Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 4: Noordyn Norseman

Noorduyn Norseman

Data current to 9 April 2021.

 (RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV (Serial No. 2496), c/n 378, coded AP-Q, No. 413 Squadron, on a Canadian photo-mapping mission ca 1944-45.  It is docked on the water at Sawmill Bay, on the East side of Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories.  Ex-USAAF UC-64 (Serial No. 43-5387), RAF (Serial No. FZ442), 2496 was in RCAF service from 1944 until 1952.  On 23 Jun 1952 it was reduced to spares and  scrapped.

The Noorduyn Norseman, also known as the C-64 Norseman, is a Canadian single-engine bush plane designed to operate from unimproved surfaces.  Distinctive stubby landing gear protrusions from the lower fuselage make it easily recognizable.  Introduced in 1935, the Norseman remained in production for almost 25 years with over 900 produced.  A number of examples remain in commercial and private use to this day.  Norseman aircraft are known to have been registered and/or operated in 68 countries throughout the world and also have been based and flown in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

The first Norseman, powered by a Wright R-975-E3 Whirlwind, was flight tested on floats on 14 Nov 1935 and was sold and delivered to Dominion Skyways Ltd., on 18 Jan 1936, registered as CF-AYO and named “Arcturus."  In the summer of 1941, Warner Brothers leased CF-AYO for the filming of "Captains of the Clouds" starring James Cagney, and with Air Marshall Billy Bishop.  Principal aerial photography took place near North Bay, Ontario with CF-AYO carrying temporary registration CF-HGO.  CF-AYO was lost in a crash in Algonquin Park in 1952.  Its wreckage currently is on display at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Almost immediately, the Norseman proved itself to be a rugged, reliable workhorse with steady sales.  The first aircraft, CF-AYO, was designated the Norseman Mk. I.  The next aircraft, "CF-BAU," having some minor changes required after the certification tests, and a new Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp SC-1 engine up-rated from 420 to 450 hp, was designated Norseman Mk. II, while the next three aircraft were Norseman Mk. IIIs: CF-AZA going to MacKenzie Air Service, Edmonton, Alberta, CF-AZE to Prospector Airways, Clarkson, Ontario and CF-AZS to Starrat Airways, Hudson, Ontario.  CF-BAU would be modified on 26 June 1937 to become the prototype Norseman Mk. IV, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp S3H-1.  The Mk. IV became the "definitive" model.

Until 1940, the Noorduyn company had sold only 17 aircraft in total, primarily to commercial operators in Canada's north and to the RCMP.  With the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe, demand for a utility transport led to major military orders.  The RCAF and the USAAF became the two largest operators; the RCAF ordered 38 Norseman Mk. IVWs for radio and navigational training for the Commonwealth Air Training Plan.  The RCAF ordered an additional 34 aircraft designated as the Norseman Mk. VI.

In postwar production, the Canada Car and Foundry (CCF) in Fort William, (now Thunder Bay) Ontario, acquired rights to the Norseman design, producing a version known as the Norseman Mk. V, a civilian version of the wartime Mk IV.  In order to exploit the market further, the CCF factory designed and built the Norseman Mk. VII.  This version had a bigger engine, a new all-metal wing and greater cargo capacity but was fated never to go into production.  The last Noorduyn Norseman to be built was sold and delivered to a commercial customer on 19 Jan 1959.  A total of 903 Norseman aircraft (Mk. I - Mk. V) were produced and delivered to various commercial and military customers.

The Canadian Second World War "ace-of-aces" George Beurling died in a Norseman while landing at Urbe Airport in Rome, Italy, in May 1948.  Beurling had been ferrying the aircraft to the nascent Israeli Air Force.  (Wikipedia)

The operated 79 Norseman aircraft from 1940 to 1953, and the RCN operated 21 Norseman aircraft from 1943 to 1957.

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. III (2), (Serial Nos. 694, 697), Mk. IV (47), (Serial Nos. 491, 494, 496-499, 678, 681, 691, 692, 693, 695, 696, 698, 2455, 2456, 2458, 2462, 2465, 2466, 2469, 2470, 2474, 2476-2481, 2483, 2486, 2493, 2494, 3522, 3523, 3525, 3527-3529, 3531-3537, 3539), Mk. IVW (27), (Serial Nos. 492, 493, 495, 679, 680, 2457, 2459, 2461, 2463, 2464, 2467, 2468, 2471-2473, 2475, 2482, 2484, 2485, 2487, 2489-2492, 3526, 3533, 3538), Mk. IVWA (3), (Serial Nos. 2460, 2488, 3524), Mk. VI (21), (Serial Nos. 361-372, 787-792, 2495, 2496, A591), for a total of 100 aircraft.

 (Bill McRae Collection Photo)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk.I V RCAF (Serial No. ) 2496 c/n 378, docked at a lake while on a Canadian photo-mapping mission, ca 1944-45, ex USAAF UC-64 (Serial No. 43-5387), RAF (Serial No. FZ442)

 (RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV (Serial No. 2496), c/n 378, coded AP-Q, No. 413 Squadron, on a Canadian photo-mapping mission ca 1944-45.  It is docked on the water at Sawmill Bay, on the East side of Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories.  Ex-USAAF UC-64 (Serial No. 43-5387), RAF (Serial No. FZ442), 2496 was in RCAF service from 1944 until 1952.  On 23 Jun 1952 it was reduced to spares and  scrapped.

Taken on strength 24 Mar 1944.  Assigned to No. 1 Training Command, Ontario 24 Mar 1944 and placed in Reserve Storage.  Activated 5 May 1944 and transferred to No. 1 Air Command 15 Jan 1945.  To No. 9T Group, No. 13 (later No. 413) (P) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario 4 May 1946.  Coded AP-Q.  Transferred to Air Transport Command 1 Apr 1948.  On 14 Oct 1948 sent to No. 6 Repair Depot for reconditioning.  Returned to ATC, No. 413 (P) Squadron, 5 Mar 1949.  On 31 Jan 1950 to No. 6 Repair Depot for refinishing and returned 17 Feb 1950.  Sent to N0. 11 TSU (Canadian Car And Foundry) 24 Apr 1950 for door installation, returning 27 Apr and going to No. 6 Repair Depot "pending allotment to contractor".  On 27 Jul 1951 to No. 11 TSU (Canadian Car) for reconditioning.  Returned to No. 6 Repair Depot, reduced to spares and produce.  Struck off and scrapped 23 June 1952.  (rwrwalker.ca)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583646)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 692).

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 692).

 (Comox Air Force Museum via Mike Kaehler)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 695), Comox Air Force Museum.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581435)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 678) and Northrop Delta, Cartwight-Hopedale, Labrador.  Both of these aircraft were flown as part of 'Operation Labrador'.  The flight commenced on 20 July 1939.  The objective was to fly secret photo-reconnaissance missions over the Labrador coast in efforts to locate potential airfield locations.  The RCAF detachment formed to conduct this reconnaissance was designated as the Labrador Flight.  The operation was authorized by Eastern Air Command and was flown in conjunction with an Royal Navy survey ship, HMS Franklin.  It was completed by 9 August 1939.  The aircraft involved were Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV (Serial No. 678) and Northrop Delta (Serial Nos. 676 and 677).  The two communities are 152.49 nautical miles apart.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3545916)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IVW, RCAF (Serial No. 679).

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581155)

Noorduyn Norseman, Mk. IVW, RCAF (Serial No. 680).

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650955)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 681).

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650956)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 681).

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583157)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 3523), 24 Feb 1944.

(RCAF Photo)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 2477).

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3545910)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IVW, RCAF (Serial No. 679), 1938.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 358790)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF, 25 Jul 1945, Maple Leaf.

 (RCAF Photo via Larry Milberry)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 792), c/n 14, Reg. No. CF-IGX.  Built as USAAF (Serial No. 43-5150), but transferred via Lend-Lease to the RCAF.  Delivered 10 June 1943 as aircraft No. 792 and assigned to No. 12 Squadron, Rockcliffe, Ontario. 

 (RCAF Photo via Shaun Mullins)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 792)

 (RCAF Photo)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 371), AP-N.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3586673)

Noorduyn Norseman, RCAF, coded AP-P, No. 413 Sqn, Clearwater Lake, 28 Aug 1950.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3586650)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 7--), coded AP-P, June 1950, No. 10 Det, Sault St Marie, Ontario.

 (RCAF Photo via Shaun Mullins)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IVW, RCAF (Serial No. 2487), c/n 60, coded CJ-H.  Taken on strength 7 May 1941.  Assigned to No. 3 Training Command, Montreal, Quebec.  Put in Reserve Storage until being transferred to No. 12 (Comm) Squadron 1 November 1941.  On 16 February 1942 transferred to Eastern Air Command, No. 4 Repair Depot, for use in rescue work and then on 12 March 1942 to RCAF Station Sydney, Nova Scotia.  To Noorduyn Aviation for repair 28 July 1942, following a Category B accident.  To No. 12 (Comm) Squadron 27 January 1943.  Transferred to No. 1 Training Command, No. 4 Wireless School, 22 June 1943 and then to No. 1 Air Command 15 January 1945.  To Noorduyn Aviation for overhaul 19 February 1945. Returned 4 January 1946 and assigned to No. 4 REMU.  Transferred to Central Air Command 28 April 1947 and then to North West Air Command, Edmonton, Alberta, 17 September 1948.  Struck off 23 april 1953.  Following three subsequent moves, it was transferred via Mutual Aid to the Royal Norwegian Air Force on 23 April 1953 and coded R-AU.  (rwrwalker.ca)

The aircraft is painted aluminium with a matt black anti-glare panel and search red applied to the outer wings (top and bottom) as well as the horizontal stabilizer.  All the control surfaces were painted aluminium.  (Chris Charland)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584523)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI, coded AK-T, 408 Sqn, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 9 Jun 1951.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4448522)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 790), 17 Mar 1954. medevac.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo,MIKAN No. 3390844)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 787), June 1943, Upper Green Lake, Ontario.

 (RCAF Photo)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 787), QT.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584790)

Noorduyn Norseman, top view, 26 May 1953.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584161)

Noorduyn Norseman, 18 Aug 1948, AP-O.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584156)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 2496), coded AP-Q, during Geodetic Survey support duties at Flin Flon, Manitoba in 1948.

(RCAF Photo)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 2486).

(RCAF Photo)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 2486).

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3586697)

Noorduyn Norseman, coded AK-O, being towed by a tractor. 

 (DND Photo via Chris Charland)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 365), coded GA-A with RCAF Station Goose Bay's Station Flight.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584792)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 368), coded AK-O, 26 May 1953.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3228255)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 368), coded AK-O, on skis, 408 (P) Sqn, 12 Mar 1951.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4449260)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI, RCAF, AK-F, Golden Lake, Ontario.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4448523)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 2476), 10 Aug 1952.

 (Author Photo)

 (Author Photo)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 787), c/n 136, QT.  Built in 1943, this Norseman VI was flown by No. 3 Wireless School in Montreal during the Second World War, and was used to train wireless operators.  Between 1945 and 1950, it served as a communications, search-and-rescue, and transportation aircraft across Canada.  In 1950, it served with No. 121 Communications and Rescue Flight, still bearing the RCAF markings from its last year of active service.  This aircraft was transferred to the Museum in February 1964.  (CA&SM)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4276736)

Noorduyn Norseman, CF-MPI, RCMP Air Service.

 (Author Photo)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV (Serial No. 494), mounted on skis, CF-EIH.  Alberta Aviation Museum, Edmonton, Alberta.

 (Author Photo)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. V, floatplane, CF-HPY, mounted on a pylon.  Alberta Aviation Museum, Edmonton, Alberta.

 (Alain Rioux Photo)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI, floatplane (Serial No. 831), CF-DRD, yellow with red stripes, silver pontoons, mounted on a pylon.  Red Lake, Ontario.

(CambridgeBayWeather Photo)

Noorduyn Norseman, CF-SAN, Buffalo Airways.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2218801)

Noorduyn Norseman 60-cent stamp, 1982.