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February 2009 - December 2008

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Saturday 28 February 2009

Last day of February, sure went by quickly. Another yarn from Tim McGraw for you all to enjoy, Thanks Tim.

Oil on the Amazon,     © Feb. 28, 2009

So, there I was in the summer of 1990 changing the engine oil on a de Havilland Beaver as it floated on floats on the Amazon River moored at the Belem “yacht” club.

I’d taken a boat out to the plane which was tied up to a buoy. Oh, and it was great fun getting out of the plane as it winded down and taxied into the buoy. I had to run up to the front of the float and grab the buoy by hand and tie down the float plane without getting my head chopped off by the propeller, or falling into the chocolate waters of the Amazon. Great fun.

Ahh, to be 38 again and at my high school weight due to the constant daily dysentery. More calories were flowing downstream than in.

Well, so I get out to the plane to do the oil change, and I’m on a board across the floats under the radial engine and I figure, “Who gives a damn!” So I just open up the quick drain valve on the engine to release its five gallons of oil straight into the muddy Amazon. A small oil spill considering that the Amazon sends a million gallons of fresh water into the Atlantic every day.

But , not, the Brazilians with me started to shout at me in Portuguese not to just let the oil flow on. So I stopped the valve and soon enough a bucket was produced to catch the used aviation oil by my friends from Belem.

No doubt, they recycled the oil into their own machines. And I’m glad they stopped me from polluting the Amazon. But I had my reasons to hate the river. My reasons to distrust any of their Portuguese protestations about ruining their Amazonian environment.

Back at the Belem Hilton Hotel, I related the above story to Aidan Quinn and Tom Berenger at the pool side bar. Aidan was aghast at my faux pas. I told him it was a joke and of course I recycled the six gallons of oil....which is kinda true...the Belemese took it all away.

And it probably ended up in the Amazon River eventually.

Well, just a story from long ago. At least I never fell into the river.

Then, again, maybe I did.

Tim McGraw

Friday 27 February 2009

Greetings from a mild and rainy Kingston. Not quite April showers bringing May flowers, but I did see snowdrops in bloom yesterday.

As coincidences often seem to happen here on the blog, an image with further info on "bomb mechanisms" arrived from Richard Grevatte-Ball in the United Kingdom last night. Shown below. An image of an AAC Beaver XP819 (1482) arrived from Ruud Leeuw in the Netherlands today, so it came up for selection. Low and behold, the first image on that page shows that bomb mechanism again, and the images were supplied by none other than Richard!!

Photo: Lt Col Richard Grevatte-Ball © 1967

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Some of you may have noticed that I have added my interview with Beaver Test Pilot Russ Bannock, back on 23 February 1993 at his home in Toronto. You can find a link if you scroll down the "Front Page". It can also be found at the bottom of the page for CF-FHB (1). It is a long recording, so save some time for it. I'll add some other images there some day to complete the page. Little by little.

Further images have arrived concerning the bomb release mechanisms, one that caught my eye was this image from Jim Moore, taken in Vietnam in 1970 while on a mission in 51-16771 (207). Thanks again Jim.

Photo: Jim Moore © 1970

My thanks to Ian Macdonald for passing along this link to the CBC website. A good article on our DHC-2 by Robin Rowland. Great shot of CF-FHB (1).

Photo: CBC - Rowland Family Archives © 1951-52

Monday 23 February 2009

Could I ask here if anyone that e-mailed me privately in recent weeks and has not had a reply from me - or their request attended to - please try again. I think I have my computer issues almost solved and perhaps, now, it can be business as usual.

I have to make a fairly big financial investement next week to get a copy of Photoshop CS4 (upgrade) as my free demo runs out soon. In order to continue producing images for the website i need to do this. Any monetary help from generous web-site viewers welcome.

I knew our Dennis Newell would be the one to answer Dirk's question. Here is a fine drawing of the item and location. Later today I'll add links to a larger drawing and to a specific installation. Thanks again Dennis.

DHC © maintenance manual

Saturday 21 February 2009

Just wanted to add this YouTube Video of Harrison Ford's kind promo of the new Canadian Air & Space Museum at Downsview, "The birthplace of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver". Thank you sir, you are a great "voice" for inspiring future generations of Aviation Minded folk.

Friday 20 February 2009

I'm still trying to get back on track here, having some success. My wife Danie has started a blog called "danieonthego" - just some "musings" she says. Go have a read if you have a chance.

My fellow researcher Dirk Septer in BC has a request of you folk. Anyone know anything about this item from a Beaver. A bomb release - pull.

Photo: Dirk Septer © February 2009

Dirk would love to know more. E-mail him at dirk_septer "at"

Thursday 19 February 2009

I had an entry on my computer this morning that might be of interest to you all, "Air Force One" on descent into Ottawa (CYOW), parked on the ramp there at 10:32EST.

A warm welcome to Canada - Mr. President!

"Air Force One" departing RWY 25 CYOW 17:28 EST

Safe Trip home - Hope you enjoyed your day!

SBS-1 screen shots - Neil Aird © 19 February 2009

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Sometimes days are special. Stephen McGinn received his new Beaver C-FMRN (480) on 22 July 2008. At the same location, local gal, (now famous) music star Shania Twain also arrived at the dock. So here's a double portrait for the record. I'm not sure who is really the "star" here . . . .

Photo: Mal Ratccliff © 22 July 2008

Sunday 15 February 2009

Just when you don't expect it, a New ! Beaver arrives. Warren Ruiter sent along this shot of 52-6065 (407) which was taken at Houston, British Columbia by his father Wally in the 1950's.

Photo: Wally Ruiter © c 1952

Warren wrote:

Please find attached a photo of Beaver 26065 which landed in my father's field in Houston BC in the 50's.  He landed due to poor weather, and departed several days later on his way to Alaska I believe.  I am told he returned about 6 months later with some candy for the kids.

Thursday 12 February 2009

This evening a few great winter images arrived from Denis Wittner in Paris, France. He was just back from a vacation at Lac Sacacomie in Québec with his wife. They managed a ride in C-FJAB (934). Merci Denis.

Photo: Denis Wittner © February 2009

I made the switch of my two main computers today No:1 is now No:2 and vice versa. Still have to load a few pieces of software and maybe buy some more. I'll see if the budget can stretch to Photoshop CS4 (I've got a free demo running just now). I managed to install my old CS2 on the lap top - no bother at all - so why I can't on my "troubled" one, I do not know!!

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Still working on my computer, someday I hope I will have all the items back that I need to function at my normal rate! I am behind on correspondence also. If I have promised to help "you" with info, I have not forgotton. I'm going to have another phone session with Adobe after lunch . . a last ditch attempt to re-activate my Photoshop CS2 license on this computer!

My thanks to Fred Barnes for his three Beavers noted at Fairoaks in 1970. I have added one only so far as the other shots are almost identical, but of different machines. I'll add them soon. Otherwise you will think you are seeing "triple" . . .

Saturday 07 February 2009

One small step for Neil - one day at a time! Hey, I added a Beaver, don't knock it. Back soon to full RPM.

Friday 06 February 2008

Just one more hurdle/bridge/mountain to cross. If I can get my Adobe Photoshop CS2 back on this computer, I'll be back. Got my Adobe Go Live CS2 back just moments ago. I'm almost totally worn out!! I promise I'll be back. After about two hours on the phone with Adobe over the past two days, was basically told, we no longer deal with old software like CS2. Yikes. I will refrain from further comment. Maybe, just maybe, a Beaver for you all tomorrow!!

Wednesday 04 February 2008

That was the week that was! I have my main computer back...but it is basically "wiped clean" with a new 320GB hard drive and that means re-installing "everything". What a task. I hope to be back in Beaver business soon. Boy, I'm glad I'm retired - but this is expensive in time and money! Thanks to Darren for getting me back - never realized just how much was on this machine.

Wednesday 28 January 2008

More snow to deal with here, so usual duties must be done between website updates and fulfilling requests. Super images from master builder Thierry Daudin arrived today. We met a few years ago at his home field of Mascouche, on the northern outskirts of Montréal. He kindly gave me a tour of the hangar and workshops. What a great collection of aircraft. Alas most were packed inside, and I did not post many of the images I took that day. I will add some of his re-building shots of C-GKAO (1333) over the next few days, so check back. Merci Thierry.

Sunday 25 January 2009

Can't believe another week has gone by since I last penned something into the blog. Beaver outout had dropped off I'm afraid, still have too many other distractions!

This morning a great image of L-20A 52-6083 (448) arrived from Bob Archibald, LtCol, USAF (ret). He is the historian for the 85th FIS Alumni Association.

(The 85th FIS was activated at Scott AFB in November 1952 with F-51D and H. It replaced the 113th FIS of the Indiana ANG. In the fall of 1953 it transitioned into F-86D aircraft and in August 1957 into F-86Ls. The 85th FIS was deactivated on 1 July 1959.)

He wrote: This airplane was dearly loved by the squadron F-86 Sabrejet pilots who also flew the Beaver on many logistic and personnel support missions in addition to their normal duties.  The plane was colorfully painted in basic silver overall with red, white, and blue stripes flowing off the cowling; and by red and white "flag" stripes on the tail also displaying the squadron emblem.  The Air Defense Command maintained a number of Beavers in its inventory to add self-support to its widespread fighter squadrons.

I have visited N768 at its "home" near the post office building at Anchorage International Airport, and have met the current owner.  I enjoyed seeing the great number of Beavers in the Anchorage area.

Here's a small model of the aircraft in question. Thanks Bob.

Sunday 18 January 2009

Where have I been you may ask? Right here, but doing other things! I've been enjoying some other activities, mostly connected with aircraft tracking, now have a Radar Box to go along with my SBS-1, and arranging HDTV for Danie's return from Mexico. Quite a bit of research and of course installation. All ready now. All I can say is WOW! I'm excited about the viewing of slides on the 50" Plasma screen.

But enough of that for now. Today I have more snow to deal with and I hope to start fishing a cable from the cab/studio on third floor down to the HD machine on the second floor, and maybe experimenting with slide shows. I have quite a few manuals to read as well.

First I'd better add a few Beavers to keep everyone happy. I have a few items for the blog and I'll try to update this on a more regular basis.

Recently I received another batch of drawings from Mika Jernfors in Finland. Incredible work Mika! I can imagine the decals will be incredible.

Images: Mika Jernfors © 2008

Friday 09 January 2009

Well, Madame Aird is travelling again. Early start to train station (-23C wind chill) and she is now at Toronto Pearson - CYYZ. Her Mexicana flight MXA889 XA-UBU an Airbus A318 is due to depart at 15:30EST. I was hoping it would have been XA-NCA (my initials!) A few weeks of Beaver work is in the wings, plus my usual other diverse aviation activities! Off again to Post Office - Few calendars in stock at the moment - just 3 remaining!

Monday 05 January 2009

Once some of the ice melts (from freezing rain) , I'll be off to the Post Office with more of my Calanders. Almost all gone, my stock is dwindling (9 left), but there are a couple of places you might be able to get one if I cannot supply you.

Aviation World in Toronto got a few from me, so try there or contact me and I'll "shop around". Thanks to all of you who supported me again with this project, by supplying fantastic shots and by purchasing. I can now afford to search actively for more fine de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver slides/images for the website.

Friday 02 January 2008

Photo: G-AMAD (5211) AS. 57 Ambassador 2 at Newcastle - Ian MacFarlane © 02 February 1966

Just heard moments ago that my good friend Ian MacFarlane passed away. Ian had been fighting CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia) over these recent years. I have been concerned as I have not had an e-mail for a while. I sent his calendar in early December to encourage him in his battle. For those of you who knew Ian, he had a great sense of humour in his writings, and was not one to mince words. He is best known for his really magnificent images taken over the decades, since the mid 1950's in fact. Newcastle, United Kingdom, was his base. He was a great help to me in supplying his de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver images. I always enjoyed his shots of DHC-8's on delivery when published in Air-Britain. My sympathy to his daughter Elizabeth at this time. Also to his many Aviation friends, who, like me, will miss him a great deal.

You can find a small selection of Ian's images on AB-PIC.

Photo: C-FQWE (768) DHC-6-300 at Newcastle - Ian MacFarlane © 11 March 2008

Everyone likes something "free" - well, check out Danielle's updated website for three "free" stories from her book. Enjoy. We'll be happy to ship a book to you. All profits to Calcutta Rescue Canada.

Thursday 01 January 2009

We are expecting family here for dinner tonight, so just a brief transition on the website with everything ready for new additions starting tomorrow. Last month's 31 additions now in the 2008 Archives.

Beautiful winter day with high level traffic to keep me entertained up here in the "cab". First aircraft noted was Lufthansa B744 D-ABVU right over my studio, operating "DLH440". It was visible 55 nm away and reached here at 12:19EST. Last one of 2008 was Air India B77W VT-ALK operating "AIC126" at 21:52EST.

Best wishes to you all for the New Year.

The website had about 130,744 unique visits which translates into over 11 Million Hits!!

Wednesday 31 December 2008

Early "noisey" start for me! I drove my 2001 VW Jetta to have muffler fixed, noisier than a 985 . . just a clamp needed, but having winter service done as well. Had to drive in a blizzard, which shielded the community from some of my "noise".

Eagle eyed Sippo Nevalainen in Finland spied 5Y-KRD (1439) on Google Earth at Mwanda Airport on the eastern shore of Lake Victoria in Tanzania. Not too far west of her normal base at Wilson-Nairobi in Kenya. Good catch Sippo! Hölökynkölökyn !

Photo: Hervato © Google Earth

Lastly - Let me wish us all the very best in Health and Happiness in 2009! Lang may yer lums reek!

Tuesday 30 December 2008

Nearing the end of the year. Many exciting images have arrived in the recent days. One batch came from Matthew Cosier, Flight Training and Standards Manager, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Central Operations in Australia. His Dad, Reg Cosier, was a popular Beaver driver, known to the locals as “Straw Hat”- as he always wore that worn out hat when he flew. He used to own VH-AAJ (1066).

Photos: Early 1970's © Mrs. Cosier's Family Archives - via Matthew Cosier

Monday 29 December 2008

The first part of the holiday period is over and after an enjoyable respite with my family, I've been getting back into web site work. Added a nice CAP Beaver which was specifically hunted down for my friend Wayne Mutza, who is doing extensive research on the Civil Air Patrol. The slide came all the way from Australia!

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Just want to wish all of you the very best for this holiday season. I'm taking a wee break from the website. Don't worry, I'll be back soon. Thanks for the all good wishes I've received from around the world.


Monday 22 December 2008

A day of rest from shovellling, well almost. A busy day, all the same!

I seem to feature this aircraft quite a lot, maybe it is because I saw it when it was in the very early stages of construction. Air-Britain News has it featured on the cover of the November 2008 Edition. A nice image by Tim Martin. You will of course note the two Beavers off to the right parked outside the Viking Air facilities.!

Air-Britain News: Tim Martin © 14 October 2008

Saturday 20 December 2008

Well, dug out, and walkways through the snowdrifts cleared for our Bazaar visitors. Today should certainly be better than yesterday. Skies are blue and the air is crisp.

Friday 19 December 2008

Snowing like crazy here. Just to put us in the mood, I received this great card from my friends at Viking. . . and here I thought Rudolph was a reindeer, silly me.

The other day I received a package from Harald Mueller containing a fine soft cover book (62 pages) by Andreas Kanonenberg - documenting the design and construction of the 1:2.5 all metal R/C de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver. Thanks for the book Harald. It is in German, but the pictures, fortunately, are in English ;-)

Price EUR 12,50 • ISBN 978-3-923142-61-3

© MSV - Modellsport Verlag GmbH

Thursday 18 December 2008

Been a tad busy over the recent days, other tasks taking up my free time.

I was thrilled to add "a missing link" to the banner section today. Three images from Robert Beaulac arrived, location unknown, taken by George Theriault. It did not take too long before I realised they were taken at the Department of Defense Sale No: 41-6259 at Davis-Monthan AFB., Tucson, Arizona on January 29th, 1976. I have an original auction document in front of me, and also the disposal list with prices paid. Most of the 104 airframes went in the $20,000 to $28,000 range with a few as low as $18,000.

My pal John Olafson sent me an image he had taken of a DHC-8 which had a new door, he wondered if I could work my magic ? But of course. Here are the before and after images.

Photo: John W. Olafson © 2008

I'm sure my re-painting of the forward door was a lot quicker than the real job. All this good humour came about after I found out that the colourful Jazz fleet will be repainted shortly to the mundane house livery of Air Canada. Gone will be the Orange, Red, Green and Yellow maple leaf Dash 8's zipping around like leaves in the wind.

Saturday 13 December 2008

Day Two of Danie's Indian Bazaar, the big fund-raiser for CRC. Our house has been "transformed" for the next ten days. I still hope to add the odd Beaver to the website. I have a huge "inventory" of images to get through. If you were contemplating sending some to me, can you hold off until the New Year please. I'm beginning to feel the pressures of "work" - I want this to continue to be fun.

Monday 08 December 2008

Another check on our "Global Community" - last 1,000 visitors to the website today - note our most northerly guest, from Norilsk (Krasnoyarsk) Russia. Приветствую from DHC-2.COM.

Today's "buzz" was from CC130 130319 (4095) while en route eastbound, just the customary orbit to say "hello".

Photo: Neil Aird © 14:57EST 08 December 2008

Sunday 07 December 2008

For those of you who wonder just who the Danie is that I mention all the time? Here she is in Jaipur earning her keep. This is the rickshaw we purchased the other year. It is kept in pretty good nick by Papu. He is very proud of it, enjoying the back seat for a change!

Photo: 29 November 2008

I've been trying for years to catch an aircraft crossing in front of the moon - well almost made it this afternoon with regular, SE-REE A333 "SAS925" FL399 (18.5nm east of my studio), en route from Copenhagen to Washington.

Photo: Neil Aird © 14:39 07 December 2008

Well after a day of "agro" I have the website back up and running. MidPhase migrated the website to a new server (yet again) and for some reason they cut back on the space allocated to DHC-2.COM - I could therefore not update. The website was there actually, except for the main page and this page. I could not change these as I had no space. Well, when I awoke today, they had a nice e-mail waiting for me asking me to upload these two pages again...all is well. Being a webmaster is sometimes totally exhausting.

Saturday 06 December 2008

Not only did the DHC-2 make the cover of AMCAR this issue, but it also is on the cover of issue 355 - December 2008 of Scramble Magazine!

Friday 05 December 2008

Had a couple of visitors near the studio at 13:56 EST. Nice to see my tax dollars at work. CF-188 Hornets of the CAF.

Photos: Neil Aird © 05 December 2008

Tuesday 02 December 2008

As Danielle is descending towards Montreal in KLM671 a B744,

I'm adding another picture of the QE2, this time reaching her new home in Dubai. Why? Well, yesterday and today "UAE201" spoke to my computer, yesterday it was A388 A6-EZC and today A6-EZA, both were well to my east (50nm) and unseen due to clouds. The one pictured below is their third A380-800 (the one that flew by yesterday!). I look forward to a clear day when I can maybe see my first A380!

Photo: Emirates © November 2008

Monday 01 December 2008

A new month, and probably a busy one for most of us.

Tonight my Danielle will start her homeward journey from New Delhi, per KLM via Amsterdam to Montréal. Home to Kingston from there by train on Wednesday. Needless to say I'll be following her flights with interest. Troubled times in India and indeed elsewhere.

I thought I'd start with a plug for "The Immortal Beaver" DVD by Gamut Productions. It just had a screening in Seattle and is now available for purchase on-line. Hope you will support them.

I always am amazed at the talent out there. Mika Jernfors from Finland sent me some of his three view drawings made to go along with his decals for DHC-2 Beaver kits. His work is outstanding, and I have shown one below. They are drawn in vector graphics and are a delight to view full size. He does not have a website as yet, but if you would like to get in touch with him, drop me an e-mail. (adminnca "at" I'll add a special page of his work, when he is ready.

Images: Mika Jernfors © 2008