Canso makes final flight

A piece of Canadian aviation history takes its final flight Saturday (Aug. 6).

The former RCAF Canso A (PBY flying boat) is being rescued from 10 years of neglect at Nanaimo Airport to become a display piece at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville

The former RCAF Canso A (PBY flying boat) is being rescued from 10 years of neglect at Nanaimo Airport to become a display piece at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville

A piece of Canadian aviation history takes its final flight Saturday (Aug. 6) as the former RCAF Canso C-FNJB takes off from Nanaimo Airport to become a display at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Ore.

The bright yellow aircraft was sitting in a stage of neglect at the airport for more than 10 years, but received new life after being purchased by the Captain Michael King Smith Foundation in Oregon for the museum last summer.

Work crews from Victoria Air Maintenance spent more than 200 hours restoring the Canso and with permits from Transport Canada and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in place, the plane is scheduled to take off around noon Saturday.

“Two pilots and an engineer will probably make a 20-minute flight around the airport, then make a low-level approach to say goodbye,” said Mike Ingram, of Victoria Air Maintenance.

C-FNJB was built in Quebec in 1943 for the Royal Canadian Air Force and in its life was both a military transport aircraft and water bomber.

Ingram said bringing the Canso back to life provided little in the way of surprises.

“There was really nothing out of the ordinary for a plane that sat for that long,” he said. “As far as planes, go, there’s not a lot to it.”

Evergreen plans to paint the plane in a Second World War U.S. Navy scheme and display it as Aircraft 44P-4, the navy PBY 5 that spotted the Japanese fleet at the Battle of Midway.