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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been so long since we’ve had the time to post anything new. Finally, here’s a bit of an update. First of all, I hope you will have a close look at our new Fall/Winter 2022-23 newsletter & booklist. It’s packed with outstanding reading for all those having a serious interest in our great aviation heritage. I really appreciate that most of you are long-term CANAV fans, but in order to survive, any such small aviation publisher needs more of its fans to turn into actual supporters (i.e., fans who buy a book once in a while). CANAV needs you both, but can’t survive without a few more more fans becoming supporters. Please give it a thought, if it won’t break the bank.
CANAV introduces its latest booklist
Canada’s premier aviation book publisher presents its Fall/Winter 2022/23 list. Have a close look and you’ll find many important titles old and new including some exceptional bargain books. Please get in touch with any questions about ordering, etc. Cheers … Larry Milberry, Publisher, email@example.com
Most of my 2022 efforts have been in basic research and writing for CANAV’s next book, its grand history of the RCAF 1924. After four years of this so far, the groundwork is done covering from the background to 1924 and into the 1980s. The next year mainly will be covering the modern RCAF, including visiting as many bases as possible. I started this lately with visits to Borden and Winnipeg to cover such squadrons as 400, 402 and 435, and such other important organizations such as CFSATE at Borden and Barker College at 17 Wing Winnipeg. In November I’ll cover 8 Wing Trenton and Petawawa. This fieldwork lets me see the RCAF in action, before finishing the final chapters. This is the recipe for a book that will be worth having on your shelves.
Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada
While visiting 17 Wing, I squeezed in a sidetrip to Winnipeg’s wonderful new aviation museum, the former Western Canada Aviation Museum. There, Gord Crossley (17 Wing Heritage Officer) and Bob Arnold (long-time museum member, restorer, scrounger, etc.) showed me all the super work that’s been done to bring the museum from its roots in the 1970s, through its decades jammed into an old TCA hangar, to today’s magnificent museum. Here are a few of my quickie photos to give you an idea of why you need to make an aviation history pilgrimage to Winnipeg. At the end, I include a few images from Winnipeg’s other important aviation history collection at 17 Wing Winnipeg across the field from the RAMWC.
Norseman Update … Antti Hyvarinen from Finland recently visited the Dutch aviation museum where ex-Canadian Norseman CF-GLI is being restored. Here are his photos. Thanks, Antti! See the attached special offer for our two beautiful Norseman books. For outside Canada drop a note ref. shipping costs to firstname.lastname@example.org
Norseman lists … Northern pilot, Rodney Kozar, keeps close track of Norseman “facts and figures”. Here are his two basic lists for 2022. Please contact Rodney if you have any updates.
One of the best sources for news and developments for Canadian aviation fans is Paul Squires’ monthly “News Round Up” blog-0-paul-squires. You can get on Paul’s list by checking in with him at email@example.com or paul.squires.capa@mattamatic
Check in here to see the latest progress on Red Lake Norseman CF-DRD. See photos of the wings and fuselage recently coming together again. Here’s your chance to send your gofundme bit along to help with this very important (and expensive) Canadian aviation heritage project.
Some Exotic Flying Test Beds of the Fifties
When it comes to old airplane photos, treasures keep popping up in dusty files, boxes and forgotten albums. Recently, in sorting some things, I found this exotic black-and-white by aviation photographer, Ira Ward, of Needham Heights, Massachusetts. In 1964 Ira had mailed this one to his pal in Toronto, the great M.L. “Mac” McIntyre, an early member of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. Subject matter? The one-off Curtiss Wright B-17 engine test bed N6694C, which Ira had shot at Woodbridge, Connecticut. Built as a B- 17G by Lockheed-Vega in Burbank in May 1945, it originally rolled out as USAAF 44-85813, but would not see military service. Instead, it went straight to Curtiss Wright that October for engine testing as a civil B-17. The major mods were done at Wichita by Boeing. N6694C’s initial “5 th ” engine was the 5500-shp Wright XT35 Typhoon turbine. First flight was in September 1947, but the T65 proved to be a dud. Not everything has been published about N6694C’s career, but its second big assignment seems to have been testing Curtiss Wright’s licence-built version of the UK’s Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire turbojet. In the US, this became the J65, widely used in such fighters as the FJ-4 Fury and Grumman Tiger.
In 1966 Curtiss Wright sold its exotic test bed to Ewing Aviation. It then was ferried to South Dakota for conversion back to a more usual B-17 for fire bombing. On April 16, 1980 it crashed while working a fire at Bear Pen, North Carolina. For further details see Scott A. Thompson’s essential book, Final Cut — The Post-War Flying Fortresses: The Survivors. Having a chance to catch such a nice set-up of N6694C would certainly have made Ira Ward’s day. Mac, of course, would have delighted in getting Ira’s print in the mail – those were the days when most of us swapped airplane photos using the always-efficient postal services of the day. We never followed the Curtiss Wright B-17, but as kids used to delight in seeing any B-17. In the late 50s we often saw Kenting’s aero survey “Forts”, CF-HBP and CF-ICB at their base in Oshawa, then at Malton, starting around 1960, once Field Aviation had built its new hangar at the north end of the airport. The Kenting fleet then started using Field for mods and servicing.
Local Flying Test Beds
This is mostly forgotten history, but Toronto had some flying test beds of its own. In the early 1950s Avro Canada was using a Lancaster to test the jet engines being developed by its Malton subsidiary, Orenda Engines. These were produced initially for the CF- 100, but they later powered hundreds of Canadair-built F-86s. I never saw this “Lanc”, since it was destroyed when Avro’s flight test hangar burned on July 24, 1956 – a bit before my time at Malton.
In 1956, when Orenda was developing the Iroquois engine for the Avro CF-105 Arrow, USAF B-47 51-2059 was borrowed from the USAF to use as a test bed. For this program the B-47 was taken on RCAF strength as X059. Its first destination in Canada was Canadair at Cartierville, near Montreal, where the mods were installed to accommodate the 30-foot-long Orenda engine. This made X059 one of the rare 7-engine B-47s (a second was used to test fly the GE TF34). For Canadair purposes, the B-47 was designated the CL-52.
NORAD ECM/EW – The Story of 414 Squadron and the 134th DSES of the Vermont ANG
Beginning in the 1950s, the RCAF began experimenting with a new concept – electronic counter measures (ECM). This eventually became known more commonly as electronic warfare (EW). The first I wrote about this was a 1980 feature item in Carl Vincent’s superb journal, “High Flight”. The topic was enticing, especially since NORAD was using some interesting airplane types.
In Canada, the first RCAF EW unit was 104KU (Composite Unit) at St. Hubert. Using Dakotas and C-119s, “104” trained ground radar stations to deal with airborne radar jamming using electronic means and chaffe dispersal. In 1956, 104 added its first CF-100 equipped for the same tasks. Communications jamming soon was added. In April 1959 the RCAF stood up its Electronic Warfare Unit at St. Hubert with C-119s and CF-100s. The CF-100 pilots came from existing NORAD squadrons, while their “back seaters” – the electronic warfare officers (EWOs) — usually had been CF-100 navigators, trained later in EW by the USAF. The EWU came to be a busy operation, always in demand to fly ECM exercises across North America. In September 1967 the EWU became 414 (EW) Squadron. For all the details of the famous RCAF EW unit see the detailed history in my 1980 book The Avro CF- 100.
While the RCAF was perfecting its EW capabilities, the USAF had a similar but much grander operation, comprising several squadrons flying the EB-57 Canberra. In the early 1980s I was getting deeper into this special NORAD topic. Having covered the EWU/414 closely and flown with 414 in 1980 (by then at North Bay), I needed to learn about the USAF operation. This led me to spend a few days in Burlington, Vermont with the 134 th Defense Systems Evaluation Group of the Vermont Air National Guard (part of the 158 th Defense Systems Evaluation Group). This really solid field trip (the 134 th was all in with me for this project) culminated on March 17, 1980 with a 2-hour flight in a B-57. To my delight this included shooting air- to-air Kodachromes of EB-57s. Under the heading “The Black Knights and the Green Mountain Boys: Electronic Warfare in NORAD”, my story appeared in October 1980 in the lead UK aviation journal, “Air International”. Here it is for your enjoyment.
By 2021 NORAD’s EW training role is very different from CF-100 and EB-57 days. To a large degree, such training is done by commercial contractors flying civil-registered types including the Lear Jet, Alpha Jet and MU-2. Much training also is done using simulators. Such types as the USN EA-6B and EA-18G are important EW operational assets. Electronic warfare has become a huge specialty by comparison to 1980.
134th Scorpion Nostalgia
My first meeting with the 134th was one of the most exciting that a 16-year-old aviation fan could have. The date was May 16 1959 and my sidekick Merlin “Mo” Reddy and I were visiting the USAF base at Niagara Falls, NY. It was “Air Force Day” and turned out to be one of the highlights of our airplane spotting hobby. We drove down from Toronto early to make sure we got as many photos before the place got too crowded. Naturally, the sight as we arrived of such aircraft as the B-47, KC-97 and H-21 got us fired up.
Then various visitors started arriving, the highlight for me being a flight of five gorgeous F-89D Scorpions of the Vermont ANG. This was really something and there we were wandering around the ramp with our cameras. Can you imagine? An F-89 taxiing in but no one yelling at you to clear off. Talk about the good ol’ days, right! As you can see, Scorpion 54-0193 was magnificent as I photographed it. Doesn’t it look 100% operational with its wingtip rocket pods, long- range fuel tanks and VTANG markings. (Aircraft of the 134th VTANG: P-47D 1947-51, P-51D 1951-54, F-94A/B 1954-58, F-89D 1958-65, F-102A/B 1965-74, EB-57 1974-81, F-4 1981-86, F-16 1986-2019, F- 35 2019-XX. For an excellent history of the 134 th … google “Vermont Air National Guard” to get on the unit’s excellent website.)
This Month’s Reads … Three Books for the Avid Reader
Three aviation books are on my list this time around. To start there’s the incomparable Fate is the Hunter. This is the great Ernest Gann’s 1961 in-depth history covering his days starting back in the “Golden Years” of aviation when he started into his career at the very bottom. You absolutely will be spellbound by this gem of a classic. Inch by inch Gann progresses, at first spending years as a lowly American Airlines co-pilot on the DC-2, then DC-3. He learns the ropes and eats a lot of crow, as captains and other superiors show their distain for his nothingness as an aviator. His captaincy finally arrives, but he’s still at the bottom.
Along the way Gann describes in his inimitable style all the adventures of flying, the many close calls in those early years, the sheer joy of being in the flying game, yet its all-too-many tragedies. A stint delivering Lodestars to South America ensues – the details will make you squirm. With WWII, Gann flies the global airways on the DC-4 and C-87. The adventures multiply, then the war ends and he strikes out to make his way (rather than returning to American Airlines with his low seniority number) with a new trans-Pacific carrier using DC-4s. This soon falls apart and the once proud captain of the airways finds himself scrounging for jobs.
All along, Gann his weaving his story in wonderful prose, just the best you’ll find anywhere, while philosophizing about aviation and life. How have things panned out? How is it that so many of his aviation friends have given their lives? How is it that fate in the hunter? If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of this aviation beauty, here you go! 390 pages, paperback. $38.00 all-in
*Any two of these $60.00 all-in. Buy the three for $95.00 all-in. You can order via PayPal or Interac paying straight to firstname.lastname@example.org Any questions? Email me at the same address. Good reading to one and all. Cheers … LarryMilberry
PS … Scroll back for loads of other Canadian aviation history coverage.CanForces readers will be interested in some of these stories:
Peter Anthony Holder is a Montreal-based broadcaster who produces The Stuph File, a podcast that features an eclectic mix of interviews and news. With 20 years in the biz, Holder has interviewed celebrities, including Star Trek‘s George Takei and Lindsay Wagner, The Bionic Woman. He also features quirky stories, like the one about the person who has Hitler’s toilet, the guy who trains llamas to be golf caddies, and the founder of the Church of Jediism.
Holder helps the CANAV cause by interviewing Larry and promoting the work of CANAV Books, including our recent Aviation in Canada series.
Check out the latest interview, about The CAE Storyhere.
Bully for Friesen Printers of Altona and their friends at Day and Ross trucking for getting the CAE book (all 5 tons of it) delivered to CANAV at noon today!
Here is your publisher and author (moi) in the warehouse with the first book out of the box. Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, as I see it, probably is my best effort since 1981 – tops among about 35 various titles (my expert bibliophiles will know what I mean). But … The CAE Story is not a book for the faint of heart. It’s an in-depth history for the in-depth reader. Who got to celebrate first today with The CAE Story? A bunch of fired-up Milberry types on the front porch of CANAV Books world headquarters — 51 Balsam Ave. in Toronto. This was actually a pretty fantastic little crowd to help me get such an important ball rolling.
For all you keen fans with your CAE book orders already in the CANAV “system”, your copy will be in the mail this week. For those of you who haven’t placed your order, you can purchase your copy online. Thanks as always for your great support and let me know what you think, OK!
I hope that all goes well with you so far through mid-2015. At CANAV things are hopping, the excitement being all about being our new CAE history. Any fan of Canada’s great aviation heritage will revel in this exclusive production, the largest so far in our 7-vol. “Aviation in Canada” series.
If you have the other titles, you’ll know what to expect (in case you haven’t yet treated yourself to the series, there’s still stock). FYI, The CAE Story is not an official company history. However, neither were our world-class bestsellers Canadair: The First 50 Years, De Havilland in Canada and Power: The Pratt & Whitney Canada Story.
If you’re looking for some great summer reading, be sure to peruse the new CANAV general booklist. Check out such hot additions as Fangs of Death (439 Sqn), Lost: Unsolved Mysteries of Canadian Aviation, A Life in Canadian Aerospace and My Life and Times at Canadian Airlines. Other great selections? Air Transport in Canada remains in print and still at a $60 discount. This mighty publication (1040 pages) is the world’s single heftiest aviation history title. Only a handful of Hugh Halliday’s Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story remain, so if you want some truly exciting RCAF WWII reading, don’t miss out on this wonderful production — a real icon in the category of books honouring our wartime air and ground crew. Also down to the last few original copies is CANAV’s highly-touted Power: The Pratt & Whitney Canada Story.
Another beauty that you’ll be sure to enjoy (and a bargain at $50) is Canada’s Air Forces on Exchange. Content-wise, this is one of the more far-out of Canadian aviation titles, e.g., in the “who knew” category. Here you’ll read about Canadians on exchange (or contract) from the USA and UK to such other nations as France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway on such types as the B-29, B-52, B-57, C-17, C-97, C-141, Britannia, F-4, F-5, F-102, F-106, Gladiator, Lightning, Mirage and Nimrod. With hundreds of photos this book will open your eyes to an important (if little-known) aspect of RCAF history. Some of the excitement includes Canadian pilots ejecting from the F-100 and F-105, chasing a UFO in an F-94, bombing Mau Mau in Kenya, ditching in the Mediterranean in a Hastings, ferrying a Javelin from the UK to Singapore (one Javelin is lost in the Bengali jungles), ferrying a B-57 from the USA to Pakistan and an RF-4J from the factory in St. Louis to Japan, test flying the EuroFighter in its early days, flying Tornados in Saudi Arabia and crewing on secret missions in the WB-50, WB-57 and SR-71. This may sound like “Believe It or Not” stuff, but it’s all solid history!
Besides building up your personal library, you also might consider donating a CANAV volume to your local public/school library. Needless to say, a set of “Aviation in Canada” wouldn’t likely be turned down! A positive way of spreading the word and making a difference, eh. Final reminder … be sure to check out CANAV’s free book offer on p.4 of the main booklist.
Need to get in touch?
As always, feel free to call or email any time for further info: (416) 698-7559 or email@example.com.