We appear to live in a time when the volume of superfluous information has degraded quality or accuracy and this often leads to skimming as an instant answer is sought without attention to details. Technology addiction and information manipulation, one may argue, are becoming serious issues in society and we need to look deeper into the longer term ramifications.
Those big thoughts aside, how does this relate to the old Norseman bushplane you ask? There are a few examples I will touch on and hopefully clarify the subjects.
Time and again, I see on social media people posting pictures and writing about Norseman CF-BHS on the pylon in Thompson, Manitoba not realizing it is a replica. Occasionally someone will interject with factual information yet it seldom seems to be absorbed. The actual BHS, a Mark V, serial N29-7 was on the Canadian register from 1945 to 1990. In October 1989 this aircraft was destroyed by fire on Cree Lake in Saskatchewan. The “BHS” in Thompson was put together from a few Norseman wrecks and the wings were fabricated to match the original.
Next we have CF-BHU. The confusing part here is that two different Norseman have carried that registration in Canada. Sometimes details will get crossed up and the wrong serial number and/or model is attributed to the other. The first BHU was a Mark V, serial N29-8 and rolled off the production line right after CF-BHS! It came to its demise on June 19, 1974 in a crash at Sachigo Lake, Ontario. The second BHU, a Mark VI, serial 506 came to Canada from the USA in 1999 and is presently flown commercially by Wings Over Kississing in northern Manitoba.
Another potential mix up involves the very first Norseman, serial 1, CF-AYO. The twisted remains of AYO can be viewed at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Currently at the Montreal Aviation Museum work on the restoration for static display of Norseman serial 427, C-FGYY continues with tentative plans to depict this airframe as CF-AYO considering the Norseman was developed at Montreal, Canada in the mid 1930’s. Again, if there is no clear communication about it being a replica of AYO then we can probably count on some keyboard surfers getting it wrong from lack of oversight.
*NOTE* – With regard to correct information, the Red Lake Norseman Festival will take place on August 6, 7, and 8, 2021 instead of the usual July weekend. This summers event will be small as planning is more complex during what we hope will be the tail end of the pandemic.