The latest revision to the Norseman list details the status of 50 individual aircraft. There are many changes since the previous 2018 version and the trend away from commercial flying continues. Only a dozen Norseman are actively flown at this time although numerous ongoing restoration projects should result in more flying in the future. Thank you to the enthusiastic community of Norseman fans and museums in general who keep aviation history alive for people to experience the past through a present day context. This airplane has undoubtably outlived the designers expectation of longevity and has a small, loyal following a lifetime later.
Here is a reprinted sentence from the January 16, 2019 post titled Look more, Find more;
On April 27, 1970 a Mk VI, serial 478 CF-OBD burnt after an accident (no injuries) and its remains are still behind the hangars to my knowledge.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, here is the proof that CF-OBD still resides in the bush beside the Selkirk, Manitoba airstrip after all these decades. This photo, taken last June 11th shows the trees growing right up through the airframe like a piece of sculpture art!
Another example of Norseman airframes morphing literally into “bushplanes” with the passage of time can be seen at Northland Aircraft in Ignace, Ontario. These frames, facing nose to nose, are identified as CF-HAU (serial 398) and CF-FCU (serial 837) although I’m not exactly sure which one is in the foreground. Photo from July 2.
As noted in the previous post, if we count these as existing Norseman in 2019 there are probably 75 or more presently in the world. No doubt there are carcasses long forgotten in the bush or barren lands being eroded to the earth as the forces of nature take hold.
The annual update to the airworthy Norseman listing will be out later this summer due to many ongoing changes with the status of the Norseman fleet. Of the 903 Norseman built there are an estimated 75 still existent, but that is including burnt out fuselage bush wrecks to static museum examples to a couple still in commercial service. The active airworthy number has settled to about 13 in the last few years. Canada, the United States and Norway are the three countries with flying examples with two more expected to be flying from the Netherlands in the next two years. (The Norseman designer, Robert B. C. Noorduyn being from the Netherlands).
If you have any current Norseman news to help update the list please contact Rodney at 250 212-2178 or if you prefer to email; email@example.com Thanks!
Another stop on the island of Montreal during the recent trip was the Montreal Aviation Museum to check on the restoration progress of Mark VI C-FGYY. For a little background on this endeavour see https://www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/mam-norseman-project/ As reported by Mike Alain at the MAM, work is going well and they are not trying to rush the rebuild.
Of note in the above photo is the aft cabin door which appears to open upward instead of being hinged to open in the usual forward fashion. There is a lot of detailed woodwork going on, especially with the doors and this shows a desire to showcase this future static display as original as possible. Over the years most Norseman have had modifications for larger door openings or thinner and lighter doors using aluminium metal. Some Norseman have had a mod to get a 4′ by 8′ sheet of plywood inside.
Again, in the next photo, the instrument panel is looking authentic in relation to when GYY was 43-35353 with the United States Army Air Forces during WW II.
Many thanks go out to local aviation historian Keith Meredith who gave a tour of this impressive museum and drove us around pointing out the history of the now closed Cartierville airport featured in the previous blog.
A couple years ago on this blog a post about the present NORDUYN chronicled the companies involved with Norseman production. See https://www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/norduyn-now/
A recent trip to Montreal provided the opportunity for a drive around the former Cartierville airport which now has almost completed build out as Bois-Franc with new homes, shops, offices and parks. The only remnant is the large Bombardier facility, once belonging to Canadair.
Not far from where mass Norseman production took place at Cartierville during WW II sits the NORDUYN operation of today primarily producing trolleys, oven racks, shelves, drawers and baby bassinets for worldwide airline customers. There is no longer any involvement with the famous Canadian Noorduyn bush plane and the name dropped one o.
As part of the airport site redevelopment at least some thought was given to the historical significance and a nearby neighbourhood carries the following street names; Rue Noorduyn and Place Noorduyn.
Mark V Norseman CF-GSR undergoing annual airworthiness inspection prior to another busy flying season with the Canadian Warplane Heritage based at Hamilton airport, Ontario. Being serial N29-47 and originally delivered to Canadian Forest Products in June 1950, CF-GSR is the youngest flying Norseman in the world. Thank you to Ryan Berryman for the photo.
An airplane familiar to Red Lakers from 1993 to 2010, CF-FQI has been stored in Minnesota for a number of years after a complete rebuild. Present owner, Jeff Voigt is in the process of transferring serial 364 to the FAA registry and getting it flying again. Great news for this Norseman that will incorporate the serial number into the new planned registration of N364FQ, thus preserving some of the past Canadian connection too!
Another Norseman physically going stateside in the near future is Mark VI CF-GJN. The plan is to move the aircraft by surface transport to southern Minnesota where restoration will begin to take serial 797 back to its USAAF identity as 44-70532. Northland Aircraft at Ignace, Ontario has stored GJN since the last flight some six years ago. Minnesota is becoming the home state for a few Norseman and the trend toward more warbirds continues.
Last but not least, a very interesting development is seeing N78691 on wheels in Alaska being used for mail runs! Based in Bethel, the Mark VI shuttles to outlying area communities and is the only commercially operated Norseman outside of Canada. Late next summer when hunting season gets busy this working Norseman with change back to floats.
Norseman serial 340, CF-FOX is available for lease or sale. Presently stored at Northland Aircraft in Ignace, Ontario the owner is asking $195,000 CAD for the floatplane as is. This Mark VI has rounded cockpit windows like a Mark V so some modifications have been done over the years, including the useful plywood door opening to accommodate cabin loading and panoramic cabin windows.
Contact Neil Walsten at 807-468-0222 for details. Alternately, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if Neil cannot be reached or any Norseman news you wish to share. Thanks!
35mm slides collector Dan Wilch recently came across this rare picture of CF-DRD in 1954 when operated by Ontario Central Airlines. The setting appears to be Howey Bay where OCA had a secondary base in Red Lake while the main focus for flight ops was at Kenora, Ontario. OCA used DRD from 1953 to 1958, then from the late 1960’s until 1973. The DRD colours on display in the Norseman Heritage Park since 1992 and going forward are from the second period with OCA when flown from Red Lake. Next time you see DRD, all that is missing are the big OCA letters on the tail. In fact, many Norseman have had this classic yellow and red cheat-line scheme and this is attributed to the major Norseman operator and former airline. For more detail about DRD’s history see http://norsemanfestival.on.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Rebuilding-DRD.pdf
Many photos of DRD and even model aircraft decals exist for the classic colours below. Thank you Dan for doing research on DRD’s older incarnation and taking the time to share this visual history with Norseman enthusiasts. The people of Red Lake wait with anticipation to see their community symbol return to its perch for the next generation to remember its role in contributing to the area.
There are only a couple places left in Canada with a sizeable cache of Norseman airframes and parts. Buffalo Airways’ location at the Red Deer airport, Alberta is presently home to six stripped down airframes salvaged or collected over the years by owner and Norseman aficionado Joe McBryan. Not only does Joe personally fly his Norseman, Mk V CF-SAN in the northern summers, he has worked with Alberta museums to bring the history of the aircraft to the people in recognition of that province helping develop the north through its geographical then infrastructure connections.
As someone who loves to see these vintage transports in their airborne element, Joe has also prevented many Norseman from fading into oblivion and would like to see the population of active flying examples increase.
With Red Deer airport only about a 75 minute drive north of Calgary International (CYYC), it is worth checking out the collection if you are in the area and share a passion for the airplane.
If you want a Norseman project to buy or are looking for that elusive part, “Buffalo Joe” likely has what you need at their Red Deer maintenance and storage facility. email email@example.com or phone Katherine, communications director at 867-765-6029.
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