| A word about Neville Webb's interest in aviation: |
I have always been interested in aviation, aircraft and flying. As part of my apprenticeship with the Ministry of Supply (1954-59), I worked at aircraft servicing at RRE Pershore (1957-58) and RAE Farnborough (1958-59).
Was in the Air Cadets for five years and Glider solo at RAF Hawkinge (1957), and a member of the RAE Gliding Club, Farnborough. Gained Private Pilot Licence (PPL) 1971 at Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and on moving to Newfoundland in 1972 continued to fly for a few years and later as an "up-front" passenger.
I found myself teaching at the "fly-in" Community of Sandy Lake First Nation, NW Ontario (1955- 2005); one experiences a close up look at passenger flying in and out of small, isolated northern communities. Having a camera readily to hand, lets you take advantage of any opportunities to photograph those older aircraft whose remaining work lives usefully continue in the North.
| This undentified Curtiss C-46 Commando was photographed by Neville at Winnipeg (maybe June 1998), taken at the Industrial side of Winnipeg Airport (likely the former Air Manitoba hanger).
Note the twin pitot tubes under the front fuselage and there seems to be writing on the (outer) front side of port engine cowling.
|"These C-46 pictures were taken while travelling through Winnipeg and Red Lake, while the photos at Sandy Lake took a little more effort: I heard the C-46 land early one morning and went quickly to the airstrip and lucky enough I found the Curtiss Commano still there after unloading fuel cargo."|
| Curtiss C-46A Commando C-GTXW (c/n 30386) is seen here on a fuel-hauling flight at Sandy Lake, northwest Ontario.
(Date described by Neville as 'around 2000'.)
So this photo was taken during its days with Commando Air Transport (registered as such on 23oct96), until it was involved in an accident in the Fall of 2000; CAT's operating license was revoked on 15Mar01, renewed 17Apr01 and suspended again on 23Aug01.
C-GTXW was bought by Buffalo Airways of Yellowknife , NWT on 14Nov01 and I saw it at Yellowknife, July 2006 looking very good.
| C-46A c/n 30386 was briefly registered 5Y-TXW, as seen here.
Air Manitoba had put it up for sale and registration C-GTXW was cancelled in August 1994. In 1995 it was reregistered 5Y-TXW for Air Kenya but soon returned to Canada; it was reported at Bar River in April 1996, still registered as 5Y-TXW. On 23Oct96 it was registered to Commando Air Transport.
Neville took these photos when it had returned, at Winnipeg.
C-GTXW ran out of runway in the Fall of 2001 at Red Lake and was subsequently stored, with the damage.
Neville photographed 'X-Ray Whiskey' at Red Lake during Dec.2000 or Jan.2001. The photo below,right is a close up of some of the damage.
Neville provided the following report on the incident: "On 28 September 2000, Commando Air Transport C-46A C-GTXW aborted a takeoff from Red Lake Airport, Ontario, Canada, for a planned fuel flight to Sandy Lake due to power loss in one R-2800 engine. The aircraft overran the runway and stopped in a ditch. Substantial damage with no injury to crew of three."
Note: The use of part of an cargo door in the old Air Manitoba blue and red colours.
|"Newfoundland and Labrador (Gander and Goose Bay) played an important part role wartime aviation (remember Ferry Command's effort in WW2) and post-war propeller aircraft passenger aviation.
It has been said there are over one hundred wreck sites in the province...
Having a background in working with aircraft allows one to study site remains from archeological and technical perspectives, to identify aircraft components and allow for some description of event happenings."
"These are pictures of a USAF C-47 crash site. In past years, I have made three or four visits.
The C-47 was, I believe, on a flight from Goose Bay to Torbay (St. John's airport) with a load of jeep parts and impacted about 3 metres below the top of a hill, at the base of trees: 4 metres higher and/or 20 metres to the left... and tragedy would have been averted!"
Neville found information on : http://accident-report.com, which provided the following details-
DATE: November 24, 1943
SERIAL NUMBER: 42-100496
PILOT: Lee D Graham
LOCATION: 3 miles NW of Torbay, Newfoundland
REMARKS: Hit Hill in Flight
Neville offered the following information: |
A photo of unidentified aircraft remains on the airfield at Swift Current, Sask in 1970.
Not much left to identify this wrecked bird..!
Aircraft Maintenance in the North...
This is Hawker Siddeley (or Avro) 748-264 Series 2A, c/n 1681, tailnumber C-FTTW.
Neville wrote: "A series of photos (taken by me) at the freight unloading area at Sandy Lake, NW Ontario.
This aircraft had recently had a scheduled overhaul. After unloading freight at Sandy Lake, when the pilot was taxying out, he noticed "something funny".. On the runway the nosewheel collapsed !
The nose u/c came out of the upper mount on the oleo leg. The propleller tips dug-in (see pictures) and the aircraft 'spun' around.
I believe a front-end-loader was used to lift up the nose, and the aircraft was moved back to the freight apron.
Some while later a maintenance crew was flown in, a new nosewheel fitted together with both engines and propeller assemblies. The aircraft was flow out for further repair with the undercarriage extended."
Richard Church described further events surrounding this situation:
Photos by Colin Carswell of Wasaya, Richard Church Collection.
A typical "Workhorse of the North" in the freight area at Sandy Lake. This is Air Creebec Cargo HS.748-214 Series 2A C-GMAA (c/n 1576).
C-GMAA came from Air Gabon (TR-LQY) and moved on to Wasaya Airways (C-GMAA).
DC3 CF-QBI "The Spirit of Harbour Grace"; photos 2007.
This aircraft (c/n 6179) was manufactured as a C-47 in 1943 by Douglas Aircraft Company in Santa Monica and served with the USAF in North Africa. At the end of the war the C47 was used as a cargo aircraft by Resort Airlines, then later by Leeward Aeronautical Service and Lake Central Airlines. In 1951 the aircraft was bought by a Canadian company and modified to DC3 standard by Douglas.
Photos and text by Neville Webb © 2007.
From 1953 until 1977, CF-QBI was flown by Quebec Air. In 1977 Mr. Roger Pike bought the aircraft for use on cargo flights between Stephenville and Goose Bay. In 1983 Mr. Pike became owner of of Labrador Airways Ltd., and based CF-QBI at Goose Bay for mail and freight
flights. CF-QBI was retired in 1988 and in 1993 the aircraft was presented to the Town of Harbour Grace. The aircraft stands in a small park area adjacent to the road and some eighty metres from the shoreline.
CF-QBI whilst in service of Quebecair on Airliners.net
The town of Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, has played an important part in aviation history.
Between 1919 and 1936, the airstrip at Harbour Grace was used by early aviators as a take-off place or as a stop-over for transatlantic flights. A few weeks after the airstrip was completed, on 27Aug1927 the first transatlantic flight from Harbour Grace was made by William S. Brock piloting "The Pride of Detroit."
Other famous aviators who have used this famous airstrip include Wiley Post and Harold Gatty, Emelia Earhart, James Mollision, Kingsford Smith, and Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker.
|Today, standing on this now quiet airstrip one can see white contrails of high flying jets that routinely cross the North Atlantic Ocean each day.
A plaque at the airstrip, commemorates those early flights.
Neville lives nearby a B-36 (51-13721) crashsite, only some 3 hours driving. He has, over the years, invested much time in investigating these remains.
Dirk Septer wrote an item on about the B-36 crash on my page Abandoned Plane Wrecks of the North
Following a refuelling stop at Gander on the morning of 12 December 1985, all 256 Americans
on board the Air Arrow DC8 died when the aircraft plunged into the ground, shortly after lift-off
and totally burned in the post crash fire...
The crash site is at the edge of Gander Lake, almost in-line with runway 22.
The 248 soldiers of the 3d Battalion, 502d Infantry, 101st Airborne Division and eight crew members were travelling from Sinai back to the U.S. for the X-mas holidays.
Turning off the Trans-Canada Highway, vistors can make a short drive to the edge of Gander Lake, to visit the Memorial. Photos taken around 1997 or 1998.
Accident details on Aviation Safety Network
GANDER AVIATION HERITAGE
Gander's aviation history goes back to 1937 when construction began on what would be at that time the largest civil airport in the world with four paved runways. On a great circle route, Gander was ideally placed for trans-Atlantic flights.
As the only operating airport in Atlantic and Maritime regions at the outbreak of war, Gander was strategically located as a staging base for the stream of military aircraft bound for Europe. In 1942 the Government of Newfoundland turned over the operation of the airport to the Government of Canada through the RCAF.
At war's end, Gander became the "Crossroads of the World" for transoceanic flights. However, the advent of the "jet age" adversely impacted air traffic, as jet aircraft now had the range to directly cross the Atlantic. During the 1980's carriers from Eastern Europe used the airport as a stopover on flights to the Americas such as Havana.
Today, Gander is used by heavy cargo carriers, corporate and private jets.
NORTH ATLANTIC AVIATION MUSEUM (Gander Aviation Museum)
This aviation heritage museum is located in Gander, adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway,
and opened its new building on March 1996. Displays inside include a DH Tiger Moth, engines, aviation artefacts and memorabilia, including photographs and archives related to North Atlantic aviation and Gander in particular.
The tail section of this DC-3 is mounted over the main entrance, while the nose section of the aircraft is at the rear of the building.
Visitors can enter the cockpit from inside the museum.
The aircraft has Eastern Provincial Airlines markings (EPA).
|From 'Flying the Frontiers Vol.III' by Shirlee Smith Matheson (subtitled 'Aviation Adventures Around the World'), the chapter 'The Merger of the Masters' has a quote by Chuck MacLaren (volunteer at Edmonton's Alberta Aviation Museum) when asked what his favourite aircraft he'd even been working on as a mecanic, was: CF-GHX.
I quote from that book-
"When I worked for Gunnar Nesbitt Aviation we changed 30 engines - all full time with 1.100 hours on each of them - on one DC-3", MacLaren says. That was CF-GHX. It flew from Edmonton to Uranium City, 365 trips a year. for 10 years!".
(Not sure if the following refers to CF-GHX from that book, but a fine tale nevertheless, quoting MacLaren)-
MacLaren reflects on adventures with the famous DC-3. "We used to land on the ice on Lake Athabasca where Gunnar Mines was, until we got the runway built.
On the last landing of the season, the 24th of May, one wheel went through the ice and it ended up on its wing, putting a three inch bend in the wing... We called for help. With the aid of 50 guys from the mine we picked it up and rolled it about 10 feet onto some planks on good ice. Then the pilots flew it home, with the bend in the wing and everything. The big gradual bend didn't seem to bother it any. It flew pretty straight. Our job when we got home was to reskin the top of the wing because the pressure had made little winkels between the rivets."
Canso C-FCRP (c/n CV-271)
This aircraft was manufactured by Consolidated Aircraft Company at San Diego, California and is powered by two Pratt and Whitney R-1830-92 engines.
This Canso was with Eastern Provincial Airways in Gander in 1958. In 1970 the aircraft was sold to the provincial government of Newfoundland Government and Labrador and served as a waterbomber for some twenty years! When replaced by the CL-215, this aircraft was donated to the Museum.
[The best book, in my humble opinion, to read up on the PBY Catalina / Canso is "Consolidated PBY Catalina, the Peacetime Record", written by David Legg (Airlife, 2001 ISBN 1 84037 276 1) -Webmaster]
This aircraft was manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation at Wichita, Kansas. It is on loan from the Gander Campus of College of the North Atlantic.
The c/n is A-710 (or CA-110, there seems to be 2 systems) and decorated with a false registration, C-FVPK. Source: OldProps.
"Twin Beech" on Wikipedia.
Lockheed Hudson T9422
This aircraft was displayed on a pedestal for many years, near the airport.
During World War II, the Hudson was the first of thousands of aircraft to stage through Gander en route to Europe.
On November 1940, the first ferry flight was made across the Atlantic of seven Hudson bombers, led by Captain D.C.T Bennett.
Lockheed Hudson on Wikipedia.
MUSGRAVE HARBOUR: BANTING INTERPRETATION CENTRE
In 1991 the 'Banting Interpretation Center' was built following the airlifting in 1990 of the remains of Hudson T9449 from Seven Mile Pond (Banting Pond) to Banting Park, Musgrave Harbour, Newfoundland.
Photos taken in 1997 or 1998.
On Friday the 21st of February 1941 Sir Frederick Banting, the co-discoverer of Insulin, died following the crash of Hudson T9449.
If you look carefully at the rear fuselage, it seems somebody has chopped out the large RAF roundel with an axe.
On Thursday 20Feb41, after being delayed by a blizzard, T9449 piloted by Captain J. Mackey, as part of a group of five Hudson aircraft, departed Gander at 1958 hours. About fifty miles NE of Gander and over the Atlantic, the oil supply to the starboard engine failed and the engine had to be shut down, but the prop failed to feather. After reversing course, heading back to Gander, the port engine also suffered an oil failure...
Mackey waited until he was sure T9449 was over land, then ordered the crew of navigator Flying Officer William Bird, the radio operator William Snailham, and passenger Banting to bail out.
Descending in darkness, pilot Mackey glided T9449 down to onto the edge of a frozen lake, hitting a tree with the port wing. Regaining consciousness, Mackey found that none of the others had bailed out! Snailham and Bird were killed in the crash. Banting had serious injuries and died the following day.
Mackey was not found until the following Monday by a searching aircraft.
[The book 'OCEAN BRIDGE, the history of RAF Ferry Command' (by Carl A.Christie) details this accident, as well as the building of Gander and Goose Bay airports and is recommended reading in my opinion (though rather overflowing with details)- Webmaster]
SABENA DC4-1009, OO-CBG (c/n 42986).
On 18th September 1946, on a flight from Brussels to New York, OO-CBG crashed while descending through low cloud into a densely wooded area (600 feet ASL ) 22 miles SW of Gander (500 feet ASL).
The aircraft was due to land at Gander for a refuelling stop. At that time it was the world's worst aviation accident with 21 of 37 passengers (and 6 of 7 crew) killed.
The accident is notable for the help given to the survivors by two local trappers, who were first at the scene, the efforts made by rescuers to get the survivors out, and the first (important) use of two helicopters to rescue survivors.
It was concluded that the pilot in command was carrying out an inappropriate approach with respect to the weather, neglected the strong NNE wind, and likely did not know the aircraft's position relative to the airport. The command pilot requested QFE (height above ground) which was given by the controller as 29.88. At the crash site, the pilot's and navigator's altimeters were found set respectively to 29.40 and 29.90.
Another possible contributing cause was a misunderstanding between the pilots of the aircraft's height above ground and actual ASL.
Following the crash, a gravesite was established at the site of the crash. The gravesite is called St. Martin in the Woods.
This website also details the crash and subsequent rescue: www.zianet.com/tmorris/GanderRescue.html
Report on Aviation Safety Network (ASN).
In Dec.2009 Neville sent another batch of photos to add on this webpage.
To start with: deHavilland DHC-3 otter CF-QOS (c/n 398) of Gander Aviation. Neville thought he'd taken this photo in 1973, at St.John's.
The authority on the DHC-3 Otter is Karl E. Hayes, who published a monograph on this 'Skytruck of the Bush'. I quote from his work (abbreviated):
The Otter somewhat disappeared from view
until July 2007 when during a visit to the Kenai Airport in Alaska it was noted in a
hangar there under rebuild.
On above images Neville wrote:
"CF-NAZ was re-registered as C-GNDZ in 1978 when rebuilt following severe damage sustained in an incident with CAF 10737, Argus - Mar 31 '77.
This is a story reprinted in Charlottetown Guardian:
This is a link to a Summerside newspaper image of the Electra - after:
Shows a slightly larger version of this image:
I include this pic for in Feb.2014 I received following challenging email from Ken Pickford, who wrote:
"In connection with the Nordair Lockheed L-188 photos and related information, I question the accuracy of the following statement:
"All information I can find indicates that CF-NAZ was written off after the accident. I can find nothing to indicate that it was rebuilt and re-registered. And if you look at the photo of the damaged L-188 from a newspaper report of the accident, it is hard to believe that aircraft would have (or could have) been repaired." -Ken Pickford
Since the newspaper photo supports Ken's statement that it was unlikely that this wreck was rebuilt I investigated further.
That same database offers the history of L.188 c/n 1111:
Then I found the details on ATDB.Aero database (www.aerotransport.org):
Then I asked myself why? Why was the front fuselage required for rebuilding C-GNDZ, surely it was CF-NAZ that was damaged?! Perhaps the term 'rebuilding' contributes to the confusion, perhaps 'modifications' should be used (as well). The answer can be found here:
Canso Water Bomber in 1973, of the Newfoundland Forestry Service. Taken at St John's Airport (Industrial Side).
By the website Warbirdregistry.org I was able to identify Tanker #5 as C-FNJC (c/n CV-430). This website offered the following history:
Registration C-FNJC was officially cancelled on 17Dec09, as permanently
retired ('wfu') and is to be preserved. (Aviation Letter 518, jan.2010)