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Neil's Current Blog (sometimes more than Beavers!) February 2020 - to date

Photo: My camera © 22 September 2013

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05 July 2020

A sad day - eight people lost their lives today near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. A Cessna TU206G and DHC-2 Beaver collided in the air. The Beaver was N2106K (1131). I met the former owner and his Dad back in 2001. The company was sold, planes, name and all, two years ago. I am relieved somewhat, but saddened by this event.

02 July 2020

A sober reminder folks.

CANADA (37M) 106,289 8,678

UNITED STATES (327M) 2,688,592 127,299

01 July 2020

I'd like to give a big shout out to Alan Flett in Camden, NSW. Many thanks to Alan for sharing the super images of Australian DHC-2 Beavers taken over the years. Great to have those vintage images!

30 June 2020

• Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © 21 August 2007 •

Calendar time as we head into the second half of the year. The DHC-2.COM July Calendar pages are ready. This month a shot by Kenneth I. Swartz of N49771 (1079) at the Tyee Spit. Thanks Ken, nice image.

25 June 2020

Photo: Neil Aird © 25 June 2020 10:20 edt

A quick circuit around town at 3,500' before heading off NE, I presume to Ottawa. C-FGXJ Beech C-90A King Air (LJ-1178) of the DoT.

22 June 2020

Photo: Robin Aird © 21 June 2020

Yesterday, Midsummer's Day, local "flight line" down by the river close to where my son Robin lives, 21 km south of Golden, British Columbia. The river is still a tad "refreshing" . . .

10 June 2020

Photo: Neil Aird © 10 June 2020 14:30 edt

The clouds and rain vanished, so Top Aces' Alpha Jet C-GVTA (0009) "CHETA61"came to play. Fortunately it is circling at 5,300', so very quiet. Thank goodness.

09 June 202

As promised - Another visit.


Photos: Neil Aird © 09 June 2020 12:30 edt

At least the Dash 7 is quieter than the two Top Aces Alpha Jets that will be circling overhead for four hours tomorrow. Never quiet around here alas!!

08 June 2020

Photo: Anon - Just like those standing here.

Visit USA 2020 - Social distancing - I for one, will not be visiting.

Meanwhile their buddies in Minneapolis were slashing all the tires of cars legally parked in a K-Mart parking lot!

Photos: Neil Aird © 08 June 2020 13:36 edt

Lots of this going on these days. Nice to follow this one, did me the courtesy of a fly by! Says he will be back this way tomorrow. C-GCFR 1985 DHC-7-150 (102) doing round-robin Ottawa - Ottawa as "TGO992".

I got buzzed by my RCMP friend, PC-12 C-GMPB while I was picking my first strawberry of the season . . but I won't comment further.

07 June 2020

I have uploaded, as a PDF, part two of three lectures I compiled in "Power Point" to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver. So here, for the record, is Part Two "Military Days". Remember these presentations were completed in 2007 - they maybe a wee bit dated.

06 June 2020

Wow - big hail storm. Scary stuff, especially if you have a metal roof and lots of skylights. So very loud!! Trees shredded, so clearing eaves trough today, now that things are dry.

Photos: Neil Aird © 06 June 2020

03 June 2020

City of Kingston tree crews are here today to work on the huge tree outside our house. If my cable goes out, there may be no udates for a few days - so, fingers crossed. It might mean more sky for me. 10:45 edt - all clear. Tree saved, lost of branches removed near the house and lower down. Not too big a change up top. Job well done.

Photo: Neil Aird © 16 April 2009

80-0254/DM A-10 Warthog (A10-0604) doing circuits at Davis-Monthan AFB. 357th FS - 355th TW.

01 June 2020

Another long project underway. First four months of Flame's 2020 complete. I always get a giggle when I look back at my "Toonies" - after all, that's what they are for ! There is no sound track and maybe set the speed to "2 or 4" - right click with your mouse and set to whatever speed you prefer. I will be adding to this file over the coming year.

30 May 2020

• Photo: Keith Connors © 2018 •

DHC-2.COM Calendar time again. My thanks to Keith Connors for the beautiful image of C-GZXV (1079) on Turnagain Lake, British Columbia.

25 May 2020

Photos: Neil Aird © 25 May 2020 14:01 edt

Another OTT ship - I showed Danielle it on my camera, "Bet you know which country this is from" - thenI zoomed in - "Qatar" - Boy, she is getting good!! A7-ANJ Airbus A350-1041 aka an A35K (266) "QTR729" at FL400, heading from Doha to Dallas.

22 May 2020

Photo: Neil Aird © 22 May 2020 19:28 edt

Lovely evening here. PH-BKF Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner (42499) operating "KLM82" FL369. First time I have been able to see the actual registration on my photograph! I think I have a new screensaver for a while.

I have uploaded, as a PDF, part one of three lectures I compiled in "Power Point" to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver. So here, for the record, is Part One "The Museum Crowd". Remember these presentations were completed in 2007 - they maybe a wee bit dated.

20 May 2020

Photo: Neil Aird © 20 May 2020 15:34 edt

A colourful regular Freighter above here (OTT) is D-ALMD Airbus A330-243F (1524) "BCS396" with DHL from Leipzig to Cincinnati. Sometimes from East Midlands. The first of five ex Ethiad aircraft - formerly A6-DCB.

16 May 2020

Sterling silver 925/1000 lapel pins © Neil Aird

Promised myself to get back (after doing a Beaver and a few Otters) to scanning my jewellery negatives and slides. Currently working on my "Belugascapes" series, based on these little fellars. Fun to go back in time. Long overdue!

14 May 2020

Photos: Neil Aird © 14 May 2020 14:04 edt and 13:42 edt

Skies are getting busier again. Here is a sample. Oldtimer , well twenty years, N412MC Boeing 747-47U(F) (30559) Atlas at work "GTI539". Presume by heading, making for Anchorage and onward to China. (It came back on Saturday 16th at 14:20!). It was following a China Airlines B-2037 Boeing 777-39L(ER) (38677) "CCA 646". Other items of interest to me today, were a USAF C-17 04-4132 "RCH541" and down low a US Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon was doing circuits for quite some time at Wheeler Sack Army Airfield.

12:29:53 169542 Boeing P-8A Poseidon (64073) United States Navy "PIONR33" 13:51:50

12 May 2020

Screen capture: - 12 May 2020 11:05 edt

A sprightly 63 year old is orbiting upstate New York, near Fort Drum (desert pink area), just about thirty miles ESE from me. 57-2599 Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker (17735) is delivering fuel to some "chicks" I imagine. It has been there for about an hour and a half. Currently at 23,025'. Arrived from Niagra Falls. Looks like he has had enough of that and maybe heading home at 11:20 edt.

08 May 2020

Photos: Neil Aird © 08 May 2020 11:36 edt

As part of their Cross-Canada flight, the RCAF Snowbirds did a fly by over Kingston this morning, as a tribute to out Health Care and Front Line workers in the effort to combat the Covid-19 virus.

02 May 2020

Photo: Jim Hymrack © 28 April 2020

C-GYOJ (442) is progressing along. Latest pictures from Jim Hymrack are on 442's page.

Photo: Neil Aird © 02 May 2020 10:44 edt

Well, there goes another Air China flight, oh so many these days. B-2047 Boeing 777-39L(ER) (60374) "CCA634" following sister ship B-2031 (38670) "CCA981" which went by just twenty minutes earlier. 11:31edt and one more heading back to Bejing, China, 100 nm to my east, the regular track for them. B-2046 passing B-2089 heading to JFK. B-2045 "CCA989" doing the same, but it will pass my window in a while. Still over Hudson's Bay. Noon here now, and B-2088 heading to China.

30 April 2020

• Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © 20 August 2018 •

Thanks once again to Kenneth I. Swartz for this atmosphheric image of C-GHPG (713) at a smokey Nanaimo. This is the May 2020 DHC-2.COM Calendar feature. Thanks Ken

28 April 2020

Card by Anthony. © 2020

Well, fifty years ago today, Danielle and I got hitched. Guarantee still good it appears.

27 April 2020

Photos: Neil Aird © 27 April 2020 17:15edt

Okay, okay, so you know where I live lads! Get back to work.

25 April 2020

Uh-oh. did I do something? Just noticed this E-6 162783 (23889) US Navy, "GIN048" coming at me - well, after I took the screen capture at 12:25 edt., it veered westbound across the lake. Phew. It is a regular up here, always at FL260 - 265kts.

24 April 2020

L-R: C-GUBD (747); C-GNLA (424); C-FZVR (639); C-FLPF (1300).

I asked Paul to write something to go with the photograph he sent the other day. Thanks Paul - a somewhat "chilling" tale.

Newfoundland to Labrador Annual Winter Food Lift

The photo of wheel/ski equipped Beavers and an Otter was taken about April, 1982 at Long Pond, Forteau, Labrador at: N 51 27’10” & W 57, 00’,00”.

Annual winter freeze-up brought an end to ferry and coastal boat service and these aircraft were a common sight for decades when the annual food lift to Labrador transported passengers and freight across the 20 km wide Strait of Belle Isle that separates Newfoundland from Labrador. Most communities along Coastal Labrador and the North Shore of Québec lacked airstrips of any kind so ski operations were the norm. Lack of hangers also meant aircraft were tied down outside on lakes and harbours, secure against the winter storms and Nor’Easters that struck frequently, packing snow drifts like concrete, or coating aircraft in sheets of ice and drizzle requiring hours to manually deice. In the days before synthetic oil, the Pratt & Whitney engines winter oil W-80 nearly solidified in temperatures of -20C to -30C, requiring pre-heat with the “Herman Nelson” shown on the komatik in front of C-FLPF. If pre-heat was not available, it meant using the aircraft “oil dilution” system that metered a specified amount of avgas into the oil system using a chart from the aircraft manual and based on the overnight low temperature forecast. This meant letting the P&W engine cool sufficiently at end of day before restarting and then adding gas to the oil. The engine needed to be cool enough to add the gas, but not sufficiently hot to evaporate the gas after shutdown. It also meant that start of next day required running the engine at operating temps for a specified time to evaporate the gas prior to takeoff, otherwise there was a risk of loss of oil pressure. Typically, the 70 lb. battery also needed to be removed and stored in a warm location, then re-installed next day. Overall a time consuming but necessary process for winter operations.

Passenger service and food lift operations usually started about New Year and depending on Arctic drift ice conditions continued until late April, but sometimes into May. On short hauls of 30-40 minutes or less, the Beaver could carry 1200 lbs, but for longer flights of 1-2 hours the load was reduced to 1000 lbs. Customers expected the maximum load possible as weight was money and wholesale food distributors became adept at maximizing weight and volume, so that the aircraft was always at maximum weight and fully bulked in volume.  For certain there are many pilots that still have images of a box of bananas or oranges strapped into the co-pilots seat to prevent freezing during the flight. Short winter days also meant pilots started their day and aircraft pre-flight long before daylight, flew the daylight hours and put the aircraft to bed well after dark, often with temperatures that never rose above -20C and windchills of -40 and colder that continued for days at a time. Restricted to Day VFR operations, pilots faced whiteout conditions over treeless terrain, hidden ice ridges during take-off and landing, cross winds on icy surfaces as well as rapidly changing weather in a region notorious for extremes of climate. Communication with HF radio meant frequently talking to someone possibly 500 km away to relay a message or ETA or get weather updates for a destination that was only 50 km away. In those days, GPS was nonexistent and pilots soon got to know the best weather routes and could readily identify hills, rivers, shorelines and treelines from memory.

During the 1980s construction of Labrador coastal airstrips brought turbine aircraft, GPS and IFR capability to much of the area. Further transportation progress occurred in 2010 with the completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway that introduced road transport combined with marginal success with year around ferry service across the strait which has eliminated the need for these study aircraft and the pilots that flew them.

Paul Bennett

23 April 2020

Another stealthy visitor, snapped napping, from my third floor studio. Enjoying a sunny spot behind our house.

An RCAF Airbus trying to be stealthy - but I was waiting - you know me by now! "Husky 04" at 4,300' just 2.3 nm to my south. Cruisin' . . 15004 Airbus CC-150T Polaris (444). - aka A310-304 MRTT. Heading back to CFB Trenton.

Photos: Neil Aird © 22 April 2020 10:17 edt

21 April 2020

Photo: Neil Aird © 21 April 2020 11:04 edt

Finally, an interesting flyover. My persistence paid offf - fast moving clouds here! I noticed 54+26 Airbus A400M-180 (086) "GAF 286" German Air Force heading my way from Bangor at FL319 doing 331 kts. I stared at the clouds from the time it was 60nm away. He left Wunstorf yesterday - it took 8:03 to reach Bangor, Maine. It was nice that it jogged my way en route today ;-)

NOTE: Returned eastbound at 18:15 Thursday at 23 April 2020, from Nellis, FL320 on the same track!

Eventually, some blue skies arrived, I spied him trailing while still 22 nm from me. Managed a few shots as he trailed (noisily) by and was hidden my clouds again while overhead.

He passed a German registered Learjet LJ60 just west of here. D-CPMU (60-032) "IFA183A" heading east from Toronto at FL390. I wonder if they waved to each other?

20 April 2020

Photo: Neil Aird © 20 April 2020 14:49 edt

Makes a change from Jets and high flyers. CF-XHF is a local (CYGK) Piper PA-18 Super Cub (18-5465) 1957 vintage. There was a yellow one earlier, but that avoided positive identification!

Photo: Neil Aird © 20 April 2020 08:56 edt

19 April 2020

Danielle is still working away fundraising for her charity CalcuttaRescueCanada - her way of helping the destitute. Getting lots of customers who pick the masks up from a basket outside our door, then they leave a cheque. Well done Danie! I hear the sewing machine . . . . . Here is the main Calcutta Rescue website - we are so fortunate!

14 April 2020

Not had an entry here in a while. Here's one! just had a "roll-over" . . . 10:45 edt.

02 April 2020

Photos: Neil Aird © 02 April 2020 13:06 edt

Busy day in the skies too - not as busy as usual - here is RCAF 130604 CC-130J-30 Hercules ( 5636) "CFC2584" heading east from Toronto - CYYZ, at FL290 - leaving a very long trail. Not to be outdone, N441WD Cessna 441 Conquest (441-0107) was trailing also at FL290! It is on approach to Burlington - BTV as I type this. Everything higher was not trailing!

Screen capture: 02 April 2020 12:45 edt

Not only do I check on plane traffic, I keep tabs on what enters and leaves the St Lawrence Seaway for my maritime friends around the world. My Grandfather was a Chief Engineer, I therefore have more than a passing interest. I have sailed the North Atlantic twice, and the North Sea four times (as a passenger I might add!)

Now here is a brilliant idea for today's transportation issues. Image came via Flight Global this morning. Congratulations to Colibri Aero / J&C Aero! 252kg for each block - 75kg on the seat and 9kg under each A320 seat!

Photo: Neil Aird © 02 April 2020 10:51 edt

I happened to see PH-MPS  Boeing 747-412 (BCF) (24066) operating "MPH 8141" from Chongquing to Chicago. A long flight, almost 8,000 miles. Well done to the Martinair crew and the 29 year old airframe! The aircraft was 26 nautical miles away and at FL360 hence fuzzy image.

31 March 2020

• Photo: Marcel Fluet-Lecerf © Summer 2008 •

March is finishing out, so the April 2020 DHC-2.COM Calendar image to brighten up your month! Thanks to my dear frriend, the late Marcel Fluet-Lecerf with an image of C-FGBF (168) departing the dock at Lillabelle lake, near Cochrane, Ontario.

26 March 2020

Photos: Neil Aird © 1984

Another change of pace . . . "What's he on about?" I can hear you say. Scanning eleven slide pages of my "Queen Elizabeth Chalice" design and construction archive. Above is the finished "Turtle" which was to be integrated into the base later. Quite a long story as to why I finished up one item, when the chalice had yet to be completed.

Short version is that my wife Danielle and I had to meet the Queen and Prince Philip on their visit to Canada in 1984. I wanted part of the chalice to have actual contact with the Queen, since she was my patron. When I was chatting with her, I produced the item from my pocket, I asked if she would hold the turtle . . "Is that all?" she enquired. I mentioned that the rest would come "later" . . . the drawings had been to Windsor Castle already, they were on the table in front of us. Prince Philip, hands behind his back looked at the drawings and said "Everything appears to be rather pagen . . . is there anything Christian?" I mentioned there were a couple of "token" crosses on the stem. "Jolly good" he replied. I had wanted to greet him as "Rainbow One" which I knew was his call sign. I had once tried to marshall the Queen's Flight Avro 748 to park at my training school, as I had recognised the callsign. The f/o waved, and they proceeded to The Kingston Flying Club at the east end of the field. I spoke my CFI, owner of Wagner Aviation, and I shrugged and said "I tried" . . .

I did not address the Prince by his callsign.

25 March 2020

The website still seems to be popular . . . . just saw the counter roll around!

Photo: Neil Aird © 25 March 2020 12:33 edt

A quick fly over RMC at 1,300 before dropping back down to follow the river downbound. Lockheed CC-130J Hercules "CFC2568" was 130606 ().



Had a very intensive two hours cleaning up this old image by Don Neely. My thanks to Doug Chisolm for adding the first image of CF-DIX (16). A welcome image. For a minute, I began to wonder if all those black specks were mosquitoes and black flies!!

24 March 2020

A big shout out to Beaver owner and friend Doug DeVries in Seattle area who is ramping up production at his company VENTEC Life Systems, to produce more ventilators for the United States. He has linked up with GM in this important "mission" - good luck Doug and all your crew!! Special link.

During this difficult time, with most of us staying in our residences - you can always go and check out our banner archives when you have had enough of TV and on-line updates about COVID-19!

17 March 2020

Good grief - it sure is a quiet day on my screen! Ten aircraft checking in, usually 40 to 60!

I was listning to some Nina Simone and other "blues" when this appeared on my screen, over Ottawa, Ontario. Kind of appropriate I thought! Boeing KC-135R 59-1461 (17949) "BLUE 22" on deployment.

Screen capture: 17 March 2020 13:45edt

Photo: Neil Aird © 19 September 2004

While adding some images to yesterday, I came across an image I took at Boundry Bay (CZBB), British Columbia, back in 2004. It was of an unidentified (no registration applied) Republic RC-3 SeaBee. I did not add the image. Low and behold, on Instagram last night there was an image of the actual aircraft taken by my pal Rich Hulina. I now know which RC-3 it is!! CF-DLX (1016) - thanks Rich!

Photo: Rich Hulia © March 2020

16 March 2020

Photo: Neil Aird ©19 September 2004

An important item, often neglected on this website. I am starting a page for the venerable Pratt & Whitney R.985 Wasp Junior!

15 March 2020

Photo: The Knowledge Network © Gamut Productions 2005

Photo: Gamut Productions © 2005

For those of you who want to watch or rewatch "The Immortal Beaver" Video. You can do so here on The Knowledge Network. You can now watch also on SPARK which is now a legal viewing link on YouTube. You can join the over 353,000 others that have watched the video! (With Advertising - unless you pay for YouTube service or use VPN). David Malysheff of Gamut Productions advised me that "All is good!" Phew - Thanks - Patrol Man Neil

14 March 2020

Photo: Alessandro Parmigiani © 05 February 2020

Here's a flickr page you have to go visit. LINK Follow the work of Alessandro Parmigiani as he builds his RU-6A 51-16862 (433). Sit back and admire his talent. Great work Alex, happy to have been of help!

05 March 2020

Scanning more old black and white negatives, family stuff plus a few aircraft - they are always mixed together!

Photos: Neil Aird © 02 September 1974

Busy scene along the Toronto waterfront during the Canadian National Exhibition - Air Show of 1974. The OMNR busy showing how the do water drops.A local seagull gets into the act as well with the Yellwbirds. Aircraft participating were DHC-3 Otters CF-ODU and CF-ODY; DHC-6 Twin Otters CF-OPH and CF-OPJ; DHC-2 Turbo Beavers CF-OEC and CF-OET; Trackers CF-OPU and CF-OPZ.

01 March 2020

Continuing on my massive project - getting my Metalworking Slides in order. Sorted out 1,245 - now in four binders. Not counting digital images from the latter part of my career. Some scanning done, but first a scan of each slide page, just so I can get my head around all that "stuff" - jeepers, I made all that? Then there are all the design renderings that I have . . . . not ready to go there!

29 February 2020

• Photo: Ron Kosys © 06 June 2008 •

Another great image from Ron Kosys graces thos month's DHC-2.COM Calendar page. C-FSCM (1583) is the subject Beaver. Thanks once again Ron.

22 February 2020

Are you "Fanning Flame?" As a bit of comic relief, check out my daily cartoon "Adventures of Flame" Toonie - become a "Flame Fan".

21 February 2020

Photo: Neil Aird © 21 February 2020 14:16 est

This low flying Griffon caught me off guard - not seen one in this colour scheme before. Looks like the ones used for training out west. This one is RCAF however with a 146** serial, unable to read due to the high gloss paint!! Callsign was "145".

Nasty event overnight at CXH - Vancouver's Coal Harbour. Some idiot tried to steal a SeaAir Beaver C-FPCG (1000) and managed to almost destroy DHC-3 C-FIUZ (135). The thief remains at large. Photos from CBCwebsite, taken by Ben Nelms. The Beaver lost a wing and had more damage I'm sure as can be seen from image below.

Photos: Ben Nelms / CBC © 22 February 2020

20 February 202

Photo: Neil Aird © 20 February 2020 - 15:05 est

Almost home - "CFC4262" starting descent, over my house for CFB Trenton. RCAF Lockheed 130606 CC-130J -30 (382-5649) FL170.

19 February 2020

Photo: Air Force Museum of New Zealand © c 20 January 1960 - REF: MUS19093

A timely image sent to me by Thomas Singfield, shows Squadron Leader L.C. Jeffs and Flight Lieutenant P. S. Rule beside the unfortunate NZ6010 (911).

Photo: Danielle Aird © 09 February 2007

While doing some hard drive cleaning up, I came across this snap taken by Danie on one of her many trips to India. Quiet the shot I thought! Ahmedabad area.

14 February 2020

Recieved this nostalgic e-mail from my pal Dennis Newell.

11 February 2020

Photo: Peter Keating © August 1978

I'm enjoying restoring some old scans of Peter Keating's work (and items from his extensive collection), sent to me many, many years ago by the late Ian MacFarlane. They require some work on my part, but it is a great pleasure to add these images to the website. I do hope you are liking them. More to come!

I am also doing a lot "behind the scenes" on older pages, changing the type face and updating the expanded data. Same goes for the website. Much more work there, as it really involves a complete rework of each page. It does, however, make it easier to keep it up to date.

Photo: Rob Cripe © February 2020

On the mend and off to the paint shop. Rob Cripe's image of N9RW (1095) being trailered off for touch ups! Novel method I thought. Thanks to Fred Wallis for sending the screen shot along. Thanks to my colleague Ian Macintosh for identifying the airframe!!

07 February 2020

Trawling through some old slides. Came across these two Cessna 150 aircraft that I flew solo. There was a third, but I don't seem to have a snap of that. In 2020 all three are still in existance. I did my first solo in CF-XSF 1968 Cessna 150J (150-69667) on 27 October 1969. CF-TRJ 1969 Cessna 150K (150-71338) was brand new and I thought it was cool. CF-WRP 1967 Cessna 150H (150-67994) was my third trainer. All three belonged to Doug Wagner, Wagner Aviation. Happy days.

My thanks to Dennis for the research on the tail crest / flash.

The 39th Engineer Group from Wiley Barracks, Neu-Ulm , West Germany. During my time in Europe all the Engineer companies had at least one Beaver as they were common and had a unique flash on the tail.  
I believe 57-2578 to have been an asset of 39th Engineering Group, Wiley Barracks (Kaserne), Neu-Ulm, West Germany, up until it was sold at Coleman Barracks.  The Bell UH-1 Iroquois was the end of the Beaver.

Dennis Newell, Maricopa, AZ.