Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Bushplanes at Ear Falls, Ontario

In recent years I have become fascinated by another type of vintage aviation: the bushplanes of North America.
This time my travels took me to Northwest Ontario. We had started out of Kenora that beautiful, sunny day, driving east on the Trans Canada Highway; after a stop at Vermilion Bay, we took the exit north, up on Route 105: destination Ear Falls.

It was quite a long drive, mainly because of roadworks and speedlimits, but at the end of the afternoon we got there and there was plenty to see & enjoy as we found aircraft in 3 locations.

Ear Falls, Ontario

Don't exactly recall how we ended up here, probably by a sign on the road. It was south of town. Anyway, there was nobody around and only 2 aircraft on the dock. End of the season, late on a saturday afternoon..?
Since there was no one to talk to, so I took my photos and left.
C-FTBH C-FTBH is a Beech 3T or D18S (c/n CA-6226), a plane of considerable size to have on floats. The Beech 18 is by some referred to as a mini DC-3.
C-FTBH was registered to KayAir Service on 01Jun95. It served the US military, wearing serial 43-35671.

The other aircraft on the dock was Cessna 180A C-FKLJ (serial 50261) and was registered to KayAir 19Dec92.


More or less in town is this Beech 18 'CF-EAR' on display. It is or was part of a museum (which seems to be closed permanently..?).
The registration is fake, just a reference to Ear Falls. It is in fact former CF-ZQG, a Beech Expeditor 3TM, c/n CA-125 (a.k.a. A-725). It also served with the Canadian Armed Forces as 1525 and later as 5184.
It 'flies' at its present location since about the mid-1980's.
One can find a discussion about the identity of this aircraft elsewhere on my website, CLICK HERE..

Kurt Ariano wrote me in august 2019: "That Beech 18, as stated in your information, is indeed CF-ZQG. ZQG was purchased from the RCAF by Severn Enterprise/Superior Airways in the very early 1970's.
It was flown from Saskatoon,SAS to Sioux Lookout,ONT and then to Armstrong (Ontario) where the engines were removed and the aircraft was placed in storage."

"It for sure was flown to Armstrong Airport along with sister Beech 18 CF-ZQF on the same day.
I was on board the aircraft for the flight from Sioux Lookout to Armstrong and helped to remove the engines before pushing the aircraft out of the hangar for storage.
I'm pretty sure the date was early Nov 1970.
How ZQG later got to Ear Falls I don't know."

"Each month I write a short story usually with a photo on the website The story is about the time I worked with Superior Airways/Severn Enterprise. I use the member name 'beech18' when I post a
story. It is located in the Superior Airways thread in the 'Bush Flying & Specialty Air Service' section."

Link to my posting with your photo of Beech 18 CF-ZQG¬

CF-EAR in close up


Ear Falls was not the final destination today, so we continued north (more or less heading for the end of the road) to Red Lake.
But a distance north of Ear Falls: more bushplanes!
We had arrived at Showalter's.
On the dock were 2 Twin Beeches and a De Havilland Beaver.

Beech 3NM C-FZNG (c/n CA-182) was registered to Showalter's Fly-In Service (1987) Ltd on 08Jul88. it is former RCAF 2309.

Artist impression

C-FZYE is a recent addition by Showalter's...
This is c/n 192 which was delivered on 21Oct52 to the Fuerza Aérea de Chile, serialled 905.
It became N11252 for Ferrer Aviation Inc. of Miami,FL in August 1969.
It crossed the border into Canada and became CF-ZYF during May 1971 for Aire-Dale Ltd. of Sault Ste Marie, ONT. Later it was reregistered C-FZYE for Chapleau Air Services Ltd. of Chapleau, ONT.
Fate struck a blow when it crashed on 24Jul92 at Unegam Lake, Ontario: 1 person killed and 3 seriously injured. The aircraft was found inverted in water after engine failure, with substantial damage.
It went to Wilderness Air of Vermilion Bay, ONT, registered on 30Apr96 and reported at Sioux Lookout on 25Aug97 with a ttl 8,191.9 airframe hours.
And today we see C-FZYE in splendid condition in Ear Falls, having been registered to Showalter's Fly-in Service (1987) LTD on 13Apr07.

Showalter's operates 2 Twin Beeches, this is C-FXUO, another Beech D18S / 3NM (CA-208). Former RCAF 2329. Destinations these aircraft operate to include : Action Lake, Apps Lake, Carrol Lake, Cochrane Lake, Crooked Lake, Hammerhead, Irwin Lake, Pine Needle, Sand Point, Severn Lake and South Rapids.


Trusty Beaver

I have found reference of 2 other operators at Ear Falls, upon returning home, but I did not see them. We wouldn't have had the time anyway: always leave something for a revisit...
Excellent Adventures and Outposts, flying Beech 3N C-C-FSRE and DHC-2 Beaver C-FLUA. Location of aircraft, same place as KayAir?
Michael Bes wrote: Excellent Adventures has their base close to where you saw Be18 C-FTBH... It is the next, or perhaps second next access road from the main road. Have a look at my trip report (photos on index page 2),
From Excellent Adventures: Yes, we are in Ear Falls. We operate a De Havilland Otter, Cessna 185 and a Aeronca Champ. We are located 3 miles south of Ear Falls, 1/2 kilometer towards town from Kay Air.

Kabeelo Airways (PO Box in Ear Falls, based at Confederation Lake) with Beavers C-GDYT and C-GLSA; directions on the KaBeelo Lodge website: 'Google maps' indicated Confederation Lake roughly some 80 kms east of Red Lake.
(Source: JP Airline Fleets 2007)
Michael Bes wrote about KaBeeLo lodge: the link on your webpage says "north on Highway 105 to Ear Falls; turn right on Highway 657 in Ear Falls and follow the signs and power lines to KaBeeLo Lodge." But my map says that Hwy 657 is only a short stretch from Ear Falls, so this probably is the road we followed (I can't remember exactly, to be quite honest).
I did find both of their aircraft, DHC-2 C-GLSA & C-GDYT, in winterstorage at Sioux Lookout a few days later.


Ear Falls on Wikipedia
Northwestern Ontario Fly-in Fishing Lodges and Resorts
Aircraft Charters in Northwest Ontario

The Road Goes On...Forever:
Vermilion Bay
Red Lake
Dryden Mun'l Airport
Sioux Lookout
Savant Lake
Fort Frances
Nestor Falls


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