Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Bushplanes at Savant Lake, Ontario

In search of the bushplanes of North America, I made a roadtrip through Northwest Ontario.

Northwest Ontario
We left Sioux Lookout and drove some 120 kms (of which a 100 kms through heavily wooded country, without any turn offs except maybe a logroad and no other traffic to speak off: a dull drive) to Savant Lake. That is, we took a left turn at the end, going north on Road 599 a little bit, for Staughton Lake, as that is where 2 bushplane outfits are based: West Caribou Air and Art Latto Air Service.
After the visit we drove to Savant Lake, for directions to Rusty Myers' base (which is south of town).
The weather wasn't too good for photography, but it wasn't too bad for flying...


West Caribou Air


Terminal of West Caribou Air
My charming assistent awaits the arrival of the Noorduyn Norseman...
When I drove up here I thought I was out of luck, but we were treated on hot coffee and soon saw the Noorduyn Norseman arrive. What more could one ask for on a chilly, windy day?


Noorduyn UC-64A Norseman C-FKAS (c/n 367, ex/ 43-5376 USAAF) was registered on 20Jun05 for West Caribou Air Service Inc.
It is seen here arriving from a short hop, carrying a few hunters into the woods.
Noorduyn Norseman
Arrival of C-FKAS
The boss himself
A work of art !!
FKAS is moored to the deck
Soon to leave for Pickle Lake

It was supposed to be the only flight of the day, but while we talked a telephone call came in that would take it to Pickle Lake. The weather was a bit of a concern and indeed by the time we left Savant Lake we had rain and hail coming down on us... Weather is a fickle thing in these parts.
For West Caribou Air the season was almost over too. I needed no reminder from the cold nip in the wind to buy myself a souvenir sweatshirt and cap!

Late 2009 Norseman CF-FOX of Caribou Air became fully restored, see images by Rich Hulina on my pages Photos by Friends & Guests, PAGE 17 and PAGE 22 (on skis!)


This Noorduyn Norseman c/n 367 was delivered to the USAAF as aircraft No. 43-5376 on 01Mar1944 and flown to Venice AAF on March 9th.
On 12Sep45 it was sssigned to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, Augusta,GA for disposal as surplus.
It was subsequently sold to Walker Airways of Detroit, Michigan and registered as NC63742. Reported as having gone to South America in 1946 and returning to the U.S. civil register as N47801 in 1973.
Upon import to Canada, it was registered CF-KAS for G. Maryk and A. Ganchow (Tall Timber Lodge) of Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba 30Sep81. Re-registered to George Maryk Etal of Lac du Bonnet in October 1987.
A sale was reported in November 1987 but no details available.
Registered to Kyro’s (Albany River) Airways of Geraldton, Ontario on 25Mar88 and then on 30Apr90 to Dominion Airlines Inc. also of Geraldton.
CF-KAS was registered next to W.A. Ferring of Armstrong, Ontario on 27Aug90. Again, a sale was reported in May 1992 but no details available, alas.
Michael Wiktowy of Thunder Bay, Ontario became the new owner on 22Jul92. The aircraft was reported as having suffered substantial damage when a float fitting failed while operating in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands. No details.
Gerald Arnold of St. Albert,ALB became the new owner on 25Jul95. Am not sure if there weren't any other owners/operators between 1995 and 2005 when it was acquired by West Caribou Air.


C-FKAS noorduyn Norseman

Cessna 185A C-FBWP (c/n 185-0430), registered to West Caribou Air on 08Jun05


Almost next door is Art Latto Air Service
Art Latto Air Service
No one around, except someone chopping wood. The flying season had just about ended here.


Cessna 180H C-FLEW ( c/n 18052192) was registered to Art Latto Air Service on 27May88

Noorduyn Norseman C-FBHZ
This is actually what we came here for: Noorduyn Norseman Mk.V C-FBHZ (c/n N29-13).
It has a metalized aft belly.

Sadly C-FBHZ crashed in July 2008! I was unable to find any details on the accident (EMAIL)
In 2016 the wing was reported to be at Northland Aircraft Services (NAS) in Ontario.


On the dock, all quiet
C-FBHZ was registered to Art Latto Air Service on 01Jun88.
Art Latto's Seaplane base
Art Latto's seaplane base
The fleet at rest


Norseman c/n N29-13 CF-BHZ / C-FBHZ has the following history to its name...
It was registered to Canadian Pacific Airlines as CF-BHZ on 14Mar46. CPA fleet No. 65.
next it became registered to F.H. Wheeler of St. Jovite, Quebec on 01Jan49 and re-registered on June 9th, 1950 to Wheeler Airlines Ltd.
Central British Colombia Airways Ltd. of Kamloops,BC became the new owner (later Pacific Western Airlineso of Vancouver,BC.) on 20Jun51 and re-registered again to Pacific Western Airlines during 1953.
On 19Jun59 CF-BHZ was registered to BC Airlines of Vancouver, BC., followed shortly by a move to Harrison Airways Ltd. ofVancouver on 20Jun51.
It suffered substantial damage at Harrison Lake, BC on 27Jul61 when a float broke off during the takeoff run. CoA expired on 18Jun62. The aircraft was repaired and registered to St. Felicien Air Service of St. Felicien, Quebec on 22Dec69.
On 19Jan78 it was registered to MacKenzie Air Ltd. of Hay River,NWT. The next year, on 26Apr79, it joined Century Air Service (registered to Gallery Cabaret Ltd. of Yellowknife, 25Jul79)
During 1980 C-FBHZ went to MGR Corporation Ltd. of Yellowknife.
The Norseman went to yet another province when it was registered to Central Air Transport Ltd. of Sioux Lookout, Ontario in July 1985. In Feb86 it was bought by Mike Hackman of Edmonton,ALB.
Next we see it registered to Art Latto of Eady Lake, Ontario on February 25, 1988. Later it was reregistered to Art Latto Air Service Ltd., Savant Lake, ONT.



Savant Lake is a small community in Northwestern Ontario along Secondary Highway 599, roughly halfway between Ignace and Pickle Lake.
The community is also connected to Sioux Lookout via Secondary Highway 516. It is also the proposed northern terminus of an extension of Tertiary Highway 811, if it is extended.
The CN transcontinental rail line passes through the town. Savant Lake (Sturgeon Lake) Water Aerodrome is located 3.5 nautical miles (6.5 km) southeast.
Source: Wikipedia
Next, we continued to Savant Lake; we had a look in the General Store / Souvenir Shop but came out with only the advise how to get to Rusty Myers' base. After a modest lunch across the road, we followed instructions and followed Road 599 south until we came to a dome-shaped structure used for storing sand; we turned into an unpaved road here and followed it for 15 minutes deep into the woods and arrived at our destination.
Rusty Myers at Savant Lake


Waiting room We found the place deserted, no one around and all was quiet.
The large building was a night accommodation and a waiting room. I assume many an hour was spent here waiting for the weather to improve here, there & everywhere..
No one was at the office either.
Rusty Myers Seaplane base at Savant Lake


Beech 3NM C-FRPL (A-875 / CA-225) was registered to Rusty Myers Flying Service (1986) Ltd of Ft.Frances on 30Jun65.


Twin Beech C-FRPL
A different look at things
Rusty Myers Flying Service
come back some other time



The Beechcraft Model 18, or "Twin Beech", as it was better known, is a 6-11 place, twin-engine, low-wing, conventional-gear aircraft that was manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. This model saw service during and after World War II in a number of versions including the United States Army Air Forces C-45 Expeditor, AT-7 Navigator, AT-11 Kansan, and for the United States Navy, UC-45J Navigator and the SNB-1 Kansan.
The Beech 18 is the most modified US-certified aircraft design, with over 200 FAA approved Supplemental Type Certificates on record for the aircraft.
The aircraft uses have included aerial spraying, sterile bug release, fish seeding, dry ice cloud seeding, aerial fire fighting, airborne mail pick up and drop, ambulance service, numerous movie productions, skydiving, freight, gun and drug smuggling, engine test bed, skywriting and banner tow. A number of Model 18s were operated as passenger aircraft. The Model 18 was also the first aircraft flown by Philippine Airlines, Asia's first and oldest airline. Many are now in private hands as highly prized collectibles.
[Source: Wikipedia]


Done for the season?
Awaiting darkness of wintertime






Thanks to Alain Rioux, who suggested I include this detour while leaving Sioux Lookout for Ignace; see his photos on And thanks to West Caribou Air, Art Latto Air Service and Rusty Myers flying Service (who had me unknowingly as a visitor) for having me -and my camera- on their premises.


West Caribou Air
Rusty Myers Flying Service
Individual histories of Noorduyn Norseman's
Northwestern Ontario Fly-in Fishing Lodges and Resorts

The Roads Goes On...Forever :
Vermilion Bay
Ear Falls
Red Lake
Sioux Lookout
Fort Frances
Nestor Falls

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Created: 09-Feb-2008