Norseman News Roundup

One of the last commercially operated Norseman in Canada sporting the latest Wings Over Kississing titles. BHU is a Mk VI, serial 506 based at Channing waterdrome, Flin Flon, Manitoba.

The restoration project of Norseman serial 668, LV-FFH in Argentina has come to a halt. Fortunately the airframe is stored in a hangar and awaits a new owner to complete it. Hopefully one day this Norseman will return to the air as the sole example flying in the southern hemisphere.

In Europe, work continues to return three UC-64 (Mk VI) Norseman to airworthy status. LN-TSN, serial 780 operated by the Norwegian Spitfire Foundation is in need of a routine engine overhaul and could be airborne in the spring of 2023. Across the North Sea in the Netherlands, serial 365 and 774 are being worked on by the Dutch Transport Museum and the Aviodrome, respectively. All three Norseman will be operated as warbirds and carry markings from their original military service.

Norseman N164UC (Note – 64UC is a play on UC-64) made another appearance at Oshkosh last summer and is presently the only flying one in the Lower 48 since N364FQ ferried up to Alaska from Minnesota in June 2022. As in Europe, there are three Norseman warbirds under restoration in the USA. These are Noorduyn serial 139, current civil registration N420QN; Noorduyn serial 163, N61853 and Noorduyn serial 797, N797TS.

Yet another project in the works is located in northern Canada at Yellowknife where owner of many Norseman airframes, Joe McBryan plans to get one flying again. This timeline was stalled by the recent chaos of the last 2 plus years and should get started shortly. Elsewhere, in Sarnia, Canada preparations continue with CF-JIN/RCAF 2482 for its inaugural post restoration flight. This aircraft originally built in 1941 as a Mk IV is on rebuild number four after sustaining major hail damage at Red Lake, Ontario in July 2017. Speaking of Red Lake, the 2022 Norseman Festival itself was absent of a flying example but C-FFUU and CF-ZMX were seen in the area over the summer. Being that they are no longer operated commercially, these private Norseman are flown on a limited basis and might not be at Red Lake during festival time.

Mk IV C-FFUU, June 7, 2022.

Mk VI CF-ZMX, August 21, 2022. Howey Bay, Red Lake.

Subject: Norseman List 2022

Please email me for the latest listing on the status of 38 Norseman in the world today. Another list from last year gives the additional locations of 18 Norseman in museums or mounted on pylons in Canada and the USA.

email: c46commando@hotmail.com

Mk IV, Serial 44 as seen at the Saskatchewan Aviation Museum on August 31, 2022. This restoration is gaining momentum and hopefully a fully operational engine will allow ground runs to bring this artifact of history alive. The aircraft served during WW II as RCAF 2471. See, https://saskaviation.ca/1941-noorduyn-norseman-mkiv-rcaf-2471-s-n-44/

CF-AYO Replica

Restoration work appears to be moving along at a greater pace in the Montreal Aviation Museum with their Norseman C-FGYY. This Mark VI, serial 427 was originally USAAF number 43-35353. The museum acquired the aircraft in derelict condition during 2017 and decided to depict it in the colours of AYO’s first commercial operator, Dominion Skyways who named it Arcturus.

For authenticity, this new static display has replaced GYY’s Pratt & Whitney R-1340 with the Wright Whirlwind R-975 that first powered AYO. When viewing this completed project, the observer will be seeing a replica of the Norseman serial 1, CF-AYO as it looked in early 1936. If one wishes to see the wreckage of the actual AYO you will need to travel almost 1,000 km’s to the west where it is located at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. https://bushplane.com/exhibits/bushplane-collection/norseman-mki/

Note how the rear door hinges upward. This is not a feature of AYO and is unique to GYY. Normally this door would hinge forward.

The wings are the last major airframe structure getting restored.

This is an exciting addition to the museum that also has a large aviation art gallery. If you are visiting Montreal, the city where the Norseman was created in 1935, check out the fantastic job the dedicated volunteers are doing with this Norseman display. https://www.mam.quebec/discover-our-museum-2/

Memory Lane

From 1935 to 1959 Norseman were in production at the Cartierville airport in Montreal. By the 1990’s this property was prime land for redevelopment as the city grew to cover almost all of the Island of Montreal. See https://www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/norduyn-now/ and https://www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/norduyn-now-redux/

Very near the spot where the huge complex rolled out the Norseman utility airplane by the hundreds during WW II, now reside townhouses in the Bois-Franc neighbourhood. In a nod to the history of the prior land use, this housing is called Square Norseman. It is likely few, if any new homeowners realize the significance or reason why Norseman is in the name. This is the last corner of the old airport site to be redeveloped and little evidence exists other than the remaining large Bombardier aviation building. This too will probably shrink in the next few years as Bombardier has downsized its scope of operations.

Signage pointing to the SQUARE NORSEMAN townhouses. February 21, 2022.

Speaking of downsizing, I plan to post less frequently going forward. Perhaps four times a year depending on fleet activity with more of a focus on just where the airplanes are moving to with new owners, etc. It has been a great six year run and many Norseman or related subjects have been covered. The only constant is change itself and formats appear to have changed from webpage blogposts to more popular social media, whether legacy sites or alternative news.

If anyone still has questions about the Norseman or Noorduyn Aviation please email; c46commando@hotmail.com and I will do my best to answer. Also, I plan to keep the active Norseman list up to date on a yearly basis. Email me for a current copy if you do not see it at the Norseman Festival website.

Thanks Norseman fans and I hope you enjoy the posts as much as I like writing them!

DRD is Back !

Kurtis Weddel photo.

As we start a new year, our thoughts often focus on change, new beginnings, new habits and goals. By now, most people in Red Lake will have seen the town’s beloved Norseman floatplane on display again by the head of Howey bay. Carefully, on October 15, 2021 it was put back up in the park where it previously “flew” for nearly 26 years. Having been off its perch for over three years, the reappearance is like a soft reopening for the popular annual festival.

For the background story on what happened to DRD and why it needed to be taken down and rebuilt see these posts from this blog; http://www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/red-lake-hailstorm/ and http://www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/red-lake-hailstorm-update/

Also; http://www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/pedestal-drd-2-0-calling-all-norseman-enthusiasts/

June 20, 2018 DRD’s wings were trailered to Northland Aircraft Service in Ignace, Ontario for refurbishment. Gord Hughes and Duane Riddell discuss their condition. Note Gord’s yellow Mk IV Norseman CF-DTL in the background.

A major fundraising drive went into effect to not simply patch DRD up, but rather to have the foresight to do a proper job and tailor the restoration for longevity in the elements as a static display. As such, the airplane is no longer operational and access points, inspection panels and spaces for opportunistic birds are sealed or netted off. The airplane should easily last another 23 years and celebrate its 100th birthday! DRD first went up and was dedicated at the first official festival in July of 1992 attended by Bob Noorduyn Jr., son of the Norseman designer.

Red Lakers and enthusiasts worldwide can be justifiably proud of all the hard work that went into the team effort to have this community symbol and historic aircraft start a new chapter in its legacy. Having served the area at various times before retirement, the decision was made to keep the restoration work as local as possible. The wooden wings went to Ignace, Ontario where Gord Hughes tackled the damage and this resulted in his usual excellent craftsmanship. Those that have expertise in critical wood aircraft structures are getting few and far between. Superior Airways of Red Lake donated hangar space for work on the floats and Red Lake Seaplane Service brought the end result all together as we see it now. Of note, in 1992 and 2021 this was the same final assembly location and when DRD is rededicated next summer it will be almost exactly 30 years later.

So Norseman Festival 2022 will sort of be reinvigorated and there is talk of a pilots/AME reunion among the events. Thank you to all who donated and/or volunteered in the rebuild project and we can look forward to a fun, successful festival next summer full of community spirit!

Noorduyn serial 831, CF-DRD in mid-December 2021. Photo credit – Kurtis Weddel.

Yanks Air Update

Progress is looking great and future plans are to eventually have this aircraft airborne in military markings.

Another Norseman project ongoing rebuild among many at the moment is Noorduyn serial 139 with the Yanks Air Museum in Chino, California. Many thanks to a sharp eyed friend who recognized it being a Norseman and sent these recent photos.

Serial 139 was originally built for the USAAF as serial 43-5148 but was immediately transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force as 790, a Mark VI in mid-1943. After military service this Norseman went to Georgian Bay Airways of Parry Sound, Ontario in August of 1955 becoming CF-IJG on the Canadian Civil Register. Unfortunately, the aircraft sank on July 18, 1966 after a hard glassy water landing on Antiguois Lake, Quebec. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

Apparently in the 1970’s, Lloyd Street bought the Norseman “as is” from the insurance company, made temporary repairs with the assistance of Gordon Hughes and ferried the aircraft out from the lake. For many years it languished on a farm near Gravenhurst, Ontario until being moved to the FAA registry for Yanks in the summer of 2010, now N420QN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all ! Best wishes for 2022 wherever you call home.

Airworthy Norseman List 2022

AIRWORTHY NOORDUYN NORSEMAN as of 1 November 2021 Page 1 of 3

(Double) click the above PDF link for this years list.

Note – As of October 24, the Transport Canada website has not been updated to show CF-BSB when doing a quick search so only 25 records will be found.

The list (page 1 and 2) reflects the policy change where Norseman with a cancelled Certificate of Registration can only be found on the historical register search. This is why page 2 is considerably shorter than the 2020 list.

With the airworthy status of individual Norseman often changing there can be ambiguity as to how many are airworthy. If one has not flown for more than one year I consider it not active and will move it to page 2. A couple have moved back to page 1 as they become active again. The number of airworthy Norseman appears to be growing at this time.

Anyway, enjoy Norseman fans! If you have a question send me an email – c46commando@hotmail.com or call.  Thanks!

Norseman Revivals!

Fuselage of CF-NJK leaving Red Deer, Alberta for the long road trip north to Yellowknife.

There has been a flurry of Norseman activity lately as another Canadian winter approaches. This post will touch on three more exciting events that bode well for the continuation of Norseman activity in the skies.

Joe McBryan of Buffalo Airways fame is a serious enthusiast of the type and for the last few years I have heard he was planning to revive another Norseman to airworthy condition and we appear to have the proof. Joe already has CF-SAN, a Mk V in Yellowknife for personal use and for reference regarding his Red Deer airframes, see; https://www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/keep-them-flying/ from February 2019. Update – The Norseman in that blogpost thought to be CF-GTM was identified near Winnipeg, Manitoba in April 2021 belonging to the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada. So the best guess as to the silver fuselage airframe at Red Deer is now CF-GOB, Serial 421. Recently CF-NJK, Mk VI Serial 242 was moved to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and early reports indicate that it will be restored to operational status!

In another post from 2019 (https://www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/look-more-find-more/) we see a picture of a Mk IV, Serial 44 airframe. This was also recently moved, from Silver Falls, Manitoba to the Saskatchewan Aviation Museum at the Saskatoon airport/CYXE. If dreams take flight, this Norseman will fly again and would become the oldest airworthy example in the world.

Over in Ontario, CF-BSB flew again in the Sioux Lookout area after approximately 10 months on the ground at Selkirk, Manitoba. Usually this float equipped Norseman winters at Selkirk so it should fly back there any day now.

“Pouring the coals” to CF-BSB, a post WW II Mk V model, Serial N29-15.  BSB photo credits – Dominic Kozar.

On a somber note, the first owner of BSB was Eldorado Mining & Refining Co Ltd. in 1946. This company supplied uranium from northern Canada to develop nuclear weapons that forced Japan to surrender during the summer of 1945.

Airworthy List 2021

The annual listing of airworthy Norseman will be out later than usual this year. Transport Canada has made a major change with the civil aircraft register and no longer shows aircraft with a cancelled registration. Getting more specific, there are Norseman that exist, but their Certificate of Registration is cancelled so they no longer appear on the current register. C-FOBR and C-FSAP are examples of this. However, if you search the historical registry you can find them. With this policy change, a quick search of the register now shows 25 Norseman, down from 37.

Also, there are a few pending developments that are awaiting confirmation and these are the highlights;

Serial N29-17, Mark V CF-BSC has been sold to a northern Canadian operator that will likely keep the airplane for private use representing its historical value to Canadian aviation.

Another Norseman apparently going north to a different owner is N364FQ from Minnesota to Alaska. This Norseman was completely rebuilt eight years ago and was previously CF-FQI in Canada.

In southern Ontario, CF-JIN is coming together and hopefully will fly soon after being restored to its original identity of RCAF 2482 from World War II. This will be the oldest flying Norseman in the world at an age of 80 years!

When more details come to light, a new listing will be posted.

The (dis)Information Age

We appear to live in a time when the volume of superfluous information has degraded quality or accuracy and this often leads to skimming as an instant answer is sought without attention to details. Technology addiction and information manipulation, one may argue, are becoming serious issues in society and we need to look deeper into the longer term ramifications.

Those big thoughts aside, how does this relate to the old Norseman bushplane you ask? There are a few examples I will touch on and hopefully clarify the subjects.

Time and again, I see on social media people posting pictures and writing about Norseman CF-BHS on the pylon in Thompson, Manitoba not realizing it is a replica. Occasionally someone will interject with factual information yet it seldom seems to be absorbed. The actual BHS, a Mark V, serial N29-7 was on the Canadian register from 1945 to 1990. In October 1989 this aircraft was destroyed by fire on Cree Lake in Saskatchewan. The “BHS” in Thompson was put together from a few Norseman wrecks and the wings were fabricated to match the original.

Next we have CF-BHU. The confusing part here is that two different Norseman have carried that registration in Canada. Sometimes details will get crossed up and the wrong serial number and/or model is attributed to the other. The first BHU was a Mark V, serial N29-8 and rolled off the production line right after CF-BHS! It came to its demise on June 19, 1974 in a crash at Sachigo Lake, Ontario. The second BHU, a Mark VI, serial 506 came to Canada from the USA in 1999 and is presently flown commercially by Wings Over Kississing in northern Manitoba.

Another potential mix up involves the very first Norseman, serial 1, CF-AYO. The twisted remains of AYO can be viewed at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Currently at the Montreal Aviation Museum work on the restoration for static display of Norseman serial 427, C-FGYY continues with tentative plans to depict this airframe as CF-AYO considering the Norseman was developed at Montreal, Canada in the mid 1930’s. Again, if there is no clear communication about it being a replica of AYO then we can probably count on some keyboard surfers getting it wrong from lack of oversight.

*NOTE* – With regard to correct information, the Red Lake Norseman Festival will take place on August 6, 7, and 8, 2021 instead of the usual July weekend. This summers event will be small as planning is more complex during what we hope will be the tail end of the pandemic.