March, 1953, Aircraft & Airport
Late last year when James Young, chairman of the board of Canadian Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Co. Limited, pushed the button that started the first R-1340 Wasp to be made by his company’s new Manufacturing Division, he was seeing the culmination of 25 years of work. For it was in 1928 that he resigned as vice-president of The John Bertram & Sons Co. Limited, and the Pratt & Whitney Co. of Canada Limited, to organize Canadian Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. He was president of the firm from the time of its inception until shortly after World War II, when he moved up to his present post and the presidency was taken over by Ronald T. Riley.
While this formal ceremony marking the completion of the first engines was held on December 30, the first two engines had actually completed their preliminary tests during the preceding week. Mr. Young’s action really marked the start of the 150-hour qualification test, which is standard for units produced by a new manufacturing organization.
By the end of January, the first engines had been delivered for installation in the Harvard 4s being manufactured at Fort William by Canadian Car & Foundry. This meant that Canadian P & W was meeting its initial requirements of its contract with the Department of Defence Production more than three months ahead of schedule.
As Canada’s lone manufacturer of reciprocating engines, and in fact the one and only maker of the R-1340 “H” Wasp anywhere, Canadian Pratt & Whitney Aircraft has assumed new importance to the commercial and military aviation interests of not only Canada, but every other major country outside the “Iron Curtain.” The engine is used in all the many variants of the T-6 (Harvard 4, USAF T-6G, USN SNJ), the Norseman, the Otter (a geared version), and the Sikorsky S-55. All of these, except the Otter, are now in widespread use. The number of T-6 aircraft in use alone numbers over 10,000. Consequently, though Canadian P & W now holds a production order for something like 1,000 complete engines, it is expected that long after this is filled, a large part of the new plant’s capacity will be engaged in meeting the enormous demand for spares.
The new plant, located at suburban Jacques Cartier, near Montreal, is of the most modern steel, brick, and tile construction and covers approximately 340,000 square feet of floor space. It is capable of expansion to four times its present size. Ground was first broken to start construction of the new facilities in June of 1951 and by May of 1952 the initial production operations had been started in the new building. Though deliveries of much-essential machinery were slow, the bulk of the most vital machine tools are now on hand. Shortages of this equipment made it necessary for Canadian P & W to exercise considerable ingenuity to get the first engines completed.
Present production schedules for the R-1340 use only a portion of the new Canadian facilities, which have a capacity of 300 engines per month. When added production is needed, output can be stepped up substantially. According to the company, the organisation that has been established is capable of producing a wide range of aircraft engines and parts, and plans are already underway to develop production of Pratt & Whitney engines and parts other than the R-1340.
The overhaul & Supply Division continues in full operation at Longueuil, about one mile from the Manufacturing Division. It employs approximately 500 persons on overhaul and service of all types of P & W engines, Hamilton Standard propellers, Sikorsky helicopters, and Pesco aircraft accessories.
This article originally appeared in the March, 1953 edition of Aircraft and Airport magazine.