March, 1953, Aircraft & Airport
In the few years since General Dynamics Corporation (or Electric Boat Company as it was then known) bought control of Canadair Limited, the Canadian firm has gained the well-deserved reputation of having the ability to turn out complex aircraft with the facility of an expert cook cutting cookies out of soft dough.
Since that time Canadair has grown prodigiously to the point where it dwarfs its parent company. It now operates two main factories, together with the recently acquired CanCar plant, all on Cartierville Airport, in addition to numerous factory locations spotted in and around Montreal. Recent addition to No. 1 plant brings the total amount of plant area under roof to an estimated 2,250,000 square feet. And while plant space has been growing, so has employment; now it has passed the 13,000 mark.
For the last two years, the big production item at Canadair has been the F-86E, of which more than 500 have now been produced. The current production rate is 40 per month, a rate that will be maintained until the deliveries to the RAF are complete. As production on this model is tapered off, the initial production of the Sabre 5 – the improved Orenda-powered version – will be phased in. The first of the new model is expected off the production line in June of this year. It is understood that the RCAF will replace all of its F-86E’s with Sabre 5’s, so that all of its first-line aircraft will have a standard engine. This would indicate that Canadair will be expected to build at least 400 of the Orenda version.
Equal in importance to the Sabre production job is the T-33A program, which has just started to roll and which will build up to a 40-per-month peak. This contract is for 576 aircraft valued at $100,000,000. The Canadair-built version of the T-33 differs from the U.S. version in that it is powered by a Rolls-Royce Nene 10, whereas the Lockheed version has an Allison J-33. The first aircraft under this contract was delivered during February, with the rate of delivery slated to increase rapidly thereafter.
The third-largest project now underway at Canadair is getting the Beech T-36A into production for the USAF, a job which Canadair shares with Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. At present, the first prototype has not yet flown, but it is expected that actual production will be started soon.
Considerable bread and butter business continues to come from the sale of C-47/DC-3 spare parts, for which listing among its customers some 100 different airlines in 45 countries. The biggest buyer is the USAF. C-54 replacement parts also provide a substantial amount of business. Other miscellaneous, but highly important projects include the manufacture of cross-over exhaust systems for TCA, and experimental work on guided missiles for the Defence Research Board.
This article originally appeared in the March, 1953 edition of Aircraft & Airport magazine.