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.

 

 

MAM Norseman Project

 

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In an exciting development the Montreal Aviation Museum (MAM) acquired Norseman C-FGYY last summer from Kuby’s Aircraft of Kenora, Ontario.  Kuby’s salvage yard was cleaned out for future land use and a trailer load of wings, skis, the fuselage and plenty of parts went east to the museum located on the Macdonald Campus of McGill University in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue (Montreal), Quebec.

Even more interesting are the plans by MAM to restore this Mark VI, serial 427 to static display depicted as CF-AYO, the first Norseman from 1935.  The remains of CF-AYO are at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (see 80 YEARS! from February 2016).  To showcase a reproduction of AYO is a natural idea considering its birthplace and that of almost every Norseman was only about 20 kilometres northeast in Cartierville at the Noorduyn production plant.

Serial 427 was delivered to the USAAF as 43-35353 in April of 1944 and spent the majority of its airborne years with various Canadian commercial operators.  On June 25, 1985 during a take off in high winds the floats buckled on Bishop Lake, Ontario and the airplane overturned.  Years of open storage has deteriorated the fuselage and parts significantly and the project will be a major effort of sweat equity, passion and dedication.  Using GYY for a reincarnation of CF-AYO will be a momentous occasion and welcome addition to the aviation history of Quebec and Canada.

GYY arriving at the MAM

GYY arriving at the MAM

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NOVEMBER 8th UPDATE – As work starts on the restoration process, Mike Alain from the museum has passed on information that a data plate under the pilots floor has serial number 435 and that they have also found 435 stamped on the airframe!  Records show serial 435 crashed in France, May 1945 so it seems serial 427 and 435 have a crossed history and highlights how some Norseman are actually combinations taking parts from two or maybe more airframes.

 

Festival Flypast 2017

This years flypast was a local affair with Red Lake’s Chimo Air providing five aircraft, Viking Outposts and Green’s Trout Lake Lodge each providing one for a total of seven bush planes flying over Howey bay.

Here was the line-up;

Green’s Norseman CF-ZMX leading the way,

followed by Chimo Air Norseman CF-KAO

Chimo Air Cessna 180 CF-SMS

Viking Outposts’ De Havilland DHC-2 piston Beaver C-GGMB

Then a trio of Chimo Air De Havilland DHC-3 Otters;

R-1340 powered C-GYYS and turbine Otters, C-GRRJ and C-FODQ

The 25th anniversary Norseman festival was a great success in many ways, although the committee worked hard to attract more Norseman to the flypast, there is a slow realization that even the most Canadian of Canadian bush planes (DHC-2 lovers relax!) is fading from the scene. Most of the last generation that were expert at woodwork, fabric and radial engines are now gone and new pilots today often skip the bush and are more attuned to iPads, flight management systems and standard operating procedures.

As noted in the last blog, commercial Norseman flying is almost rare now, but the type will continue to fly with private enthusiasts, museums and associations.  For the foreseeable future it should still be possible to hear, feel and ride in a Norseman, you just may have to travel farther to do so!

FQX Back in Canada

“Buffalo Joe” McBryan recently purchased Norseman serial number 625, a Mark VI and moved it to his maintenance/storage facility in Red Deer, Alberta.  This aircraft last flew from Pickle Lake, Ontario about 17 years ago and was in Minnesota for many years as a potential restoration project.

Joe’s plan for FQX is unclear, but over the years he has collected many Norseman airframes and has a ready source of spares to keep his personal Norseman, CF-SAN flying.  Certain parts, like teleflex flap cables, propeller blades and hubs are getting hard to find and expensive.  Also, the future of avgas in the present form is questionable with lead free alternatives likely to be mandated.  As more turbines come online burning jet fuel, it’s evident the commercial radial piston era is flying into the sunset.

N164UC, Serial 224 For Sale

Referencing a July 2016 post titled Metal Makeover, the present owner of N164UC (formerly CF-UUD) has been located and he wants to find a good, new home for this unique Norseman.  It has an oversized cargo door, metal skinned fuselage and wheel skis.  Lovingly maintained, it just had $18,000 US invested in the interior overhaul plus about $24,000 in other work.

A Mark VI model (UC-64A) delivered to the USAAF in 1943, look for this showpiece at Oshkosh 2017.  If you or someone you know are interested in this airplane located in Minnesota contact Tony Phillippi at his business phone number,       651-406-4900.  More information at www.tpaero.com/

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Only Norseman with extra large door.

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NORDUYN now

No that is not a typo, Norduyn the company still exists today in Montreal, Quebec near where the Norseman was assembled at Cartierville airport.  Check out their website to see what aerospace products they make and be sure to click on company, then history.  www.norduyn.com

Here is a brief chronological overview of companies involved with the Norseman;

1933 – Robert B. C. Noorduyn founded Noorduyn Aircraft Limited.

1938 – Name change to Noorduyn Aviation Limited.

1946 – Canadian Car & Foundry Co. Limited acquires rights for manufacturing and sales of Norseman aircraft.

1953 – Norseman goes full circle back to designer Bob Noorduyn and a new company name, Noorduyn Norseman Aircraft Limited.  Today this company is known as NORDUYN and has no connection to the airplane other than in a historical sense.

1982 – Norseman rights sold to Norco Associates.  By this time the company had moved on from the Norseman and was more involved with the areas of business they continue with in 2017. Unfortunately, Norco only lasted a couple of years then folded.

Nobody in the Norseman community seems to know exactly who owns the type certificate or production rights today. Perhaps it is simply in the public domain and the chances of a new build Mark V Norseman are slim to none anyway. Being of sound basis, it could be the skeleton for a much modified 21st century version, but could you still call it a Norseman?  Is a Basler BT-67 still a Douglas DC-3 to a purist?

 

The Noorduyn Norseman Warbird

With the Norseman being primarily designed as a civilian aircraft in 1935 we may not recall that at the time forces of global conflict were intensifying.  World War II started in September 1939 and it had a profound effect on Norseman production and longevity.

The war ensued for six years until September 1945 and almost every Norseman coming off the production line during this time was delivered directly to the military.  Records indicate the United States Army Air Force was the largest customer taking approximately 82% of the total 902 Norseman built.  The Royal Canadian Air Force accounted for about 8%, thus only 1 in 10 Norseman went brand new to civilian users.  Put another way, 9 out of 10 Norseman ever produced first took to the sky in the time of WW II.

If this surge had not occurred you likely would not be reading this blog for the Norseman would have faded into the past by now.  After the war, with so many now surplus airframes around, new Norseman were competing with cheaper military used versions and production dropped to a trickle in the flooded market.

So while most of us only see this legendary airplane as a floatplane bobbing on a northern lake others see a utility warbird that filled a niche three quarters of a century ago.  In the past few years a definite interest by the world warbird community has emerged and more warbird Norseman could be going back to their future.

 

Serial 139 (Ex. CF-IJG) fuselage airframe.  Yanks Air Museum in California is starting restoration of this Norseman, originally built as USAAF 43-5148 to airworthy status.

Serial 139 (Ex. CF-IJG) fuselage airframe. Yanks Air Museum in California is starting restoration of this Norseman, originally built as USAAF 43-5148 to airworthy status.  Photo – January 2017.