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.

Keep them Flying?

There are only a couple places left in Canada with a sizeable cache of Norseman airframes and parts. Buffalo Airways’ location at the Red Deer airport, Alberta is presently home to six stripped down airframes salvaged or collected over the years by owner and Norseman aficionado Joe McBryan. Not only does Joe personally fly his Norseman, Mk V CF-SAN in the northern summers, he has worked with Alberta museums to bring the history of the aircraft to the people in recognition of that province helping develop the north through its geographical then infrastructure connections.

Recent Mk VI acquisition C-FFQX, serial 625 is complete with wings and would be a relatively easy restoration project for those in the know.

As someone who loves to see these vintage transports in their airborne element, Joe has also prevented many Norseman from fading into oblivion and would like to see the population of active flying examples increase.

With Red Deer airport only about a 75 minute drive north of Calgary International (CYYC), it is worth checking out the collection if you are in the area and share a passion for the airplane.

If you want a Norseman project to buy or are looking for that elusive part, “Buffalo Joe” likely has what you need at their Red Deer maintenance and storage facility. email buffalo@buffaloairways.com or phone Katherine, communications director at 867-765-6029.

Backed by Joe, in 1994 CF-EIH was recovered from Allen Lake, Northwest Territories after spending some 46 years at the crash site. Serial 94, a Mark IV is immaculate now at the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton.

CF-ECD collecting dust at Red Deer. This Mark V last flew in June 1982. During a forced landing at Dogskin Lake in Manitoba the airplane overturned in the water.

Ghosts from the past. CF-NJK on the left and C-FFQX to the right. Click on the photo to expand it and a small portion of CF-GTM’s structure can be seen in the far left background and CF-NJV’s left main gear in the corner foreground. Get the picture?

This UC-64A (Mark VI), serial 242 eventually became CF-NJK on the Canadian civil register. Note the modification of additional aft windows and the green fuselage airframe of CF-NJV behind.

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.