Category Archives: Super Connie

CANAV’s 2016 Spring/Summer Booklist is here!

The world famous TCA Super Connie CF-TGE, soon to be on display at the Museum of Flight, is featured on the cover of The Wilf White Propliner Collection. Check out the booklist to order.

The world famous TCA Super Connie CF-TGE, now on display at the Museum of Flight in Washington State, is featured on the cover of The Wilf White Propliner Collection. See CANAV’sbooklist to order.

Check out our latest booklist! There are some great titles and deals you won’t want to miss 🙂

**SPECIAL NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHER**

Dear readers … As of March 17, 2016 CANAV is out of stock of its world-famous  title, De Havilland in Canada. Having begun in 1983 as The De Havilland Canada Story by Fred Hotson, the book morphed in 1999 into De Havilland in Canada. Should you need a new copy, contact Viking Aircraft in Victoria, BC, or search some of the internet’s many used book sites — abebooks.com, bookfinder.com, ebay, etc. All the best … Larry

 

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The Greater Toronto Airport Authority History Room

No.1 P1100321Many airports have shown imagination in devoting some of their scarce space for historical/educational purposes. Depending, some photos might be displayed and periodically rotated, or there are artifacts, models or complete aircraft on show. There might even be a museum adjacent to the airport, as at Victoria or Halifax. Whatever is on show, the airport authorities deserve credit for at least showing some interest in our aviation heritage.

Many years ago, when the new Terminal 1 at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport (“YYZ”) was in the planning stage, I wrote to the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (overseer of all things at YYZ), suggesting that it consider acquiring a dormant ex-Trans-Canada Air Lines Super Constellation. This was CF-TGE. I presented the “Super Connie” as a vibrant piece of aviation history and genuine modern art. The aircraft could be finely restored, then suspended from somewhere up in T-1’s wide-open ceiling vault. Such a display would add hugely to the ambiance in T-1, inspiring millions of travelers yearly. To this day, sadly, I’m still awaiting a reply from the GTAA about my crazy idea. In the meanwhile, the sharp-minded and visionary acquisitions people at Seattle’s Museum of Flight came along and scooped up CF-TGE. That’s where to go today to see this incomparably beautiful airplane appropriately displayed in TCA colours. We wrote about it here and here.

All is not lost, however. Thanks to the GTAA, YYZ does today have a small room that tells (in rotating displays) its story from pre-WWII times to the present. Late in 2015 this included a lovely cabinet set-up by local aviation history aficionado, Carl Mills. Carl spent years researching the history of the Trans-Canada Airlines Canadian-built Lancaster XPPs (sometime known as Lancastrians – the name that the British ascribed to their own civilianized Lancaster).

So … the next time you pass through YYZ T-1, ask any employee for directions to the GTAA history room and take a few minutes to enjoy its many displays. Too bad that you will not be awestruck by a full-size TCA Super Connie, but you will see a very lovely little model of one. Here are two views of Carl’s TCA Lancaster set-up, plus another featuring some of the locally-produced Avro Aircraft of Canada designs – the Jetliner and Avrocar.

No.2 P1100322

No.3 P1100323

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? Usually $40.00, yours for half price — $20.00 + $12.00 Canada (Mafia) Post + 5% tax $1.60 = $33.60 CAD (US or overseas $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

Winter Photography 101

These were the sort of photos we dreamed of getting anytime we could get out to the airport in winter. I vividly remember freezing for half an hour watching TCA North Star CF-TFE doing engine run-ups at Malton this day. It must have been minus 20F on the tarmac and the wind was howling. We teens thought this was the best fun going! Then, the hulk of North Star CF-TFP in the "Back 40" at Dorval in 1965. Nick Wolochatiuk, Paul Regan and I trudged a good way through deep snow to get our shots that day.

For the diehard aviation fan winter is as enjoyable as summer, whether flying or plane watching. Back in school days, we local Toronto photo hounds were undeterred by cold or snow, and would hitchhike through it all out to Malton airport. There we would “cold soak” for hours, hoping to catch some special static, taxying or landing shot. When desperate for a bit of warmth, we could go into the old passenger terminal, see if the latest Air Pictorial had come in, and maybe even splurge on a hot chocolate. Nipping into Genaire or the big TCA “Super Connie” hangar also was an option, although some TCA type usually would roust us fairly fast. One way or the other we’d soon be back outside, since we didn’t want to miss a thing.

In recent years I made a few Arctic winter trips, reliving those fun years of freezing our butts off at Malton, Dorval or Buffalo. All that must have gotten into the bones, somehow. This winter, however, I laid fairly low — probably a sign of old age. Even so, I did a bit of shooting, visits to Oshawa and Peterborough reminding me that this is what can get a Canadian cranked up. But it also reminded me that one needs to go prepared when it’s well below freezing. Warm winter boots, parka, etc. sure are a must if outside for more than 15-20 minutes. And keep the camera under your coat. We used to worry about film freezing, maybe even breaking. Now it’s all about keeping your batteries warm.

Oshawa airport (YOO) one day this January proved to be well worth the hour’s drive from east Toronto. When we got there early on a Sunday morning, the local operators were just getting their 172s and Diamonds ready for winter training. As usual, the Enterprise Airlines hangar was packed with interesting planes, everything from a new Basler DC-3 to the Durham police Jet Ranger and an Air Baffin Falcon 10. Lots of interesting stuff was sitting outside, from a DC-3 recently arrived from Gimli, to a Beech 18 in long-term retirement, and a show-stopping Antonov An-2 in which we were to go flying.

Our gorgeous Antonov on the Enterprise Airlines ramp at Oshawa. It came to Canada in 1991 fresh from the production line in Poland. You'll notice in some of these photos how nicely a cover of snow illuminates the underside on an airplane. Check this in the second view of the An-2 and the photo of the engineless DC-3. Without snow, heavy shadow is more usual for undersides. You can see a better example of snow reflection in our earlier blog "More CF-TGE Nostalgia". The day I photographed this Super Connie landing on Runway 28 at Malton, the sun was shining and the landscape snow-covered. This nicely brightened the whole underbelly of the Super Connie, bringing up a lot of good detail.

An-2 aficionado Lee Barker was waiting to put George Werniuk and I to work getting his lovely great biplane ready to go. Gust locks, tie downs, windscreen and engine covers all had to be attended, a warm battery was dropped into place under the cockpit floor, the GPS was set up, etc. Mostly, of course, George and I were in the way, but Lee did get us to pull the prop through the required number of blades. After about an hour and a half of this, we finally were ready to roll. The Antonov’s 1000-hp PZL radial coughed fairly quickly into life and off we went. The takeoff roll into a 30-knot headwind got us airborne fast enough to give a whole new meaning the STOL performance. Look up STOL in your pictionary and you just might see a photo of an An-2!

Pilot Lee Barker leafs through CANAV's "Formative Years" while flying along in the comfy cockpit of his Antonov.

A view from the Antonov looking northward up Hwy.115 with Peterborough Municipal Airport a bit right of top-centre.

An enjoyable local flight ensued, mostly north around Port Perry, then over towards Peterborough. The An-2 (one of the world’s greatest bushplanes — some 23,000 built and in service everywhere on the planet) cruised happily along at about 90 knots, its PZL humming like a sewing machine. Once back at Oshawa, we reversed all the morning efforts in putting the An-2 back into cold storage. Then there was some time to take a few more photos. Lucky break for us, since the Basler DC-3 was going on a test flight, so most of the planes in the hangar had to be hauled outside. All in all it turned out to be a super day for we “aviation kooks”.

The new and the old at Oshawa in January 2011: Air Baffin Falcon 10 C-FZOP and former Airdale DC-3 CF- OOW hibernating in the drifts and biting gusts.

A very handsome executive Aztec waits on the Enterprise ramp.

Bell Geospace Aviation Basler DC-3 gets ready for a test flight from Oshawa. Such a winter's scene with just the right light is "to die for" for any keen aviation photo buff.

The Durham Police Force Bell Jet Ranger resides in the Enterprise hangar. This busy chopper has more than proved its worth in fighting crime in and around Oshawa.

As to Oshawa, the place is totally rejuvenated, nearly all the action now being on the north side. Most of the wartime buildings on the old south side (originally the home of 20 Elementary Flying Training School with Tiger Moths) have been demolished, although the control tower remains in use over there. A new terminal and some modern hangars are scattered across the north side. With the recent announcement that Toronto Buttonville Airport is to close in about 5 years, Oshawa is sure to enjoy some growth. But … looking at the airport from above, one wonders a bit. When we used to attend Oshawa Flying Club fly-ins 50 years ago, the airport was “out in the boonies”. By now, however, the city has pressed in tightly, so how long can Oshawa airport hold its own?

Peterborough Municipal Airport (YPQ) has always been a good spot for “dropping in”. My first visit was back about 1970, when there sure wasn’t much there. TrentAir had a few Cherokee 140s, handy that day, for I had the idea of getting some aerial views of the drumlin fields in and around Lake Scugog. That worked out ideally. Later there were such interesting sights at Peterborough as a resident Piaggio Royal Gull and a DC-3 converted by AirTech to PZL engines.

On another visit my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I spotted a gleaming Universal Airlines DC-6 freighter loading auto parts. While I was shooting off a roll of Kodachrome, one of the rampies commented how they occasionally even got a Super Connie doing the same sort of work. In those times we used to hear those old tramp freighters coming and going to Oshawa and Peterborough deep into the night.

Something else that would keep we spotters interested were the Saunders ST-27s based at Peterborough. In the 1980s Air Atonabee owner Joe Czumrik, a former local mayor, had bought out everything to do with the ST-27 and set up a maintenance base for his sked services to Ottawa, Kingston, Syracuse and Toronto Island. The Saunders bashed around for a few years, then faded, mainly sold off for pots and pans. Air Atonabee itself disappeared, taken over by City Express at Toronto Island. In 1989 Flying Colours started an aircraft refurb operation at Peterborough specializing in “after market” Beech 99s. One of the first successful commuter planes from early deregulation days in the US, the 12,500-lb category “99” had by this time outlived its usefulness in the burgeoning commuter airline world, such types as the Dash 8, Saab 340 and Brasilia having taken over. Dozens of 99s now started phasing through Peterborough for refurbishment to be used in fringe markets as passenger and cargo planes. So the sight of Beech 99s in Bar Harbour and Allegheny colours was always a draw for any aviation history/photography buff passing by.

Tucked away for the winter -- a classic Ercoupe and a Piper Cherokee are part of the freezing foreground with the new Peterborough Municipal Airport terminal building coming along behind.

Two of the many privately owned beauties based at Peterborough: a Lake Buccaneer and a Mooney.

This winter’s scene at Peterborough did not disappoint. A couple of dozen light planes were freezing out along to tiedowns. Hardly a one looked as though it had moved since fall colours flights last autumn. The ancient PZL DC-3 still was sitting there minus engines, and things looked dead at AirTech. However, I didn’t check inside, where there often are S-76s and such helios being converted to EMS choppers. I looked for the old terminal, but it was missing, a handsome new Flying Colours hangar and FBO now is in its place. A new terminal was under construction mid-field, new hangars stood where the old tiedowns used to be, and the main tarmac was lined with other developments. A few Beech 99 carcasses still sat in a junky little patch and I heard that TrentAir was no more, a new flight school and charter company having sprung up. Three CRJ- 200s were parked side-by-side awaiting their turns at Flying Colours. Another interesting one-of-a-kind type was a Beech Duke, stranded in a snowbank with bent props following a wheels-up arrival.

Bombardier CRJs wait in the snow for their turn on the Flying Colours completion line.

The superannuated DC-3 at Peterborough. It once was a test bed for PZL engines. In the 1990s AirTech toyed with the idea of this DC-3 conversion, but the concept died, especially with the rise of the PT6-powered DC-3. Such scenes fascinate all winter photography "true believers" and a knowledge of aviation isn't even a prerequisite.

"Bar Harbour has-been" in the Beech 99 boneyard at Peterborough.

Something else happening at YPQ this winter was that the finishing touches were being put on a 2000-foot extension to R09-27, lengthening it from 5000 to 7000 feet. Taxiways and tarmacs also had been strengthened so that 737-type airliners could be accommodated. So the City of Peterbourgh certainly is setting itself up for a healthy future. No doubt, when Buttonville folds, YPQ will boom. During my visit one of the operations staff was good enough to brief me about airport developments, while another took me around on a “drive-by” photo tour. She likely wondered what kind of a character she had along, but put up with my “Twenty Questions” routine, having solid answers all the way. A lunch break at YPQ’s “Runway 27” café completed this interesting visit. So any time you find yourself along Hwy.115, treat yourself. Peel off at the airport exit and have a look. A fun time will be had by all.

The all-round winter photography fan will enjoy shooting anything from a wee homebuilt to something like this CF-104 that's seen many a winter where it hibernates year after year at Canadian Forces College in Toronto.

Helicopter Association International Honours Ken Swartz

Ken Swartz with an Alouette II in Lakeland, Florida during the 2002 HAI. Over the decades Ken has attended the HAI convention 25 times, giving new meaning to the term "inveterate". Fellow helicopter aficionado, Oscar Bernardi from Italy, took this shot.

In advance of its great annual convention and trade show (HELI-EXPO — Houston in February), the Helicopter Association International has announced its 2010 recipient of the HAI “Excellence in Communications Award” — Ken Swartz of Toronto. Ken is a long-time Canadian aviation history researcher and journalist who specializes in rotorcraft. In 1974 he began contributing news stories and photographs to “Rotary Review”, a column in the renowned UK monthly, Aviation News. His first stories were about Okanagan Helicopters and Soloy Conversions. Ken’s “Canadian Comments” became a regular feature in Helicopter International and in subsequent years his informative articles appeared regularly in such other publications as Calgary-based Wings and its sister publication Helicopters. Presently, he is a columnist for Helicopter International, HELiDATA News and Mike Reyno’s world-class journal Vertical.

Ken has been involved in many aspects of Canadian aviation history. In 1987, for example, he was the key researcher for CANAV Books during its project to produce the 60th anniversary history of P&WC. Published in 1989, Power: The Pratt & Whitney Canada covers such rotary history as early Sikorsky sales (S-51, S-55, etc.) in Canada, development of the Sea King for the RCN, and the evolution of the PT6 as a helicopter power plant. Ken unearthed much of this material, whether by interviewing P&WC pioneers, pounding the factory floor with his camera, or pouring through boxes of historic corporate documents. Over the years Power has been hailed as the model for any aviation corporate history, and Ken played a solid part in this end result.

Seeing how the helicopter industry was losing many of its pioneers, in his early years at his trade Ken recorded the voices of more than 150 of Canada’s pioneers. In such work he liaised with many like-minded history and photography buffs around the world, including fellow Canadians Robert S. Petite and Brent Wallace. The Swartz-Petite-Wallace trio has done remarkable work in recording the accomplishments of Canada’s rotary-wing “originals” (Petite presently is completing a history of the Bell 47 and is a columnist for Vertical).

In the wider view of things, Ken has always been on the front line supporting Canada’s aviation history organizations. In the early 1980s he was on the board of the Canadian Museum of Flight in Vancouver, helping it acquire rare Bell, Brantley, Piasecki and Sikorsky helicopters. He has served on the board of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, and since 2002 has worked diligently (vice-chairman, etc.) with the Canadian Air & Space Museum (formerly the Toronto Aerospace Museum).

Nerds at play ... Ken (right) with Larry Milberry during a 1989 Erickson Air Crane heavy lift job in Brampton, Ontario. Their sidekick and pioneer S-64 pilot, Ross Lennox, set up this gig and took the photo.

I first met Ken in the mid-1980s. It was a bit dizzying, yet refreshing, seeing how he so enthusiastically photographed everything with wings, whether fixed or rotating. None of this pansy stuff for Ken of shooting only military or airliners or whatever else the narrow-minded “specialists” get off on. What a pleasant thing to see — a fan who enjoyed shooting a tiny homebuilt, a lumbering 747, a Bell 47 or a ear-splitting Voodoo. Besides photographing, Ken always had his pocket notebook on the go, filling pages with whatever the topic happened to be. It was, however, with some ambivalence, that I heard from Ken how it was my first book, Aviation in Canada, that had helped inspire him. I was somehow responsible for this fireball of an aviation nerd!

By nature Ken is always supportive and is the sort of fellow to share the good news if there’s something hot in the wind. Over the years we’ve spent many a pleasant trip together, whether on a swan to a NATO fighter meet, a gruelling winter tour down Quebec’s amazing Côte Nord, doing HELI-EXPO in Las Vegas, touring Bell at Mirabel or spending a weekend at the Curtiss Museum. Our latest effort was an overnight to Rome, New York, to see the grand restoration of what I call “the Bob Bogash Super Constellation” — CF-TGE.

Ken’s the man to hang with, since he seems to know everyone and can set up the best extras. On the NATO trip, somehow he and I ended on a great 444 Sqn Kiowa 2-ship tour of the Rhine. On the Quebec trip, he organized our airline schedule, plus a couple of choppers for air-to-air photography. One year he got me on an Antonov 124 delivering Puma helicopters from Toronto to Athens, then on another “124” swan hauling relief supplies to Rwanda.

In summarizing Ken’s great efforts over the decades, the HAI press release states: “By effectively publicizing the helicopter’s uniqueness, and through his selfless service to historical preservation, Ken Swartz embodies the fine qualities celebrated by the Excellence in Communications Award.” So … congratulations to Ken Swartz on finally being honoured officially by the aviation community.

Bob Bogash’s dream comes true

All Bob Bogash’s hard work has finally paid off! The Super Connie has been reassembled and placed in Boeing’s Plant II. For details on the re-assembly, check here. To read about the entry into Plant II hangar, check here.

From the Wilf White collection…

Wilf White collection - Super Connie taxiingWilf White collectionThrough the 1950s-60s and into the 2000s, Scotland’s great photographer, Wilf White, covered the scene at Glasgow, Prestwick and many other UK and Canadian airports. Here are two more of Wilf’s fine images showing TCA Super Connie CF-TGE, which we’ve been featuring lately. First, it’s seen arriving at Prestwick; then departing, perhaps heading down to London, or beginning the long return trip “across the pond” to Gander, Montreal and Toronto.

Two More Classic Wilf White Pix…

Wilf White collection

TCA Super Connie CF-TGE arriving. (Wilf White collection).

Nordair DC-4 CF-IQM circa 1958 awaiting departure at Prestwick, as well-wishers gather in the public viewing area to see off their friends and family. In 2009 CF-IQM still was active in the Buffalo Airways fleet in Yellowknife. Then, Seaboard World Airlines swingtail CL-44 N124SW is seen roaring off, the backdrop being Prestwick’s famous Scottish Aviation complex. This beautiful propliner ended its days with a wheels-up landing at Miami in January 1982. The Wilf White Propliner Collection, published by CANAV Books, is a tribute to Wilf’s spectacular photography. It’s a book that any sincere fan of the great era of prop airliners will treasure.