due to time doing what it does so efficiently, there were few on hand from 39-45 times. John Coleman (Lancaster pilot 405 and 433) and Jack McCreight (Lancaster nav) were the sole RCAF reps, whereas in days gone by dozens of such super Canadians used to show. Fred Hotson of Ferry Command was the Methuselah of the wartime bunch on this day. Other friendly folks came and went as the afternoon passed — just A-1 all the way.

Lancaster pilot John Coleman chats with renowned aviation artist Pete Mossman at The Brogue. Pete's artwork helped CANAV's early books gain fame -- our CF-100, North Star, DHC and Austin Airways titles. In recent times Pete painted dozens of magnificent aircraft profiles for Dan Dempsey's incomparable book A Tradition of Excellence.

Rae Simpson and Jack McCreight had lots to talk over through the afternoon. Rae flew CF-104s during the RCAF's NATO heyday in the mid-1960s, then rose to be the CanForces chief test pilot. Jack's wartime training story is told in our new book.

The staff at The Brogue in Port Credit supplied the yummy food and whatever liquid refreshments we needed, so the whole effort came off as finely as a publisher could wish. Toronto’s summer nightmare traffic scenario sure tried to put the kibosh on things, but CANAV’s “solid citizens” toughed it out, battling off the worst that the QEW and 427 threw at them. Thanks to everyone for making it all another gem of a day — Book No.31, if my count is on. Cheers … Larry

CANAV fans at The Brogue: banking man Tony Hine, geologist George Werniuk, computer guy Matt Milberry and astronomer Andrew Yee.

John, Bill Wheeler and Larry shooting the breeze about RCAF history, books and publishing. Bill edited and published the CAHS Journal for more than 40 years. (Tony Cassanova)

While we were partying at The Brogue, Andy Cline was sweating it out at Aviation World, but after work he joined us anyway. If you haven't yet visited Aviation World on Carlingview Dr. near YYZ, in Richmond, BC near YVR, or in Chicago near Midway MDW, make a point of it. (Tony Cassanova)

A Book Worth Reviewing and a Review Worth Reading

DHC Chipmunk: The Poor Man’s Spitfire

Periodically, a really fine Canadian book pops up, seemingly out of nowhere. Such is the case with DHC Chipmunk: The Poor Man’s Spitfire, produced primarily by Hugh Shields of St. Thomas, Ontario, an avid Chipmunk owner and history fan. Working with some overseas collaborators, Hugh attains “top of the heap” stature with this magnificently designed (Linda Moroz-Irvine) volume. If you have the slightest interest in Canada’s great aviation heritage, treat yourself to a copy. Do that and you’ll be a very happy reader. First, however, enjoy Bob Merrick’s review of Hugh’s book in “COPA Flight”:

The tour of the Canada Aviation Museum’s eclectic storage hangar was progressing well, but as the visitors neared the DHC-1 Chipmunk, one of them exclaimed, “Ah, the Chipmunk! The British really developed a good aircraft when they built that one.” It is in part to dispel such ignorance that this new book, DHC Chipmunk, was written, and it thoroughly puts to rest the notion that the Chipmunk was a British concoction. The book is subtitled “The Poor Man’s Spitfire,” but really, it had nothing to do with combat ops in WWII.

Although the DHC-1 may have faded from your memory, most of you will recall the DHC-2 Beaver, the DHC-3 Otter, the DHC-4 Caribou, the DHC-5 Buffalo, DHC-6 Twin Otter, and other examples of DHC designs. The DHC stands for De Havilland Canada, and the Chipmunk is as Canadian as they come.

Um, well, you may wish to quibble with that, as the lead designer was a Polish émigré, Wsiewolod (Jaki) Jakimiuk, who also contributed much to Canadian aviation, and Canada with DHC’s next unforgettable project, the Beaver.

The Chipmunk was a postwar venture of De Havilland Canada, a Canadian subsidiary of the British company that built a host of aeroplanes to help win WWII. Among them was the DH-82 Tiger Moth, a superb ab initio training aircraft that was a familiar sight around the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan airfields that were … sprinkled across Canada during the war. But, after the war … DHC had spare capacity that might be used for building a trainer that didn’t look as though it was preparing aspiring pilots for WWI. So, that’s what they hoped to do…

This remarkably thorough book takes us back to the latter days of WWII, when DHC was planning for a peacetime era …

DHC’s design staff was working on several ideas, some for the RCAF, some for the flying club market, and some for the bush-flying market. A possible design for a trainer sitting on Jakimiuk’s desk caught the eye of Francis St. Barbe, an exalted visiting fireman from the DH head office in the U.K., in 1945. He was so impressed with the model that he said, “If you build it, I will sell it.”

DHC Canada did build it, after many tribulations, St. Barbe did sell it, and a legend was born. It was not all smooth sailing, or soaring, however. There was much backing and filling as designers and engineers strived to achieve exactly the right combination for what was to become one of the most delightful ab initio training aircraft ever built. DHC Chipmunk describes in exquisite detail the machinations that were needed to build trainers that would be all things to all aspiring pilots and their instructors. It runs to 440 pages and who knows how many pictures, many in glorious colour … The book is worth buying for the pictures alone. They’re excellent, plentiful, and a joy to behold.

But don’t think the words are simply adjuncts to a photo gallery. The words are the heart and soul of what is really a wonderful addition to Canada’s written aviation history, accurately describing the many things that must come together when designing a new aircraft. It’s a book to be savoured; not one to be given the speed-reading treatment… Yeah, I know, books with multiple authors sometimes give the impression of being written by a committee of ill-programmed computers operating in Sanskrit and Esperanto, but not this one. Shields leads off, and doesn’t relinquish the computer until page 211. Thus, he tells us all about the initial design experience and much else, then finishes off with a complete Canadian production list and a bibliography. Rod Brown from the U.K. then takes over with the British experience. It’s a well-written piece which, with a disposition list and bibliography, lasts until page 381. It contains considerable Chipmunk lore, as you might expect, as the Brits kept the Chipmunk in military service for much longer than did the RCAF.

Rod Brown also helps out on the Chipmunks in Portugal section, which is credited to José Gonçalves. This is a much shorter piece, in part because anything that could be said about the Chipmunk has already been said, you’d think. But no, it adds value and new perspectives to what preceded it. Another Rod, Rod Blievers, provides a concise, readable account of Australia’s Chipmunk experience, and he adds yet more information … All of these accounts will cause your eyes to widen as you discover how universal and useful these aircraft really were, and, to an extent, still are… And, this may surprise you, but this cornucopia of aeronautical lore is available for the truly modest price of $69.95. You won’t often see a book of this quality for such a low price… I can think of no finer gift for the household aeronut … it will provide endless hours of reading and learning enjoyment, and earn your undying gratitude from the lucky recipient.

Order your copy of DHC Chipmunk: The Poor Man’s Spitfire. CANAV’s price (Canadian orders) is $65.00 + $10.00 shipping + GST $3.75. Total? $78.75. US and Overseas orders e-mail larry@canavbooks.com for the price to your destination. Pay by any cheque, or if ordering by PayPal, same e-mail address to get a PayPal invoice. CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario M4E 3B6.

If you are a DHC fan, you’ll also want your copy of Fred Hotson’s internationally-acclaimed hardcover, De Havilland in Canada. See canavbooks.com for all the details. Usually $45.00, CANAV’s price $37.50 + $10.00 postage + GST $2.37. Total? $49.87. These books make the perfect pair, so here’s a deal you can’t resist — Canadian orders … both titles $120.00 all in (US and Overseas $120.00 + postage … enquire).

CANAV Books introduces … Spartan: Seven Letters that Spanned the Globe

NB October 2013 … … No longer listed by CANAV. Order directly from author Norm Avery at norm.avery@yahoo.ca

Long associated with Spartan Air Services of Ottawa, Norm Avery has completed a fine opus covering in detail the story of this world-famous aerial survey company. From Spartan’s 1946 originators — Russ Hall, John Roberts and Joe Kohut, backed by Barnet Maclaren — Norm describes now the company got its first work using Ansons, then quickly began expanding.

The fleet soon was booming with such types as the Dragon Rapide, Sea Hornet, P-38 Lightning, Mosquito, Ventura and Lancaster as photo mapping work came in involving the company across the Arctic and elsewhere in Canada, then internationally throughout the Eastern Hemisphere etc.

Spartan expands into helicopters first with Bell 47s, then Piasecki H-21s on Mid Canada Line duties. It also establishes a heavy transport division operating Yorks on the DEW Line. Norm describes all the excitement of these days, several of the company’s infamous accidents included — Mosquitos, Lightnings, Yorks and other types all come to grief from the Arctic to the tropics.

Spartan: Seven Letters ends with the demise of the company in 1972. This is a book certain to enlighten and entertain any aviation reader for years to come. 170 pages, softcover, photos. No longer carried by CANAV. Order directly from author Norm Avery at norm.avery@yahoo.ca