Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Bushplanes at Red Lake, Ontario

In search of the bushplanes of North America, I made a roadtrip through Northwest Ontario.
The day before we had started out of Kenora on a beautiful, sunny day,but the weather is fickle and what should have been a highlight at the end of Route 105 turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment.

Red Lake is known among certain circles as the 'World Capital for the Noorduyn Norseman'. And indeed, I found several on the docks, but nothing stirred on this rainy Sunday at the end of the season.
So the Sunday was enjoyed as a restful break before we continued the next day on our quest for bushplanes through Northwest Ontario...
Meanwhile there is plenty of aviation history to be enjoyed here, so read on !

Red Lake seaplane base

In total 903 Norsemans were built since November 1935. The last one was completed in 1959. The Norsemans have been flown in, or over, 67+ countries in the world, including the Arctic and Antarctic continents...

Bushplanes on the dock
CF-JIN Noorduyn Norseman Mk.V c/n 55
of Chimo Air Service

CF-KAO Noorduyn Norseman Mk.V c/n 636,
also of Chimo Air Service

CF-KAO was registered to Peter Hagedorn Investments Ltd. (trading as Chimo Air Service) on 30Nov94. And CF-JIN on 07Dec95.
The website of Chimo Lodge and Outposts does not offer much information about the company, though it does provide details of destinations: Roderick Lake is the maincamp, and there is Warwick Lake (Bearberry), Hornby Lake, Culverson Lake, Keeper Lake, Wagin Lake, Pine Island, Schultz Lake, Marvin Lake, Miller Lake and -how nice- My Lake...

Bob Cameron wrote me in Feb.2017:
"Just taking a bit of a break from my daily work on the restoration of our 1928 Fairchild FC-2W2 (CF-BXF) and 1937 Custom Waco (CF-BDZ), and browsing through your magnificent website. In particular, I dialed int
Great to see your page on the Chimo Air Service machines: as I used to fly KAO and JIN for them!"

Spring 2018 I read the following: "CHIMO AIR SERVICE AND CHIMO LODGE AND OUTPOSTS have been purchased by Superior Air.
Watch for big changes in the near future for the air service.
After building 2 very successful businesses, Peter has decided to retire. Birgit Wilson will be working for another float plane business operating in the area.
Ian Partridge and Steve Rickli are staying on as pilots after the takeover. The rest of the staff have found other employment in the area.
The 2 turbine otters are painted blue and white, while 'SMS and Peter's plane, 'NPO will stay as they are. To all our friends and customers,it is so hard to say goodbye. We wish you well on all your adventures!"
./end quote
Chimo's FB page 01Feb18: "We were lucky enough to own and operate 2 wonderful Norseman aircraft, which unfortunately suffered severe hail damage. The planes are currently withdrawn from use."
'Superior Airways is a chartered air service based in Red Lake,ONT. at the Red Lake Airport in the town of Cochenour. Established in 2003, Superior Airways has been serving Northwestern Ontario by flying cargo, fisherman, hunters, firefighters, first nations, medical patients and law enforcement to and from remote communities as well as city centers.' ¬

Scott wrote me in July 2019: "I have good news! Both planes, CF-JIN & CF-KAO, were purchased by a couple of guys and they went to southern Ontario where they are being completely restored and will fly again! Made me so happy to hear that they were not just discarded! Fewer and fewer of them around these days."
Let's hope restoration will see these vintage bushplanes up in the air asap!

Bushplanes in Red Lake
Red Lake Seaplane Base
C-FODQ DHC-3 Otter
DHC-3 Otter C-FODQ Chimo Air Service

Norseman c/n 831 was delivered to the USAAF as aircraft 45-41747 on 08May45 and flown to Newark, New Jersey, arriving May 11. The aircraft was scheduled to be shipped to Karachi, India but was diverted to Baer Field, Fort Wayne, Indiana and flown there 12June45.
It was assigned to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) in 1946 for disposal as surplus. It was subsequently sold to Dayton Aero of Dayton, Ohio and registered as NC75938.
As CF-DRD it became registered to Ontario Central Airlines of Kenora, Ontario 15Apr53. Next it went to Teal Air Ltd. of Winnipeg, Manitoba (13Nov58) and then back to Ontario Central (13Sep68).
Registered to Swanair Ltd., Dryden, Ontario on 27Aug73 and then to Wings Aviation Ltd. of Red Lake on 07Feb74. Reported as last flown in 1981.
A sale was reported in 1983, but no buyer was named.
CF-DRD was registered to Kubyís Aircraft Ltd. of Kenora on 26Mar90. It was bought by the Town Of Red Lake, restored to display condition, and mounted on a pedestal on the waterfront in Red Lake in 1992 and where it continues to sit proudly today.
Its total time was recorded as 7,109 hours


Piper PA-12
A guest on the Chimo Air dock: Piper PA-12 (serial 12 1574) C-FYDN, registered to Douglas Vandusen since 21Mar03. In the background: CF-SMS is a Cessna 180C , also operated by Chimo Air Service.

C-FODQ From the Karl E. Hayes monograph on the DHC-3 Otter:
Otter c/n 111, registered CF-ODQ to the Department of Lands & Forests, was delivered to the Ontario Provincial Air Service (OPAS) on 20Jun56. It was their 5th Otter and was delivered on the same day as their fourth CF-ODP (c/n 103). ODQ pioneered a new system of fighting forest fires in 1957. New 35 gallon tanks made of lightweight material were fitted on top of the floats, filled by two scoops. These tanks, having an operational capacity of 80 imperial gallons, were 6 feet long and 22 inches in diameter and were filled in 10 seconds at 40 mph while taxying on the step. Once airborne, the pilot cascaded the water by rotating the tanks upside down. The original flight tests were carried out on ODQ, which was also used on real fires during 1957. ODQ was to serve the Province for the next 28 years without any recorded incidents (compare this to C-FLEA below!), a remarkable achievement.

As with the other OPAS Otters, c/n 111 was re-registered on 06Sep72 to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources as C-FODQ and continued to serve the Province's bush country.
As the Ministry disposed of its Otter fleet during the mid 1980s, ODQ was sold. Its registration to the Ministry was cancelled on 05Dec84 and it was registered to a company called Ellair Ltd of Thompson, Manitoba. This was in connection with its acquisition by its next operator Northwinds Northern Inc, also of Thompson, to whom it was registered in Mar85. This was quite a large operator, which had a fleet of single Cessnas, a Beaver, several Piper Navajos and Britten Norman Islanders, but ODQ was its only Otter. Having served at Thompson for ten years, it was next registered to Parry Sound Air Services Ltd of McKellar, Ontario in Apr96.

The following year it was registered to Peter Hagedorn Investments Ltd on 22Jul97, trading as Chimo Air Service, based at Red Lake, Ontario and still sporting the all-yellow colour scheme of its days with the Ontario government. It was kept excellent company by the other members of the Chimo Air Service fleet, two Norsemen and a Beech 18.

Greg Lynn sent me this photo of CF-ODQ in Ontario Dept Lands & Forest Markings.
DHC-3 Otter CF-ODQ

Gary P. Bell sent me a 1957 photo of CF-ODQ! Only some 17 months after the plane was delivered to the Ontario Air Service. See Photos by Friends & Guests #34

Scott Alford sent me an update, with C-FODQ now converted to Turbine Otter!
See Photos by Friends & Guests #41

And I received an update in June 2019 (again by Scott), with photo, showing C-FODQ having received a new colourscheme: PHOTOS BY FRIENDS & GUESTS #57 (ODQ was rereg'd to Superior Airways 16Apr2018)


CF-JIN Some history on this fascinating bushplane, Norseman c/n 55: was delivered to the RCAF as aircraft No. 2482 on 02May1941 and assigned to No. 1 Training Command Communications Flight.
It was involved in a Category "C" accident at Aylmer, Ontario on 27Jun41. Transferred to No. 1 A.C. on 15Jan45.
On 19Feb45 it was sent to Noorduyn Aviation for a complete overhaul, the aircraft being time expired.
Overhaul completed and returned on 12Nov45 to No. 6 REMU, Mont Joli, Quebec. The Norseman was sent to No. 11 T.S.U. (Canadian Car and Foundry) on 12Nov51 for reconditioning and installation of a prototype 24 volt system, then returned to No. 6 Repair Depot on 23Jun52.
On 24Nov53 it was struck off record for reduction to spares and scrap. However, RCAF records show it as purchased but donít name a buyer.
It later appears on civil registry as CF-JIN. Austin Airways of Sudbury, Ontario operated 'JIN from 1957 to 1969. Later it operated with Labrador Mining and again later with Norco Associates.
Owned by John Bingley, as C-FJIN, had its registration cancelled on 13Jul83 and then again by 589321 Ontario Ltd., registration cancelled 18Jul85.
Sky North cancelled its ownership on 06Aug87, went to Red Lake Airways who cancelled on 08Apr88. Ownership went to Sky North again, until 19Oct88 and it went to Red Lake Airways again, cancelling 26Sep95. Perhaps (summer)leases made it moving to/fro..?
CF-JIN was registered to Chimo Air Service of Red Lake on 07Dec95. And it featured in the movie "Snow Walker", which was filmed in the Churchill, Manitoba area.

C-FODJ DHC-3 Otter C-FODJ (c/n 14) has 1000hp Pezetel engine , which makes it look a little different from other DHC-3's.

Green Airways has a fleet of float planes which consist of Cessna A185F Skywagon C-GYUY, DHC-2 Beavers C-FVIA , C-GEZU and C-GEZW, Norseman C-FOBE and Otters C-FLEA & C-FLODJ.

From the Karl E. Hayes monograph on the DHC-3 Otter:
Otter number 14 was the first Otter delivered to the Ontario Provincial Air Service, as CF-ODJ on 08May53, registered to the Department of Lands & Forests. It gave the Service its first experience of changing an engine in the field. In July of that year, an unserviceable engine had to be changed when ODJ was working from a remote stretch of the Albany River. Poles had to be flown to the site to create an 'A' frame pulley hoist to change the engine.
Despite this early difficulty, for an incredible 32 years it went on to faithfully service the Province of Ontario without incident, the registration being changed to C-FODJ when it was re-registered to the Province of Ontario, Ministry of Natural Resources in Sep72.
ODJ was used for the same purposes as the other Ontario Government Otters, but in addition ODJ was used extensively for aerial photography, and is believed to have been the only Otter in the world with an extra porthole behind the rear door to facilitate photography...
When the Ontario Otters were disposed of during the mid-1980s, ODJ was sold, its new owners being Green Airways Ltd of Red Lake, Ontario, to whom the Otter was registered in Nov85. With its new owners it continued to provide a full range of bush services, flying out of Red Lake on floats during the summer and on wheel-skis in winter.
Pezetel engine

C-FODJ has been re-engined with the Polish PZL 1,000 hp engine, as has Green Airways other Otter C-FLEA (c/n 286). The work on ODJ was carried out by Airtech Canada at their Peterborough, Ontario facility during January/February 1995.

The history of this DHC-2 Beaver (c/n 714) read as follows:
Delivered on 27Oct54 as 53-7906 to the US Army, it found at some point its way to the US Registry as N62174 (and by 29Feb92 reported as for sale) was later (no date) reregistered as N9029 (no details of seller/buyer) and tailnumber N9047U was registered during Apr87 and cancelled again during Nov87.
Tailnumber C-FVIA was assigned on 14jun88 for Vancouver Island Air Ltd. of Campbell River, BC and present owner Green Airways Ltd had it registered on 25Nov97.
C-GEZU C-GEZU is a DHC-2 Beaver Mk.1 with c/n 647.
It was delivered on 15May54 as 53-8159 to the US ARMY (later transferred to the USAF). It was put in storage at Davis Monthan AFB, AZ from 02Mar72 to 12Feb76 (last operator the New Jersey ANG).
It was imported into Canada during 1976 and registered C-GEZU for Green Airways Ltd. on 05Jan77.
Beavers of Green Airways
Otters of Green Airways
C-FLEA Otter C-FLEA c/n 286 has PZL ASz-621R-M18 radials, instead of the usual Pratt & Whitney R-1340).
Storm'n Norman & Ole Pokey
From the Karl E. Hayes monograph on the DHC-3 Otter (abbreviated):
Otter c/n 286 was delivered to Eastern Provincial Airways Ltd (EPA) of Gander, Newfoundland on 06Nov1958, registered CF-LEA. It was hurriedly ordered by EPA to replace their existing Otter CF-GCV (2), which had crashed on 14th October 1958.
The Otter's operation from Frobisher only lasted for some months, as in Jul59 the contract was taken over by Wheeler Airlines, also using Otters.
CF-LEA flew south to its base at Gander, where for the rest of the year it was used for general charter work and then in the early part of 1960 on the winter mail contract. Its next assignment was to Greenland, where EPA had secured a contract to operate internal air services on behalf of Greenlandair.
CF-LEA continued in service with EPA until 1970, when EPA's bush operation and aircraft were sold to Labrador Airways Ltd. CF-LEA was at Dorval Airport, Montreal in Feb71, being made ready for service with Labrador Airways and being repainted into their colour scheme. LEA was one of 5 Otters taken over by Labrador Airways, and used on their scheduled services to the coastal communities of Labrador from the company's base at Goose Bay.
The Otter met with an accident at Hopedale, Labrador on 19Jul76 on one of these services... After take-off from the runway at Goose, the pilot of the Otter, which was on amphibious floats, did not retract the wheels, causing the Otter to nose over on landing in the water at Hopedale, coming to rest with the left wing in the water. The aircraft then capsized and sank. The pilot had neglected to perform a post take-off check after departure and a pre-landing gear check before landing on the water at Hopedale. That accident ended CF-LEA's career with Labrador Airways.
It was repaired and sold to Cargair Ltee, based at Lac Kaiagamac, St.Michel-des-Saints, Quebec in 1978. On 17May79 at Matagami Airport, Quebec the aircraft drifted off the runway during take-off in a strong, gusty, crosswind. The pilot attempted to continue rather than abort and the left wheel-ski collapsed on striking a gravel hummock beside the runway.
After repair the Otter was sold to Green Airways Ltd of Red Lake, Ontario, to whom it was registered in July 1980. It was painted in the company colours of yellow overall with a green cheatline. It suffered another mishap at Gullrock Lake, Ontario on 21Feb84 ! The pilot was on the return leg of a charter from Papoanga Lake to Red Lake, the company's base when the Otter experienced a partial power loss. During a forced landing on the icecovered lake, the right main gear collapsed. The power loss was due to a cylinder head failure. The gear failed when it struck a snowdrift after touchdown on Gullrock Lake. On 14Apr99, still operated by Green Airways, the Otter had landed at Peisk Lake, Ontario with a group of fishermen. During the taxi to a suitable fishing area, one ski and gear leg broke through the ice. Minor damage to the gear and wing tip was reported, which was repaired.
With Green Airways, LEA flies alongside Otter C-FODJ (14), which the company acquired in 1985. Both Otters have been converted with the Polish PZL one thousand horse power engine. LEA was at Selkirk, Manitoba during April/May 2004 for repairs to damage sustained to the rear fuselage during operation off rough ice the previous winter, before returning to Red Lake for another busy summer's flying...
Step inside...
The cabin
The cabin
Forward cabin

CF-ZMX CF-ZMX c/n 669 is a former USAAF UC-64A (serial 44-70404), delivered on 03Oct1945. It was made available to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) in Nov.1945 for disposal as surplus. Sold to Byrd Air Transport, Dallas, TX and registered as NC59888.
At some later date it was registered in Peru as OB-M-249. In 1971 it was imported into Canada and registered to Bearskin Lake Air Service of Big Trout Lake, Ontario on 24Feb73 as CF-ZMX.
CF-ZMX was bought by Rae Baret in 1977. And registered to Raecom Exploration and Titan Drilling, Yellowknife, NWT in 1978.
It became damaged at Yellowknife on 22Apr81 when take off was attempted in a restricted area and the aircraft hit a boat and dock...
ZMX was shipped to Calgary for repair, but donated to the Calgary Aerospace Museum when the cost of repair was found to be too high. The museum did a trade with Joe McBryan for Sikorsky helicopter CF-JTI in 1987.
At some point it was repaired and on 20Jul01 it was registered to Trout Lake Lodge of Red Lake, Ontario.
Trout Lake Lodge has been owned by Jack and Heather Green since 1989. Jack has been in the family business, Green Airways Ltd, since 1950.

The Noorduyn Norseman made its first flight on 14Nov1935 and it is amazing to see it still in use in commercial aviation, in the role it was intended for.
While the first Norsemans were sold to civilian operators, the Canadian air force also obtained a number (first through requisitioning some for the war effort, then 8 were ordered, followed by an order for 74).
The USAAF ordered the Noorduyn UC-64 Norseman too, convinced by its versatility to be able to operate on wheels, floats and skis in a variety of roles. As such it also operated in Europe during 1994, flying supplies, evacuating the wounded and dropping paratroopers. Even missions at night were flown, in support of the French Resistance. Story goes, a Norseman was the first Allied aircraft to land on liberated French soil after the June 1944 invasion.
On 15Dec1944 Major Glenn Miller flew from England to France, to join his orchestra and perform for the troops in liberated Paris. His Norseman 44-70285 left RAF Twinwood Farm in Bedfordshire but disappeared over The Channel without a trace, a sad and unsolved mystery to this very day.
[Source: Verenigde Vleugels, jan.2008]

'Bob' Noorduyn passed away in 2008.


Here's a tale how one my end up here, flying bushplanes (and get a start in aviation).

"My name is Kent Davis.
I went up to Red Lake in 1968 with a commercial license and about 300 hours flying time. I got a job on the dock with a company called Holiday Airways. It was owned by two brothers, Joe and George Amodeo.
I worked there for about 3 weeks and one of the pilots quit and Joe asked me if I could fly a Cessna 180. Of course I said yes! and 20 minutes later I was taking 3 guests out to Big Trout Lake Lodge.
The aircraft was CF-LBR.

Anyway, I flew in the bush in Northern Ontario and Northern Manitoba until January of 1972 and then joined Air Canada and flew with them for 33 years.
I retired in 2005 and I am still flying today. In fact I am going to spend the summer flying a Beaver and Turbine Otter in Ketchikan, Alaska!
Can't seem to get it out of my blood.
If you ever want to hear some stories, let me know!"
Kent Davis (a.k.a. Kato)


Terminal III...
Viking Outposts CF-FQI is a Noorduyn Norseman Mk.V with construction number 364. This superb bushplane was registered to Viking Outposts on 14May93, the year the company was founded.
Our visit to Red Lake was on Sunday 30Sep07, nothing stirred but 2 planes were out.
The last flight of Viking Outposts this season was on 15Oct07, bringing the last visitors back to Red Lake and pilots Hugh, Davin & JB flew the 3 planes to Selkirk,Man. for maintenance. Viking Outpost Air flies a Cessna A185E Skywagon, DHC-2 Beaver C-GGMB and Norseman CF-FQI.
CF-FQI Norseman

Red Lake
The municipality consists of 6 small towns (Balmertown, Cochenour, Madsen, McKenzie Island, Red Lake and Staratt-Olsen) and has a local population of approximately 8,500 people.
Red Lake is an end of the road community that acts as a cargo, passenger and tourism hub for North-western Ontario. With Pickle Lake, Red Lake services over 20 northern fly-in communities.

C-FLON at Red Lake Airport
Mystery guest?

A quick look at the airport learned Sunday is a day of rest there too! It must have been different...
Red Lake experienced a sudden surge of economic, industrial, and population growth with the discovery of gold in 1926. By 1936, Red Lake's Howey Bay was the busiest airport in the world with more flights landing and taking off per hour than any other...
In 1995 Goldcorp, owners of the Red Lake Mine discovered that it contained the world's richest grade gold ore (2 troy ounces of gold per metric ton). Shortly thereafter, the mine suffered through a 4-year long miners' strike. But since then the mine has become one of the richest gold mines in the world.
Today, the airport is a "Mini-Hub" facilitating travel to and from all northern communities in North-western Ontario. Four airway companies take advantage of Red Lakes close proximity to the northern communities. Bearskin Airlines, NAC AIR, Superior Airways, and Wasaya Airways all operate out of "YRL". But all I found on this particular sunday was Piper PA-23 C-FLQN (which I mistook for C-FLON but Gordon Reid put me right), and a damaged plane on a trailer, identity unknown...

I could have seen here a Wasaya Airways HS748... Timo de Vries had more luck...


We found this wreckage, outside the airport perimeter, obviously disgarded...
From Sep.1968 until Mar.1978 CF-XVF was the registration for a Beech 18.
I would welcome details on its history as well as about this damage. Was it hauled from a lake perhaps?
John Hume provided the following details-
Beech 3N with construction number CA-29; identities: 1454 RCAF - CF-XVF, Apr69 - C-FXVF Ontario Central Airlines - Crashed 17Feb75.
Bob Parmerter, Beech 18 specialist, wrote:
A-629 / CA-29: Beech 3N RCAF 1454 TOC 20Oct51 Training Comm Stn Winnipeg. Sold 09Oct68 by CADC to Ontario Central Airlines Ltd, Redditt ON as CF-XVF. Accident (destroyed) 17Feb75 at Red Lake when it took off downwind with 850 lbs overload and ice on the wings... aircraft shuddered violently after lift off and then settled into the snow 800 ft beyond the runway.
Registration was cancelled on 23Mar78.

Sam Cole wrote me in Dec.2009:
"I would like to add some information on the wreck of CF-XVF.
I was there the day this plane met its end. Roly Heinl was the skipper, when it took off for Sandy Lake, 144 miles north of Red Lake.
It was late one morning in February, I believe. Roly taxied out for a take off toward the east. A light snow was falling and the visibility was about a mile or two. The ambient temperature was slightly below freezing and the snow that settled on the wings melted into water droplets.
As Roly started his take off, the water froze...
Roly had on a load of sugar, a farm wagon and one passenger in the copilot's seat. The bush pilot credo is to 'never give up' and when the Beech did not become airborne, near the end of the runway, Roly fire-walled the engines, then nailed a 4 foot high snow berm at the end of the field, slammed into the air and tried to keep the thing airborne!
About 1.000 feet past the end of the runway was a ditch and the dirt that had been removed from this excavation was heaped and frozen hard, about 3 or 4 feet high. Roly managed to keep the airplane in the air, pulling the nose higher as he went, until he nailed that berm, tearing off the left engine, actually both engines...
He bounced another couple of hundred feet, landing on top of the right engine, in a great cloud of snow.
The cockpit basically broke off and took on a sort off Concorde look, when it settled on the right engine.
Roly dusted himself off and waded back to the field and was picked up by an airport employee who was checking the strip for snow build up.
The passenger was brought out by snowmobile and survived as well, although I doubt he continued with his travel plans."

In july 2016 Sam sent me these images as an update to the above dramatic event:
Beech 18 CF-XVF written off
Beech 18 CF-XVF crash site
P.S.: "the plane was owned by OCA. At the time, I was flying the Norseman CF-KVB and the pictures Ray Fread sent you of CF-KVB were taken on the ice at Pickle Lake, while I was in charge of it, so to speak."


Dragged out of a lake?
Cabin plucked empty
This reminds me of something Ken Lubinski wrote me in Nov. 2007, describing flying in the North:
In the early to mid-1980's I did a lot of work in the eastern Artic. Mostly Baffin Island and some around the northern part of Hudson Bay. The land on Baffin is very rugged. Large hills, which could aslo be labelled 'small mountains'...).
All of the settlements are coastal, usually between 400-1.000 people. They usually get air service once or twice a week. Runways are difficult to build in such a rugged country, hard to find a flat area. Usually they are short, with a cliff or hill along side and ending at the water...
The crew always used up every inch of the runway. I flew in larger aircraft. Sizes ranged from a Twin Otter to types such as DC-3, DC-6, DHC-5 Buffalo, DHC-4 Caribou, 727 and a few C-130's were around too.
Mostly the flights I was on were cargo, flying construction materials to job sites.
When we were taking off, the pilot would always hold the throttles open with his hand, until we were airborne. I assumed it was a safety issue, so the levers could not slide back. Occasionally, around mid way through the takeoff, I would see the the copilot cover the pilot's hand with his... Now both pilots have their hands on the throttles.
One day after landing, I asked the senior pilot what was up with everybody hanging on to the throttle. He smiled, and said quietly:"Sometimes on a short runway, the wind is not favorable for takeoffs. Two-thirds way through the takeoff, it becomes the point of no return. You cannot take the chance the other pilot may panic, pull back and abort..."

When we returned from the airport, daylight diminishing quickly and a light drizzle coming down, we noticed beside the road (driving on the airport road) a DHC-3 Otter which had just arrived at its homebase... Decided to have a look.
Amik Outposts is located here and it operates this Otter to destinations such as Blackbirch Lake, Cherrington Lake, Chukuni River, Cobham River, Findlay Lake, Jeanette Lake, Loree Lake, Shearstone Lake, Springpole Lake and Vee Lake. Amik Outposts used to be based in Ear Falls.
Home after a long day From the Karl E. Hayes monograph on the DHC-3 Otter:
Otter c/n 67 was completed during March 1955, being taken on charge by DHC on 01Apr55 and registered to De Havilland Canada as CF-HXY. It was the prototype amphibian Otter and its test flying from Downsview was undertaken using the registration CF-HXY-X. After the amphibian trials had been successfully completed, DHC retained the Otter as a demonstrator aircraft, until it was sold to Eastern Provincial Airways (EPA) of Gander, NFL on 16Sep61.
EPA then had a contract to operate internal air services within Greenland and on 21Sep61 HXY was flown to Greenland. The Otter was re-registered to Eastern Provincial Airways (1963) Ltd in September 1963, after EPA had merged with Maritime Central Airways, but HXY remained based in Greenland.
The services in Greenland operated year round, on floats in summer and wheel-skis in winter. In 1963 the Greenland operation transported over 9.000 passengers between Sondrestrom and the south west points on the network. These services continued until the contract came to an end in May 1965. HXY then returned to Canada and was based at Goose Bay.
On 16Mar67 at Goose Bay during a daily inspection of the aircraft, maintenance personnel discovered substantial damage had occurred to the rear fuselage section... This consisted of wrinkled skin, buckled box section around the tail wheel, major damage to the bottom of the fuselage bulkhead and stringers on both sides of the fuselage. The pilot reported that he had landed at several different points in Labrador the previous day and that landing conditions were rough due to hard packed snowdrifts. The Otter was ferried to a repair facility for repair.
CF-HXY continued in service with EPA until 1970, when EPA's bush operation and aircraft were sold to Labrador Airways Ltd. HXY was one of 5 Otters taken over by Labrador Airways for use on scheduled services to the coastal communities of Labrador. The Otter flew on these services until sold in 1973 to Austin Airways Ltd, a prominent northern Ontario bush operator, which featured quite a number of Otters in its fleet, flown from several bases in northern Ontario.
Austin A/W then had a maintenance base at Mount Hope, the municipal airport at Hamilton, Ontario and the work programme starting on 01Nov73 included the following for HXY in preparation for its entry into service with Austin Airways: "To be painted. HF and VHF radios to be installed. Complete inspection. Ground run. Test fly. Paper work and licence. Complete ski installation". HXY went on to serve the communities of northern Ontario with Austin Airways for 4 years, until sold in 1977 to St.Andrews Airways of Winnipeg. It remained with them only briefly, being acquired in April 1978 by Lac Seul Airways Ltd of Ear Falls, Ontario who converted the Otter to the Polish PZL- 1000 engine. Twenty six years later, the Otter was still in service with Lac Seul Airways.
During the winter of 2005/06 the Otter was overhauled at Silver Falls, Manitoba with Winnipeg River Aircraft and repainted yellow overall with black cheatline, replacing the red and white colour scheme it had carried for many years. After a busy summer 2006 season, it arrived at Sioux Lookout, Ontario 16 October 2006 for winter storage with Northern Airborne Maintenance.
While C-FHXY is operated by Amik Outposts, it is still registered to Lac Seul Airways (nov.2007).

Bruce has been in the Remote Fly-in Tourism business since the early 1970ís, when he and his former partner, Vic Davis, started Northern Wilderness Outfitters out of Ft. Frances, Ontario. With 32 years of bush flying experience Bruce holds down the position of chief pilot and operations manager. He closely monitors the day-to-day operations with a priority on flight safety to and from the camps. After retiring for a 9-year period to spend time with his family, Bruce purchased Lac Seul Airways in 1998 and Amik Outposts in 2000. Debbie owns Canadian Fly In Fishing, the U.S. booking company. Her office ( takes and coordinates reservation requests & inquiries. [Source: ]
Closing down
Cockpit The cockpit of C-FHXY had a sign showing "GPS restricted to VFR flights".

An all weather assignment

Thanks to all operators for their hospitality, knowingly or unknowingly, and to Alain Rioux for pointing the way!


Denny McCartney is not a writer, but that doesn't show! An immensely nice read.
He wrote a book about the period after his career as Chief Engineer for Northland Airlines, turning to an independent adjuster / repair mecanic / salvage teamleader.
The book describes how he single-handedly or with assistance picked broken planes from glaciers, repaired crashed bushplanes from the trees to fly out again and brought floatplanes facing doom in water or ice safely home.

Picking Up The Pieces
Published 2002, Trafford ISBN 1-55369-602-6

Denny McCartney worked on contracts for insurance companies to estimate the costs for salvage and repairs of broken aeroplanes. The types varied from Cessna single engine planes to a giant four-engined Lockheed Hercules... He got them home for final repairs.
The period of time this mostly took place was late-1950s to mid-1960s.
Denny succeeded in "first-aid" repairs to fly most of these crashed planes out under own power, some of them were towed or floated by barge.
It is interesting to read what was acceptable as working circumstances, being mostly out in the Arctic North, 19-hour working days, freezing cold, sleeping in tents...
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!
Pity the insurance companies ceased this patching-up-getting-them-home business, Denny could have written more books!
Most chapters describe one event, I've tried to list the type of aircraft, tailnumber and/or operator/owner:
DHC-3 CF-GBY Wardair (History on 'Otterflogger' by Karl Hayes)
DHC-3 CF-LAP Gateway Aviation
DHC-2 CF-... Connelly Dawson Air Service
Cessna 180 CF-... Peterson Air Service
Aero Commander N  
Cessna 180 CF-UQL  
Cessna 182 CF-IAG  
DHC-3 CF-ITS Gateway Aviation ?
DHC-3 CF-ROW Transprovincial Air Carriers
DHC-2 CF-FHZ Terr-Air? See
Grumman Widgeon   Ben Ginter
Helio Courier   Lamb Air?
Avro Anson Mk.5 CF-PAC Pacific Western Airlines
Cessna 180   Branson's Lodge
Cessna 185 CF-GPL Canyon Airways
DHC-2 CF-HGY B.C. Yukon Air Services see
Helio Courier CF-R.. Perry Linton
Grumman Goose CF-HUY Plummer's Great Bear Lake Lodge
Cessna 310 C-FPPF Whitehorse Flying School
HS.748 C-FMAK Calm Air
DHC-3 C-FSUB Air North
C-130 Hercules CF-PWN Pacific Western Airlines
Curtiss C-46 CF-PWD Pacific Western Airlines REPORT
Cessna 180 CF-VGM? Triway Air
Piper PA.18 CF-JGI  

Showing one side of the versatile Norseman is this article SURVEY FLYING IN CANADA by Lt-Gen Bill Carr (CMM DFC CD), published in the March 2007 issue of Aeroplane Monthly.

This list may be of interest: NORSEMAN'S IN CANADA 2016 : LIST (.pdf)

"Red Lake" by Robert S. Grant
'Red Lake: Norseman Capital of the World'
by Robert S.Grant.
Thanks to Michael Prophet for buying me this fascinating, little book upon his visit in 2009

Tales from the Lakeview
Tales From The Lakeview, collected aviation stories by Robert S. Grant
Published by in 2011 this book offers the reader an intimate view inside the world of Canadian wilderness flying. The famous Lakeview Restaurant at Red lake, Ontario is a pilot hangout and off-duty gathering place since 1932. More than 20 working airplane types are profiled (e.g. deHavilland DHC-2 Beaver and DHC-3 Otter, Douglas DC-3 and Junkers 52/1m) with special attention to the Noorduyn Norseman as also featured on the cover this little jewel of a book.


Individual histories of Noorduyn Norseman's
Viking Outposts
Green Airways aka Green's Fly-in Camps
Amik Outposts
Eric Dumigan has excellent air-to-air photos of Norseman CF-JIN.
Red Lake on Wikipedia
The Northern Sun News
Highway 105
Report by Trevor McTavish on the Norseman Festival 2006
Northwestern Ontario Fly-in Fishing Lodges and Resorts

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


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