April, 1946, Aircraft and Airport
The utility of the aircraft for varied purposes is becoming more and more apparent to the business world where speed and time are essentials. Few firms, however, have taken the matter firmly in hand, purchased a plane and put it to work. One organisation, which has taken advantage of all the conveniences of air transportation and adapted them to specific purposes is the London Free Press Printing Company of London, Ontario, owners and publishers of the London Free Press newspaper, and owner and operators of Radio Station CFPL, well known to the population of South-western Ontario. This company is today the only newspaper in Canada to own and operate its own aircraft, a five-passenger, twin-engine Cessna ‘Crane’.
Immediate use of the aircraft is for transporting reporters and photographers to the scene of quick-breaking news. With this machine it is possible for Free Press men to attend meetings of provincial and national importance and to return quickly with first-hand information and pictures of these events. Special fittings for aerial photography are to be installed, and the plane will carry two-way communication for facilitation of airway flying control.
In the near future, it is hoped that permission will be obtained from the Department of Transport for the installation and use of radio telephony communication between the aircraft in flight and the editorial offices of the Free Press. With this equipment it will be possible for the editors to keep in intimate touch with minute-to-minute developments of news events and for commentators of station CFPL to broadcast in flight through the main transmitter.
Named as official pilot of the aircraft is W.E. Corfield, for the past year a member of the Free Press editorial staff, and former pilot of the RCAF. His flying experience dates from 1937 when he joined the St. Catharines Flying Club, and he has held a commercial pilot’s license for nearly seven years. In his appointment, Mr. Corfield becomes the first pilot-reporter in Canada. His pre-war reportorial experience, coupled with his war flying hours make him ideally suited to this position, and it has meant a considerable saving in operating the aircraft for the purpose for which it was purchased.
The Cessna Crane is an aircraft of the type widely used by the RCAF during the war for pilot training, navigation and wireless instruction, and personnel transportation. It is powered by twin Jacobs L4MB radial engines developing 225 hp each, and has a cruising speed of 140 mph with a five-hour range.
Originally purchased from War Assets, the aircraft was converted and fitted to meet the requirements specified by its present owners. It is painted in ‘consolidated blue’ and trimmed in grey. On either side of the cabin, above the windows, the name London Free Press and radio station call letters have been painted. Officially known as CF-DCL, ‘the flying newsroom’ will soon be a familiar sight at all major news event within a wide radius of London, and it will be another proof that ‘an aircraft is what you make it’.
This article originally appeared in the April, 1946 edition of Aircraft and Airport magazine.