Dr. John Blatherwick Photo Archive – Henry Tenby – Classic Airline DVDs / Entrepreneur / and more https://www.henrytenby.com The latest aviation and internet business news from Henry Tenby Sun, 31 Jan 2021 21:46:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 Taking Slides of classic Aeroflot Airliners at Leningrad Airport in April 1974 – By Dr. John Blatherwick https://www.henrytenby.com/taking-slides-of-classic-aeroflot-airliners-at-leningrad-airport-in-april-1974-by-dr-john-blatherwick/ https://www.henrytenby.com/taking-slides-of-classic-aeroflot-airliners-at-leningrad-airport-in-april-1974-by-dr-john-blatherwick/#respond Mon, 22 Jun 2020 20:10:59 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6992 Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-104 CCCP-42416 Lenningrad Airport September 1974

A fabulous shot of Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-104 CCCP-42416 at Lenningrad Airport in September 1974, with local observers watching the proceedings. Does not look like a safe place for a Western aviation fan to pull out his cameras and start taking photos! But Dr. John Blatherwick captured this amazing slide under such very demanding circumstances when he took this image. (Photo by Dr. John Blatherwick)

Story and photos by Dr. John Blatherwick

Dr. John Blatherwick

In 1974, I was signing a passport for my friend from the navy who was a teacher. He said he was looking for somebody to take a group of grade 10 to 12 students to Moscow and Leningrad over the Spring Break.

The person taking them would go for free. I asked if my wife could come and he said yes – for $200.00. I said I was in, Carol and I would go as their chaperones. But Carol and I were off to Hawaii in February, and it was not a problem as my friend got all the visas and made all the arrangements (he was taking a group to France).

We flew out on March 21, 1974, on World DC-8-63 N804WA. We stopped in Winnipeg and Helsinki Finland to refuel. On landing in Helsinki, the pilot slammed the aircraft down so hard he blew several tires. We had a delay of 1-2 hours in Helsinki which stretched to 12 hours. We also had a group of 200 senior high school students who spent all the time in the bar! Not our students though. We finally got to Moscow and had a wonderful time. We went to the Kremlin and saw Lenin’s body and to the Moscow ballet. We had 12 students and they were wonderful. Then we took an overnight train to Leningrad. That was funny as the students all rushed down to our section to tell us there was a woman in their compartment. Apparently the Russians placed these women in compartments to make sure there was no hanky panky!! Leningrad was wonderful. On our return flight, we landed at Goose Bay for fuel.

Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-104 CCCP-42416 at Moscow April 1974. (Photo by Dr. John Blatherwick)

Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-104 CCCP-42416 at Moscow April 1974. (Photo by Dr. John Blatherwick)

About the photos taken at Leningrad airport, I was told repeatedly that you could take photos anywhere – no restrictions. But you always felt that maybe you shouldn’t. At the Leningrad airport, our flight was delayed and there were all these great aircraft out on the tarmac. I pulled out my camera and went over by the window and started taking photos with my back fully to the window to prevent people behind me seeing what I was doing. I went through a roll of film which included shots of Russian military helicopters flying by. But my students came over and asked what I was doing and I forgot where I was and start to explain about airplane photo taking and took some photos without screening the camera from view. Shortly thereafter, four men cam over and said, “Would you come with us”. They didn’t touch me but I didn’t want to find out what they would do if I resisted.

All I remember is seeing the look on Carol’s face and on others waiting for the flight as I was marched away. We came to a huge door and they knocked. A man came out and they talked with him in Russian. He suddenly got mad and started shouting at them and all four ran – actually ran – away. He then said to me in a very friendly voice, “There is no problem – I apologize for what they did to you; you can go back to your group”. And that was that – except. About 15 minutes later, he came back and said, “It would make my life a lot easier if you would give me your film and sign this document saying you voluntarily gave me the film.”

The document was in Russian and I had one of the teachers who spoke Russian to read it and he said, “All it says is you have voluntarily given him your film”. I had the greatest urge to open the back of the camera, take out the film, and quickly expose it to light, but I didn’t. I wound it into the canister and gave him the film and singed the document. Then our aircraft arrived and as we boarded, they took our visa cards. As we were waiting for the aircraft to take off, two Russian officers in uniform with rifles came down the aisle of the plane.

You can imagine that I thought they were coming for me. However, nothing happened. We took off and the relief I felt was wonderful. We stopped at Helsinki (I image gas was cheaper in Helsinki than in Leningrad); and stopped at Goose Bay on our way back. It was a trip of a lifetime!

Flight log for this trip:

21 Mar World DC‑8‑63 N804WA Full Red Vancouver Winnipeg 2.6 hrs
21 Mar World DC‑8‑63 N804WA Full Red Winnipeg Helsinki Finland 8.8 hrs
21 Mar World DC‑8‑63 N804WA Full Red Helsinki Fin. Moscow USSR 1.7 hrs
29 Mar World DC‑8‑63 N803WA Full Red Leningrad USSR Helsinki Finland 0.8hrs
29 Mar World DC‑8‑63 N803WA Full Red Helsinki Goose Bay 6.5 hrs
29 Mar World DC‑8‑63 N803WA Full Red Goose Bay Vancouver 6.4 hrs

Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-134 CCCP-65613 at Moscow April 1974. (Photo by Dr. John Blatherwick)

Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-134 CCCP-65613 at Moscow April 1974. (Photo by Dr. John Blatherwick)

Aeroflot IL-18 CCCP-75229 at Moscow APril 1974. (Photo by Dr. J. Blatherwick)

Aeroflot IL-18 CCCP-75229 at Moscow APril 1974. (Photo by Dr. J. Blatherwick)

Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-104 CCCP-42464 at Moscow in April, 1974. (Photo by Dr. John Blatherwick)

Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-104 CCCP-42464 at Moscow in April, 1974. (Photo by Dr. John Blatherwick)

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Great Lakes Airlines – Aircraft Photo History https://www.henrytenby.com/great-lakes-airlines-aircraft-photo-history/ https://www.henrytenby.com/great-lakes-airlines-aircraft-photo-history/#respond Fri, 12 Jun 2020 19:27:45 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6923 Great Lakes Airlines – Aircraft Photo History
Photos and Research by Dr. John Blatherwick

Dr. John Blatherwick

Great Lakes Airlines was formed to provide executive transport for the Homes-Blunt Company of Sarnia. Most of the traffic was to Toronto and back utilizing light twin engine aircraft.

Two DC-3s were purchased in 1967 to supplement the company’s Cessna 310 and tri gear Beech 18 as it began a scheduled service between Sarnia and Toronto. Two Convair 440 aircraft were bought in 1969 from Swissair. Called the Metropolitan, the piston twin engine Convair 440 carried forty-four passengers and bore a colour scheme with a broad red cheat line running through the windows of the white aircraft, The upper tree quarters of the tail was red and displayed a white map of the Great Lakes within a white circle. Once the Convairs arrived, the Beech 18 was sold to Air Windsor and the two DC-3s were sold to Pem Air of Pembroke.

An absolutely magnificent shot of Great Lakes Convair 440 CF-GLC possibly at London, Ontario in July 1973. This aircraft was acquired from Swissair in December, 1969, and operated with Great Lakes until 1975, and was then parted out in 1976. In this photo it was still in the former Swissair scheme.

An absolutely magnificent shot of Great Lakes Convair 440 CF-GLC possibly at London, Ontario in July 1973. This aircraft was acquired from Swissair in December, 1969, and operated with Great Lakes until 1975, and was then parted out in 1976. In this photo it was still in the former Swissair scheme.

When London, Ontario, was added to the Sarnia to Toronto route in 1973, four more Convair 440s were purchased from Linjeflyg of Sweden. These white aircraft had a broad blue cheat line above a thin white cheatline and a thin dark blue cheat line below both and had an all-white tail. One of a variety of symbols was found on the tail, including a map of the Great Lakes in blue but with no circle, a stylized ‘GLA’ or no symbol at all. With the additional aircraft, Peterborough, Ottawa and Kitchener were added to flights from Toronto. This rapid expansion of routes using old, unreliable equipment proved to be uneconomical and the three cities were quickly dropped. For a short period in 1975, all operations were halted except the Sarnia to Toronto route. An analysis of the problems faced by the airline showed that many flights had to be unexpectedly cancelled due to aircraft unserviceability. The new routes had not been properly publicized and no feasibility studies had been made before opening new routes.

A group of Toronto businessmen bought the airline in 1975 and started to rejuvenate it. They moved the Toronto operations from Terminal One to Terminal Two and turned over the flight handling to Air Canada in Toronto and London. Air Canada also handled all Great Lakes’ ticket sales and reservations on its computerized system. The Toronto to Ottawa via Peterborough route was resumed in April 1976 but Kitchener was never re-introduced to the schedule.

When Air Canada retired its Viscounts, there was a hockey charter market for a forty to fifty passenger aircraft in Southern Ontario. Professional hockey teams, however, refused to fly in old piston equipment and the decision was made to purchase Convair 580 aircraft from Allegheny Airlines. The Convair 580 was a Convair 340 piston aircraft re-engined with twin Allison 501 turboprops. The interior of this aircraft was the same capacity as the Convair 440 except that the galley and lavatory had been moved to the front of the plane permitting two additional rows of seats to be added, thus increasing the capacity to fifty-two passengers.

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact henrytenby at gmail dot com

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact me: henrytenby at gmail dot com

These aircraft were all white with a brown cheat line through the windows. Below this an orange cheat line broadened downwards as it swept aft. Below this was another brown cheat. The new company logo was displayed on the white tail and the airline’s name appeared in brown on the upper fuselage. The Convair 440s were kept for a short time as backup aircraft before being sold or broken up.

The Convair 580 entered service with the company in March 1976, using experienced Allegheny pilots as co-pilots. Four aircraft were purchased within a year and the company was once again on solid financial footing. In October 1976, Great Lakes took over all but one flight per week between London and Toronto from Air Canada.

In January 1977, the company moved its headquarters from Sarnia to London, Ontario, and later that year purchased Flightexec Ltd. of London, which operated executive aircraft charters in southwestern Ontario using a Piper Aztec. The company continued to operate Flightexec Ltd. as a separate airline.

Great Lakes applied for the Toronto — Sault Ste Marie — Thunder Bay — Dryden — Winnipeg route relinquished by Transair when it merged with PWA, but the route was awarded to Nordair. In need of expanding its routes, Great Lakes also hoped that Air Canada would phase out its short DC-9 routes in Ontario (such as Toronto to North Bay and Sudbury), but it would be another decade before these routes would come available to the airline. Thus the company continued to operate with only Sarnia, London, Toronto, Peterborough to Ottawa route, with the London to Toronto segment being the most profitable.

During the summer of 1979, Great Lakes began flying small package charters from Toronto to Western Canada. The aircraft involved were stripped of their normal passenger seats and soon Great Lakes Convair 580s were seen frequently in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg. In October of that year, Flightexec added Cessna Citation C-GJTX raising the fleet of this subsidiary to seven aircraft based in London and Windsor.

A fifth Convair 580, added in December 1979, carried the registration C-GJRP, JRP being the initials of the company President, James Robertson Plaxton. Regular scheduled flights and charter flights kept the airline so busy during February 1980 that it was necessary to drop the flights to Western Canada for Purolator Courier until April 1980.

In January 1981, the company again dropped its Toronto to Peterborough and Ottawa service, which were picked up by Air Atonabee. In February, Great Lakes introduced its direct Toronto to Ottawa service operating Monday to Friday only. Great Lakes also formed an off-shore helicopter support division which included five Sikorsky S76As. The S76s were delivered in 1985. The company changed its name to AIR ONTARIO on April 27, 1981. Convair 580 C-GDTC was the first aircraft flown in the company’s new colour scheme, a white aircraft with no cheat line, the title AIR ONTARIO displayed in dark purple on the upper fuselage. The purple tail was broken by a horizontal green stripe with a narrow white strip above it.

Purolator Courier services were reduced in March, 1981, and discontinued altogether in April, 1981, being taken over by Kelowna Flightcraft Convair 580s. In December, 1981, 50% of the stock of the parent holding company was purchased by the Deluce family of Timmins who were the owners of Austin Airways and White River Air Service. This story continues in the Air Ontario photo history page.

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Canadian Coast Guard – Aircraft Photo History https://www.henrytenby.com/canadian-coast-guard-aircraft-photo-history/ https://www.henrytenby.com/canadian-coast-guard-aircraft-photo-history/#respond Fri, 12 Jun 2020 16:41:56 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6889 Canadian Coast Guard – Aircraft Photo History
Photos by Dr. John Blatherwick

Dr. John Blatherwick

Then Canadian Coast Guard operates an aviation department with both a fixed wing and helicopter fleet to service lighthouses and the agency’s on patrol ice breaker ships that typically operate in Canada’s Northern arctic region. Bell Jet Rangers and Alouettes make up the majority of the fleet with operating bases in Victoria, BC and Ottawa.

Canadian Coast Guard Cessna 337 CF-DOL at Montreal Dorval May 1971.

Canadian Coast Guard Cessna 337 CF-DOL at Montreal Dorval May 1971.

In the late 1980s, a Sikorosky S61N C-FDOH was based on the BC West Coast while a single DC-3 C-FDTH was Ottawa based with a primary role in operating ice patrols along the St. Lawrence river seaway and local government transport duties, but was replaced with a Department of Transport Dash-7 circa 1989.

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact henrytenby at gmail dot com

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact me: henrytenby at gmail dot com

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Skycraft Air Transport of Oshawa – Aircraft Photo History https://www.henrytenby.com/skycraft-air-transport-of-oshawa-aircraft-photo-history/ https://www.henrytenby.com/skycraft-air-transport-of-oshawa-aircraft-photo-history/#respond Mon, 01 Jun 2020 03:05:10 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6824 Skycraft Air Transort – Photo History
By Henry Tenby with photos by Dr. John Blatherwick

Dr. John Blatherwick

Skycraft Air Transport was based in Oshawa, Ontario and was active between 1979 and 1984, and their operation was largely in support of the automotive manufacturing industry in the region.

Skycraft DC-3 C-GSCB YOO NOV 1979 (Photo by Dr. John Blatherwick)

Skycraft DC-3 C-GSCB YOO NOV 1979 (Photo by Dr. John Blatherwick)

Skycraft Air Transport was based in Oshawa to support its largest source of business, General Motors Canada, which operated two motor vehicle factories in the vicinity. The fleet was build around three main types, the DC-3s were for larger loads, Shorts 330s for mid sized loads and Embraer 110s for smaller loads.

The airline also offered a flying school and expanded into the air ambulance and ad-hoc passenger charter work, and a limited offering of scheduled routes radiating from their Oshawa base which included service to Ottawa, Montreal, Windsor, and Detroit.

The airline was notable for changing the type of aircraft operated on its passenger services to match the number of passengers booked for each flight.

Like many other small charter operators on the periphery of the auto industry, long term success is not always guaranteed and sadly, Skycraft filed for bankruptcy protection in 1992 and ultimately wound down their operations for good in February, 1994.

It subsequently obtained new financing and continued operations with a reduced fleet, but the new business plan was not successful. The airline finally shut down operations in February 1994.

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact henrytenby at gmail dot com

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact me: henrytenby at gmail dot com

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Air Spray – Aircraft Fleet History https://www.henrytenby.com/air-spray-aircraft-fleet-history/ https://www.henrytenby.com/air-spray-aircraft-fleet-history/#respond Wed, 06 May 2020 15:55:56 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6679 Air Spray – Aircraft Fleet History
Photos by Dr. John Blatherwick

Dr. John Blatherwick

Air Spray Ltd. was founded by the late Don Hamilton back in 1954 as a crop spraying operation based in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. In early years is also performed aerial mosquito spraying on contract with the City of Edmonton in 1956. Back in the 1950s, the forestry fire fighting industry was in its very early years and Canadian forestry agencies sought a solution to the costly and devastating problem that has become a billion dollar problem today. As such, Air Spray Ltd. expanded into this niche more and more throughout the 1960s and wound down their crop spraying operations having converted their fleet of the day to fire fighting duties.

AirSpray B-26 CF-PGP May1973

Air Spray B-26 CF-PGP May 1973

In the 1960s, Air Spray acquired the TBM Avenger as it was a low cost and effective air tanker, but what was really needed in Canada at the time was a faster, larger, twin engine aircraft. As such, the A-26 supplemented and then replaced Air Spray’s Avenger fleet. The A-26 was built during World War II with a bomb bay ideal which was perfect for a tank to hold fire retardant. In the 1960s and 1970s many water bomber outfits in North America used the A-26 as effective and affordable air tankers. In the 1990s, Air Spray upgraded their water bomber fleet to Lockheed L-188 Electras.

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact henrytenby at gmail dot com

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact me: henrytenby at gmail dot com

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Conifair Aviation – Aircraft Fleet History https://www.henrytenby.com/conifair-aviation-aircraft-fleet-history/ https://www.henrytenby.com/conifair-aviation-aircraft-fleet-history/#respond Wed, 06 May 2020 15:18:46 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6672 Conifair Aviation – Aircraft Fleet History
By Dr. John Blatherwick:

Dr. John Blatherwick

Conifair Aviation was formed in 1979 to perform aerial spraying and operates from St. Jean, just outside of Montreal. Initially, the airline operated two Lockheed 749A Constellations, with five DC-4s added between 1981 and 1985, and three DC-6s added in 1983. By the late 1980s the Connies were long since removed from service and offered for sale, and some of the DC-6s had also been sold.

CONIFAIR DC4 C-GXKN YQB June1986

CONIFAIR DC-4 C-GXKN YQB June 1986

The company was famous in aviation enthusiast and propliner circles for their Mont Joli – Port Menier (Anticosti Island) route for wildlife hunters every fall, using DC-4s. And this operation was featured on several ocassions in Propliner Magazines of the era.

The fleet was based at the Quebec City airport using a hangar adjacent to the Quebec Government Air Fleet hangar built in 1988. It is not believed that Conifair Aviation maintains present day operations.

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact henrytenby at gmail dot com

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact me: henrytenby at gmail dot com

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NRC – Energy Mines Resources Government of Canada – Aircraft Fleet History https://www.henrytenby.com/nrc-energy-mines-resources-government-of-canada-aircraft-fleet-history/ https://www.henrytenby.com/nrc-energy-mines-resources-government-of-canada-aircraft-fleet-history/#respond Wed, 06 May 2020 15:01:51 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6670 NRC – Energy Mines Resources Government of Canada – Aircraft Fleet History
Photos by Dr. John Blatherwick:

Dr. John Blatherwick

The Department of Energy, Mines and Resources is a flight department owned by the Government of Canada to undertake survey, sensing and transport related duties related to Canada’s vast exploration industries. Based from hangars and office facilities at Ottawa Uplands Airport, the NRC flight department has its roots back to the 1960s using former RCAF aircraft including CT-33, Harvard and Beech 18 examples, with one of their very first aircraft being a former RCAF DC-4M2 Northstar.

National Aero Est DHC-6MZ CF-SUP-X YOW Jul1976

National Aeronautical Establishment DC-4M2 Northstar CF-SUP-X YOW July 1976

In the late 1960s and into the 1970s the NRC flight department added other former Canadian Forces aircraft including two DC-3s in the form of C-GRSA and C-GRSB as well as Canadair Cosmopolitan CV580 C-GRSC and Falcon 20 C-GRSD. A shorts SC-7 Skyvan C-FGSC was acquired from the manufacturer in 1968 and a Beech 65 C-FWZG was acquired in 1979. The NRC flight department has also operated several helicopters and DHC-6 Twin Otters over the decades.

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact henrytenby at gmail dot com

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact me: henrytenby at gmail dot com

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Air Ontario – Aircraft Fleet History https://www.henrytenby.com/air-ontario-aircraft-fleet-history/ https://www.henrytenby.com/air-ontario-aircraft-fleet-history/#respond Tue, 24 Dec 2019 23:27:47 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6208 SP4635 Air Ontario F28 C-FONF YYZ 1988

Air Ontario F28 C-FONF YYZ 1988

Air Ontario – Great Lakes Airlines
Airline History written by Dr. John Blatherwick

Dr. John Blatherwick

Great Lakes Airlines was formed in January, 1961, to provide executive transport for the Homes-Blunt Company of Sarnia. Most of the traffic was to Toronto and back utilizing light twin engine aircraft. Two DC-3s were purchased in 1967 to supplement the company’s Cessna 310 and tri-gear Beech 18 as it began a scheduled service between Sarnia and Toronto. Two Convair 440 aircraft were bought in 1969 from Swissair. Called the Metropolitan, the piston twin engine Convair 440 carried forty-four passengers and bore a colour scheme with a broad red cheat line running through the windows of the white aircraft.

The upper three quarters of the tail was red and displayed a white map of the Great Lakes within a white circle. Once the Convairs arrived, the Beech 18, was sold to Air Windsor and the two DC-3s sold to Pem Air of Pembroke. When London, Ontario, was added to the Sarnia to Toronto route in 1973, four more Convair 440s were purchased from Linjeflyg of Sweden. These white aircraft had a broad blue cheat line above a thin white cheat line and a thin dark blue cheat line below both and had an all-white tail. One of a variety of symbols was found on the tail, including a map of the Great Lakes in blue but with no circle, a stylized ‘GLA’ or no symbol at all.

With the additional aircraft, Peterborough, Ottawa and Kitchener were added to flights from Toronto. This rapid expansion of routes using old, unreliable equipment proved to be uneconomical and the three cities were quickly dropped. For a short period in 1975, all operations were halted except the Sarnia to Toronto route. An analysis of the problems faced by the airline showed that many flights had to be unexpectedly cancelled due to aircraft unserviceability; the new routes had not been properly publicized; and no feasibility studies had been made before opening new routes.

A group of Toronto businessmen bought the airline in 1975 and started to rejuvenate it. They moved the Toronto operations from Terminal One to Terminal Two and turned over the flight handling to Air Canada in Toronto and London. Air Canada also handled all Great Lakes’ ticket sales and reservations on its computerized system. The Toronto to Ottawa via Peterborough route was resumed in April 1976 but Kitchener was never reintroduced to the schedule.

When Air Canada retired its Viscounts, there was a hockey charter market for a forty to fifty passenger aircraft in Southern Ontario. Professional hockey teams. however, refused to fly in old piston equipment and the decision was made to purchase Convair 580 aircraft from Allegheny Airlines. The Convair 580 was .a Convair 340 piston aircraft re-engined with twin Allison Jet Props. The interior of this aircraft was the same size as the Convair 440 except that the galley and lavatory had been moved to the front of the plane permitting two additional rows of seats to be added, thus increasing the capacity to fifty two passengers.

These aircraft were all white with a brown cheat line through the windows. Below this an orange cheat line broadened downwards as it swept aft. Below this was another brown cheat. The new company logo was displayed on the white tail and the airline’s name appeared in brown on the upper fuselage. The Convair 440s were kept for a short time as backup aircraft before being sold or broken up.

The Convair 580 entered service with the company in March 1976, using experienced Allegheny pilots as co-pilots. Four aircraft were purchased within a year and the company was once again on solid financial footing.

SP4625 Air Ontario CV580 C-GDTE YYZ May1982

Air Ontario CV580 C-GDTE YYZ May 1982

In October 1976, Great Lakes took over all but one flight per day between London and Toronto from Air Canada.

In January 1977, the company moved its headquarters from Sarna to London, Ontario, and later that year purchased Flightexec Ltd. of London, which operated executive aircraft charters in southwestern Ontario using a Piper Aztec. The company continued to operate Flightexec Ltd. as a separate airline.

Great Lakes applied for the Toronto — Sault Ste Marie – Thunder Bay – Dryden – Winnipeg route relinquished by Transair when it merged with PWA, but the route was awarded to Nordair. In need of expanding its routes, Great Lakes also hoped that Air Canada would phase out its short DC-9 routes in Ontario (such as Toronto to North Bay and Sudbury), but it would be another decade before these routes would come available to the airline. Thus the company continued to operate with only Sarna, London, Toronto, Peterborough to Ottawa route, with the London to Toronto segment being the most profitable.

During the summer of 1979, Great Lakes began flying small package charters from Toronto to Western Canada. The aircraft involved were stripped of their normal passenger seats and soon Great Lakes Convair 580s were seen frequently in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg. In October of that year, Flightexec added Cessna Citation C-GJTX raising the fleet of this subsidiary to seven aircraft based in London and Windsor.

A fifth Convair 580, added in December 1979, carried the registration C-GJRP, JRP being the initials of the company President, James Robertson Plaxton. Regular scheduled flights and charter flights kept the airline so busy during February 1980 that it was necessary to drop the flights to Western Canada for Purolator Courier until April 1980.

In January 1981, the company again dropped itsToronto to Peterborough and Ottawa service which was picked up by Air Atonabee. In February, Great Lakes Introduced its direct Toronto to Ottawa service operating Monday to Friday only. Great Lakes also formed an off-shore helicopter support division which included five Sikorsky S76As. The S76s were delivered In 1985.

The company changed its name to Air Ontario on April 27, 1981. Convair 580 C-C-DTC was the first aircraft flown in the company’s new colour scheme: a white aircraft with no cheat line, the title ‘AIR ONTARIO displayed in dark purple on the upper fuselage. The purple tail was broken by a horizontal green stripe with a narrow white strip above it.

Purolator Courier services were reduced in March 1981, and discontinued altogether in April, 1981, being taken over by Kelowna Flightcrafi Convair 580s. In December 1981, 50% of the stock of the parent holding company was purchased by the Deluce family of Timmins who were the owners of Austin Airways and White River Air Service.

In April, 1982, an interline agreement was arranged with Wardair permitting passengers in Ottawa or London to connect on Wardair flights at Toronto.

By 1982, the Toronto to Ottawa route was proving to be very successful as the flights were scheduled between Air Canada flights, thus creating very good load factors. The rights for an Ottawa to Montreal service (with no local traffic) were obtained early in 1982 but never used because the company had also received therights to fly London – Ottawa and London – Montreal direct. Aircraft on the London to Montreal route arrived in Montreal from London early in the morning and would sit unused all day before returning to London at night When Eastern Provincial Airways was on strike in January 1983, Air Ontario Convair 580s operated Montreal to Charlo and Chatham daily services.

The company became an international airline in 1983, when it was awarded flights from London to Cleveland. London, Ontario, was now the hub of operations for Air Ontario, with flights to Sarnia, Cleveland, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal direct from that city.

Early in 1984, Delplax Holdings Limited, the holding company for Air Ontario, tried to buy Nordair but was unsuccessful. A major expansion of the company’s fleet occurred that year when a Convair 580 was purchased from South Africa and five Convair 5803 from Freedom Airlines in the United States bringing the airline’s total to 11 Convair 580s. These aircraft were required for the new routes being opened by the company. Toronto – Hartford and Toronto – North Bay routes began in September, and Toronto – Sudbury was started in November.

The company changed its colour scheme in 1984, adding three cheat lines to the white aircraft. A narrow green cheat line running through the middle of the windows was separated from a broader dark purple line below by a white cheat line. The dark purple tail is split horizontally by a white band with a broader green band

In October 1985, forty-nine percent of Air Ontario shares were sold to Air Canada and Pacific Western Airlines (each receiving half of the shares), while Pelplax Holdings Limited, (owned by the Deluce Farmiy), retained fifty-one percent of the airline. Air Ontario was now established as a commuter airline serving the large national airline (Air Canada) and the rapidly expanding regional airline (Pacific Western).

SP4631 Air Ontario CV580 C-GGWI YYZ 1988

Air Ontario CV580 C-GGWI YYZ 1988

In May 1986, Sault Ste. Marie was added to the Ontario cities served by the company as it continued to take over many of the shorter Air Canada routes which could be better served by the smaller Convair 580s. The company announced plans to build a $3 million hangar and new head office at the London Ontario airport by 1990. In October, the future aircraft plans of the company were announced with an order for 15 Dash-8- 100s (plus four optional) and five Dash 8-300 aircraft. As the two national airlines lined up commuter airlines, Air Canada purchased Air Ontario shares from the Deluce Family and Pacific Western, resulting in Air Canada holding seventy-five percent of the company’s stock.

The beginning of 1987, saw the first Convair 580s dressed in the Air Canada Commuter red and white colour scheme. One Convair, however, flew in an interim scheme displaying the Air Oritario logo on the tail rather than the red maple leaf. The first Dash-8 aircraft arrived in full commuter colour scheme in April and were used on the Sarnia – Toronto – North Bay and Toronto – Cleveland routes. The Air Canada designator replaced Air Ontario’s designator (GX) for all flights shown in the schedule of either airline.

Air Canada, through the purchase of Air Ontario, also acquired 75% of Austin Airways which serviced more than thirty-five centers in Ontario (mostly in the north), and five centers in northern Quebec as well as Minneapolis and Toronto. Austin also switched to four digit AC flight designators in April 1987 and in June
1987: amalgamated with Air Ontario. At that time, Austin Airways was the longest-operating airline in Canada.

In 1988, a strike by Air Ontario pilots in early March grounded the airline until May 4. The new contract with the pilots, expiring in November 1990, provided for a newly-hired co-pilot on the new CATPASS 209 aircraft to make $20,000 a year while a four year captain flying a Fokker F-28 would receive $71,400 per year.

Flights to Trenton and Kingston and those to Kapuskasing were delayed in restarting following the strike. Scheduled flights to Kasabonika, Round Lake, Sachigo. Bearskin Lake, Geraldton and Homepayne were suspended indefinetly; and London — Cleveland was never restarted.

SP4630 Air Ontario CV580 C-GJRP YYZ June1984

SP4630 Air Ontario CV580 C-GJRP YYZ June1984

Air Ontario joined the other regional airlines in going to small jet aircraft early in 1988, when they acquired two Fokker F-28-1000 jets. These entered service in May on the Toronto – Sault Ste. Marie – Thunder Bay – Winnipeg route, with three flights a day. Some flights on this route would also stop at Dryden and/or Kenora. The airline also began operating the Toronto – Syracuse and Albany route at that time.

In addition to the new jets, Air Ontario purchased ten Commuter Air Transport Catpas 200 (CATPASS 200) aircraft. These modified Beech King Air 200s were planned to replace the Beech 99s and Cessna 402s acquired in the takeover of Austin Airlines. Nine of the Cessna 402s were sold by the time the Cat 200s began arriving in June,1988. Eventually all the Beech 99s, Cessna 402s and Twin Otters were replaced with these aircraft.

During the latter part of 1988, Air Ontario began selling off the Northern Ontario routes it had acquired from Austin Airways. Timmins – based aircraft and routes
were sold to Air Creebec, including most of the company’s HS748 aircraft. The Twin Otters and Beech 99s were sold and the newly-arriving CATPUS 2008 would also be sold. Aircraft and routes based in Thunder Bay went to Bearskin Lake Air Service, and the company’s Thunder Bay – Minneapolis route was dropped.

Air Ontario suffered a tragic accident on March 10, 1989, when its new F-28 jet crashed on takeoff from Dryden. Twenty-four passengers and crew were killed
in the accident which was caused by ice on the wings. Convairs had to be brought back into service to replace the lost jet aircraft.

Through the 1990s Air Ontario operated as a reliable Air Canada Connector serving Air Canada’s connector routes throughout Ontario and the airline was merged into Jazz along with all the other Air Canada Connectors in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

SP4634 Air Ontario DASH8 C-GJIG YYZ 1987

Air Ontario DASH8 C-GJIG YYZ 1987

SP4633 Air Ontario CV580 C-GQHB YYZ May1988

Air Ontario CV580 C-GQHB YYZ May 1988

SP4632 Air Ontario CV580 C-GGWH YYZ June1987

Air Ontario CV580 C-GGWH YYZ June 1987

SP4629 Air Ontario CV580 C-GGWF YYZ May1985

Air Ontario CV580 C-GGWF YYZ May 1985

SP4628 Air Ontario CV580 C-GDTD YYZ June1983

Air Ontario CV580 C-GDTD YYZ June 1983

SP4627 Air Ontario CV580 C-GTAO YYZ May1988

Air Ontario CV580 C-GTAO YYZ May 1988

SP4626 Air Ontario CV580 C-GJRP YYZ July1983

Air Ontario CV580 C-GJRP YYZ July 1983

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North Cariboo Flying Service – Aircraft Fleet History https://www.henrytenby.com/north-caribou-flying-service-aircraft-fleet-history/ https://www.henrytenby.com/north-caribou-flying-service-aircraft-fleet-history/#respond Sun, 22 Dec 2019 16:13:48 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6199 North Cariboo Flying Service – Aircraft Fleet History
Photos by Dr. John Blatherwick:

Dr. John Blatherwick

North Cariboo Flying Service dates its history back into the 1970s when a former Finnair Convair 440 was acquired for passenger charter work. The aircraft was a frequent resident at Vancouver and by the early to mid 1980s a Convair 640 was acquired (former PWA aircraft) and even a British Air Ferries Viscount 800 was leased in the mid 1980s for sports team charter work based from Vancouver. During this period two DC-3s were operated along with an Islander. In recent years the airline had acquired their first BAe RJ100 jet, which operates sports team charters and oil patch charters in Western Canada.

SP4613 North Cariboo CV640 C-FPWO YVR April1985

North Caribou CV640 C-FPWO YVR April 1985

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Kelowna Flightcraft – Aircraft Fleet History https://www.henrytenby.com/kelowna-flightcraft-aircraft-fleet-history/ https://www.henrytenby.com/kelowna-flightcraft-aircraft-fleet-history/#respond Fri, 08 Nov 2019 17:21:13 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6187 Kelowna Flightcraft – Aircraft Fleet History
Photos by Dr. John Blatherwick:

Dr. John Blatherwick

Kelowna Flightcraft was founded back in the 1970s by Barry Lapointe and Jim Rogers as a small courier carrier airline that operated corporate jets and turboprops on various contract routes across Canada. Based in Kelowna, BC, the airline famously operated IAI Jet Commenders as courier planes back in the 1970s and 1980s before moving into larger aircraft with Convair 580s becoming their specialty in the 1980s, with Boeing 727 series -100s and -200s being added to their fleet in the 1990s with even DC-10 freighters added in the 2000s.

SP4661 Purolater Courier 727 C-GKFC April1985

Purolater Courier 727 C-GKFC April 1985

Kelowna Flightcraft predominantly operated contract flight services for Purolator and to this day still operates such services with a fleet of Convair 580s being Vancouver based for some decades. Their Kelowna Airport maintenance facility carries out engineering work on their own fleet of aircraft as well as third party contract maintenance work. Jim Rogers has since retired from the operation, and Barry Lapointe remains as the Chairman of the company. An interesting side note is that Kelowna Flightcraft devised and produced an updated and stretched version of the Convair 5800 in the mid 1990s, which they dubbed the Convair 5800.

Only a few airframes were actually converted with no other cargo airlines expressing interest in the project. Kelowna Flightcraft operated the converted 5800s themselves and the project was more or less shelved after the lacklustre industry support of the venture.

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