Welcome to the The Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) website. Dedicated to the restoration of a historic World War II Patrol Bomber - Canso PBY-5A.
Please check out the buttons, on the left, which will lead you to the history, goals and aspirations of our non-profit organization.
Where is the Canso Shop?
Fairview, Alberta,Canada ---
FARS was formed to be the operating wing of the Canso PBY-5A, C-FNJE. The Society is currently coordinating the restoration of the Canso, raising funds to help rebuild the aircraft and planning to provide hangar space for FNJE and other historic aircraft. Upon completion of this restoration, FARS will organize demonstrations at airshows and community events to provide school children, aviation enthusiasts and the general public the opportunity to share in a part of Canada's rich history.
April 24th 2016
Exciting news this week - the airframe of Canso PBY-5A, FNJE has been rolled out of the shop and reunited with the 104 foot wing - after almost eight years!
A great day for Canso PBY-5A, FNJE!
Also a great day for Canadian History!
And a really great day for everyone involved!!
The Fairview Post had a great article this past week on the background and update of the project. Please check it out at the link below:
Rodney Kozar, FARS member and former co-pilot of C-FNJE, was in town on days off from his job fighting wild fires at Fort McMurray and stopped for a visit with some of the Canso Crew.
Rodney currently flies one of the CL-215 water bomber tankers for the Alberta Government, following in his father's footsteps as a Canso pilot and a water bomber fire fighter.
FIRST ENGINE UP!
There's been lots of excitement the last few weeks – the wing went on, the rudder was put back in place, both engines were mounted and finally Canso PBY 5-A, C-FNJE almost made it to the Fairview Airport, Tuesday night, June 7th, 2016.
The work-bee lasted until 2:00 AM when the Crew dragged the Canso through a canola field, then loaded it onto an old modified seed drill mover and pulled it sideways down the municipal road for 1½ miles until they encountered a low-hanging power line and a too-tall tail on the Canso!
A couple of hours and a lot of ingenuity later, under the power line it went and continued up the road. Another mile further the Canso was unloaded from the drill transport and back on its own wheels to head across another grain field.
You can just imagine the look on the faces of passersby, that next morning, when they saw that big old plane sitting there along the highway, in a field, a half a mile from the airport!
In the light of day the journey continued, down the highway for a half a mile, stopping traffic for 20 minutes, and onto the country road where the Canso Crew had to clear some trees to make the 100 foot right-of-way just a little bigger to accommodate the 104 foot wing span. It's amazing how many trees there are in just 4 extra feet! Then back through another field and onto the runway at the airport, just when the rain started. What a break that it held off that long!
Click on any photo below to start the slide show of the trip from the Wilson farm shop to the Fairview Airport
Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) had a great opportunity to share the fruits of all the efforts that have gone into the restoration of the Canso PBY with the aviation community and local people at the Father's Day Fly-In Breakfast on Sunday, June 19, 2016.
It was a very successful and enjoyable morning. The weather was great, the food was great, we had 26 landings including 2 helicopters. Of course, FARS was delighted to have the Canso there on location and proud to show it off to the more than 400 visitors. The cars were lined up half way back to Fairview. Next year we will maybe need to get a shuttle for a park and ride.
A big attraction to the event was the Grand Opening of new Fairview Air Terminal, a cooperative venture between the M.D. of Fairview # 136, the Town of Fairview and the County of Clearhills.
Other highlights of the morning were visits from Stars Air Ambulance helicopter, Alberta Sustainable Resources (SRD) Fire Attack Team, from Peace River, in another helicopter and the visit from a CL-215T Alberta water bomber, fresh from the wildfires at Fort McMurray. It was very impressive to see that big modern water tanker there on the tarmac in front of its predecessor, the Canso PBY-5A.
For a slide show of the Father's Day Fly-In event please check out this link below:
Canso PBY-5A, C-FNJE, as tanker 702, loading water for forest fire fighting in the Northwest Territories. Photos provided by Rodney Kozar, FARS member and former co-pilot on FNJE in 1997, with Buffalo Air. Rodney is currently a pilot of the Alberta Government's CL-215T's stationed at Slave Lake, AB and responding to wildfires across the country.
It's been a busy and productive summer for the Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) with restoration of Canso PBY-5A, C-FNJE. Firstly, the 104 foot wing was lifted back on the airframe, the engines were re-installed and then the aircraft was moved overland for about 5 miles to it's new home at the Fairview Airport. Since that time the electrical, hydraulic and all other systems have been connected and checked and now it's almost time to run the engines!
FARS is most grateful for the generosity of Brian and Karen Wilson for the use of two of their shops, their yard, their tools and equipment during the eight early years of the restoration of the Canso. Without their assistance the restoration would not have progressed as it did - FARS will remain very, very appreciative.
Check out the link below to a very good article in the Western Producer, written by Barb Glen who visited with us recently at the Canso Shop. Barb does a great job telling the story about the history the Canso and the salvage and restoration of this aircraft, Canso PBY-5A, C-FNJE
This year Christmas came a little early to Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society. In early December, after several months hard work, we received word from Transport Canada saying that, and I quote from the letter:
"A review of the Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society Maintenance Schedule Approval for the Consolidated Vultee PBY-5A is now complete and found acceptable. Please find attached MSA RAXE-FNJE-PBY-5A. The Original document and letter will be mailed from this office in the near future."
This is incredibly good news and the Canso is now just one more step closer to being ready to fly!!!
DECEMBER 2016 - Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) had to finally put the Canso away for the winter. Shown below was the move to its designated parking area alongside the Save the Canso Clubhouse. Work-bees continue on a smaller scale but plans are now in full swing for spring and the first "official" flight of Canso PBY 5-A, C-FNJE on Father's Day, June 18, 2017. Stay tuned for more information.
Very special news from James McRae, our friend and long time FARS supporter from Nova Scotia, who recently told us about the soon to be minted Canadian $20 silver coin depicting
Flight Lieutenant Jim McRae was onboard the Canso PBY-5A Patrol Bomber 9816 when, after a successful strike on an enemy submarine, was hit by gun fire from the sub and went down in the North Atlantic. Click the link below to read his story or to listen to Mr. McRae tell, in his own words, the details of that fateful day in history and the loss of RCAF Canso 9816 and three of it's crew members.
Welcome to the The Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) website dedicated to the restoration of historic World War II Patrol Bomber - Canso PBY-5A, FNJE, formerly known as RCAF 11094.
Please check out the buttons on the left to lead you to the history, goals and aspirations of our non-profit organization.
The date for the long awaited "First Flight" since restoration is June 18th, 2017 at the Father's Day Fly-In Breakfast and Historic Wings Over Canada 150 Celebration!
The Honourary Flight Crew is now up to SIX!
WWII pilots Jim McRae (Yarmouth, NS), Hal Burns (Victoria, BC), Bruce Olson (Edmonton) and RCAF pilot Peter Austin-Smith (Wolfville, NS), Flight Engineers, Herb Chanin (Winnipeg, MB) and Robert Smith (Elnora, AB). Flight Engineer Roy Foster of Wetaskiwin, AB regrets he is unable to attend.
Plan to come join in the fun!
The Canso gets on solid footing - a new "boardwalk" - thanks to long-time FARS' member Brian Wilson and son Jason who donated the wooden mats.
Hurrying to lay oilfield mats before the spring thaw to create a safe and secure place to finish restoration work on the aircraft.
Historic Wings Over Canada 150 Celebration, June 17 &18, 2017
What A Celebration
It was non-stop for two days and with the help of dozens of volunteers everything was great!
The help and support of FARS members and the community at large was amazing and the only way a event of this size can be possible. Thank You All!
Special thanks for Captain W.J. (Bill) Brady and his Co-Pilot Gary Wieben for taking the Canso PBY-5A into the air for the official "First Flight"
Thank You to our Sponsors
You made it happen!
MARK THESE DATES AND TIMES ON YOUR CALENDER:
June 17, 2017
1-3 PM HONOURARY FLIGHT CREW OPEN HOUSE, Fairview Legion Hall. Meet Five Veterans who flew or worked on the Historic Canso PBY-5A
5-8 PM HISTORIC WINGS OVER CANADA 150 CELEBRATION DINNER, Dunvegan Motor Inn, Fairview
June 18, 2017
8 AM - Noon FATHER'S DAY FLY-IN BREAKFAST and OFFICIAL FIRST FLIGHT of the CANSO PBY-5A, Fairview Airport
(Click on any photo to enlarge)
This is Fairview, Alberta, home of the Canso PBY-5A C-FNJE
(Click on any photo to enlarge)
Historic Wings Over Canada 150 Celebration
June 17 & 18th, 2017 - WHAT A WEEKEND!
First, at the Open House at the Fairview Legion, where our Honourary Flight Crew of six RCAF Veterans received a warm, appreciative and patriotic greeting from an enthusiastic full house.
Then, at the Celebration Dinner in the evening, to a sold-out room, the Flight Crew and the Canso Crew were joined by so many other supporters to raise a glass to the First Flight of the Canso and hear it's colourful history. All ears listened closely as the Honourary Flight Crew shared their stories of how they had connected with the Canso, as young men more than 70 years ago.
Finally the Big Moment - 11:00 AM Sharp, Sunday, June 18, 2017
The Canso taxied out and started it's warm-up. There was some sputtering, some backfiring, some smoke - and the crowd of well over a 1000 thought "oh no". And then ... Captain Bill Brady and Co-Pilot Gary Wieben headed the Canso down the runway, turned into the wind, gave her full throttle back toward the crowd, and she lifted like a bird into the clear blue sky!! What a thrill for all as the crowd clapped and roared when the Canso PBY-5A made a perfect take-off on its "First Flight".
Click on any photo below to enlarge photos taken by Sharon Krushel, capturing the "First Flight" of the Canso
It is with great sadness Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) announces the passing of a very good friend, mentor, and inspiration to us all.
Roland (Rollie) Hammerstedt of Kenora, Ontario, passed away at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital on Friday, July 21, 2017.
Rollie spent over six decades as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) on all sorts of aircraft but seemed to have a special connection with the old radial engine powered Canso PBYs. He knew everything about them and was always willing to share his knowledge. Rollie travelled to Fairview at least twice a year for the past seven years to spend two to three weeks working with our AME, volunteers and summer jobs AME students. There was always great progress made when Rollie was here and we all benefitted from his wealth of experience.
FARS extends its deepest condolences to his wife Shirley and family. We will miss Rollie greatly and will think of him often as the Canso takes to the skies, remembering his amazing contribution to the project.
Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) and the Canso PBY-5A, C-FNJE is on the move again this week!
First, we are off to visit our friends at the Peace River Airport for their FLY-IN BBQ, August 17, 2017. Come out and watch the Canso fly-by and enjoy a great BBQ with fellow aircraft enthusiasts.
Then later this week FARS and the Canso PBY will be flying to Villeneuve, AB to take part in the Edmonton Air Show. If you are in the area come on out to see us on display! The Edmonton Air Show runs August 19 and 20th, 2017.
Watch the skies over Fairview and area later this week as the Canso takes off or lands and gives a “tip of the wings” to all our friends below!!
The restoration is done and the Canso PBY is airworthy and flying beautifully but the support of our members and others interested in keeping this historic aircraft in the air to be shared with others will always been needed.
Consider getting involved
It seems the Canso PBY-5A, C-FNJE was a big hit at the Edmonton Air Show - a great crowd of enthusiasts arrived, in spite of the wind, and enjoyed themselves among the aircraft, new and old.
The Canso had line ups all through out both days, except when the Snow Birds flew. The best guess is that between 3 and 4,000 people toured through this historic old bird, and came out smiling!
The members of Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) and all those who came to watch the "first flight of Canso PBY-5A, C-FNJE will long remember the day we had six WWII Veterans who flew or worked on this very Canso during the War, with us here in Fairview. They came to witness the Canso take to the skies one more time and we thank these gentlemen for being here and we most sincerely thank them for their service.
Honourary Flight Crew - Front Row (L/R): Peter Austin-Smith, RCAF Pilot (Wolfville, NS), Robert Smith, Flight Engineer (Elnora, AB), Hal Burns, Pilot, (Victoria, BC), James McRae, Pilot (Yarmouth, NS), Herb Chanin, flight engineer (Winnipeg, MB. Missing from photo: Robert Olson, Pilot (Edmonton, AB). Bert Reynolds Photo
Come to the Annual General Meeting! Review this past amazing year and help plan for the future..