Category Archives: Photography

Booklist + Cessna Ce.172 “Archaeology” + Canadair Sabre + 737-200 Sim Update from Nolinor + Canada Post Kudos? Not Really! + Dash 8 Reminder + Norseman Update + Final 747 + Boeing 727 + “Formative Years” Book Review & Offer + The CAE Story … Update + Offer

2022 Canav-Booklist

One of history’s all time great airplanes is the Cessna Ce.172. First flown on June 12, 1955, into 2022 more than 45,000 have been produced. One of the  claims about this very pretty, lovely-to-fly 4-seater is that it is the most successful airplane in world history. Confederation College at the Lakehead recently re-equipped with 5 new “172s”.
In 1955 the fly-away price for a new Ce.172 from the factory in Wichita (initial 1955-56 production run totalled 1178) was $8750. Here’s a photo of Canada’s very first Ce.172, CF-ILE. Imported in November 1955 by Laurentide Aviation of Montreal, it went initially to the Montreal Flying Club. By 1961 it had migrated to owners in Vancouver. It met some  misadventure on May 7 that year, then disappeared from the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register.
In December 1961 CF-ILE was followed by Ce.172s CF-IIK (No.32 for West Coast Air Services of Vancouver), CF-IKB (No.93 for Central Airways of Toronto Island Airport) and CF-IND (No.42 for C.M. Logan of Edmonton). Hundreds subsequently flowed into Canada. My first plane ride was in 1956 when I belonged to 172 Air Cadet Squadron in Toronto. One blustery Sunday morning a bunch of us cadets  assembled down at Toronto Island Airport, where an officer cadet named Piatrovsky gave us all a short flight (3 at a time) in Central Airways’ lovely new “172” CF-IKB.
Our photo above of CF-ILE (via Ian Macdonald) was taken by the late Hamilton, Ontario aviation photo hobbyist, Douglas Broadribb. The photo below of “IKB” was taken at Toronto Island Airport by the great Toronto aviation fan, Al Martin. CF-IKB has been owned for more than  35 years by Jim Bray of Paris, Ontario, who still flies it from Brantford. Jim learned from Cessna that “IKB” came off the line on October 28, 1955, then left on its delivery flight to Canada on November 3. To 2022 “IKB” has flown more than 6000 hours.
Today, the fly-away price from a Ce.172 from Wichita is about US$400,000 vs that $8750 in 1955 (which today equals about US$97,300). Your best source for general Cessna history are these two fine books: Cessna: The Master’s Expression (1985) and Wings of Cessna: Model 120 to the Citation III (1986) by Edward H. Phillips. These belong on any serious aviation fan’s bookshelves. You should be able to find copies via Now … scroll back a bit to some of our other aviation history postings. You’ll enjoy this for sure and learn more solid aviation history here than by fritzing around with video games! For more about Canada’s postwar Cessnas see our blog item “Al Martin’s Photographic Handiwork”.
Two of Confederation College’s 2022 Ce.172s on November 12 this year with a crowd of students, staff and ferry pilots Anna Pangrazzi and Chris Pulley.

Canadair Sabre Reminder

Still time to get your first copy (or a spare) of our famous best seller, The Canadair Sabre. The book is incomparable & the price is irresistible. Enter CANAV Anniversary Highlight in the search box for the details.

Ancient CAE 737-200 Flight Sim: Latest News from Nolinor

Nolinor’s B.737-200 FFS in Miami. It was manufactured decades ago by Rediffusion in the UK and still is training pilots. (Nolinor Photo)
Two excellent views of Nolinor B.737-200s taken by Pierre Gillard.

We now have more news about the famous CAE Boeing 737-200 full flight sim (FFS) that we’ve been reporting on since publishing the CAE book in 2015. On December 30, 2022 Marco Prud’Homme, president of Mirabel-based Nolinor Aviation, wrote to me: “Good day, Larry. We received your information request via Pan Am since we are the owner of the 200 FFS in Miami. It’s under Pan AM operations. We are also the owner of the sim previously owned by Air Canada. It’s not in service at this time since the project to put it back online in YMX was put on hold during the pandemic. To our knowledge (and we did search for months), we currently own the last two sims for the 200. Our goal is to keep them running for many years to come since we still have at least 25 years of life remaining on our fleet of 737-200 (the biggest fleet as per Boeing). If you have any specific photo you need, we will try to get it for you.” In history, it’s always nice to tie up the last basic detail which for now Marco has done. We’ll keep an eye in the coming years and eventually try to do a feature item about Nolinor.

Canada Post Kudos? Not Really!

            On November 7, 2022 I mailed a Norseman book to a new CANAV reader in France. Such an order always involves explaining in advance how long “cheapest” Canada Post takes (6 to 8 weeks to the EU is ballpark). At long last, on December 30 my reader let me know, “Hello, Good receipt of a very nice book. Many thanks”

     Over the decades CANAV has mailed thousands of books internationally. Sadly, each transaction is always such a delivery ordeal. Even if a reader decides to pay for (supposed) airmail, it can be a nightmare. In 2021 I mailed a set of Norseman books to a reader in Slovenia. Against my advice, he picked the airmail service at $140 (for two books, not a goldbrick) with delivery promised within one week. Delivery in reality? Two months. Personally, I was happy that this was so quick at a mere two months. (Naturally, it’s not just Canada Post that’s involved. There can be delays caused by other agencies. However, it all starts here, where Canada Post hold-ups are legendary, including long period of “storing” the overseas mail.)

Since the trans-Atlantic mail was far quicker in steamship days, Canada Post really owes its hard-pressed customers an explanation for its disgraceful and horrendously expensive service in the 21st Century. Sadly, Ottawa bureaucrats like the CEO of Canada Post, who is paid more than $500,000 a year, have zero interest. The age of public service is but a blurry memory for our Ottawa mandarins and potentates.

This is the note I sent to my patient new reader in France: “Very good news, Francois. Also, very typical at 6 to 8 weeks. It’s always a relief to hear that the trans-Atlantic mail continues to get the job done, even if it still takes as long as the great Samuel Champlain crossing from France to Quebec in his leaky little wind-powered boat 400+ years ago! Thanks, I hope you enjoy your Norseman book, and all the very best for 2023 … Larry”

PS … As to the outrageous cost of using Canada Post in the 21st Century, I’ve taken to calling this former government service “Mafia Post”. Feel free to pick up on this.

Dash 8 Reminder

For some top DHC-8/Dash 8 coverage, drop “Magnificent Dash 8” into the search box. You’ll enjoy this wee item!

Norseman Update: Antti Hyvarinen Reports from Arlanda, Sweden

Recently, aviation historian Antti Hyvarinen submitted some excellent Norseman photos taken at the aviation museum in Arlanda near Stockholm. The museum’s Norseman is SE-CPB, ex-RCAF 3538. Postwar, it was gifted to the RNoAF, where it was R-AT. Once the RNoAF re-equipped with Otters, in 1957 “R-AY” was sold to Norwegian operator A/S Flyservice Alesund. In 1960 it moved to Swedish operators Nordiska Vag Bolaget and Norrlandsflyg, where it flew as SE-CPB. From Antti’s photos it’s clear that SE-CPB is in very good condition. Unfortunately, the Arlanda museum recently had to close for financial reasons, leaving the fate of its outstanding collection up in the air (see much about this great museum on the web). Thanks to Antti, a Finnair pilot whose hobbies include collecting historic flight simulators.
Below are three photos of SE-CPB during its RCAF days, first doing an air drop (DND photo) during Ex. Eskimo in 1945, then on floats and skis in photos taken by Herb Smale.

Final 747 Leaves the Line

If you go back to our February 2021 Boeing item (look for “747 Retrospective” in the search box) you’ll find a note about the impending end of the 747 line. Also to be enjoyed there are many lovely old 747 photos with a Canadian emphasis – Air Canada, CPA, Wardair, etc. Be sure to take a look.
Today comes news that the last of the 747 breed came off the line at Boeing in Renton, Washington on December 6, bringing production after 54 years to 1574. Above (Boeing Photo) is this historic “Queen of the Skies”, a 747-800 Freighter for Atlas Air of Golden, Colorado. Atlas took the last four 747s (all “F” Models) for its global cargo business.
For your enjoyment, here are a last few 747 pix from my files. Lots more back at “747 Retrospective”, if you’re a fan!
Air Canada’s first 747 was CF-TOA fleet number 301. Delivered in February 1971, it was sold in 1984 to Guinness Peat Aviation, then had various leases to National Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, People Express and Flying Tiger, finally ending as N620FE with FedEx. “TOA” was scrapped in Arizona in 1995. Toronto aviation fan Bill Haines photographed “TOA” at Toronto’s Pearson International “YYZ” on June 25, 1974. His vantage point was the famous parking lot rooftop of Toronto’s “T1” Aeroquay.
Air Canada’s CF-TOE lands at YYZ in June 1983. For the airplane photo nerd it’s always fun to snap off a close-up like this as one of the giants of air whistles by on short final. Delivered in May 1974,”TOE” went to Evergreen International in 1998, then was scrapped the same year.
Leslie Corness caught Wardair 747 C-FDJC with a company DC-10 at Gatwick in August 1985. See the interesting details for “DJC” back in the blog at “747 Retrospective”.
Leslie shot TWA’s N93104 at London on August 10, 1980. It went for pots ‘n pans at Marana, Arizona early in 1998.
How many times have you looked up over the decades to marvel at a 747 slicing through the sky more than 30,000 feet above! I caught this one heading southeasterly over Yellowknife in June 1993. Happily, we’ll be marvelling at this sight for decades to come.

Home Sweet Home … A Fellow Lives in a Boeing 727

Have a look here Also … look in our search box for 727 Turns 50. Includes some solid Canadian history that any fan will enjoy.

“Formative Years” Book Review

This week I came across a review in the great UK journal “Aviation News and Global Aerospace” (January 2010 ed’n) of our classic book Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years. As far as the early years of Canadian civil aviation go, Formative Years will inform, entertain and impress any keen reader for decades to come. Here’s a special blog offer if you don’t have your copy: Formative Years delivered anywhere in Canada (“Mafia Post” and tax included) CAD$60.00, USA US$60.00, Overseas (surface post) CAD$120. To order simply pay directly by PayPal to larry@canavbooks.c

CAE Update … CAE Stakes Early Claim as eVTOL Training Provider

Nothing in aerospace is static, every day there seem to be new technologies. In 2015 CANAV published the history of Canada’s iconic CAE Inc. Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story remains the very best book ever produced covering any of the aerospace giants. If it’s a really beautiful aviation book that you’re looking for, look no farther than this one! Here are the book specs + a special deal:

Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story By Larry Milberry. One of the world’s grandest aerospace corporate histories. Founded in 1947, CAE begins with CF-100, Argus & CF-104 “flight sims”. It was a rollercoaster … CAE tackles everything else from consumer products to radar stations, overhauls C-119s, F-84s, T-33s & Viscounts, and manufactures L-1011 & C-135 components. It profits in forestry, owns an airline, flops with bushplanes, makes auto parts, designs control systems for power stations & naval vessels, and disastrously buys Link. CAE designs the robotic hand controller for the Canadarm orbiting today on the ISS. This spectacular book brings you to the present with CAE owing the lion’s share of the commercial flight sim market, produces visual and motion systems, and runs schools & flight sim centres that ease the global pilot shortage. The CAE Story honours the great CAE pioneers & generations of employees. Retired CAE CEO Douglas Reekie comments, “You deserve a great deal of credit for undertaking this task and for doing it so well. There should be a medal for you for perseverance.” Former Commander of Canada’s air force (AIRCOM), General W.K. Carr, DFC, puts it in his famously succinct way: “The book is fantastic”! More Treat yourself to this spectacular book, you’ll be delighted!392 pages, hc, lf, 100s of photos, gloss, biblio, index. A bargain at $65.00+ shipping + tax, but with these ALL-IN offers: CAD$55 anywhere in Canada, US55 anywhere in the USA, CAD$100 international (surface mail only). Pay by PayPal to

Here is some current news about CAE getting into eVTOL — electronic vertical takeoff and landing. The history of this amazing Canadian company
MS&T CAT CAE eVTOL Vertical Exterior_Virgin_080621-crop.jpeg
CAE’s viability as an eVTOL training provider is being established through its relationship with legacy airlines, including Virgin Atlantic –  partnered with Vertical Aerospace, Atkins, Skyports, NATS, Connected Places Catapult, Cranfield University and WMG, University of Warwick. | Source: Virgin Atlantic
December 6, 2022 Marty Kauchak

CAE’s many expanding competencies now include its leadership position in the evolving eVTOL training market. Chris Courtney, Director of Advanced Air Mobility for Civil Aviation at the company, said CAE has five training partnerships with eVTOL OEMs to include Joby, Jaunt, Vertical Aerospace, Volocopter and Beta.
“These are not ‘paper partnerships,’” the former career military helicopter pilot emphasized and revealed that for one company, CAE is manufacturing simulators, for several, it is developing courseware and curriculum. “For another company we’re their exclusive training provider globally. That company, Vertical Aerospace, is a traditional OEM, making and selling aircraft. We’re going to be providing simulators and delivering training out of our training centers and assisting with their customers where they are going to be selling to.” For Volocopter, CAE is delivering global training for the OEM outside Europe. “We are making a new flight simulator for them, the CAE 700MXR and we’re working with Volocopter and with EASA to get the device qualified and get as many pilot training credits as we can get on this particular device.”

At this embryonic stage, CAE has an internal team with numerous capabilities, including a regulatory affairs specialist, engineers and others, to advance its eVTOL training portfolio. As eVTOL community members accelerate the pace of first flights, pursue aircraft certification and other early life-cycle activities, CAE has hit a “sweet spot” of sorts in the timing of its eVTOL training focus. Courtney observed that training is not a pursuit once you certify an aircraft and explained, “This is something you do three years in advance of entering service – the time we traditionally start working on training with a traditional airplane or helicopter maker.” While Courtney notes CAE has the reputation of a “credible training provider for more than 75 years,” it is also an early preferred simulation and training provider due to its global training center network. The existence of brick-and-mortar training centers dispels some of the early expectations that eVTOL training would be provided in large doses through distributed learning and like-instructional designs. “To be an ATO, there is an awful lot of rigor and scrutiny to be an authorized training provider,” the executive pointed out and added, “the infrastructure is part of it, the instructors are another, and then there are the flight training devices and curriculum that all have to come together.” And while Courtney acknowledged there will be some opportunities to conduct satellite-based or other distance-enabled learning, “you still have to follow the same process that applies for current ATOs.”

CAE notes its viability and attractiveness as an eVTOL training provider is also being established through its role as a training provider to legacy airlines beginning to acquire eVTOLs. “Almost 80 percent of those sales are already CAE existing customers,” the CAE executive said. “Whether it is Virgin, American, Gol, or others, “these airlines and operators are saying, ‘As you provide the Boeing 737 or whatever, we expect you to be there for us in the eVTOL space because it is different. We want to leverage your new and innovative ways to train pilots and train the individuals who are going to operate the eVTOLs that are going to be part of our brand.”            

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

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

Hot Off the Press … Red Lake Norseman Project Finale!

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

Canadian Aviation Society: Beginnings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill and Charlie

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

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

A History of Austin Airways

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

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

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

Fox Moth Discoveries

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

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

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

Three More Glorious Les Corness Photos

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

Northern Aviation in 1977

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canadair Revelation

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

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

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

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

CL-260 Turbine Otter Caravan

Wing Span: 54’ 58’ 52’1”

Length: 43’2” 41’10” 37’7”

All-up Weight: 8000 lb 8200 lb 8000 lb

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

JFCiesla’s albums | Flickr

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

Bush Caddy Update

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

Hot News from CANAV Books December 2017

Just so you know, good readers … CANAV is pushing a few new
books that you should know about. Have a look at these gems. Also,
you can listen to bush pilot/photographer Rich Hulina being interviewed
this week on CBC NW Ontario about his spectacular new book. Click
here for a nifty bit of Canadiana …

Blog 1 Bush Flying Captured Facebook ad-1

Bush Flying Captured, Volume 2, by Rich Hulina … If you don’t yet have your
copy, be sure to jump in and what better time, right! Many of you already
have Rich’s Volume 1, so you know what to expect. By now, Volume 1 is out-
of-print — some folks are kicking themselves for missing out, so latch on to
Volume 2. This has to be the most beautiful book of bushplane photographs
and info that we’ve seen in a mighty long time. My take? Canada’s aviation
book of 2017! Here’s a bit more: If you’re a follower of aviation in the bush,
mountains & tundra, and of Beaver, Otter, Twin Otter, Pilatus. Helio, Beech
18, Widgeon, Goose, Cessna, DC-3, DC-4, C-46, CL-415, BAe748, etc., this beautiful book is for you. 100s of colour photos, scads of lovely air-to- airs. A gem and a bargain for any aviation fan with a pulse. 216 pages, large format, hardcover. $50.00 + $14.00 postage anywhere in Canada* + tax $3.20. Total $67.20 Payment: PayPal to, or post your cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto ON M4E3B6 (2 or more books: flat rate $16.00)

Blog 3 The Flight 981 Disaster

The Flight 981 Disaster: Tragedy, Treachery and the Pursuit of Truth

Samme Chittum covers the horrendous DC-10 disasters of the early
widebody era. Things hit the headlines on June 12, 1972, when American
Flt96 nearly crashed near Windsor, Ontario. Concluded the NTSB: “The
improper engagement of the latching mechanism for the aft bulk cargo
compartment door during the preparation of the airplane for flight. The design
characteristics of the door latching mechanism permitted the door to be
apparently closed when … the latches were not fully engaged, and the latch
lockpins were not in place.” This was not taken nearly seriously enough so,
on March 3, 1974 a Turkish Airlines DC-10 crashed in Paris – at the time the
world’s worse loss of life in an airline accident. Cause? Same.

The author explains in detail how the DC-10 almost was scuttled by these
crashes, how the investigations went, how industry and government colluded
to minimize the bad PR, how forensic works in such messy events, how good
investigative reporters can positively influence results, etc. Even victims and
survivors are profiled. Other DC-10 messes also are covered, with the
narrative finely interwoven, e.g. the DC-10 crash at Sioux Falls.

If you follow airline history, you’ll want a copy of this gem of a research effort.
You can park it on your bookshelf right beside something like John
Newhouses’ The Sporty Game, which includes further disturbing history of
the DC-10. Happily, as we all know, the DC-10 survived all its early woes to
become one of the great jetliners. 232 pages, hardcover, notes, index.
$33.50 + $12.00 postage anywhere in Canada + tax $2.37. Total $49.87

Blog 2 Flying to Victory

Flying to Victory: Raymond Collishaw and the Western Desert Campaign
1940-1941 Mike Bechthold. The great Canadian WWI ace commanded the
RAF desert air force in the rough and tumble early days of the war from
Egypt across to Libya, etc. A war of Gladiators and a few Hurricanes against
a very capable (contrary to mythology) Italian force supplemented by the
Luftwaffe. How Collishaw fared, how he was recalled, the dirty politics in the
RAF, etc. 280 pages, hardcover, photos, notes, biblio and index. The No.1
Canadian book this year covering the air war. $48.00 + $12.00 postage
anywhere in Canada + tax $3.00. Total $63.00

Blog 4 CAE Story

You may not yet have your copy of Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story.
Here’s a book that will amaze any serious reader. It’s already been hailed as
the finest “biography” in print covering any of the world’s aerospace
manufacturers. Beside the important story of the development of the flight
simulator and CAE’s leading role in that story, starting as a pipsqueak player
back in 1947, you’ll enjoy reading about CAE’s involvement in all sorts of
other products and services.
Did you know that CAE manufactured major airframe components for the
L.1011 and KC-135? Overhauled Air Canada Viscounts, and USAF fighters
and trainers? Ran its own airline? Was in the automotive and forestry
industries? Developed control systems for naval and commercial vessels?
Produced the hand controller (still in use) for the Space Shuttle and ISS?
Once you read this book, you’ll have the inside story about this great
Canadian company and be amazed at CAE’s tremendous diversity (to say
nothing about a small Canadian company developing into a world leader).
Here’s a bit more info: Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story A full-out effort covering one of the world’s great aerospace manufacturers. You won’t find many aviation books as beautifully produced or all-encompassing. The list of activities, subsidiaries and ups ‘n downs is incredible. The book brings you to the present, when CAE has the lion’s share of the commercial flight simulator market, and operates flying schools and simulation centres, helping to ease the worldwide pilot shortage. The great CAE pioneers and the generations of CAE employees are honoured by this beautifully-produced book. 392 pages, hardcover, large format, 100s of photos, glossary, bibliography, index. A serious book bargain at $65.00 + 14.00* + tax $3.95 Total $82.95

 J.P. Bickell: The Life, the Leafs and the Legacy New bio of this great Canadian who made his first fortune in grain c.1900, then went into mining, building McIntyre of Timmins into Canada’s leading gold miner. Along the way he acquired to Toronto Maple Leafs, etc. However, his role in aviation is outstanding, whether barnstorming with his WWI flying buddies in the 1920s, pioneering in corporate aviation (Stinson Reliant, Grumman Goose, etc.), wartime aircraft production in  the UK alongside Lord Beaverbrook, his leadership in building Lancasters at Malton, then backing of Avro Canada beginning in 1945. A well written and well researched book about a true Canadian business hero who did it all. 238pp, hc, photos. List $24.95 CANAV price $23.50 + $12.00 postage + $1.77 Total $37.27

You’ll enjoy any or all of these beauties. So … do yourself a big favour and keep
reading actual books! Don’t let the internet turn your brain cells to mush, right. All the best and keep in touch… Larry

See CANAV’s main Fall/Winter booklist here:

*Payment info: Pay directly to if using PayPal. If not, mail your cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto ON M4E3B6.

Postage reminder … 2 or more books: flat rate $16.00 anywhere in Canada. For US and Int’l orders … email me for shipping charges:

Canada Day 2017 gets top marks from CANAV

 I just spent Canada Day (which we older types knew as Dominion Day “way back when”) on the Toronto waterfront instead of around airplanes. “Ye Olde CANAV Books Publisher” headed down early on the “501” TTC bus to start off his “CANADA 150” schedule with breakfast at the Radisson Hotel, then on to Toronto Fire Services Station 334, home to the city’s famous fire boat – William Lyon Mackenzie.

The station was open to the public and there was a talk on the program that I didn’t want to miss – Corey Keeble’s story of Toronto’s greatest marine disaster – the burning of the SS Noronic on September 17, 1949. Corey kept us all on the edge of our seats from start to finish.

Blog Canada Day No.5 P1160699

Blog Canada Day No.6 P1160671

Then it was back out to carry on with the day getting a good look at a major highlight on Toronto Bay — the giant inflatable “Rubber Ducky”. Regardless of the (usual and predictable) soreheads moaning and groaning about the Rubber Ducky having nothing to do with anything, I’d say that for the hundreds of thousands of Torontonians and out-of-towners enjoying Canada Day here this weekend, we couldn’t have had a better novelty. And there’s no doubt that Rubber Ducky more than paid for itself on Day 1, let alone over the long weekend. Good on ya, Rubber Ducky, but what’s with those yahoos who’d love to let the air out of your rubbers?

Next stop along the way was the tour boat dock, where I bought a ticket for a wonderful cruise along the harbourfront, across to the islands for a zigzag through their lagoons, then finally out into the bay again, and back to the dock. If you ever get a chance, don’t miss out on one of these superb guided tours. This year my boat was the 90-foot Miss Kim Simpson, one of the older Toronto tour boats (I recall when it first appeared back around 1970, having earlier done service in the Netherlands).

One point explained as we wound through the lagoons was the exceptionally high water this season – high enough that the islands still are off limits for the tourist season. This view of Long Pond shows the bleachers still partially awash, and the famed Toronto island ferries remain tied up at the foot of Yonge Street until Lake Ontario settles back to normal.

Once back ashore I, headed east along Queen’s Quay as far as “Sugar Beach” beside the great Redpath sugar refinery – almost the last example of functioning heavy industry on Toronto’s waterfront. Even this far east the waterfront was jammed with locals and tourists having just the finest of Canada Days. The big highlight here was HMCS Toronto, one of the Canadian Navy’s renowned destroyer escorts that have been doing stellar work over the decades on duty in such areas as the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean

By mid-afternoon I had covered the waterfront pretty well, so turned north to the St. Lawrence Market, shooting off a few frames on some of Toronto’s other historic landmarks, the market and famous Gooderham flat iron building included. A couple of beers at the Jersey Giant let me wind down a bit, then I headed back up to Queen Street to catch the “501” eastbound and home.

What a great way to spend Canada Day 2017. And what a country, right. No wonder people are willing to crawl through minefields and cross great waters like the Mediterranean, just in the vague hope of some day reaching Canada to start a new life.

All the best for the rest of the year, eh. I’ll sign off this time with my new pal looming behind … Larry

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What’s in the Background? It Can Be Fun!

Photo 1 Norseman Vol.1 Hudson or Red Lake_One of our earlier posts talked about how background can add interest to a photograph. Invariably, CANAV readers are keen to scrutinize the background, looking for distant airplanes or other features. The caption for the top photo on p. 35 in Norseman Vol.1 (above) mentions how the scene is at Hudson, when it actually is Red Lake (pointed out by Ron Bell). The give-away is the Red Lake Hotel in the background, which evaded my “eagle eye”. This led me to scrounge around for other Red Lake photos with pertinent background. (NB … Bill Wheeler supplied these historic black-and-whites, Andrew Yee cleaned them up  for your viewing enjoyment and Joe Sinkowski helped in identifying buildings. Click once on any photo that you wish to see full screen.)

Photo 2 Norseman Vol.1 p.35 CF-ARM Red Lake_smHere you see Red Lake at its aviation best, even though no Norseman is present. The scene is dominated by Junkers Ju.52 CF-ARM – then the largest plane in Canada. To its left is smaller Junkers CF-AQV, Lockheed 10 CF-BAF, finally the aged Fairchild FC-2W2 CF-AKT. All were in the Canadian Airways fleet. Since CF-BAF was delivered in August 1938 and CF-AQV crashed in September 1939, that’s your time-frame for this historic photo. Note the Red Lake Hotel. The large white building in front of it is the Hudson’s Bay Co. (later the town offices, since demolished, now the site of the Red Lake library). That looks like the Starratt shack near CF-ARM’s rudder.

Photo 3 Norseman Vol.1 p.35 CF-ARM Red Lake WmWheeler_smIn this photo it’s summer and what a sight the Junkers makes on floats. To get an idea of scale, check the mechanic up on the engine. The hotel sure dominates the townscape. On the night of July 1, 1945 this landmark, which was built in 1934, went up in flames, leaving several dead, many injured and the country in shock. A miner was charged with arson.

Photo 4 Norseman Vol.3 p.35 Red Lake aerial WJWheeler_smA new hotel, pictured above postwar, was built down the street. With the exception of the long flat building, all those places in the foreground have disappeared. The small house beside the hotel — Mel Smith’s barber shop — also is gone. The large building to its right is today’s Lakeview Restaurant. The shack to the right of the Lakeview is where Rupert Forsythe had a hobby shop (now demolished).

Photo 5 Red Lake Aerial View 272In this photograph, which I shot in 1992, the hotel still is the biggest building on the main drag. Recently it’s served as quarters for one of the mining companies. The brown-roofed Fallensby apartments are on the slope just behind. The Lakeview is at the corner, the library is the large brownish building just across the street. Norseman Park is at the bottom left. So … you can see that there can be a lot more interesting subject matter in a photo that immediately may meet the eye.

PS … Ron Bell reports two gaffs on p.201. Regarding the year CF-DRD crashed, for 1947 read 1957. Ron sends along a photo of passenger Lockie’s headstone in the Red Lake cemetery. This confirms the name as David H. Lockie, not Danny — sure can’t argue with such solid work!

And … just before you move on, be sure to take a look at the main CANAV booklist, where you’ll see several classic CANAV titles on sale at excellent discounts. Here are some samples: Air Transport in Canada at $95.00 (regularly $155.00 — you save $60.00), Canadair Sabre $20.00 (save $20.00), Fighter Squadron $30.00 (save $45.00), De Havilland in Canada at $35.00 (save $10.00) and our 3-volume series Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace at almost 50% off. Here’s your chance to complete your CANAV library, while giving your pocket book a solid break! Autographed copies on request. Cheers … Larry

Sunrise in Sioux Lookout

Hulina plane at duskOn January 11, 2013 Richard Hulina of Slate Fall Airways captured sunrise on the ice at Pelican Lake, Sioux Lookout. In the foreground is one of Richard’s turbine Otter workhorses on wheel-skis, ready for a day’s work. Read the feature about Richard’s amazing book, “Bush Flying Captured”.

Following the classic Convairliner

The first Convairliner flew initially on July 8, 1946. A one-off, proof-of-concept plane, this was followed by 1086 production aircraft. Many of these later were re-engined with turbines, a dwindling number of which remain airworthy. Here, a Great Lakes Airlines 4-40 sits at Toronto on January 4, 1974. It was photographed from the best “YYZ” vantage point in those days — the parking garage of the famous “Aeroquay” passenger terminal (now demolished). GLA was one of Ontario’s early regionals. Having begun in 1961, it added its first Convairs in 1969. Service was such cities as London, Sarnia, Toronto and Ottawa. The first 5-80 was added in 1976. In 1981 GLA became Air Ontario, affiliated with the Deluce family, owners of Austin Airways. The best source for such details is A History of Airlines in Canada by John Blatherwick. As with the previous (C-119) blog item, these historic Larry Milberry photos has been subtly sharpened up for presentation by astronomer Andrew Yee, whom many of you know from The Weather Channel.

Convairliner memories: One of the all-time beautifully-designed airplanes is the Convairliner series. Countless books, papers and articles cover the topic, so where should one turn for the hardcore details? “Good question”, as the pundits all say these days. Each fan will have favourite sources, but for the basic gen start with Air Britain’s The Convairliner Story. Then back up your digging with Piston Engine Airliner Production List and Turboprop Airliner Production List by Eastwood and Roach. After that, you’ll find what you like on the bookshelves and magazine racks at your favourite hobby shop or by mining the web. For “mags” put Propliner at the top of your list. Rarely an issue goes by without some valuable new Convair info (why not take a look right now and get on the subscription list of this incomparable publication:

As full-out aviation fans in the 1950s-60s, we local Toronto schoolboys never tired of watching a Convair on approach, firing up in a cloud of blue smoke, taxying by, trying to run us over, or just sitting handsomely on the ramp. The local Malton or Buffalo beauties were, of course, those polished, natural-finish American Airlines 2-40s. What gems to behold. There often was one overnighting at Malton in the Genaire hangar. If we got out early enough to do our spotting and photography, we often could catch it sitting in some nice morning light. They also parked at the old DOT terminal building, where we would wander around on the ramp, even as passengers were coming or going. Of course we always stood clear before the props got whirling. Almost no one ever hassled us, other than maybe some baggage handler or passenger agent giving a “Have an eye.” Here is a typical gorgeous American Airlines Convair 240. N94279 “Flagship Wolverine State” was caught taxying on a perfect day at Buffalo, August 1, 1960. Buffalo was better than Malton for photography — not a fence to be found to spoil a shot or oblige us to keep a distance (as this old black-and-white shows). On any such airport visit, we learned a hundred and one tidbits. What was the Wolverine State? If we didn’t know it was Michigan, we’d soon look it up when we got home. In the distant right is Cornell Aeronautical Labs. We always hoped to see one of their oddball research planes, but only ever caught the F7F Bearcat.

N94260 “Flagship New England” on the Genaire ramp at Malton on March 26, 1960. There always was something of interest at Genaire, from such residents as the Canadian Breweries DC-3 to Shell’s DH Dove or Comstock’s A-26. For about a year several ex-RCAF Vampires were lined along the hangar. One day I walked into the hangar to have a shotgun pointed at me. I had no idea that the American Airlines DC-6F inside was being loaded with gold bars! Happily, the security guys were not too eager to shoot down a kid taking pictures.

Imperial Oil’s CV-240 CF-IOK. In 1961 we noticed that it was outside in the weather, but Imperial always kept its planes safely hangared. Why outside? The answer was that CF-IOK’s replacement had arrived — million-dollar Gulfstream CF-IOM, fresh from Grumman’s production line. Imperial’s CF-IOK and Lodestar ‘TDB soon were sold and disappeared. CF-IOK had begun in 1949 with Claire Lee Chennault’s CIA-funded Chinese airline, then operated on mysterious Central American duties until acquired by Imperial in 1954. Sold stateside in September 1961, it served many operators (initially as N400M) until fading from the scene in the early 1980s.

Malton was blessed with resident Convairs — the only two in Canada circa 1960, other than the small CPA fleet based in Vancouver. Imperial Oil had CV-240 CF-IOK, which lived in the company’s new hangar at the north end of the field (the first hangar away over there). Its hangar mates were Lodestar CF-TDB and DC-3 CF-IOC. The fleet was lovely to behold in its polished metal with white and red trim. Shell Oil one-upped Imperial — it had the spectacular 4-40 CF-KQI, quite an improvement over its previous Toronto plane, the dainty little Dove CF-TCP. The first time I noted ‘KQI was on February 20, 1960. These Convairs were certainly the Rolls-Royces of corporate aviation around Malton in the 1950s and must have been the envy of other local companies with their DC-3s (Abitibi Paper, Canadian Breweries and Ontario Paper) and Lockheeds (BA Oil, Canada Packers, Massey Ferguson and Noranda Mines).

Shell’s CF-KQI at Malton on August 11, 1960. I never shot it in colour — these were our “glorious black and white” days, mainly because we rarely could afford Kodachrome. But use your imagination here — ‘KQI wore a medium gray, dark blue and white paint job. The same day N270 was in town, a CV-240 in white with yellow trim. Also photographed was B-23 Dragon N33311 of General Electric in from White Plains, NY. Malton always seemed ready to serve up some nice surprise.

Modified with a rear airstair, 2-40 N557R at Malton on July 2, 1960. After an airline career it was converted by Remmert Werner of St. Louis in 1960, which seems to have kept it around doing charters for a year, then sold it to Falstaff Brewing. It drifted back into the airline world with Pacific Coastal in Alaska in 1966 and went for scrap at Long Beach in 1978.

A highlight of my earlier aviation hobby days came on August 15, 1959 when my pal, Merlin Reddy, treated me to a day at Buffalo Airport. For something like $22 he got us each a return fare on American Airlines. Bright and early we hopped over to Buffalo (a flight of about 20 minutes, over on a Convair, back on a DC-6). We spent the day photographing Convairs, DC-3s, DC-4s, DC-6s, Connies and Viscounts, then flew home about supper time to find a Fairchild Aerial Surveys B-17 and Beech Kansan on the ramp, so talk about a great day altogether.

Visiting Convairs appeared fairly often at Malton. On September 7, 1959 I spotted N70Q, noting it as Gulf Oil. But it may have been some other outfit on a Gulf charter — it’s not listed anywhere as owned by Gulf. N70Q had been American’s N94269 until 1958. N440W was at Malton on November 29. Originally a 3-40 with Braniff in 1953, it was a newly-converted by Remmert Werner, one of the main shops in the 1950s converting Convairs, DC-3s, Lockheeds, etc. for corporate use. (N400W later was a turboprop CV-580, which ended in Canada with Kelowna Flightcraft in 1990.) N98G of Gulf Oil visited Malton on December 30. Built initially as a corporate plane, it later was a 5-80 with North Central, etc. until scrapped in California in 1997.

Convair lookalike. N404K at Malton on January 10, 1960. Note the Martin’s trademark rear boarding stairs. Originally TWA’s “Skyliner Bethlehem” in 1952, it was sold to Beldex Inc. in 1959 and converted for corporate use. Many owners followed — an oil company, a cult, an automotove parts company, a land developer. It last was heard of in Florida with the George T. Baker Aviation School.

Sometimes we’d be taken aback at Malton — “There’s an odd-looking Convair!” That’s because it was one of the Martinliners that occasionally stopped by. Martin N404K arrived while we were skulking around and shivering late on the afternoon of January 10, 1960. Convair N401M of Union Carbide was at Malton on February 16, but we didn’t get to shoot it. Who knows why … maybe it was parked too far across the tarmac (where we rarely ventured), or maybe we were just disinterested, or low on film. Occasionally we’d find out who was aboard such impressive corporate planes. Entertainment king, Arthur Godfrey, was at Malton one day in his private Convair 340, but we usually didn’t enquire about such trivia — we hadn’t learned yet to appreciate the connection between the planes the people.

I photographed AA CV-240 “Flagship Lake Arrowhead” on March 20, 1960, but the scene was starting to change at Malton — fewer AA Convairs and DC-6s were around, more and more of the company’s flashy new Electras. On April 13 CV-440 N90860, formerly of Continental and now of Honeywell, was an impressive sight in its blue-with-red-trim on April 13. Six days later we were back in Buffalo, where one of several Convairs noted was Mohawk’s N4405 “Airchief Hiawatha” (N4405 later was a CV-640 that spent years in Canada as C-FPWO working for PWA and Echo Bay Mines).

CV-440 N130B of Canco Carriers (aka American Can Co.) was at Malton on June 21, 1960, but somehow eluded my camera. But on July 2 I caught N557R of Remmert-Werner. This gorgeous 2-40 was blue overall with yellow and white trim and a handsome lion on the tail. N557R was c/n 42 — a 1948 beauty that had begun with the airlines in Australia, migrated to Pakistan, then to the Netherlands before switching to the corporate world. Four days later I saw Mohawk’s N910BS “Airchief Black Hawk” at Malton. Again, no photos.

CV-340 N200A at Malton on July 8, 1960. You can see how brazen we keeners were 50+ years ago. To get this shot I was standing right out on the tarmac as N200A taxied in, even before the customs man, who normally was Johnny-on-the-Spot. The TCA planes beyond are at the DOT terminal, opened in 1938 and by this time barely able to serve Toronto’s growing air transport needs. Away across the field is the Imperial Oil hangar, the pioneer resident over there. By this time the Field Aviation hangar also was up, and you can just see the steel rising for the third north-end hangar — The Skyport. N200A had been built in 1952 for United Airlines (“Mainliner Bakersfield”). At this point it was listed to ESSO Tankers Inc. Converted to a Convair 580, it served Great Lakes Airlines and Air Ontario 1977-81 as C-GQHA, and last was heard of with Swiftair in Spain in 2000.

Nick Wolochatiuk and I shot this lovely 4-40 somewhere on a Great Lakes expedition. Clearly an airport close to town, but where? Serial 72, N400J had begun as United Air Lines N73134 i n May 1953, then was sold in late 1958 to Johnson and Johnson, which used it on business flights among its many US plant locations (maybe even its European subsidiaries). In October 1963 N400J was converted to CV580 standards, then sold in 1970 to the Great Lakes Paper Company in Fort William, Ontario (today’s Thunder Bay). When new management took over at Great Lakes, the flight department was closed and the Convair and the company’s Grumman Mallard sold. “BJY” then became N8EH in Arkansas. In 1974 it returned to Canada as C-GRSC with the Department of Energy Mines and Resources, Canada Centre for Remote Sensing Branch. In 2015 this exotic “flying lab” was donated to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, then, in 2021 was transferred to the Canada Museum of Science and Technology (both in Ottawa). Notice the standard angle for photographing a Convair on the ground. The straight side view did the job, but the 3/4 front really added the visual appeal we were looking for. Naturally, we always tried for an angle that included markings and registration.

CV-440 N6666C “The Wind Ship” began with Ansett in Australia 1957-59, then was converted by Remmert Werner for Coca Cola. In 1964 it joined the Italian air force, where is seems to have ended its days. “The Wind Ship” is shown at Malton on August 16, 1961. This is looking westward at the north end. Nothing but farms at the time all around Malton. Nothing but tightly-squeezed urban development today. N200A, another CV-440 passed through on July 8, 1960, so we sure were making a lot of trips to Malton that summer. Nick and I were in Buffalo on July 19, where we noted 5 AA Convairs plus N1012G of Mohawk. This was another real Nick and Larry gong show. When we spotted the Cornell Aeronautical Labs F7F Bearcat N700A landing, we kept an eye on where it taxied, then hustled around to Cornell. We soon were clicking away, while the pilot was still unstrapping. We were just ready to scurry off, when Cornell security scooped us up, raked us over the coals, then turfed us out, happily, still with our film. Relieved, we thumbed our way back to Toronto, passing George Richards at one point. George was another of Toronto’s plane spotters, but he always operated solo. Who knows what treasures he had come across around Buffalo this day. I can’t remember half the details of those crazy forays, but on August 1 I was back at Buffalo Airport. There was a ton of great actions, but the only Convair I shot was N94279 “Flagship Gettysburg”. The big find this day was C-46 N1674B. A year later it was gone — shot down in Laos. It was a real bind getting home this day. I’d hung around too late and it was dusk as I scrounged for a ride along the Queen Elizabeth Highway — it was 100 miles to get home from where the QEW started in Fort Erie across from Buffalo. I spent the night under the stars in an orchard, then caught a ride at sunrise with a fruit farmer heading for Toronto’s main food terminal.

In Next year I didn’t make many trips to Malton — graduating from high school and going to work meant a whole new take on reality. On June 3, 1962, however, I noted “N72B”, but must have mis-read the registration, as I see no sign in the records of N72B. But there is an N62B. GM’s 4-40 N5126 dropped in on August 23. We saw 2-40 N270L at Malton on July 22, 1963. Then owned by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, it later served Colorado-based Aspen Airways. On January 17, 1970 it was landing at Aspen from Denver. Pretty well every seat was filled — 52 passengers and crew. All did not go well, however, as the pilot goofed — he landed gear up. No one was hurt, but the Convair was a dead loss.

We spotted GM CV-580 N5126 at Malton on August 23, 1962. It last was heard of in Colombia in the late 1990s. This photo was taken elsewhere, but I have no record. It might have been at Oshawa, home to GM in Canada. The British cars pretty well eliminate a US location. This was the first 5-80 that I photographed.

MC-131 Samaritan 52-5801 on approach at MPLS on August 20, 1963. On the main gear door it reads “1st Aeromedical Transport Group”. This lovely Convair later served the US Coast Guard, then went to the desert boneyard in Tucson in 1976. The role of the Samaritans was transporting military medical staff and patients throughout their particular regions. The MC-131 eventually was replaced by the C-9 Nightingale, a modified DC-9.

Some nice shooting took place at Minneapolis on August 20, 1963, while Nick and I were on a Great Lakes trip. There was a nice 3-40 of North Central (N90855) and a special treat — a USAF MC-131 Samaritan (52-5801). Two days later at O’Hare we saw CV-440 N1270V, but no chance for a photo. Next day at Midway we saw VT-29C 52-1174, some USAF “Two Star” general’s private buggy (the T-29 was the training version of the C-131, the prefix “V” specified it as a VIP plane).

Here are several other US military Convairs, starting with Washington-based (Andrews AFB) US Marine Corps VC-131G 145962. Polished to Andrews AFB standards, it was a nice surprise for Nick and I when we visited Toledo, Ohio on August 30, 1964. This Convair served into 1986, then retired to the desert, likely to be picked clean of useful parts and scrapped.

JC-131B 53-7791 at Wright Patterson AFB on May 21, 1966. This was one of at least two such Convairs converted to fly zero-gravity missions on research programs, especially to help Mercury astronauts adjust to zero G (see for some archival film footage). The sight of such an unusual airplane always got our pulse rates going. Christened “Sine Gravitate”, ‘791 had the mission profile painted on the nose. This was one of the original “Vomit Comets”, so named since many an astronaut heaved his cookies after one too many zero-G manoeuvres. Andrew Yee prepared the nifty graphic shown here — a replica of what was painted on the nose.

Convair NC-131B 53-7788 at WPAFB on a weathered-out New Year’s Day 1967. Who else would be poking around WFAFB this day, other than Nick and Larry! We announced ourselves at the gate, and somehow found a sympathetic MP to escort us around in the clag to take photos of some far-out planes, all test editions — a B-47, B-66, the weirdest C-135s we’d ever seen, an RF-101, even this lowly Convair. Note its bumps and bulges — what looks like a SLAR installation (the long thing hanging under the fuselage), a ventral radome and some largish pod between the main undercarriage. ‘7788 had a long USAF career — 1954-77. In 1992 it was moved from the boneyard in Tucson to nearby Sam’s Scrapyard, where it likely ended as ingots.

The US Geological Survey had its CV-240 at Field Aviation, Malton on August 19, 1964. That’s about where my detailed airport visit note-keeping ended, sad to say. But that didn’t end my interest in Convairs. Over the decades we fans always had our eyes peeled for them. At Malton, which became Toronto International Airport, then Lester B. Pearson International Airport (always know in short as “YYZ”), the demise of AA’s “Flagship” fleet was noted, but then the turbine Convairs started showing up, especially with Allegheny and North Central, and YYZ-based Worldways added two 6-40s.

Worldways Convair 640 (R-R Dart engines) C-FPWT at Malton on June 6, 1976. It was used mainly for passenger charters, and often hauled around sports teams. It had been sold new in 1952 to Arabian American Oil, then went to General Dynamics in 1966, where it became a 6-40. It served PWA 1967-76, Worldways 1976-82, then migrated across the pond to join Gamcrest in Senegal as N862FW. On February 9, 1992 it departed Dakar with 59 aboard. This was a Club Med charter heading for Cap Skirring, Senegal. On approach to land, the plane crashed, killing 28. The cause of this disaster? A dilapidated airplane and a time-expired pilot who mistook the lights of a hotel driveway for his runway!

My first Convair Kodachrome. After driving to Dorval with Nick in his VW on September 4, 1961, it was a delight early next morning to catch this Canadair 540 being towed to position at the terminal for its day’s work. Quebecair had two 5-40s on lease. Captains such as Claude Castonguay thought highly of them, but there were maintenance headaches, so Quebecair returned the 5-40s to Canadair, opting instead for a fleet of F.27s. CF-LMN had begun as 4-40 N8473H in 1957, then went to Canadair in 1959 for conversion. Following Quebecair, it was RCAF 11161, then was sold to GM in 1966 and made into a 5-80. It served North Central and a string of subsequent operators. Showing a certain stubbornness, it still was flying in 2009, by then as N582P with Air Tahoma of Columbus, Ohio. This carrier, however, was grounded that year by the FAA. There are numerous photos of N582P on the web.

The first RCAF Convair I photographed was 11106, one of the small batch of Canadair 540 “Cosmopolitans” modified, serviced or produced at Cartierville. Convair afficanado, Ken Pickford, added this excellent info in August 2020: “This aircraft was one of 3 unsold 440s built by Convair in San Diego that were transferred to Canadair, after being stored for 1 – 2 years. It’s correct that Canadair converted it from its original Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines to the Napier Eland, becoming a 540, but the airframe itself wasn’t one of the 10 built by Canadair.  The photo just above in Quebecair markings is one of the other two 440s that went to Canadair and was converted to a 540. Those 3 aircraft were Convair serial numbers 454, 462 and 475 built in 1957 (of the 510 Convair-built 340s/440s). You also mention that the 540s were later re-engined with Allison 501s to become 580s, implying the RCAF did that. That’s true for 7 of the 10 Canadair-built 540s. One was written off in a hangar fire in 1967 before the 580 conversion. Two weren’t converted — they retained their Napier Elands and were scrapped in 1972. The three original 440s, that became 540s, were converted to 580s, but after leaving the RCAF.” Now back to Windsor in 1959 … RCAF 11106 was impressive as it arrived with VIPs for the Windsor, Ontario airshow on September 19, 1959. Totally grand in scope (Golden Hawks, etc.), this event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the flight of the Silver Dart. Merlin and I drove down early and, as you can see, got right out among the airplanes on the preferred side of the crowd control barriers. Canadair: The First 50 Years tells the story of the oddball 5-40, a Convair with Napier Eland engines. The whole effort really was a bit of a bust and the RCAF “Cosmos” were re-engined with Allisons to become 5-80s. Cosmo 11106 later was re-number 11162. On March 19, 1962 it lost an engine and all hydraulic pressure. An emergency landing was made at Malton, from where it had departed with VIPs an hour earlier. Without brakes or flaps ‘162 finished its day severely bent in a ditch. All the details of this frightening event can be read in Sixty Years (CANAV 1984). Before we go, Ken Pickford adds a bit more gen: “The photo of 11106 is easily identifiable as not being one of the Canadair-built aircraft by the lack of the large main deck cargo door in the rear fuselage (note passenger windows in that area which didn’t exist on the 10 Canadair-built aircraft. Those aircraft also had a “bulge” on the upper fuselage a few feet long forward of the tail (not sure what that was, presumably an antenna of some type; it only appears on the 10 Canadair-built Cosmos). Note the photo of 11106 lacks that protruberance. After various other operators and registrations in the U.S, Venezuela and Canada, the former 11106/11162 is still registered today as C-FHNM to Nolinor Aviation based at Mirabel, now a freighter. Not sure if it’s still flying regularly but it was in the following video landing at Quebec City in July 2019″ (google

Cosmo 11155 impresses the crowd with a slow pass at Trenton on July 1, 1961. The occasion was Air Force Day, which turned out to be one of the all time great Canadian airshows. Nearly every RCAF type was on display, including in the air. This Cosmo went for scrap at an early date in 1972.

Nick and I shot Cosmo 11158 on September 5, 1960 at Cartierville, where it was awaiting delivery. Mainly operated in the VIP role by 412 Squadron of Ottawa, these highly-polished beauties sometimes mockingly were called “Cosmopoliticians”, since the Ottawa top elite and their flunky mandarin cronies were the usuals on the passenger manifest. 11158 also was scrapped in 1972, but why? Was there damage or corrosion?

Cosmo 109152 on the 5 Air Movements Unit ramp at Lahr on April 3, 1993, the day I returned from a trip to Somalia that had begun on March 14. ‘152 was in Lahr doing general purpose transport for Canada’s NATO forces in Europe and beyond. In 1994 Canada, having recently spent millions upgrading its Cosmos, parked the whole fleet at Trenton. Later, Albert Ethier of Norcanair fame bought all seven for cheap. Several ended far afield. On April 4, 2004, one crashed at Shabunda in the Congo, but the crew escaped. One became FAB-74 in the Bolivian Air Force, another became HP-1468 in Panama. There are photos on the web of most of the RCAF/CF/ex-CF Cosmos. Over the decades I enjoyed several Convair flights, starting with our Malton-Buffalo excursion of August 15, 1959. There was a Downsview-Trenton trip in Cosmo 11160 on August 31, 1969. We flew the same route on September 2, 1971 in 109157 and again on August 21 the following year. On July 13, 1977 I rode on SEBJ 5-80 C-FFHB “Sakami” from Dorval to Bagotville and Lac Pau to do a story for Hugh Whittington about the James Bay hydro development. I came back to Dorval on the 16th in ‘FHD, this time via Quebec City. On the night of July 5, 1993 Capt Jim Rogozynski and FO Joe Davidson of Canair Cargo had me in the jump seat going Calgary-Winnipeg-Hamilton in 5-80 C-FBHW and what a grind that was. It sure helped me appreciate the tough job courier pilots have flying slow old clunkers on trans-Continental routes, and why they didn’t see much about them that was romantic. Amazingly, there still are a few Convairs on the wing, their latest incarnation in Canada being as fire bombers.

Propliner several times has featured Convairs on its cover. And rightly so. Propliner No.33 featured a standard view of DHL’s 5-80 OO-DHC taken at Ostend by Tony de Bruyn. Subscribe today to Propliner — one of the world’s few really essential aviation journals.

SEBJ 5-80 C-FFHF “Opinaka” waiting at Dorval on July 13, 1977 for its next trip into James Bay country. Quebec’s legendary Frank Henley established SEBJ’s air transportation operation, including acquiring six ex-North Central 5-80s. These all carried his initials “FH” in the registration and were named after James Bay waterways. Originally a PanAm CV-340 vintage 1954, this Convair joined North Central in 1964. It became a 5-80 in 1967. Later in SEBJ times, Air Inuit took over the 5-80 contract, ‘FHF was sold back into the US in 2002, where it toiled with Michigan-based Contract Air Cargo, before migrating to Colombia in 2004.

Here is a selection of other vintage Convair Kodachromes. German-registered  D-ACOH was a pleasant surprise on the Field Aviation ramp at Malton on May 20, 1972. It had served Lufthansa 1954-70. Here, it was having some mods or repairs done before proceeding to Costa Rica where it seems to have operated into 1977. It next was registered in the US (N478KW), where it worked for various outfits, the last being Air Resorts. By 1990 it was derelict in Carlsbad, California.

CV-580 N25278 on Carl Millard’s ramp at YYZ over the winter of 1983-84. This Convair began as N73141 with United Airlines (“Mainliner Boston”) in 1953. After earning its keep for about 15 years, it went to Tex Johnson Inc. for 5-80 conversion. Next, it joined Jack Conroy’s California-based Aerospace Lines. In 1972 Jack sold it to Armstrong Cork Co. in Pennsylvania, where it became N25278. In 1983 Carl Millard held a slot on Cessna’s Citation line in Wichita. He was ready to cash in on this just as the cork company wanted a Citation, but Cessna didn’t want a Convair in trade. Carl knew all about used airplanes, so made the deal with Armstrong — cash and a Convair for his Citation. In October 1984 Carl sold the Convair to Kelowna Flightcraft, where it became C-FICA. It later served Time Air, which traded it to Boeing of Canada (aka de Havilland Canada) on a Dash 8 deal. Boeing flipped ‘ICA to Soundair of Toronto, next it was with Air Toronto and, finally, Canair Cargo. On the night of September 18/19, 1991 ‘ICA was at 16,000 feet on the well-trodden courier run from Moncton to Hamilton. Over Burlington, Vermont, however, it fell in pieces out of a very dark sky. The NTSB would determine that the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit when told by Boston Center to execute a 30-degree turn. In carrying out his instructions, he lost control and the plane broke apart.

C-FKFZ of Kelowna Flightcraft on final at Vancouver on July 31, 1993. Originally with PanAm in 1954, it was converted to 5-80 specs in 1967, then joined Allegheny, one of the great US regionals that made the 5-80 such a grand success. After later service with Aspen Airways and Air New England, it joined Kelowna in 1992 to fight the night time courier wars. Few such 5-80s remain in Canadian service, most having been sold abroad or come to natural endings as scrap metal.

While I was visiting Moose Jaw on July 11, 1987 for the local airshow, this attractive NorcanAir/CP CV-640 (G-GQCQ) pulled in with a load of fans from Edmonton. Having begun as a 4-40 with Lufthansa (later with Air Algerie), this Convair became a 6-40 in 1968. It began its long Canadian career in 1981 and last was head of in Arizona in the mid-90s.

N5810 swooshes over the fence to land on Runway 24 at YYZ on January 17, 1973. This example seems to have begun as United Airlines “Mainliner Des Moines” in 1952. It joined Allegheny Airlines in 1962, where it became a 5-80 in 1966. It moved to Plymouth Leasing in 1978 and eventually joined Soundair in 1978 as C-FBHW. It last was heard of with Air Tahoma in the late 1990s. 

Mohawk’s 2-40 N1013C “Air Chief Erie” at Willow Run (Detroit) on April 11, 1966. Depending on the customer’s preference, Convairs had main passenger doors on the port or starboard side, or had a rear air stair similar to the Martinliner. N1013C had begun as Swissair HB-IRP “Graubunden” in 1949. In 1967 it went to Fairchild-Hiller in trade for an F-227 purchase. Next stop was Houston Aviation Products, where the old workhorse went for scrap in 1975.

Having begun with Aeronaves de Mexico in 1954, this 4-40 came to Canada for North Cariboo Air in 1986. In 1990 it went into storage in Arizona, then was sold back into Mexico in 1992. In 1995 it was listed with Krissalan de Aviacion, a mystery airline known for such escapades as the 1996 crash of a C-123. C-GRWW is seen at Vancouver on June 4, 1982. In 2012 North Cariboo was operating the Dash 8-100 on routes around BC.

US Navy R4Y-1 (C-131F) BurAero No.141016 was at Naval Air Station Glenview (Chicago) on August 28, 1966. Note the inscription NARESTRCOM — Naval Air Reserve Training Command. This proved to be a wonderful base visit. As usual, Nick and I simply showed up at the gate unannounced and were shown aboard. Someone escorted us all around the ramp where were photographed such other types as the P2V-7 Neptune, R4D-8 (Super DC-3), R5D (C-54) and F4U Fury. This Convair was delivered to the USN in 1956. Ultimately, it end in the boneyard at Davis Monthan AFB near Tucson.

Timeair’s 6-40 C-FPWY Edmonton “Muni” on May 17, 1987. It had begun as a 6-40 with Hawaiian Airlines in 1966, then joined Pacific Western Airlines in 1969, moved on to Aero Trades Western of Winnipeg in 1978, to Worldways of Toronto in 1983, finally to Timeair in 1984. It seems to have ended its days (likely as scrap) at Calgary’s Springbank Airport in the early 1990s. ‘PWY originally had been a 4-40 with National Airlines in 1953.

A Canadian Regional 5-80 Fleet No. 160 delivers its passengers to Campbell River on August 12, 1993, following their week at an exclusive BC salmon fishing camp.

In the early 1990s Kelowna Flightcraft saw a new future for the Convairliner — a stretched 5-80 freighter later to be dubbed the KFC 5800. Two 6’9″ fuselage plugs and a 10’2″ cargo door were installed. First flight was on February 11, 1992. The 5800 was certified in December 1993. A second example was built, but the idea did not catch on. The 5800s both were still in use with the IFL Group in the US as recently as 2011. Here the prototype climbs out from Abbotsford on August 7, 1993.

Convair Update, November 2022.

Few Convairs remain in commercial service, but they still occasionally appear in the general press. In one case, the news was very sad. In November 2022 the US NTSB released its report for the crash of Convair 440 N24DM. This 440 had been delivered to SAS in 1957. It later served many carriers, including as CF-GLM in the 1970s with Great Lakes Airlines of Sarnia, Ontario. This is the sad tale of its final flight as posted on the Aviation Safety Network:

Status: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date: Wednesday 11 September 2019
Time: 02:39
Type: Silhouette image of generic CVLP model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Convair CV-440
Operator: Ferreteria e Implementos San Francisco
Registration: N24DR
MSN: 393
First flight: 1957
Total airframe hrs: 47742
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-52W
Crew: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: 1 km (0.6 mls) ENE of Toledo-Express Airport, OH (TOL) (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature: Cargo
Departure airport: Millington-Memphis Airport, TN (NQA/KNQA), United States of America
Destination airport: Toledo-Express Airport, OH (TOL/KTOL), United States of America

A Convair CV-440 cargo plane crashed and caught fire near Toledo-Express Airport, Ohio, USA, killing both crew members.
The flight crew initially departed Laredo International Airport (LRD) about 18:38 local time the evening before the accident and arrived at Millington-Memphis Airport about 22:10 central time. The airplane was refueled before departing on the accident flight at 23:14. It climbed to 7000 feet and proceeded direct to Toledo. About 39 miles southwest of Toledo, the airplane entered a cruise descent in preparation for approach and landing. The flight crew was subsequently cleared to land at 02:35 when the airplane was about 5 miles southeast of Toledo. The pilot acknowledged the landing clearance; however, no further communications were received. The airplane ultimately became established on final approach for runway 25 before radar contact was lost. No problems or anomalies were reported during the flight. The airplane struck trees at a height of 55 feet (17 m) beginning about 193 meters east of the accident site. The aircraft came down on the premises of a recovery and truck repair company, located 1 km short of runway 25.
Probable Cause: The flight crew’s failure to maintain the proper airspeed on final approach, which resulted in an inadvertent aerodynamic stall and impact with trees, and terrain. Contributing to the accident was the flight crew’s fatigue due to the overnight flight schedule.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 years and 5 months
Accident number: CEN19MA312
Download report: Summary report
Language: English
Aircraft history
date registration operator remarks
24 Jan. 1957 OY-KPD SAS delivered
4 Nov. 1969 OY-KPD SAS last flight for SAS at 27627 flying hours
20 Nov. 1969 SE-CCV Linjeflyg bought
2 July 1973 SE-CCV Linjeflyg last flight for Linjeflyg at 34675 flying hours
July 1973 CF-GLM Great Lakes Airlines
29 June 1977 N24DR 393 Inc bought
1978 N24DR Airgo leased
Nov. 1978 N24DR Emissary Airways bought
18 Feb. 1982 N24DR N24DR Inc bought
2 April 1984 N24DR Brennan & Hargreaves Inc bought
August 1989 N24DR Amermex bought
August 1994 N24DR Integrity Aircraft Inc bought
December 1994 N24DR private ownership
4 April 2000 N24DR Ferreteria e Implementos San Francisco
26 May 2000 N24DR Ferreteria e Implementos San Francisco no.2 engine shut down after loss of manifold; engine repaired and reinstalled on 16 June 2000
17 June 2000 N24DR Ferreteria e Implementos San Francisco precautionary engine shut down due to high oil consumption
19 August 2019 N24DR private ownership
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line is connecting ADS-B datapoints from FlightAware.
Distance from Millington-Memphis Airport, TN to Toledo-Express Airport, OH as the crow flies is 865 km (540 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
languages: languages
Additional Details from a Local News Report by David Patch in “The Blade”

A cargo plane that crashed Sept. 11 on approach to Toledo Express Airport initially struck trees about 630 feet east of where it hit the ground and vehicles in a commercial parking lot in Springfield Township, a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board states. Initial tree damage was identified about 55 feet above ground level, the safety board said, with multiple tree breaks then observed along a flight path through a wooded area east of the crash site in the parking lot at Bubba’s Diesel & Auto Repair, 10101 Garden Road. The Convair 440 airplane then left a ground-impact scar west of the wooded area that “led to the accident site,” according to the report.

The initial tree strike was about 0.65 mile northeast of the approach threshold for Runway 25 at Toledo Express, while the crash occurred about 0.12 mile closer to the airport and “near the extended centerline of the runway,” the safety board said. The impact path, it said, “was oriented on a westerly heading.” Douglas Taylor, 72, and Donald Peterson, Sr., 69, both of Laredo, Texas, were killed in the fiery 2:39 a.m. crash involving an unscheduled cargo flight that had originated in Laredo but made a stop at an airport in Millington, Tenn., outside Memphis. The flight had been cleared to land about 2:35 a.m. when it was about 5 miles southeast of the airport, and its pilot’s acknowledgement of that clearance was the last communication air traffic controllers at the airport received from the plane.

“No problems or anomalies were reported during the flight,” the safety board said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said the plane was loaded with automotive parts, was owned by Barker Aeromotive, Inc., and was registered in Mr. Taylor’s name. The NTSB report identified its operator as Ferreteria e Implementos San Francisco, which in 2004 was fined $20,000 — half of it suspended — by the U.S. Department of Transportation for operating as an air common carrier without required licensing.As is typical for such documents, the NTSB preliminary report contained no investigative details about the aircraft, its pilots, or the flight, which was operated under nighttime visual flight conditions but with a instrument flight rules flight plan on file. Such operations are normal for chartered cargo flights.

Safety board investigations of such accidents often take a year or more to complete, although statements may be issued before completion if an investigation reveals details that, if publicized, could alert aviators to factors that could prevent other accidents. Earlier this month, the NTSB issued its final report for a Jan. 15, 2018, helicopter crash in Wood County’s Troy Township that killed a pilot and a power line inspector.

CANAV “Readers’ Choice” for today …

The world famous TCA Super Connie CF-TGE is featured on the cover.

The Wilf White Propliner Collection is one of “the best in class” of this type of aviation book. Wilf spent decades taking the very best in aircraft photos, whether throughout his native Scotland, down at London in the 1950s-60s, at Farnborough in the same period, or across Canada and the United States. If you are a fan of the great era of propliners, this is a book you’ll enjoy for years. And … if you are looking for a gift for any aviation fan for any occasion, could you pick a nicer one at a nicer price!

A CPA Britannia taxies at London among the other great types of the day that Wilf always revelled in photographing. Look at the super job he did!

WWPC is 176 pages, softcover, large format, 100s of photos with detailed captions, index. The price in 2019-2020? Usually $40.00, yours for half price — $20.00 + $14.00 Canada (Mafia) Post + 5% tax $1.70 = $35.70 CAD (US or overseas CDN$42.00 all in per book). We accept PayPal (click here) or old fashioned cheque/money order mailed to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave. Toronto, ON M4E 3B6. Here’s one of the reviews of this lovely production, and some sample pages. Reviewer Dennis J. Calvert is one of those rare types who looks at every aspect of a book. He clearly knows his stuff and isn’t one to raise a new title onto a pedestal without good reason. In this case he designated WWPC as the Aircraft Illusatrated “Book on the Month”, rounding up his thoughtful commentary: “This volume, beautifully produced, offers the very highest quality in nostalgia and comes confidently recommended.” So don’t delay and get in on this special deal!

You can download the review here.

And for a little taste of the book itself, check out these select pages from The Wilf White Propliner Collection

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

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 “a pro” when it comes to photography. He shoots in all weather and all 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).

Also available (2020)Bush Flying Captured, Volume 2, same general specs and price. You’ll love them both!

Tales from the Lakeview: Collected Aviation Stories by Robert S. GrantSorry, now out of stock, but check on the web if you need a copy.

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**

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.