Plane sale a loss for West Coast history

Re: Canso scheduled for takeoff to museum, July 19.

To the Editor,

Re: Canso scheduled for takeoff to museum, July 19.

I’m not entirely displeased about the sale of the remaining Canso A C-FNJB and its last flight to Oregon’s Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.

The owners probably would have realized much more than the $100,000 selling price by parting out the aircraft; at least this outcome leaves the aircraft extant – though reportedly destined for static display only.

The historical value of Canso PBY-5A (amphibian), civil registration C-FNJB (originally RCAF 9815), is greater in eastern Canada, where it was built in a Montreal plant as a pilot and navigator trainer for No. 3 Training Command (also in Montreal) of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

As the News Bulletin story reports, RCAF 9815/C-FNJB served mainly as air transport during its career with the RCAF before moving west to Saskatchewan to be converted to a water bomber and re-registered for civilian use.

However, the ‘sister plane’ (C-FNJF) that left for England a few years ago, is our greater loss.

Originally RCAF 11005, this Canso A has a distinctly more colourful and West Coast provenance, having flown bomber reconnaissance with the Western Air Command while stationed at RCAF coastal bases at Bella Bella and Prince Rupert during the Second World War.

Primarily used for Japanese anti-submarine, destroyer, and later “Fugo” (balloon bomb) patrol through Hecate Strait and thereabouts, it was sadder to watch that warbird leave and take its West Coast heritage with it.

Darrell Ohs

Nanaimo