Monday, November 30, 2009

AVRO CANADA "STAT", yes… long before the Concorde, and long before the "Concordski", there was…

The Avro Canada STAT… and there it is above—

And something called a Space Threshold Vehicle. Goodness!

What the hell was that??

Such a cost…
Give me things,
That don't get lost ~

Sorry, Neil.

These additional remnants of Avro Canada glory (there's always more stuff to look at), all days gone by now, I'm afraid. This VISUAL reflection (graphic) is courtesy of Jim Floyd.

Jim has been the Keeper of the Avroite Kingdom through the decades.

JIM FLOYD was Avro Canada's former Chief Design Engineer. Back in the 50s, Jim received aviation's prestigious Wright Brothers Medal for his groundbreaking work on the Jetliner and became the first non-American to receive it. And like an Old Testament prophet of the past, he sometimes shows up unexpectedly at Avroite, or other notable Canadian aeronautical gatherings. And when he gets his chance to speak, he looks out at the crowded gathering, and he points to us while thundering, reminding us that WE, WE, gave away Avro Canada and all her fine achievements.

And there I am, just as I'm about to pop my World War II souvenir SS cyanide pills, you know, to end it all, Jim bellows, and points at me,

"That's not the answer!"

I look at him. His eyes are fierce and like burning charcoal.

He is cradling a model of of the C-102 Avro Canada Jetliner under his arm.

"But, Jim"…I weakly respond, "There never was an Arrow, all of Diefenbaker's cabinet said so…"

"THERE WAS AN ARROW!!!!!!!! And A JETLINER, and AN AVROCAR, and A CANUCK, AN ORENDA and a AN IROQUOIS… and a whole lot of other things!!!!!!! You have no idea!"

Jim continued,

"YOUNG MAN, get rid of your despair, and throw off your apathy!! THE FUTURE, I repeat, the future is wide open!!!"

And with that, he hurls, hurls, his Jetliner model right at me.

I have no time to move. OR THINK. CLUNK! (no pun intended), the Jetliner hits me square in the forehead! And like being hit by Canadian boxer Eggerton Markus… down. I. Go.

I awake, a day later, in the hospital.

The attending staff tell me I had a seizure, and they can't explain the welt on my forehead.

They attempt to console me and tell me, it probably happened when I fell to the ground. I attempt to correct them. I tell them no, that I was actually hit by an Avro Jetliner.

And like any other no-nothing dummies, this nation turns out in droves, they ask me what's that?

"Well, you know, from Avro Canada. The people that produced the Arrow, produced the Jetliner first. It was the first jet powered airliner in North America, and the second in the world, at the time."

"What", the young doctor scoffs, "Before the Americans?"

"Nurse, 200 cc ----------------------, stat… stat!!"

"Hey, hey…", I respond, just barely conscious, "You know about the STAT?"

Thursday, November 26, 2009

:.::. Where I Was Before ::.




Montreal vs. Saskatchewan
November 29 | 6:30 PM ET


WE REMEMBER!: 66 Years Ago: The RCAF vs. The German Navy (Part 2)

THE NIGHT BEFORE remembered alongside the cartoon of the U-boat sinking.

ANOTHER RCAF airman named Bishop distinguishes himself.

U-489 is sunk, by RCAF SQN 423, again by a Short Sutherland III just south-east of ICELAND at co-ordinates 61.11N, 14.38W, but the cost is high, as five Canadians of Bishop's crew are killed.

FOR GREAT, IN-DEPTH coverage of this U-boat attack and others, SEE:

This little VISUAL was created by moi…

The little figurine is a rare RCAF airman from a dissimilar series!

©2009 - Don "Red" Macfie and James Stewart

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

WE REMEMBER!: 65 Years Ago: The RCAF vs. The German Navy

THE AIRPLANE you're looking' at is a Short Sunderland Mark III.

It would be identified as 2•U of 422 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Overseas).

Below that is U-boat 625, or U-625.

It's March 10, 1944.

And today there is going to be a showdown.

Just short of noon, RCAF Sunderland Mk. III takes off from Castle Archdale where it was based in Northern Ireland. U-boats had been sighted just west of Ireland. And sure enough, just 10 km out U-625 is spotted by RCAF F/L Sid W. Butler. Port side.

With all Sunderland crew eyes now on U-625, Butler drops 2•U down to only 400 feet and manoeuvres onto an intercept course. The massive flying boat shudders in disagreement.

U-625 is taking drastic measures as well.

Siegfried Straub, her captain, swings the U-boat 'round so its stern-mounted flak guns can meet the flying boat head-on. Straub's German Navy crew have been quite successful on these open North Atlantic seas. They have sunk five ships. Three British, and two Russian. Two were even auxiliary warships. 19, 880 tons GRT total.


More sadly, 185 lost their lives to U-625. Many others were wounded.

But today, the tables will be turned.

And today it IS their turn to die.

The hunter is being hunted.

So a quarter hour passes, as both sub and flying patrol boat try to get into the best position to attack, and defend. But a stalemate of positioning is occurring. Butler, finally, has had enough.

Forgetting he is in a large, jumbo-sized airplane, Butler takes the Sunderland into a deep, deep, spiralling dive. Corkscrewing the flying hulk now through fierce U-boat flak, the RCAF flying boat descends to just 50 feet above the water for a strafing run and unloads six 250 pound Mk XI Torpex-filled depth charges.

Only four explode.

U-boat 625 submerges.

RCAF Sunderland 2•U circles. Waiting. Waiting.

Three minutes pass.

U-625 surfaces! Her movement is slow. Very slow.

Confirmation. She's done!

No U-boat would resurface unless she was in trouble, and certainly not with an Allied patrol boat flying above.

But, RCAF 2•U has no more depth charges, and continues watch as U-625 struggles. Sid Butler, calls for assistance. The job must be finished. There will be no limping home by U-625 to return another day.

More waiting.

Eighty minutes later, U-625 flashes Fine Bombish and abandons ship. The job is finished.

The U-boat crew man their life-rafts. At 17:40 the sub sinks at 52.35N, 20.19W.

An RCAF 423 Squadron Sunderland finally shows up to relieve 2•U.

Butler and his crew set the wounded Sunderland on course for home. The main hole caused by U-boat flak is fixed by the crew. But there are numerous smaller holes that pose a serious collective problem for the flying boat.

Remember, flying boat, water, numerous leaks, soon equals sunk!

Surprisingly, Wrigley's Spearmint Gum saves the day!

Flight rations for each member of the flight crew included five sticks of Wrigley's Spearmint gum. These were properly chewed up, and applied to each hull breach to harden nicely in the cold air!

The 53 survivors of U-625, do not survive.

It's March. It's the North Atlantic. And the sea, is, merciless.

They are never seen again.

423 Squadron hung around as long as they could, but finally had to head for home. With no rescue ships in the area, the 423 Sqn. Sunderland tips her wing, and bids these German Navy sailors farewell.

Frank Cauley, from 423, captured these intense pictures of U-625 sinking, and of her survivors looking on.

These PHOTOS and part of this remembrance was taken from the newly released, Canadian Aircraft of WW II which I highly recommend!! First volume of an eventual 9, from AviaDossler.

A MUST BUY. But only… if you 're real Canadian. A proud Canadian.


© 2009 AviaDossler - Canadian Aircraft of WW II - Volume 1

Monday, November 16, 2009

MOST CANADIANS don't realize…

… THE PRICE PAID for their FREEDOM, that they enjoy today—

GREAT DOCUMENTARY ( you need to buy it!) of two stories.

Those real bomber boys who flew a mighty, mighty, Lancaster bomber on harrowing missions over Nazi Germany are individually retold alongside rare WW II aerial footage, CGI graphics, and period photos. The "Boys" even meet up, one more time, with live Lancaster bomber stationed at Hamilton, Ontario's Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

The primary accounting is intermingled with the tale of the "Boys" descendants who agree to be exposed to the same RCAF training their grandfathers experienced.

(©2005 excerpt from the"Bomber Boys: The Fighting Lancaster")

Monday, November 9, 2009

Whatever became of LESLIE STEWART??

THE ARGOS lost again this weekend.

They got STOMPED by Montreal (42-17!) and finished the season with only 3 wins and a hundred losses.

So here's Leslie, a throwback to better times for the ARRRRGGGOOOOSSSS!

ME REMEMBERS when the Toronto football team was better, when the cheerleaders were better, and heck, even when the uniforms of the Argos AND the cheerleaders, were better.

But time moves on… and Leslie or DOUG FLUTIE won't ever be back in Toronto.

Leslie IS NOW the early morning Weather and Traffic host on the newly re-organized CHCH Channel 11 AND the Hamilton Tiger-Cats cheerleading coach!

Leslie in action:

5 YEARS AGO: Air Canada RETIRES its last 747 in TO!

AIR CANADA 747 Service begins… with a pamphlet!

In 1971.

And the six page pamphlet proudly showcased Air Canada's new breed of luxurious aircraft that was more like an upper class hotel, than an airplano. My dad got me this AC pamphlet back in the day… but I somehow lost it through the years, and when I saw it again, one day on eBay, well…

BACK WHEN I WAS a kid, a coupla' years ago… the 747 was a brand new thing!

B I G and LOUD!!

And AC had bought three!

We lived 2.5 miles from Toronto International Airport, on one of its' glorious flightpaths.

The neighbours hated that reality!

I loved it.

Those early 747s had a very distinct sound.

There were STILL a lot of propliners back then, and the 747s sounded nothing like those harsh, struggling, turboprop engines.

As the JUMBO JET left the runway, you could hear the loud drone of the 747's massive four Pratt and Whitney's all the way from airport, out, into our little Etobicoke neighbourhood.

BACK THEN there wasn't the skyscraper, or housing density, to block that drone… not like the Toronto GTA has today, at an overpopulated 6 million inhabitants. And illegals.

Showcased are just two pages, of the battered six page ambassador, and why someone couldn't take a non-blurry image of an Air Canada 747 in flight, well, I'll never know!

So there's the past. Have a look ~

5 YEARS AGO on 31 October 2004, the last Air Canada Boeing 747 flight landed in Toronto from Frankfurt as AC873, ending 33 years of 747 service with the airline.

Friday, November 6, 2009

50 YEARS AGO: A Microburst… Trans-Canada Air Lines, and the Shameful Treatment of Captain Harry Bell

AS YOU SALUTE US, Captain Harry Bell, decorated WW II Halifax bomber pilot, formerly of RCAF Group 6 of Bomber Command, we salute you.

Good father. Faithful husband. Churchgoing man. Proud Canadian.

Esteemed, Trans Canada Air Lines (TCAL) captain…

Well, until October 3, 1959, that is.

And on that day, Harry’s whole world would change and the rest of the world wouldn’t catch up to Harry until 16 years later. When he should have been vindicated.

But, even then, he wasn’t.

That wasn’t TCAL, or Air Canada’s way.

Admitting that a mistake had been made, that blame had been placed on a proud man’s shoulders, where it never should have been, well, they couldn’t just do that, now could they?

Through the years there would be Workers Comp hearings. Harry’s back was pranged after the accident, but TCAL didn’t believe that, either. So Trans Canada Air Lines even got Harry a job at Japan Air Lines! Right after, they fired him!

But Harry didn’t show up at the new job, the refusnik!! The logic escaped Canada’s national airline at the time, but everyone else could see it. If Harry can’t fly airplanes for TCAL, how could he possibly fly them for JAL?! Tokyo comfort girls be damned!

Worker’s Compensation eventually sided with Harry, and forced the petulant airline management to compensate him monetarily for the injury that he had sustained while flying for them. And thereafter he received a pension from Trans Canada.

But what solution to Harry’s battered reputation?

Well, that too appeared to come out of Japan.


Only 16 years later.

In 1975, Japanese meterologist Tetsuya Fujita, provided the explanation, which had eluded Harry in 1959, when his TCAL four-engined Vickers Viscount (CF-TGY) quite suddenly slammed into the ground.

On that day in October of ‘59, Harry had just taken over from his co-pilot who had been piloting the new aircraft, but had become alarmed, even bewildered, by the intensity of a localized thunderstorm that had appeared unexpectedly, and only last ed briefly, over Malton Airport.

And which, they were now flying into.

Captain Bell assured his First Officer, John M. that he had control, could see the runway clearly, and would take passengers and crew, in. Check.

Maybe ten seconds later, there was a sudden drop of the Viscount, a whoosing sound, a loud thud, followed up by that even louder, unbearable sound of metal tearing.

They had landed alright. Before the runway!

Straight through a reservoir.

And the new Vickers Viscount?

Well, now, only a broken mess.

A complete write off. Hull loss, as its known in the airline biz.

John pulled Harry out his pilot’s window. Harry couldn’t move.

Jane N. the stewardess, got all passengers safely out, and away from the plane, that was now lying on the ground, broken, just aft of the cockpit. Its undercarriage… well, no where to be seen.

Harry couldn’t explain what had happened. But he knew that he had made no operational mistake in the execution of his duties as a pilot.

It didn’t take Trans Canada Air Lines long to decide what would happen, though.

Harry got his last pay cheque the following week, stapled to a letter of recommendation from Trans Canada Air Lines. The page was blank.

And Harry had kept it through the years.

Still outraged, some forty-five odd years later when I met up with him, as anybody rightly should be for being blamed for an event, especially something as colossal as a airplane crash, which he hadn't actually caused.

So WHAT was the cause, folks?

A microburst.

Oh, Microsoft… that explains it!

No, NOT MICROSOFT, they weren’t even around then… a MICROBURST!

Here’s how it happens, and yes, microbursts have thrown around even larger aircraft than Harry’s, with even more tragic results!

Harry’s Viscount entered a suddenly appearing, localized severe thunderstorm, at Toronto International Airport (Malton Airport, back then) while on the landing approach. When that flight crew had originally plotted this flight from Montreal making their customary weather check, there were no storm warnings coming out of Toronto.

The coast, or rather Malton, was clear.

All right then.

As Harry was landing his Viscount and began entering the microburst, he encountered headwinds that increased the air speed of his airplane. To maintain a slower and proper airspeed for landing, and the aircraft’s rate of descent, Harry reduced engine power to compensate.

However, just as the Viscount got through the headwind, it encountered a downdraft.

Then a tailwind.

The Viscount was now flying too slowly to stay aloft, and since power had been cut previously, the Viscount was left without the necessary power to quickly climb again.

Some aircraft go nose first after flying into a microburst.

Fortunately, Harry’s Viscount just pancaked onto the ground and thus everyone onboard survived.

Fujita published his theories on microbursts in 1974. The scientific community both embraced his theories, and reviled them at the time.

But on June 24, 1975 Eastern Air Lines Boeing 727 crashed in New York City at Kennedy Airport killing 113 of the 124 aboard. That accident was blamed on a severe localized thunderstorm that caused an intense downdraft which forced the Eastern 727 airliner to pancake into the runway. Fujita, had earlier stated that when something comes down from the sky, and hits the ground, it will spread out. That was the observed pattern of the 727 crash. This outburst effect, and pattern, Fujita first noticed after flying over Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945.

But the blame for the accident and loss of the Viscount prop-liner STILL remains on Harry's reputation to this day, because no one at Air Canada has done the right thing, and reversed the ancient conclusion, or offered him apology.

I have no idea whether Harry is still alive, but expect his family would certainly accept the proper overture from Air Canada. One, cancels out the other. Even many years hence.

But that is the realm for gods, and for the high, and mighty.

And not, not, for an airline that seems to be on the verge of bankruptcy, and internal disaster, every other year—

(Pictured is Harry in his RCAF bomber's jacket… and a battered and weathered Trans Canada Air Lines Vickers Viscount just like the ones Harry used to fly)

Monday, November 2, 2009

55 YEARS AGO: Trans-Canada Air Lines Super Constellation CF-TGG Crashes in Brampton

FOLKS, I'M GONNA' ask you one question, and one question only.

Does this look like a good place to put a large airliner down?

For a landing??

In 2009?


Yeah, that's what I thought.

But on December 17 in 1954, just beyond this, the boarded up Norman Breadner/Monkman farm storehouse… there were no other houses back then, only an empty farmer's field with snow on the ground, this was a great place to land!


So down swooped Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCAL) Lockheed Super Constellation (CF-TGG) L-1049E at 175 miles-per-hour, lights on, wheels down, landing configuration for the instrument approach for Runway 10 at Toronto-Malton airport. Returning from Tampa Bay, direct to Toronto… it's 9:32pm, local Brampton time. The large, brand spankin' new, luxurious, elegantly-designed, tri-tail Lockheed L-1049 Constellation ("Connie" to her pilots) turns slightly, and flies flawlessly, as she responds to Norman Ramsay, the TCAL pilot, at her controls.

She trusts him unconditionally.

Swoosh… touchdown.

Bang, bang, crunch, crunch… gee, this is a strange runway, pilot Norman Ramsay thought.

And no runway lights, either.

Skidding now for 2000 feet.

This can't be Toronto, Norman realizes.

It isn't. Runway 10, at Malton, is twelve miles away.

Somehow, Norman calculated Runway 10 was here, on the Breadner/Monkman farm.

As the roughed up Connie finally slows, it looks like things are actually going to be okay… when suddenly the Connie's wing tip hits a tree.

Damn luck—

What could have been a recoverable situation, now becomes a disaster.

As all pax and crew deplane safely, and without injury… the new pride of the TCAL fleet starts to burn slowly. But it's a miracle crash really. No one was killed, or even hurt.

But this airplane is now on fire, and that's aircraft fuel burning, so very quickly engulfing billows eat up the Connie's wing.

And soon the hopelessly stranded airplane burns to the ground, in the middle of that field that was posing as Runway 10.

From a distance, Brampton firefighters, locals, and the aircraft crash survivors look on, as firefighting equipment is also stranded on Chinguacousy Road, 1500 feet from the luxury airliner, with no way into the field…

The pilot, 34 year old Norman Ramsay was later found guilty of negligence by Ontario's transport department board of inquiry, and had his flying license suspended for six months.



THREE and a HALF YEARS LATER, Norman now flying for Maritime Central Airways crashed a DC-4 near Issoudon, Quebec on August 11, 1957.

Flying at an altitude of 6000 feet, Norman flew his propliner directly INTO a thunderstorm.

Severe turbulence, power disruption, and finally loss of control of his DC-4 resulted in 79, passengers and crew, perishing.

© 2009 Special Projects In Research, © 2009 Paul Cardin