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!

Norseman News Bites

After many years on the market, N78691 has been sold to Renfro’s Alaskan Adventures in Bethel, Alaska. A Mk VI, serial 637 will join the fleet on floats and the plan is to have it formally in service later this summer.

CF-SAN, serial N29-29 is now privately registered to “Buffalo Joe” McBryan. Previously commercially registered to Buffalo Airways this Mk V model was a star at the Norseman “Diamond Jubilee” festival in 1995.

The Red Lake and area Norseman population remains healthy with both CF-JIN and CF-KAO getting prepared for float season at Chimo Air on Howey bay. Recently, finding a propeller for JIN had put its future in doubt but apparently this issue has been resolved. Also, Mk IV C-FFUU will be hauling supplies into Birch Lake Lodge for the 2016 summer tourist season.

N78691 being readied for a ferry flight from the "lower 48" to Alaska.

N78691 being readied for a ferry flight from the “lower 48” to Alaska.

Mr. Collin Oliver

In March of 2015 the Norseman community lost a huge festival participant whose passion for the type eventually led him to owning three Norseman.Colin Oliver

Mr. Collin Oliver, of Brooks, Alberta had many interests and hobbies including stock car racing, hockey, airplanes, restoring antique cars, boating and water skiing.

During the 1990’s his attention focused to the Norseman and he purchased a Mark V version, CF-BSC (Serial N29-17) in May 1997.  At the time, BSC had not flown for nearly 23 years and a long period of restoration took place.  Some may recall seeing the airplane on static display in Vancouver for Expo 86.  There is a funny, although unconfirmed story of a gentleman getting into a debate with a young tour guide at the fair who was positive that the Norseman was no longer in service anywhere!

Like the mythological phoenix, BSC flew again with Austin Airways color scheme in July of 2012 and stole the show that year, being reborn to an immaculate, authentic condition.  If you are a serious collector of aircraft or culturally significant Canadiana this airplane is for you.

In the summer of 1998, CF-JEC (Serial 469) was acquired.  This airplane has a strong connection to Northwest Ontario and was operated in the Red Lake area for some three decades by Sabourin Lake Airways.  Intended as a parts supply for BSC, Collin chose to fix up JEC and used it as his personal Norseman while BSC was in the shop.

Then, about 8 years ago he decided to seriously explore using Norseman commercially and CF-GJN (Serial 797) came online after an extensive rebuild.  The adventure was partially successful and both GJN and JEC are now at Ignace, Ontario for sale.

Collin Oliver’s wish was to have these three Norseman fly on into the future and contribute to the festival in the Norseman capital of the world.