I am SAM I am

Beautifully restored Mark V, CF-SAM in the Western Development Museum.

The province of Saskatchewan in Canada and the Noorduyn Norseman played a pioneering role in the use of aircraft for air ambulance service. Though this may be a surprise to some, keep in mind the Saskatchewan government, led by Tommy Douglas, introduced the first provincial hospital insurance program in Canada during 1947.

With the inaugural flight on February 3, 1946, the service is the oldest organized non-military air ambulance service in North America. On day one, the first and only aircraft was Norseman CF-SAH, a Mark IV, serial number 21. In September of 1946, Saskatchewan purchased serial N29-27, a brand new Mk. V for the air ambulance program and registered it CF-SAM.

Fast forward to 2020 and the airplane can be seen wearing its original identity on static display at the Western Development Museum (WDM) in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. SAM spent almost all air time over the north half of the province for the government, then subsequent commercial operators before being donated to the WDM.

In 1982 CF-SAM was commemorated on a Canadian 60 cent postage stamp.

 

 

 

 

 

The WDM is a collection of four separate museums located in Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Saskatoon and Yorkton that record the social and economic development of the province. Located at the north side of town, the WDM Moose Jaw branch focus is on modes of transportation and is easily accessed off the Trans-Canada Highway. Well worth a visit!

Noorduyn built hundreds of Harvards ( licenced production of the North American AT-6 ) and Norseman during World War II in the 1940’s.   Western Development Museum collection.

44-70509 Lives Again!

The other ongoing Mark VI Norseman restoration in the Netherlands is at the Aviodrome Museum in hangar T2 at the Lelystad airport.

This Norseman, (Noorduyn serial 774) started out with the USAAF as SERIAL NO. 44-70509, TYPE C 64 A as per the data plate. The museum is doing a very authentic job, taking their time to do it right and will have this airplane flying again when ready!

If you are wondering why a relatively small country in Europe could have two Norseman warbirds flying in the next couple years, the connection is known by avid Norseman fans. Robert B. C. Noorduyn was born April 6, 1893 and raised in Nijmegen, about 100 km southeast of Amsterdam. In Canada, during the mid 1930’s he designed the Norseman using input from the industry on what was needed at the time in the first purpose built bush plane for the North American hinterland. Next, his utility transport went to war with hundreds built for the effort, their travels taking them worldwide, and the legend lives on!

Enjoy this pictorial, click on any picture to enlarge;

Click – Dataplate.pdf

2019 Noorduyn Norseman List

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.

AIRWORTHY NOORDUYN NORSEMAN 1 August 2019

Natural Reclamation

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.

 

Norseman Information Request

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; c46commando@hotmail.com  Thanks!

MAM Norseman update

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.

Seasonal Preparations

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.

Norseman News Bytes USA

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.

In 2019 serial 637 still haulin’ the goods at 75 years of age!

 

 

 

Retro DRD

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.

Example of the OCA scheme on this Norseman Mk VI used by Grass River Lodge in Manitoba as seen in September 2017.

Look more, Find more

Continuing the theme from the previous post about many inactive Norseman for every flying one, for example here is the present status in the Province of Manitoba, Canada according to my research. Many of these Norseman have already appeared in the blog so this will be a short overview with links provided to said blogs. In no particular order, here we go;

At the Brandon airport, the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum has two Norseman; the fuselage of UC-64A (Mk VI) serial 810 and non-flying Mk V, serial N29-43 registered CF-ECG.

Beside St. Andrews airport the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada has a storage building and adjoining compound; in the building resides Mk IV, serial 29 CF-BTC awaiting restoration for static display. In the compound are two unidentified Norseman in very poor condition.

Not far to the northeast at the Selkirk airport there are four Norseman; airworthy machines CF-BSB, CF-IGX and CF-ZMX. For more details see blogs Born Again BSB, Hibernation, and Showstopper. 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.

Moving farther northeast we arrive at the Silver Falls airport; located here in a building is Mk IV, serial 44 that originally went to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 as #2471.

In northern Manitoba there are five Norseman associated with air charter operator Wings Over Kississing; C-FENB, C-GRZI, C-FSAP, C-FOBR and CF-BHU. See Flin Flon Visit.

Over in Thompson, Manitoba’s “Hub of The North” we find a replica of Norseman CF-BHS. See There’s Three to See for more info.

So this overview counting airframes, a replica to prized flying examples comes to a total of 16 and one or two could still be unacknowledged in the bush or hiding in a farmyard barn. Only five are airworthy; ENB, RZI, BSB, IGX and ZMX. If anyone has more information for this post please email me at c46commando@hotmail.com Thanks!

Serial 44, a Mk IV is a restoration project on hold. Will it grace the sky again? Unlike the models after it, the Mk IV is without a separate motor mount resulting in the longer nose tubing.