Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 4: The Second World War, Canadian Vickers (Northrop) Delta

Canadian Vickers (Northrop) Delta

Data current to 25 Nov 2020.

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM640-S1-: CVA 260-1026)

Canadian Vickers (Northrop) Delta Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 675), Vancouver, British Columbia, ca 1939.

Canadian Vickers (Northrop) Delta Mk. I (3), (Serial Nos. 667, 668, 669), Mk. II (17), (Serial Nos. 670, 671, 672, 673, 674, 675, 676, 677, 682, 683, 684, 685, 686, 687, 688, 689, 690), for a total of 20 aircraft.  Flown by RCAF No. 8, No. 119 and No. 120 Squadrons.

Canada selected the Delta for use as a photographic survey aircraft for use by the RCAF in 1935.  They were built by Canadian Vickers Ltd under license.  One aircraft, the last Delta built by Northrop, was supplied as a part assembled pattern to Canadian Vickers, first flying on 16 Aug 1936 and being delivered to the RCAF on 1 Sep that year.  It was followed by a further 19 aircraft built wholly by Canadian Vickers, production continuing until October 1940.   These were the first all-metal stressed-skin aircraft to be built in Canada.

The Deltas, which were capable of being operated from wheeled, ski or float undercarriages, proved capable survey aircraft, well suited to operations in the North of Canada, but in August 1939, when the outbreak of the Second World War loomed, Canada found itself short of coastal patrol aircraft, and the Deltas were diverted to this role, being fitted with floats and carrying out long anti-submarine missions.  The Deltas were less successful as patrol floatplanes, as they were damaged by ocean swell and by salt water corrosion, and they were forced to revert to landplane use after two months.  

The Delta used the same wing as the Northrop Gamma, had split flaps and a non-retractable undercarriage like its predecessors.  The larger fuselage accommodated up to eight passengers.  For RCAF use, the design was modified to accept three Fairchild A-3 cameras at the rear of the cabin.  The cabin floor was strengthened to accept freight loads and a large, upward opening freight door was installed on the port side.  Two Deltas were armed with a defensive machine gun fitted in an open hatch in the roof. A plexiglass fairing provided protection from the slipstream.  This particular installation was not very satisfactory causing buffeting and a marked decrease in performance.  The Deltas were withdrawn from operations in late 1941, and were then used as instructional airframes in training schools.  The fuselage of No. 673 which crashed in 1939, is now with the Canada Air and Space Museum in Ottawa.

  (RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Northrop Delta, RCAF (Serial No. 667), first Canadian built Delta, 1936.

 (DND Archives Photo, PL-875)

Northrop Delta, RCAF (Serial No. 675), initially posted to No. 8 Sqn, Rockcliffe, Ontario, in 1938.  675 later flew with No. 120 Sqn from RCAF Stations Sea Island and Patricia Bay, BC, from May 1940 to July 1941, coded MX-C.  It served with No. 13 (OT) Sqn, RCAF Station Patricia Bay, BC, 1941.

 (RCAF Photo)

Northrop Delta, RCAF (Serial No. 670), No. 120 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron based at RCAF Station Patricia Bay.  The squadron, part of Northwest Air Command, was commanded by Wing Commander R.A. Delhaye DFC.  The aircraft behind the ill-fated Delta is a Junkers W 33/34 with Canadian Airways Limited. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3199776)

Northrop Delta Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 667). 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3577534)

Northrop Delta Mk. I (Serial No. 668), 17 Aug 1937. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3199775)

Northrop Delta Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 667).  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203455)

Northrop Delta Mk. IIs, RCAF (Serial Nos. 677 and 675), Noorduyn Norseman Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 678), No. 8 Squadron, Aug 1939. 

(RCAF Photo via the Shearwater Aviation Museum)

Northrop Delta Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 675). 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3545976)

Northrop Delta Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 675). 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3199777)

Northrop Delta Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 671) on skis, 2 Feb 1938. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3199774)

Northrop Delta Mk. II, RCAF cockpit, 12 Apr 1937. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581151)

Northrop Delta interior with Very Pistol. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3199778, and DND Archives Photo, PA-063532)

Northrop Delta Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 676), from No. 8 Squadron.  It is shown being prepared for a flight from RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, to Sydney, Nova Scotia, on 26 Aug 1939.  RCAF Marine Launch No. ML171 is being used to assist.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3642471)

Northrop Delta Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 671), Aug 1939. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581148)

Northrop Delta Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 673) on skis, Apr 1939. 

Two of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s pre-war members lost their lives in crash on the early afternoon of 14 September 1939, in a low valley near Beaverbrook Lake, New Brunswick.  The crash site was not discovered until 10 July 1958.  The pilot of Northrop Delta (Serial No. 673) was Warrant Officer James Edgerton “Ted” Doan of Ottawa and aircraft mechanic Corporal David Alexander Rennie of Ottawa.  In their attempt to get to Sydney, Nova Scotia for anti-submarine duties, they became the first of many Canadian casualties of the Second World War to die on Canadian soil.  The fuselage of this aircraft is now with the Canada Air and Space Museum in Ottawa. 

A detailed story concerning this crash may be viewed on the Vintage Wings of Canada web page here: http://www.vintagewings.ca/VintageNews/Stories/tabid/116/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/573/Lost-in-the-Wilderness.aspx.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581176)

Northrop Delta Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 673) on skis, Apr 1939.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581175)

Northrop Delta Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 673) on skis, Apr 1939. 

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM640-S1-: CVA 260-1022)

Canadian Vickers (Northrop) Delta Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 675), with a Hawker Hurricane, Vancouver, British Columbia, ca 1939.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574082)

Canadian Vickers (Northrop) Delta Mk. II, multi-camera installation.