Restoration Update: Al Nelson is Co-chief of Restoration at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada. Al took us on a walk through the ongoing restoration of Fairchild FC-2W2, G-CYWU–an aircraft known as a “Razorback.” After nearly a decade of work by dozens of skilled volunteers, the wings of this aircraft are nearly complete and work has begun on the fuselage. In this video shot late in 2014, Al Nelson explains the next steps and complications in bringing this rare piece of Canadian history back to its original flight-worthy condition.
The photo above is the only known photograph of Razorback, G-CYWU.
(Left to right): Wilf Keith, Gary Boggs, Don Perera, Earl Feathers, Larry LaGrange are a few of the volunteers working to restore G-CYWU.
The Fairchild FC-2 was the first commercial airplane built by Fairchild Aircraft, beginning production in 1927. Fairchild set a new standard for northern flying with features such as an enclosed cockpit and folding wings. G-CYWU was one of the first two enclosed cockpit aircraft operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force. G-CYWU conducted survey missions in the Canadian Arctic for two years, before being damaged beyond repair on Crystal Island, Artillery Lake, Northwest Territories (200 miles east of Yellowknife) on September 27, 1930.
The wreckage was identified in 2005. Beginning in August 2006, a crew arrived at the crash site and photographed everything in sight. The next day, pieces of the wreckage were packaged into a bundle, weighing about 800 pounds and awaited helicopter pick up.
The photos below are of other Fairchild Razorback’s and are from our museum archives.