Fly into the Future

BSB gets airborne at Sioux Lookout, Ontario. Photo credit – Matt Cairns

Even in these times of uncertainty most Norseman that can, continue to fly although not likely as many hours as a typical year.

In the latter half of July CF-BSB was flown by Turner Thomson over southeast Manitoba and on into Ontario lake country. During the past few years, even in the Norseman Capital of the World it is rare to see more than one tied to the same dock. Thanks for stopping into Red Lake and visiting!

Hopefully next year the Norseman Festival can go ahead as planned and a freshly restored CF-DRD will be back up for all to admire!

ZMX (Mk VI, Serial 669) and BSB (Mk V, Serial N29-15) share a dock on Howey bay, Red Lake. Photo – Turner Thomson

Southern Skies

The rugged Norseman is no stranger to flying south of the equator, even having operated over the continent of Antarctica as early as 1947 during the Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition. This was serial 634, USAAF number 44-70369. Many countries used the Norseman in the military or civil, on wheels, floats or skis. Some of these are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Ecuador, Lesotho, Peru, Paraguay, and the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas).

In 2020 there is only one location in the southern hemisphere with known Norseman activity, although the project has been dormant for some two years now and is available for purchase. In Mar del Plata, Argentina, aircraft restorer Pablo Colombo (PACAir Projects) was working on serial 668 with Argentinian registration LV-FFH. This Mk VI owned by Alejandro Moschkovsky was being brought back to flightworthy condition. It started as USAAF 44-70403, went to Argentina in 1947 becoming LV-XYV, then LV-FFH.

If anyone has any information on Norseman in museums “down under” or the present world status of airworthy examples please contact me for updating of the annual Norseman list due out at the beginning of July. Please send to email; c46commando@hotmail.com or voice call 250 212-2178 Canada. Thank You!

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!