The year 2009 marks the 100th Anniversary of the first powered, heavier-than-air, controlled flight in Canada by J.A.D. McCurdy in the Silver Dart. Very few nations in the world owe more to flight than Canada. Aviation opened up the country and remains a lifeline to many remote and northern areas. The significance of aviation today and what it has done for Canada can be compared to what the Canadian Pacific Railway did for Canada in the years after Confederation. Today, aerospace activity makes up a larger component of our industrial base than any other nation.
The Canadian Centennial of Flight Project was envisioned as a way to provide support to Canadians who want to make the 100th Anniversary of the first flight in Canada an opportunity to celebrate not only the historical event of February 23rd, 1909 when the Silver Dart took flight, but also Canadian accomplishments in civilian and military aviation in the decades since then, at home and abroad.Canadian Centennial of Flight celebrations will encompass the history of aviation and space activities; the education of youth; the technological and commercial aspects of aerospace; development and careers; and most of all - connecting with Canadians.
The national Headquarters of the Centennial of Flight Project is located in Ottawa. Its role is to act as a clearinghouse for all activities and events that will take place throughout the land in 2009, and to assist with their coordination, planning, promotion and staging.Many of the activities will highlight achievements of the past 100 years, and will increase Canadians' understanding of the importance of aviation and space endeavours to their country.
The Canadian Centennial of Flight Project is governed by a board of directors comprised of key players in the aviation industry, including representatives of associations and organizations that share an appreciation for aerospace, are active in preserving its heritage and look towards shaping its future.While the first flight took place on that cold February 23rd in 1909 in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, the Centennial of Flight Project will be coordinating a year-long commemoration with many exciting and educational activities planned from coast to coast to coast.
Although neither designed nor built in Canada, J.A.D. McCurdy's biplane played a role in Canadian aviation history. After the dissolution of the Canadian Aerodrome Company, McCurdy joined Glenn Curtiss, but left his corporation in May 1911, forming his own company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 20 June. He subsequently designed a biplane with no forward elevator, unusual for the time, and powered by a Gnome engine. McCurdy contracted the Queen Aeroplane Company of New York City to build six of the airplanes.
Three of the biplanes were sold to private hands. G.G. Hubbard II, a relative of Alexander Graham Bell, bought one, as did W.E. Doherty of Buffalo. One of McCurdy's pilot pupils, a Doctor Weidman also purchased one.
Three of the new biplanes were shipped to Hamilton to participate in an air display. The exhibition in Hamilton was held on a farm on the outskirts of the city, from 27 to 29 July. One biplane, which had been tested in New York, was assembled and performed well. On 1 August, McCurdy, Charles Willard and J.V. Martin participated in an unofficial race from Hamilton to Toronto, this being the first inter-city flight in Canada. Despite the fact that Willard departed 10 minutes before him, McCurdy won the race, covering the distance of 72 kms (45 miles) in 32 minutes, landing at Fisherman's Island. The next day McCurdy and Willard flew in an exhibition at Donlands Farm northeast of Toronto; however, McCurdy's plane was launched into the air prematurely by the bumpy field, crashed and was destroyed.
The McCurdy biplane goes into the Canadian aviation record as being the only aircraft that was wholly designed by J.A.D. McCurdy, the Canadian aviation pioneer, and as the first airplane to make an inter-city flight in Canada.
The JN-3 represented the first series production of an aircraft in Canada and a major step towards aircraft production in Canada. When Glenn Curtiss began building aircraft for the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) in 1915 he built a factory in Canada and opened the Curtiss Aviation School to train pilots. Curtiss began construction of his JN-3 in Toronto in May 1915, with the first Canadian model flying on 14 July 1915, with all aircraft being completed in August that year.
The JN-3 was a standard trainer of the RNAS; however, its American origin resulted in it being received with some reservation at some RNAS stations. In the United Kingdom, modifications were made to some of the aircraft including fitting four-bladed propellers, and some wire braces replacing metal struts in an effort to strengthen the aircraft. The JN-3 also served in small numbers in Australia with their training system. In Canada, the JN-3s were used to train most of the 130 pilots who received their training with the Curtiss Aviation School. Of these, 128 joined the RNAS or the Royal Flying Corps.A total of 104 JN-3 were built of which 18 were made in Canada - 12 for the RNAS and 6 for the Curtiss Aviation School. The Canadian Government expropriated the Curtiss plant in December 1916 and set up Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd. Although the plant proved to be too small, the machinery for the JN-3 was used for production of the JN-4 while most of the employees also transferred. Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd went on to build over 1260 JN-4s in Canada, with the machinery and personnel who built the JN-3s playing a major role in this success.
The Curtiss Canada was the first twin-engine aircraft built and flown in Canada. At the start of the First World War, the Royal Navy was impressed with the Curtiss H-4 "Small America" flying boat, and requested a landplane version. As the Curtiss Company in New York was too busy designing new aircraft and building war orders, the responsibility for modifying the flying boat to landplane, to be known as the "Columbia," was given to the new subsidiary in Toronto.
Work on the "Canada," as the aircraft was renamed when the work was transferred, began in Toronto in May 1915 with the first flight in late-July that year. The aircraft was accepted by the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) in September and was shipped to the United Kingdom, with test flights being made in November. Unusual for an aircraft of the time, the "Canada" was fitted with a Sperry-designed autopilot/auto-stabilizer. An order for a further 11 was placed and delivered, ten for the Royal Flying Corps and one for the RNAS, incorporating changes made in the UK. A further 25 were ordered and then cancelled as the "Canada" had problems.
As the aircraft was designed before the characteristics of aerial warfare were known, the design was neither conducive to surviving battle damage nor to fitting with defensive or offensive armament. The Curtiss engines with which it was fitted were unreliable while the workmanship and detail in the design were not satisfactory.
Despite the poor showing, the Curtiss Canada had a significant number of Canadian "firsts:" the first twin-engine aircraft to be built in Canada, the first aircraft of Canadian design to go into production, the first Canadian-designed bomber and the first Canadian design intended for military service.
The Curtiss JN-4 Canadian, the Canuck as it was known, was one of the first major aircraft in Canada. Built by the government-owned Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd for the Royal Flying Corps (Canada) (RFC (C)) training plan, the JN-4 Canadian was developed independently from the American JN-4. Based on the JN-3 the new aircraft had a metal rudder, redesigned metal elevators and fins; many bracing wires were eliminated, while being the first production aircraft in North America to feature a stick for control.
The Canuck was the primary training aircraft of the RFC (C) for the 1,960 successful pilots. With its versatility, machine guns, cameras and other equipment were added so that it could be used for aerial gunnery, reconnaissance and other training. With the United States' entry into the war in April 1917, 680 Canucks were shipped south to help start the American training programme while American industry ramped-up. Some estimates suggest that 40 to 50 percent of American trainers in January 1918 were Canucks. Overall production at Canadian Aeroplanes was at least 1260, making it the first mass-produced aircraft in Canada, exact figures being unknown due to the lack of records.
The JN-4 was involved in many "firsts" in Canada and had a significant post-war role. In June 1918, the first airmail flight in Canada was made with a RFC(C) Canuck while the first wing walking was performed on RFC(C) Canucks. Other firsts followed including in August 1919 a Canuck being the first aircraft to be flown across the Rocky Mountains. Many of the first flying schools used war surplus Canucks as did the first air transport companies. Perhaps of greater significance, the Canuck was sold in large number to private pilots after the war, many of whom used it for stunt-flying (barnstorming) and passenger rides, thereby introducing aviation to large parts of Canada.
Although not built or designed in Canada, the Curtiss HS2-L played a significant role in Canadian aviation history. The first HS2-Ls in Canada were 12 left over from the United States Naval Air Station in Halifax at the end of the First World War and were subsequently donated to the Government of Canada. The RCAF would eventually use most of these aircraft plus an additional 12 purchased later, operating them to perform in various roles, including aerial photography and anti-rum, customs and fisheries patrols until 1928 when the last HS2-Ls were retired.
Of the 12 donated aircraft, the Laurentide Paper Company requested two aircraft for use in its logging operations. Under what became the Laurentide Air Service, the HS2-L went on to pioneer a number of firsts in Canada including the use of aircraft to spot forest fires and aerial photograph. Perhaps more important was the delivery of mail by air and the first regular passenger service, demonstrating the viability of aircraft performing these services.
A major user of the HS2-L was the Ontario Provincial Air Service, which began operations in 1924 with 14 aircraft, eventually operating 20. These aircraft allowed the fledgling service to make an accurate survey of forestry resources and were subsequently used in many roles, the major one being fire protection operations. Many smaller operators, such as Canadian Airways and Pacific Airways, also used the HS2-L to fly passengers, especially prospectors and surveyors, into remote locations as well as transport high-value freight.
The HS2-L was not an efficient aircraft for bush flying; however, it did prove that the aircraft could be used for myriad purposes in the north and helped pioneer many routes and roles. It therefore retains a unique place in Canadian aviation.
The Vickers Viking IV was the first amphibian aircraft to be used in Canada and was the first aircraft purchased by the Canadian government after the First World War. Seeking to replace the Curtiss HS2-L, the government chose the Viking IV in 1923. Vickers in the United Kingdom built two and shipped them to Canada, while its Canadian subsidiary set up an aircraft manufacturing plant and built the remaining six in Canada.
The Viking IV was designed to carry five persons; however, the government, as a matter of economy, chose to install a 375 horsepower Rolls Royce Eagle engine instead of the designed 450 horsepower Napier Lion. The RCAF's Vikings could therefore carry only three people. The aircraft also sported a mahogany hull, which required that the aircraft be pulled out of the water each night and its hull oiled. Used primarily for aerial photography in RCAF service, Vikings operated from western Ontario into Saskatchewan in this capacity. Because of the limited carrying capacity of the aircraft, the crew often had to live off the land. The aircraft were also used for customs and fisheries patrols off the west coast and for forest protection. The last RCAF Viking was struck off strength in 1931.
There was also one civilian Viking IV in Canada. Laurentide Air Services purchased aircraft G-CAEB in June 1922 after which it had an interesting history. Roy Grandy flew the aircraft on a 1400 km flight in 1924 to deliver Treaty Money to aboriginals along the west shore of James Bay, taking several days to complete what had previously required weeks. G-CAEB was also used in 1925 to fly prospectors to various sites in northern British Columbia and Yukon, using Dease Lake as a base, thereby becoming the first aerial mineral exploration in northwest Canada. The aircraft was destroyed in September 1932 when a fuel line broke while airborne. The pilot landed safely in the Strait of Georgia and he and the occupants successfully evacuated the plane.
Laurentide Air Service operated the lone civilian Vickers Viking in Canada, but determined that a smaller more powerful aircraft was required. The Society of Forest Engineers also examined the requirements for a forestry aircraft and reached the same conclusion. In response, Vickers Ltd in the United Kingdom prepared the design for the Vedette, with their subsidiary Canadian Vickers being responsible for the detailed planning and construction. In the meantime, the RCAF also issued a specification for a forestry aircraft.
The Vedette first flew on 4 November 1924, although aileron redesign and engine changes delayed the official ceremony for the aircraft until 9 May 1925. The prototype was put immediately into RCAF service where it was found highly suitable for forestry work, thus being put into production 1926. Used for aerial photography and forestry patrols, the Vedettes were well liked, with the RCAF eventually ordering 44. The last one was struck off the RCAF's strength in January 1941.
In commercial service, the Vedette received mixed reaction. Western Canada Airways leased two in 1928 for fisheries patrols but found that in comparison to the Boeing B-1E flying boats they also operated, the Vedettes were not as good. Those operating in Quebec were well liked. In 1932 and 1933, the RCAF transferred a total of 12 Vedettes to the fledgling air services of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where they continued to serve in the forestry patrol role for many years. Canadian Airways operated one while private individuals bought several. Six Vedettes were exported to Chile where they served with Naval Air Service's No 1 Amphibious Squadron at Puerto Montt where they provided an airlink with the capital Santiago, 900 kms away.
The Vedette was the first aircraft designed and built to a Canadian specification and was the most successful Canadian Vickers aircraft. A total of 60 were built.
When the American-made Fairchild FC-2 was introduced into Canada in 1927 it made an immediate impact on the aircraft market. Up to this time, the primary aircraft for bush flying had been flying boats, primarily the Curtiss HS-2l, which were large and needed longer stretches of water on which to take off. Further, with much of northern Canada frozen five months of the year, the flying boats could not operate during this period.
The FC-2 could be equipped with floats or skis, thereby allowing it to operate in most areas of Canada throughout the year. Requiring only one person, versus the two required for the Curtiss HS-2L, the FC-2 also had a greater payload, at 318 kgs and a higher cruising speed of 150 km/h. The attraction of the FC-2 was obvious to large and small operators. As other aircraft began to compete with the FC-2, Fairchild rapidly made improvements by increasing the engine horsepower and wingspan, including the Model 51 which retrofitted a 300 horsepower in an FC-2 fuselage.
Fairchild Aerial Surveys, a company formed in Canada by Fairchild of the United States to gain access to the aerial photography business, brought the first two FC-2s into Canada, in July and August 1927. The aircraft was used not only to transport passengers between Canadian cities big and small, but also for exploring the north. Canadian Airways was one of the biggest users of the FC-2, operating over 12 aircraft, while Northern Aerial Mineral Exploration Ltd used at least four FC-2s to transport geologists and prospectors into northern parts of Canada.
The success of the Fairchild Aviation Ltd at Grand Mere, Quebec encouraged Canadian Vickers of Montreal to seek Canadian manufacturing rights, which the company quickly received. Canadian Vickers built 11 aircraft, with another used for spare parts. At least 40 FC-2s were on the Canadian civil register in the 1930s as well as 21 with the RCAF. The FC-2 has earned its place in Canadian aviation by introducing more modern, small float-plane operations into the Canadian aviation scene.
In February 1928, W.T. Reid left Canadian Vickers to build his own aircraft, forming the Reid Aircraft Company in Montreal. Reid had developed plans for a two-seat biplane trainer with the goal of selling it to civilian flying clubs that had recently been formed in support of a Government program. Before the aircraft could go into production, the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company bought Reid Aircraft in December 1928, renaming the company Curtiss-Reid Aircraft Company.
Reid's design was the Curtiss Reid Rambler, was revolutionary in Canada, with a metal-framed fuselage covered in fabric and wings with Warren truss bracing so that the wings did not require bracing wires. The wings could also be folded so that the aircraft would fit into a small storage space, thereby not requiring a large hangar. The prototype flew on 23 September 1928 with production starting soon thereafter on the Rambler I and II. The Rambler III appeared in April 1931 with major design changes to improve handling and visibility.
The Rambler was well received but had two major handicaps - it appeared just as the Depression started, and the flying clubs did not purchase the aircraft. The RCAF bought aircraft in support of the flying clubs, but these were de Havilland and Avro products because the RCAF believed them to be superior to the Rambler.
The Rambler was moderately successful, with 36 being built, including the prototype. Curtiss-Reid was its own biggest customer with 11 being used at the Curtiss-Reid Flying School. The RCAF bought eight initially for its own use of which at least five were provided to civilian flying clubs when the RCAF took them out of service. The Rambler also had some export sales, with two going to India, and one each to Argentina, Chile and Hong Kong.
After the licensing agreement with Fairchild was terminated in 1928, Canadian Vickers sought other aircraft to build under license as it wished to participate in the increasing bush flying and air mail operations. The rights to Fokker aircraft were acquired and the Super Universal selected. The aircraft would go on to fame for its activities in the Canadian north.
The Canadian version had some modifications made, such as an added starboard cabin door and a greater capacity electrical system with an electric inertial starter. The aircraft had some initial teething problems but would go on to be a reliable workhorse, operating on wheels, skis and floats.
Among the activities for which the Super Universal gained fame were the 6,275 km aerial survey expedition of 1928 flown by C.H. "Punch" Dickins, which went into previously unexplored areas of the Northwest Territories and the first flight into Canada's western Arctic when Dickins flew to Aklavik in 1929.
American-built Super Universals entered Canada starting in 1928 with Western Canada Airways being the first operator. This airline and its successor, Canadian Airways, were the largest operator of the Super Universal, with five Canadian- and nine American-built aircraft.
Canadian Vickers built 15 between 1929 and 1930; however, the Depression ended further efforts to manufacture the aircraft. A total of 30 were on Canadian civil register in the 1920s and 1930s.
On 25 March 1930, Fleet Aircraft was incorporated in Fort Erie, Ontario, as a subsidiary of Consolidated Aircraft of the United States. Originally a Consolidated design, the Fleet 2 was built in Canada and the United States, although the Model 7 quickly superceded the Model 2. Although a few were bought by private pilots, the majority of Fleet 7s were used by flying clubs and the RCAF.
As a training aircraft the Model 2 and 7 were excellent. The Fleet was a rugged aircraft with very stable flying characteristics, which allowed students to put them through hard landings and other hard manoeuvres. Initially the only difference between the Model 2 and Model 7 was the more powerful Kinner B-5 engine; however, the Model 7 soon incorporated more features including a larger tail and was built as a Model 7B and 7C.
The initial RCAF aircraft was Model 7, the order resulting from some face-to-face lobbying. In a competition between the de Havilland DH-60 and the Fleet 7, the Fleet 7 received the better report; however, de Havilland received the order. After Fleet general manager W. Jack Sanderson visited the Minister of National Defence, Fleet received an order for 20 aircraft.
The RCAF bought a total of 51 Model 7s, which it named the Fawn. Of these at least 12 were given to civilian flying clubs. Fleet Aircraft built eight Model 2 and 61 Model 7 in Canada. The aircraft, while not used in such large numbers for training as the de Havilland Moths, will be remembered as a solid, reliable aircraft and a pleasure to fly.
As the Fairchild FC-2 was enlarged and provided with more powerful engines to meet the competition, the final variant FC-2W-2 had reached the capability of carrying seven passengers. This model was also known as the "71" and after several improvements became the Fairchild 71. This aircraft was to become an important airplane for both passenger travel and exploration of the north, as it had a large cargo-carrying capacity.
The 71 went through three models as new features were added. The 71B was designed to RCAF requirements, with one important feature being a more rugged cabin for cargo transport. The model 71C allowed a payload of 2,724 kgs and featured improved cabin heating and seating among other changes. The popularity of this model resulted in many FC-2W-2s and Model 71s being upgraded. A further variant of the 71C was developed, featuring the first all-metal, stressed skin fuselage to be built in Canada, known as the Super 71. The Super 71 was not, however, a commercial success.
Fairchild erected its own plant at Longueuil, south of Montreal to manufacture the Model 71s, with most of these aircraft operating in Canada being built at the plant. The largest commercial operator of the 71 was Canadian Airways, which had more than 15 on its register. Consolidated Mining and Smelting Co. operated six.
There were more than 36 Fairchild 71s of all models on the Canadian civil register during the 1930s. The RCAF eventually operated 23 of the 71 and 71B models, one of the latter being converted to a 71C. The popularity of the Model 71, and the FC-2, helped make Fairchild one of the biggest aircraft manufacturers in Canada during the Depression, even though they only built 61 of their own aircraft prior to the Second World War.
Having worked with Fokker and Bellanca, R.B.C. Noorduyn started his own company in Montreal in 1934. Based on his own knowledge of bush flying and consulting with airline operators and pilots, Noorduyn began designing the Norseman in late 1934. Working through the summer and autumn of 1935, the Norseman prototype was tested in November 1935.
The Norseman was moderately successful, with nineteen were sold to various commercial operators before 1940. Once fitted with a 550HP Pratt and Whitney Wasp engine and sporting a large cargo door (it could easily take a 45 gallon fuel drum) and seating for 9 passengers on benches, or 6 on seats, the aircraft was what operators and pilots wanted. With the onset of the war, the RCAF purchased Norseman for navigation and radio training. More importantly, the United States Army Air Force, on the recommendation of famed aviator Bernt Balchen, became the largest customer for the Norseman, serving in almost all theatres and in many roles. At the beaches of Normandy, the Norseman flew wounded back to Britain.
At the end of the war, most Norseman were considered surplus and became available to commercial operators. The aircraft became very popular in Canada and the United States, with both commercial operators and private pilots, in part because of their ability to take hard work. Internationally the Norseman has served in at least at least 60 countries, including all continents. The Ontario Provincial Air Service also added it to its fleet. The RCAF and USAF used Norseman into the 1950s while the Royal Air Force, Royal Norwegian Air Force, Royal Swedish Air Force are among foreign military users.
Noorduyn and Canadian Car and Foundry built a total of 904 Norseman. The Norseman is still flying and still respected for its ruggedness and capabilities. Today, Red Lake, ON, bills itself as the Norseman capital of the world, hosting an annual Norseman fly-in during July.
The Maple Leaf II holds a unique place in Canadian and international aviation history - it was the first aircraft wholly designed by a woman. Miss Elizabeth Muriel Gregory (Elsie) MacGill of Vancouver was the world's first female aeronautical engineer and professional aircraft designer. In May 1938 Canadian Car and Foundry (Can-Car) of Fort William, Ontario (now Thunder Bay) hired her and in 1939 became their Chief Aeronautical Engineer, the first woman in the world to hold such a position.
MacGill graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A.Sc in electrical engineering in 1927, the first female in Canada to do so. She then earned a Master's Degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1929 from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. MacGill was then hired as an Assistant Engineer at Fairchild Aircraft in Montreal where she worked primarily on bush planes before she was recruited by Can-Car.
In January 1939 MacGill began designing the Maple Leaf II trainer, with potential for sales in Mexico. The aircraft was completed and subsequently tested on 31 October 1939. The Maple Leaf II underwent testing by the Department of Transport in December that year and in May 1940 by the RCAF. The RCAF tests found the aircraft handled very well but was considered too docile to be a good service training aircraft.
Although the aircraft did not enter service in any Commonwealth air force, the tooling and one airframe were sold to Mexico where it was named the Ares. The Mexican Air Force eventually built ten before large-scale American aircraft donations arrived with Mexico's entry into the Second World War.
North American Aviation of California began development of the AT-16 advanced trainer in 1937. In August 1938, R.B.C. Noorduyn bought the manufacturing rights for the aircraft, believing that Britain and France, who were buying aircraft at the time, would select this trainer. His perception paid off.
In 1939, the RCAF was seeking a trainer for its own requirements. An order was placed with North American; however, with the signing on the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) in December 1939, larger numbers were needed and an order placed with Noorudyn in January 1940. The Harvard, so named by the RAF and adopted as the name by other air forces, was one of the primary trainers used at Elementary Flying Training Schools, sharing the duties with the Fleet Finch which it outnumbered 3-1 in service. The RAF also placed large orders, of which most were used in RAF schools in Canada and later incorporated into the BCATP.
After the war, RCAF surplus Harvards were given to France, Italy and Turkey, as well as the nascent West German Air Force under NATO's Mutual Aid programme. When the NATO Air Training Plan began in 1949, the RCAF ordered newer Harvards from Canadian Car and Foundry, which had purchased the license. The Harvard continued in RCAF service until 1960 after 21 years service.
The Harvard's agility and speed gave it some of the same characteristics of a fighter, which helped weed out weak pilots. These same characteristics endeared it to post-war fliers who bought surplus aircraft. These civilian Harvards have been used not only as personal transport, but also for air display teams, with many painted in RCAF colours.
Noorduyn built 2,800 Harvards while Canadian Car and Foundry built another 555 after the war, making the Harvard the aircraft built in the largest numbers in Canada. The Harvard trainer several generations of Canadian and NATO pilots and continues to thrill aviation enthusiasts.
During the discussions leading to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) the Anson I was selected as the twin-engine trainer. Canada was to build the wings and Britain to supply the fuselages and whole aircraft; however in May 1940 Britain indicated that she could not supply any parts or sections. The Canadian manufacturing plan was now upset and a shortage of twin-engine trainers loomed.
In response to the crisis, a truly cross-Canada effort developed that resulted in the manufacturing of the Anson and its supply to the BCATP. The Government created Federal Aircraft Ltd in Montreal to coordinate manufacturing. National Steel Car and de Havilland of Toronto, Canadian Car and Foundry in Amherst, NS, and MacDonald Brothers of Winnipeg all built fuselages, while companies as diverse as tractor manufacturer Cockshutt Plough of Brantford, ON and Bristol Aircraft Products of Belleville, ON made major sub-components.
While the Anson I was the first mark to be built, the Anson II was built in the greatest number and was built only in Canada. It incorporated many improvements and innovations to save weight and scarce resources such as aluminum. For instance, the metal nose was replaced with one of moulded plywood. The Anson V incorporated even more changes, and more wood, being considered a major improvement. in service the Anson II was used primarily for pilot training while the V was used mainly for navigator training.
In total 1832 Anson IIs were built in Canada between 1941 and 1943 and a further 1048 Anson Vs were built between 1943 and 1945. Declared surplus after the war, they did not last long in the hands of private owners, primarily due to the amount of wood used. The Government took over National Steel Car, transforming it into Victory Aircraft, which built the Lancaster; Victory Aircraft later became A.V. Roe Canada, makers of the CF-100 Canuck.
Initially, the Royal Air Force rejected the de Havilland Mosquito; however, after the company demonstrated the prototype in November 1940, the RAF changed its mind. The subsequent orders, which became larger as the Mosquito demonstrated its versatility, resulted in de Havilland of Britain sub-contracting production to its subsidiary de Havilland Canada (DHC).
Dubbed the "Wooden Wonder" because it was built almost entirely of birch and balsa, the building of this plane in Canada made use of many skills and companies that might otherwise not have been used in aircraft production. The first aircraft flew on 23 September 1942, with another 1032 to follow in eight variants. The first Canadian Mosquitoes reached England in August 1943, being flown across the North Atlantic.
During the war, 10 RAF squadrons received Canadian-built Mosquitoes on bomber and fighter operations. The United States Army Air Force used the DHC-built F-8 photographic reconnaissance version in Europe. In Canada, 133 Squadron used Mosquitoes to protect Canada's West Coast; their main operational use being to chase the Japanese incendiary balloons that were launched against North America from December 1944 to April 1945. They did not have the opportunity to shot down any.
Most of the Mosquitoes that remained in Canada after the war were sent to the Nationalist Chinese Air Force. At least 151 are known to have been sent, with ex-RCAF pilots providing the training. The RCAF stopped operating the Mosquito soon after the war, although there were plans to equip RCAF Auxiliary Squadrons with the aircraft.
Several Mosquitoes made it onto the Canadian civil register post-war. Kenting Aviation of Toronto used three Canadian-built aircraft for aerial photography while Spartan Air Services used British-built Mosquitoes.
Canadian-built Mosquitoes thus made an important contribution to the war effort, while production in Canada allowed a greater use to be made of Canadian resources and skilled workers.