Article: de Havilland: Meeting the Demands of a World Market

  • DHC Otter-640x250
    March, 1953, Aircraft & Airport

    The “happy ship” of Canada’s aircraft industry is without a doubt the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited. The combination of team spirit, high morale, ambition, and development & production achievement is indeed rare, yet all are to be found in full measure at de Havilland Canada, which is this year celebrating its 25th year in this country.

    The continuing presence of these admirable qualities is directly reflected in the excellent record of the company. It would be redundant to dwell on the qualities of the Beaver, production of which has now passed the 500 mark, and which is in service in 23 countries on five continents. It is also the first Canadian-designed and manufactured airplane to be sold to the U.S. military services during peacetime. Used by both the USAF and the U.S. Army, it is known to them as the L-20. Production of civil and military models during the year ended September 30, 1952, totalled 232.

    The Otter is progressing satisfactorily and its reception indicates that it will be a worthy complement to the Beaver, rather than a replacement. Delivery is scheduled this month for the RCAF and will represent the first of a series intended to replace the Air Forces Norsemen. In this respect, 15 RCAF Norsemen have been sold to the Royal Norwegian Air Force and 11 of these are being completely overhauled at de Havilland prior to being sent overseas. These aircraft will be modified during the course of overhaul to comply with the latest specs.

    Other projects include the completion of the RCAF contract to overhaul and modify some 41 Lancasters for maritime reconnaissance use. While this work is all but complete, it is thought that there may be an additional contract placed by the Air Force. The Vampire and Goblin overhaul work continues on a gradually diminishing basis, since Vampires are now in service with Reserve Squadrons only and normal service attrition is gradually cutting down their numbers. Preparations are also being made to service the RCAF’s Comets, the first of which is to be delivered this month.

    It is fitting that in this anniversary year, de Havilland should be getting a new home. The new plant will cost about $7,000,000 to complete and will provide approximately 600,000 square feet of floor space, including that of the flight test hangar, on which construction was completed late last year. It is expected that de Havilland will be able to occupy the main factory by the year’s end. The plant will be fitted with such modern conveniences as powered overhead doors and will be one of the most modern in North America. Bay No. 2, the overhaul bay, will have powered overhead doors at both ends and has been designed and built to handle efficiently such aircraft as the Comet 3 (as has the flight test hangar). The present plant has been bought by the Department of National Defence for $5,000,000 and will be incorporated in the RCAF air materiel base that is being developed at Downsview. As part of the terms of the agreement with the Government, de Havilland was allotted 96 acres at the southwest corner of Downsview Airport on which to build the new plant.

    Headed by P. C. Garratt, Vice President & Managing Director, the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada now employs some 2,200 persons.

    DHC Otter-Fullsize

    This article originally appeared in the March, 1953 edition of Aircraft & Airport magazine. The image is of an advertisement for the Otter from the magazine and is from our library and archives.

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