Annual Norseman List

As the 2018 Norseman Festival is a little over two months away it is time to review and update the Airworthy Norseman list.

http://www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/AIRWORTHY-NORSEMAN-in-CANADA-as-of-1-July-2017-Page-1-of-2.pdf

If you have any information about Norseman happenings so we can have an accurate record for 2018 please e-mail me at; c46commando@hotmail.com

Why C-46 Commando and not something Norseman related for the e-mail? Well that is another story!

There will be some changes as a few Norseman are pending sales to new owners. As of now eleven Norseman in the world are regularly flown.  If one is in airworthy condition but not flown at least once per year, I consider it not active. That said, Norseman are now normally only flown during the warmer months and the only one I know of flying last northern winter was N164UC on skis. Going forward there are always projects in the works and I’m confident there will be more flying in the years ahead.

Private owners, collectors, museums and nostalgic air tours are becoming the majority of operations and the last commercial “working” Norseman are one in Alaska, N78691 and three in Manitoba, Canada.

Any help or comments are appreciated, thanks!

There’s Three to See

With recent posts about CF-DRD’s fundraising for restoration it brought to my attention two other displays of Norseman on pylons in Canada. Fittingly, all three are on floats and in communities that are still gateways for northern aviation. DRD was the first to go up in 1992, but looking beyond Red Lake have you seen CF-HPY or “CF-BHS”?

A project spearheaded by Joe McBryan’s Buffalo Airways and the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton culminated with a celebration on September 25, 2004 when this Mk V, N29-52 took its place alongside Kingsway NW in front of the museum. In turn, the museum is located at the now defunct Blatchford Field airport which has a rich history of pioneering aviation and as the “Gateway to the North”. Inside the building is immaculate Norseman CF-EIH, a Mk IV and the museum is well worth a visit.

CF-HPY carries the Buffalo Airways title and green colour but was never flown by them. Also, the aircraft is mounted in a steep nose high attitude as seen by the slanted horizon in the photo.

 

Next, in 2008 a component of the Thompson Spirit Way attraction in Thompson, Manitoba was unveiled as a tribute to Lambair and all the pilots of the north.

The white building on the far side of the Burntwood River used to belong to Lambair, an airline with a long history in northern Manitoba and beyond from 1935 to 1981. The bush plane is purposefully positioned to depict a take off from the river and points to Lambair headquarters in The Pas, Manitoba. Photo © Volker Beckmann.

NOTE – Many casual observers and even Norseman fans mistake this display for the actual CF-BHS and this is a testament to the amazing job done by all involved. This replica was made from several Norseman wrecks and fabricated wings. BHS was a Mk V, serial N29-7 registered to Lamb Airways in October 1945.

From the old Canadian Aviation Safety Board comes a report dated October 11, 1989 when the aircraft was operated by C & M Airways. As the pilot taxied the float-equipped aircraft away from the shore, he saw smoke and found the aircraft on fire. He beached the aircraft which was almost totally consumed. All research indicates the remnants of serial N29-7 remain near Prowse Island in Cree Lake, Saskatchewan.

Wearing Lambair colours, the Norseman greets visitors after they cross the bridge when coming from the airport – CYTH.                                            Photo © Volker Beckmann.

For more information on the Aviation Tribute and the Thompson Spirit Way go to; http://thompsonspiritway.ca/take-the-walk/aviation/

CF-BSB For Sale

As float flying season approaches in the boreal forests of Canada, Norseman CF-BSB is now for sale priced at $175,000 Canadian dollars.  This Mk V model, serial N29-15 was featured in a post from March 2016. For details go to barnstormers.com and call Tom Phinney at 204-801-5740.

Pedestal DRD 2.0, Calling all Norseman enthusiasts!

In the ‘Norseman Capital of the World’ a part of the community’s identity and heritage has sat peacefully on a pedestal for nearly 26 years.  CF-DRD, a Mk VI Norseman was officially reincarnated on July 25, 1992 at the inaugural festival as a permanent display dedicated by Robert H. Noorduyn, son of the Norseman designer.

Last July a seemingly strange timing of almost exactly 25 years later saw a violent hailstorm hit serial 831 that punctured all over the fabric skin of the airframe leaving internal structures exposed to damaging moisture.  Records show the last time DRD actually flew was in 1981, but even as a static monument the integrity of the bush plane must be re-established for safety and longevity.

Thanks to Dwight Barnes for submitting this awesome pic of DRD!

The Municipality of Red Lake insurance amount is significantly less than initial repair cost estimates and the Save Our DRD Norseman Campaign has started fundraising to cover the balance.  The goal is to restore the aircraft properly so it can remain a proud community icon for the next 25 years and by then it will be on approach for its 100th birthday!

See Save Our DRD on this website for more fundraising details and for more history of DRD, click below or paste the following link into your web browser:

http://norsemanfestival.on.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Rebuilding-DRD.pdf

BCAM and DRE

If any aviation museum in the world can claim a theme related to the Norseman the title goes to the British Columbia Aviation Museum at the southeast part of Victoria International Airport – CYYJ.

For starters the museum restored and flew their own Norseman after completion in August of 2003.  Flight insurance costs now keep the aircraft on static display although it could fly again one day.  Delivered to the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) in June 1944, serial 538 designated as a UC-64A used major components in the restoration process from another Mk VI, serial 131 and thus has its current Canadian civil registration CF-DRE.

DRE is also featured in the museum’s logo and a huge example adorns the building as visitors access the site via Norseman Rd!  It is painted in Royal Canadian Air Force colours of 2480/AG-R, a Mk IV that was stationed at Patricia Bay (now CYYJ) during the later part of World War II.

The official newsletter of the museum is called The Norseman News and a significant collection of aviation art can be viewed in the Norseman Room.  If you are travelling through CYYJ and have a few hours, take a stroll along the paved airport perimeter pathway and check out this museum that made the Norseman a centrepiece!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JEC to Quebec

The apparent re-emergence of a Norseman presence in the Province of Quebec continues.

CF-JEC, a Mk VI, serial 469 has been purchased by Olivier Lemieux for his company Services GFE Inc. The aircraft will be based at La Motte in the Abitibi area to support mining exploration.  As the Norseman bush plane serial 1 (CF-AYO) was designed, built and first flown on floats at Montreal, Quebec it is symbolic to have one flying again based in the province after some 25 years of absence.  Additionally, this role is a return to roots considering Norseman for hire today are almost exclusively used for fishing and hunting resort tourism, a use almost unheard of in the 1930’s.

Northland Aircraft Service at Ignace, Ontario is getting JEC ready for service again and around next August the floatplane should be splashing down at its new home base!

This impressive photo of JEC taken by Mr. Liam Lang in 1983 was used for a beer bottle label by Bush Pilot Brewing.

http://www.bushpilotbrewing.com/Norseman.html

 

JEC stored at Ignace, Ontario in October of 2016.  Note the metalized fuselage.

 

 

Calling all Collectors

For serious aircraft collectors here are four for sale Norseman in fabulous condition.  Get your bids in!

Mk V, Serial N29-17, CF-BSC at $399,000 USD or best offer and;

Mk VI, Serial 797, CF-GJN at $199,000 USD or best offer.  Got to eBay.com for details.

Mk VI, Serial 224, N164UC can now be found at platinumfighters.com listed for $425,000 USD.

Mk V, Serial 364, CF-FQI (converted from Mk VI) is listed for $395,000 USD at northpointkodiak.com or alternatively through the controller.com website.

You could put them back to work, but the 400K price range is showroom condition for a Norseman.  Keep them Flying!

 

Red Lake Hailstorm Update

For the 2018 Norseman Festival we could see a couple shiny, restored Norseman – one in the air and the other “flying” low on its perch.

CF-ZMX, Serial 669 is in Park Rapids, Minnesota this winter undergoing a complete recovering of fabric and the plan is to keep the green and yellow colours.  This aircraft led the pack at last years bush plane flyby and hopefully it will be ready to do the same come next July.

As for Red Lake’s CF-DRD work continues on plans that will likely require a removal from the pedestal in Norseman Heritage Park and more permanent repairs that will enable this important piece of history to survive for many additional years.  Again, hopefully this will be accomplished for the 2018 celebrations.

Chimo Air’s two Norseman, CF-JIN and CF-KAO are still facing uncertain headwinds.  The company itself appears to be undergoing a transition and sadly the Norseman may not be a part of the future.  Thus, if Howey bay loses these two classic bush planes there is the distinct possibility that the number of Norseman in the flyby could decrease again.  For perspective, if we could time travel to 1968 and tell bush pilots of the day these airplanes will be in service 50 years from now, do you think any of them would have agreed with you?!  Remember, this was the space age and the race to put a human on the moon was on!

 

Flin Flon Visit

Last September I spent a day in Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada with Wings Over Kississing at their Channing floatplane base.  Owner, Curt Enns is a huge Norseman fan and his company is presently associated with five Norseman, although only two are used on floats during the northern summers.  C-FENB, serial 324 is used primarily on contract with Big Sand Lake Lodge approximately 350 kilometres northeast of Flin Flon/Channing.  Curt’s dad, Ike flies C-GRZI at his Grass River Lodge for day fishing flyouts.  This is where the Norseman still shines economically, on shorter trips and payloads that keep hard wear to a minimum.

Serial 175, Mk VI RZI at Channing after completion of the fishing lodge season.  Of note, this is the only Norseman on the Canadian register with C-Gxxx.

Serial 175, Mk VI RZI at Channing after completion of the fishing lodge season.  Of note, this is thought to be the only Norseman on the Canadian register to have C-Gxxx.  All others started as CF-xxx, then C-Fxxx and most are now changed back to CF-xxx.

Now a parts source, C-FOBR is a Mk V model and carries the Kississing title as seen at the top of this post. It is located at the adjacent Channing airstrip along with SAP.

Now a parts source, C-FOBR is a Mk V model and carries the Kississing title as seen at the top of this post.  It is located at the adjacent Channing airstrip along with SAP.

Flown by Nueltin Lake Lodge, C-FSAP originally was 43-5240 with the USAAF in 1943. Serial 231 was operated under Kississing's certificate and is indicative of numerous Norseman now awaiting a chance to fly again.

Flown by Nueltin Lake Lodge, C-FSAP originally was 43-5240 with the USAAF in 1943.  Serial 231, a Mk VI, was operated under Kississing’s certificate and is indicative of numerous Norseman now awaiting a chance to fly again?

Finally, under cover in Steinbach, Manitoba is Mk VI CF-BHU, serial 506.  Formerly used at Grass River Lodge by Ike, it went for refurbishment, was stored instead and could be made operational again if needed.  This Norseman is not to be confused with Mk V, serial N29-8 which was also registered as CF-BHU until destroyed in a crash at Sachigo Lake, Ontario in June of 1974.

Red Lake Hailstorm

A little over a week after the 2017 Norseman festival the Red Lake townsite and Howey bay was hit by a strong hailstorm that left significant damage in its wake.  Flypast Norseman CF-ZMX and CF-KAO along with Chimo Air’s other Norseman CF-JIN were punctured at the docks as the hailstones pummelled them.  The storm was localized and arrived suddenly, leaving everyone surprised.  DRD, on its pedestal nearby, also was damaged and repairs will likely necessitate it being removed from the pedestal at considerable time, expense and labour.

Initial reports indicate ZMX, having received the least damage, is now being fixed.  The futures for KAO and JIN are less certain and there is a possibility that one or both may have reached the end of their flying days.  From a purely business standpoint, the cost of repairs versus future useful income needs to be analyzed and make economic sense.  As more information becomes available the blog will be updated as to their status.

Numerous holes and tears in the fabric of CF-KAO's left wing.

Numerous holes and tears in the fabric of CF-KAO’s left wing.