Friday, December 13, 2013

The Alberta Aviation Museum – Edmonton Alberta Canada

Continuing with our trip to Alberta Canada…

We still had plenty of daylight when we arrived in Edmonton.  My research had already yielded an interesting attraction and not being one to waste a minute or to just ‘chill out’ when on a trip, we headed straight for another Alberta travel experience!

This is the Alberta Aviation Museum.   I assumed, correctly as it turned out, that Laurie and I would see a number of aircraft at this museum that we wouldn’t normally see on display in the USA.
This museum is located at the Edmonton City Centre Airport, aka. Blatchford Field.  Previously this airfield operated as the Edmonton Municipal Airport.  This airport is the oldest licensed airport in Canada. (1929) American Wiley Post landed there during both of his circumnavigations of the globe.  For many years the Municipal Airport handled all airline passenger traffic in and out of Edmonton.  This airport is scheduled to close by the end of this year…

This single engine bush plane is on display right in front of the Aviation Museum.  It’s a Noorduyn Norseman that had been operated by Buffalo Airlines in the Canadian north. Designed by Robert B.C. Noorduyn, the Noorduyn Norseman was produced near Quebec City Canada from 1935 to 1959.  A total of 903 Norsemen were produced, with the US military purchasing 749 of them during WWII. 
Buffalo Airways is a family-run airline that was founded in 1970 that is based in Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada.   They operate scheduled passenger, charter passenger, charter cargo, firefighting and fuel services.  This airline was also the subject of the History television reality series “Ice Pilots NWT”.  For more on Buffalo Airlines, go to
Noorduyn Norseman aircraft have been registered in 68 countries worldwide.  This rugged plane has been flown in the Artic and the Antarctic.  Band leader Glenn Miller was in a Norseman when the plane disappeared over the English Channel in 1944.  The town of Red Lake Ontario Canada, (“The Norseman Capital of the World”), actually stages an annual Norseman Floatplane Festival.

This is a 1937 Avro Anson II.  Its cruising speed was 140 mph and its top speed was only 160 mph.  It had a range of almost 800 miles.   
The Avro Anson is a British twin-engine, multi-role aircraft that served with the Royal Air Force, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Canadian Air Force and many other air forces before, during, and after WWII.  It was named after a British Admiral and it was originally designed as an airliner…before being redeveloped for maritime reconnaissance.  It was soon rendered obsolete for either roles but it was rescued from obscurity by its suitability as a multi-engine air crew trainer.  It became the primary aircraft of the British Commonwealth’s Air Training Plan.  Only 50 of these planes were delivered to the US military…  By the end of production in 1952, I was stunned to learn that a total of 11,020 of these planes were built in Britain and Canada.  To learn more about this aircraft, go to 

This is a 1943 De Havilland Mosquito B.35.  It had a 2-man crew and it is equipped with 2 Rolls Royce Merlin engines and it could be armed with 2 tons of bombs or 4 20mm cannons, 4 .303 caliber machine guns and a half ton of bombs.   This plane could cruise at 300 mph and it could reach a maximum speed of 415 mph.  It had a range of 1,600 miles and a service ceiling of 37,000 feet. 
The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British built multi-role combat aircraft that served during the Second World War as well as in the postwar era.  Believe it or not, the Mosquito was one of the few front-line aircraft of the WWII to be constructed almost entirely of wood and, as such, was nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder".  When the Mosquito entered production in 1941, it was one of the fastest operational aircraft in the world.  A total of 7,781 Mosquitos were built.  They were operated by 21 different countries including the USA.  To learn more about the de Havilland Aircraft Company, the Mosquito and its role in WWII, go to
Only about 30 non-flying Mosquitos and one airworthy aircraft exist today.  The airworthy version is owned by The Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  For more on that museum and its extensive collection of airworthy historic aircraft, go to

There were a number of large or ‘newer’ aircraft on display outside of the museum itself.  This is a 1957 McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo.  With its 2-man crew and its 2 Pratt and Whitney J-57 engines, it could cruise at 545 mph and achieve a maximum speed of 1,134 mph.  The Voodoo had a range of 1,520 miles and a service ceiling of 58,400 feet.  A total of 807 of these aircraft were built.  They saw service during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War.
Interceptor versions of the Voodoo served with the Air National Guard until 1982, and in Canadian service they were a front line part of NORAD until their replacement with the McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet in the 1980s.  While the Voodoo was a moderate success, it was probably more important as an evolutionary step towards its replacement aircraft, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.  To learn more, go to

This is a 1943 North American Aircraft bomber, the B-25J Mitchell.  It is powered by 2 1,850 HP Wright R-2600 Cyclone 14 radial engines.  The B-25 was named in honor of General Billy Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S. military aviation.  With its crew of 5, 8 - 12.7 mm machine guns and 1 ½ tons of bombs, it could fly for 2,700 miles at a cruising speed of 230 mph.  9,984 of these planes were built! 
The B-25 was used by many Allied air forces, in every theater of World War II, as well as by many other air forces after the war ended, and saw service across four decades.  The last active duty B-25 Mitchell was taken out of service by the Indonesian Air Force in 1979…
Of course, the B-25 is most famous as the bomber used in the 18 April 1942 Doolittle Raid, in which 16 B-25Bs led by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle attacked mainland Japan, only four months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The raiders took off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet and they successfully bombed Tokyo and four other Japanese cities without loss.  The attack on Japan’s main islands gave a much-needed boost in morale to the Americans.  At the same time, it alarmed the Japanese who had believed their home islands couldn’t be touched by enemy forces.  The amount of actual damage wreaked on Tokyo and the other cities was relatively minor but it did force the Japanese to divert troops for home defense purposes for the remainder of the war.

This is a 1952 Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck...affectionately known as the “Clunk”. (The noise it makes when the landing gear is retracted) It’s powered by 2 Avro Canada Orenda 11 turbojets.  The CF-100 was a jet interceptor/fighter that served during the Cold War at NATO bases in Europe and as part of NORAD.  The CF-100 was the only Canadian-designed fighter to enter mass production, (692 were built), serving primarily with the RCAF/CAF and in small numbers in Belgium.  
The CF-100 could cruise for 2,000 miles, it had a service ceiling of 45,000 feet and its maximum speed was 552 mph.  It was armed with 8 - .50 caliber machine guns and it could carry bombs and unguided rockets or missiles.  For more information, go to
Avro Canada, the company that built the CF-100, was started in 1945 as an aircraft plant.  Within 13 years it was the third-largest company in Canada and one of the largest 100 companies in the world…directly employing over 50,000.  In the years since, elements of this large conglomerate have been sold off, merged or closed down.

This is a 1943 Douglas DC-3/C-47 Skytrain or Skytrooper/CC-129 Dakota.  This particular version is a C-47.  Some of these twin engine aircraft are still flying, especially in 3rd world countries.  This plane could carry a crew of 3 and up to 36 passengers at a cruising speed of about 170 mph.  They had a range of a little over 1,000 miles and a service ceiling of about 24,000 feet.   Over 10,000 varieties of the C-47 were built.  In total, between the military versions, cargo versions and the DC-3 passenger versions of this aircraft, total production was 16,079 planes!
During the Vietnam War, the C-47 was modified and pressed into service as the Douglas “AC-47 Spooky”, also nicknamed "Puff, the Magic Dragon".  It was the first in a series of gunships developed by the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War.  A total of 53 of these planes were modified into gunships.  Some air forces around the world still operate C-47s or AC-47s.  To learn more about the C-47 and its variants, go to
I had the good fortune of flying on the DC-3 passenger version of the C-47 back in the late 1950s…low and slow…great for sightseeing!  Lake Central Airlines was operating DC-3s between Detroit MI, Erie PA and Buffalo NY.  The only remaining scheduled DC-3 passenger service in North America today is by Buffalo Airlines in Canada’s Northwest Territory.  There are flights 6 days a week from Hay River to Yellowknife.  For flight information, go to 

This is a 1937 Barkley-Grow T8P.  It is powered by 2 - 400 HP Pratt and Whitney Wasp Jr. engines.  It could carry 2 crew and 6 passengers for 750 miles at an altitude of no more than 20,000 feet.  Its maximum speed was 224 mph. 
The Barkley-Grow Aircraft Corporation was a US aircraft manufacturer established by Archibald Barkley and Harold Grow in Detroit in 1937.  Their goal was to produce a small civil transport.  Sales were disappointing and the firm was bought out 1940.  Although it saw limited production, 11 in total, this plane was well-received as a bush plane in Canada where 7 of the 11 were purchased.  The aircraft’s fixed undercarriage was no obstacle to the fitting of skis or pontoons so they could operate as a bush plane.  Of the 4 purchased in the USA, one was selected for a record flight from Washington D.C. to Peru, and another was used in the Antarctic by the US Navy.  Only 3 examples of this aircraft exist…

This is a fully preserved 1943 Noorduyn Norseman accompanied by a typical load of cargo that these planes might deliver in the vast Canadian north.  This model has a  Pratt and Whitney R-1340 Wasp engine, has the capacity to carry 7 passengers and crew and it can reach speeds of 170 mph.  Surprisingly, at least to me, it has a service ceiling of 22,000 feet.

Anytime that we visit a museum, especially one involving transportation, we’re always encouraged by the sight of ongoing work…continuing preservation of the past so it can be revisited and appreciated by the youth of today and tomorrow.  We noted this large section of the facility with several aircraft that were being worked on, as well as the fabricating shop pictured below…   

The Alberta Aviation Museum is apparently heavily committed to preservation and restoration… I don’t know where they find the talent to fix and maintain the aircraft in the collection, but I suspect that some older gentlemen are involved…men who have experience with these older planes and their upkeep.  
Canada may have an advantage in this regard as there are many older piston driven planes servicing small communities and mining interests in the Northwest Territory, the Yukon, Nunavut (the largest, northernmost and newest territory of Canada, as well as northern Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador.     

For our final airplane…and I didn’t feature all of the aircraft in the collection…this is a 1933 Fairchild 71c.  This early bush plane was powered by a 420 HP Pratt and Whitney Wasp C engine.  It could carry 1 crew member and 6 passengers at an amazingly slow cruising speed of 106 mph.  Its ‘top speed’ was only 133 mph and its service ceiling was limited to 12,500 feet.
The Fairchild 71 was an American high-wing monoplane passenger and cargo aircraft built by Fairchild Aircraft.  It was later built in Canada by Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. (Canada) for both military and civilian use as a rugged bush plane.  The earliest variant of this aircraft was built in 1926.
The Alberta Aviation Museum is located at 11410 Kingsway Avenue in Edmonton Alberta Canada.  Phone: 780-451-1175.  You can check out their website at  The museum is open 7 days a week, 362 days a year.  Adult admission is $10.00; seniors are $8.00; children 13 -17 are $7.00 and; children between 6 and 12 are $6.00.
Laurie and I enjoyed our tour of this museum… There is much more to see then I’ve shown here.  I focused on some of the aircraft and I left out all of the other interesting aircraft related displays…
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Hi Dave! Wow your trip to Canada is amazing...who knew there were so many interesting stops?! ...It's a shame to hear that the airbase is closing down...I wonder what will happen to all those planes. It's wonderful though that you got to visit it before they close.


  2. Dear Dave, Wonderful tour of this aircraft museum. Thank you Dave . Blessings, Catherine

  3. Looks like a fabulous museum. I had a brother (died in 1985) who LOVED airplanes of all kinds.... He would have loved being there with you all. He owned and flew a Piper Cub for several years before his cancer won the battle.

    Thanks for sharing. Such a neat place.. Glad they are so interested in restoration.