Flying Boats Raises Some Hairs
Consolidated PBY Canso, CF-CRV
Lorne Langstaff worked as an air engineer with Canadian Pacific Airways in the 1940s and ’50s at the company’s original float plane base at the end of Brandon Avenue, on the banks of the Red River, in Winnipeg. Ever stoic, Langstaff relates two hair-raising experiences flying Noorduyn Norseman and PBY Canso flying boats in northern Manitoba which may have shaken less-experienced airmen.
Langstaff sat down for an interview at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada in February 2014.
Noorduyn Norseman, CF-BHW
Noorduyn Norseman, CF-BFT
This 1939 photo of Noorduyn Norseman, CF-BFT, shows the plane undergoing cold weather engine start-up procedures at an unidentified northern airport. CF-BFT was built in 1938 and at the time of the photo was operated by Hudson Bay Air Transport. It is now owned by the Canadian Heritage Bushplane Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and is the oldest operational Norseman in the world.
Consolidated PBY Canso
Last built in 1945, the Consolidated PBY Canso, a Canadian-built amphibious flying boat, was the standard RCAF anti-submarine aircraft of late WWII. The Canso was once a familiar sight in Canada’s northern skies, being operated by bush flying services such as Canadian Pacific Airways and Transair. Eventually, construction of airstrips at remote settlements eliminated the requirement for amphibious aircraft. In 1977, there were 39 PBYs registered in Canada; however, by 1990 fewer than 20 remained. Those remaining were mostly used for water-bombing.