Norseman Pickers

Loaded sky high and ready to roll after an overnight in Dryden, Ontario. Even the crew cab was stuffed!

A trip last month to northern Minnesota and northwest Ontario provided many parts required for a Norseman restoration in Europe. In the photo below, some may recognize the paint scheme of the former Gogal Air Norseman CF-GLI, serial number 365. Over a decade ago a mishap resulted in a bent nose structure which has now been carefully repaired by the present owners. This airframe is located in Nieuw Vennep, near Amsterdam at the Dutch Transport Museum in The Netherlands.

Like most Norseman, this Mk VI started out with the USAAF during World War II and was assigned aircraft number 43-5374. The museum intends to not only give serial 365 its original identity back, plans include flying it to airshows in Europe as an operational piece of history as soon as all the pieces come together.

Right wing underside clearly showing where the 50 imperial gallon fuel tank fits inside.

 

Main wheel with original drum brake installation.

NORDUYN now Redux

A couple years ago on this blog a post about the present NORDUYN chronicled the companies involved with Norseman production. See https://www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/norduyn-now/

A recent trip to Montreal provided the opportunity for a drive around the former Cartierville airport which now has almost completed build out as Bois-Franc with new homes, shops, offices and parks. The only remnant is the large Bombardier facility, once belonging to Canadair.

Bombardier CS100 (now named Airbus A220-100) fuselage beside the Bombardier building with a smaller Canadair title below.

Not far from where mass Norseman production took place at Cartierville during WW II sits the NORDUYN operation of today primarily producing trolleys, oven racks, shelves, drawers and baby bassinets for worldwide airline customers. There is no longer any involvement with the famous Canadian Noorduyn bush plane and the name dropped one o.

As part of the airport site redevelopment at least some thought was given to the historical significance and a nearby neighbourhood carries the following street names; Rue Noorduyn and Place Noorduyn.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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?

 

150 and 25 Years!

IMG_0672 - Version 2
CF-DRD coming in for “landing” over Norseman Heritage Park in Red Lake, Ontario.

This July of 2017 is a doubly big month to celebrate Canada and its achievements.  On the first of the month Canada turns 150 since Confederation in 1867.  Then the Norseman festival will commemorate 25 years since inauguration of this summertime family friendly event.

In 1990 some old time pilots, mechanics and Norseman aficionados got together in Red Lake resulting in the seed being planted for the Norseman Heritage Park.  It all came together with the official opening on July 25, 1992 along with the dedication of CF-DRD (serial 831) and the start of the Norseman festival.

A highlight this year at the festival will be a demonstration by the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team.  As the name implies, this four plane group flies the Harvard advanced trainer that was used to train thousands of pilots during World War II. When looking skyward and feeling that ear splitting roar consider the Harvard uses the same direct drive, 600 HP Pratt & Whitney R-1340 engine as the Norseman!  Even more intriguing is C-FNDB with the number 039 on the fuselage.  This Harvard was built by Noorduyn Aviation in Montreal in 1941 !!  Yes, Noorduyn manufactured Harvard’s (a licence built version of the North American T-6 Texan) and the Norseman at the same time during WW II in Montreal area plants so this group is a natural fit for the festival.

 

Airworthy Norseman List

For a detailed breakdown of who and where Noorduyn Norseman are presently flying in the world, copy this link or click on About the Norseman and scroll to the bottom of the page.

http://www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/AIRWORTHY-NORSEMAN-in-CANADA-as-of-1-July-2016.pdf

Accordingly, with the airworthy population located in the northern hemisphere and it being the middle of winter, it would be a rare sight to see a Norseman flying now.  In warmer months they reappear like the bumble bees they sound like when take-off power is applied with that ungeared prop buzzing!

Watch for this list to be updated just prior to the 2017 festival in July.

Norseman Nirvana?

Just southwest of the Ignace airport on Osaquan lake in Ontario sits Northland Aircraft Service owned by Gord and Eleanor Hughes.

With a passion for “rag and tube” bush planes, Gord has restored many of the Norseman that survive in the 21st century. He believes it is still the best choice out there for most utility transport applications in its class.  Around the yard and in the shop are skis, fuselage airframes, wing spars, parts and drawings to help operators or museums keep these stalwart workhorses alive.  Being a knowledgable expert on the type, Gord also takes questions about all things Norseman from fans worldwide who occasionally stop by to meet him in person.

So what airplane does Gord use when the need arises to take his business farther afield?  Well, you guessed it, a Norseman of course!  For over three decades, Mark IV CF-DTL (serial 57) has served Northland well and incorporates modifications that he has developed and used on many rebuild projects.

In the fall of 2016, during a quick visit by the author, no less than 10 distinct Norseman were noted and Gord jokes that Ignace, Ontario deserves the claim to being “The Norseman Capital of the World”!

IMG_0769In the hangar:  CF-DTL and the fuselage airframe of serial 809.  (Not in picture)

Outside:

  1.                 C-FFUU/serial 74 in for winter maintenance.
  2.                 CF-GJN/serial 797 available for sale.
  3.                 CF-JEC/serial 469 pending sale.
  4.                 CF-FOX/serial 340 available for sale or lease.
  5.                 CF-HAU/serial 398 fuselage airframe.
  6.                 CF-FCU/serial 837 fuselage airframe.
  7.                 C-FBHZ/serial N29-13 (Mark V) wing only.
  8.                 N1121B/serial 241 fuselage only on wheels.

IMG_0766

Flight instrument panel of CF-GJN.

Flight instrument panel of CF-GJN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note fuselage of N1121B and tail of CF-FOX in background.

Note fuselage of N1121B and tail of CF-FOX in background.

Mark IV C-FFUU

Mark IV C-FFUU

IMG_0770

 

Your thoughts/help

If you have any comments or suggestions about this blog, scintillating Norseman news or updates to previous posts please contact the author.  It was decided at the start of this project that this blog would be more of a news feed and less of a forum.  That said, I still welcome all input relating to the current status of the Norseman story.  It has been said that the saga will not be over until the last Norseman is pulled up onto the beach for the last time.  Will there be examples of this classic flying during the 100th anniversary on November 14, 2035?  (My guess is yes)

Thank you to the Norseman festival and everyone that makes it happen for extending the spirit of this airplane.  I truly believe the festival is responsible for a few Norseman returning to the sky by giving this legendary bush plane another breath of life through the minds of supporters worldwide. The challenge now is to pass the story and keep it alive for a younger generation to carry it forward.

Rodney Kozar, e-mail: c46commando@hotmail.com or call my cell to chat: 250 212-2178.

One outstanding question is exactly who owns and where is N164UC, Ex. CF-UUD since it went to the United States this year.  Maybe the new owner wants to remain confidential, but if you can provide any information or have any recent photos of serial 224 please let me know.

 

 

Festival Flypast 2016

The afternoon of Sunday, July 24 brought very changeable weather to Red Lake that was literally sunny one minute then raining the next.  There was some doubt if the flypast would go ahead as the aircraft taxied out around 5 PM and another downpour occurred just as they were organizing for take-off.  Fortunately it cleared enough for the group to depart southwest bound over Howey bay in windy conditions.  A large right circuit followed as they flew over Centennial park then low and fast going north over the bay to the delight of the crowd.  A second pass followed, then landing back at the take-off area.  This was the line-up;

Chimo Air Norseman CF-JIN in the lead.

Trout Lake Lodge Norseman CF-ZMX.

Chimo Air Norseman CF-KAO.

Chimo Air Cessna 180 CF-SMS.

Viking Outposts De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver C-GGMB.  (piston)

Excellent Adventures De Havilland DHC-3 Otter C-FBEO with ‘original’ 600 HP Pratt & Whitney R-1340.

Amik Outposts De Havilland DHC-3 Otter C-FHXY with 1,000 HP PZL engine.

Chimo Air De Havilland DHC-3 Turbine Otter C-FODQ.

Superior Airways Cessna 208 Caravan C-FYMT on amphibious floats.

A Beech 18 was also planned to participate but had to cancel due to the inclement weather in the greater area.

A big thank you to the pilots and all involved who faced the challenge and put on an exciting flypast to cap off the fun for this edition of the Norseman festival!