Camping beside the Canso - April weather -30 degrees, cold and clear
A long day's work!
Wilderness workshop on the banks of Sitidgi Lake, NWT
Heading off across the lake.
Crossing the lake and heading for the Dempster Highway about 40 km away.
The Journey 
Inuvik, NWT to Fairview, AB
Approx. 2,750 km. by road to Inuvik and then 1500 km. 
on a NTCL barge up the MacKenzie River to Hay River, NWT - THEN 800 km. down the Mackenzie Highway by truck to Fairview, AB
  • click on photos or map below to enlarge 
All donations are very much appreciated and will greatly assist with the reclamation of this historic aircraft.  Your help will assure its future as a flying museum, to be shared with everyone across the country that it served for almost 70 years.
The Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS), a non-profit organization, was formed to be the operating wing of the Canso PBY-5A, C-FNJE.  FARS 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 and the general public the opportunity to share in a part of Canada's rich history.

email me
FARS is most grateful to the towns of St. Anthony and Stephenville, NL.  Through their spirit of Canadian neighborliness, some of the Canso Crew will travel to Newfoundland and exchange display engines and props for the excellent low time engines and props currently on Canso PBY FIZU, which is on display in the town of St. Anthony.
Click the links below for more on the story of the Newfoundland engines & props .......
Special thanks goes to Alvin Gregorash and Aero Recip of Winnipeg, Manitoba for supplying a runout Pratt and Whitney 1830 engine to FARS. Aero Recip's quick and gracious response to our request for a display engine to install in the town of St. Anthony's Canso, FIZU, has made a significant contribution towards getting NJE flying again.  Aero Recip carries on a long tradition of excellence in piston engne overhaul.
Contact them at  1-204-788-4765 or see their webpage:    .

"Fairview trades aircraft engines and history with Newfoundland" is how the headline reads in the latest adventure of the Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS), Canso Crew from Fairview, AB.  

On July 28, 2013 the Edmonton Journal carried an excellent article on the Great Canadian Aircraft Engine Exchange, written by Keith Gerein of the Journal staff.  A few years ago, Keith wrote another excellent story about the Canso FNJE regarding the recovery phase of the project.  That story ran in the Journal and subsequently in the Calgary Herald.  FARS is most appreciative of the Edmonton Journal and Keith Gerein for the interest and support.

To check out this story please click the link below to access the Edmonton Journal webpage:
May 16, 2013 - The Canso Crew is now in St. Anthony, Newfoundland! 

Brian & Karen Wilson and Norbert Luken left Fairview, AB on May 3, 2013, with two runout (display) Pratt and Whitney 1830 radial  aircraft engines loaded on a trailer, heading for St. Anthony, NL, as stage one of the Great Canadian Aircraft Engine Exchange.

Ten days later and with 6500 km's behind them the Crew and their cargo of engines and props arrived in St. Anthony, NL - tired, but happy to be there.  The rest of the FARS Canso Crew, Don & Marg Wieben and Joe and Jo-Anne Gans, arrived by air the same day.  Then the real work began - exchanging the built up display engines and props hauled from Fairview, for the two good serviceable engine and props, currently on St. Anthony's Canso PBY FIZU.  

It hasn't been all work, however, on Wednesday night the St. Anthony Chamber of Commerce hosted a "meet and greet" for the Crew, at which time a letter of greetings from the Town of Fairview and M.D. of Fairview, along with a commemorative plaque was presented to Mayor Simms of St. Anthony.  A similar letter of appreciation from  the Town and MD of Fairview  will be delivered to Mayor Tom O'Brien and the Town Council of Stephenville, on the return trip to western Canada.

The Canso Crew reports that the people of St. Anthony and all of Newfoundland have been incredibly helpful and friendly - that is certainly in keeping with the acts of generosity of St. Anthony and Stephenville in donating the engines and props to the Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) Canso Project.
At the Fairview Canso Engine Shop - one of the runout P&W 1830 engine to be used in the engine swap with the low time St. Anthony/Stephenville, NL engines.
Sign InView Entries
Please feel free 
to add a comment or words of encouragement in our Guest Book.  Thanks,
The Canso Crew

email me
The Fairview Canso Crew's first look at the Canso PBY FIZU as it sits on display in the Town of St. Anthony, NL.
Starting work on the Great Canadian Aircraft Engine Exchange - Don Wieben, Brian Wilson and Norbert Luken
St. Anthony's display aircraft - Canso PBY C-FIZU working on the engine exchange -  May 2013
C-FIZU Engine
Don Wieben, on behalf of the Town and Municipal District of Fairview, and Mayor Ernest Simms, of St. Anthony exchanging plaques commemorating the Great Canada Aircraft Engine Exchange.
Norbert Luken making a presentation to Mayor Simms, on behalf of the Municipal District of Fairview
Presenting the Municipal District of Fairview No. 136 flag to Mayor Ernest Simms of St. Anthony.
(L to R) Joe Gans, Jon-Anne Gans, Marg Wieben, Don Wieben, Karen Wilson, Brian Wilson, Norbert Luken and Mayor Ernest Simms.
June 13, 2013 - The Canso Crew is now back in Fairview, AB!

Brian & Karen Wilson got home with the two low time engines/props and a metalized trailing edge in tow, on June 3rd after traveling some 13,000 kms across Canada to St. Anthony, Newfoundland, and back. The rest of the Canso Crew, Norbert Luken, Don and Marg Wieben, Joe and Jo-Anne Gans flew home earlier.  They all reported a great time with tremendous help and support from the people of St. Anthony, and all over Newfoundland.

Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) wants to express most sincere appreciation to those wonderful people of Newfoundland for their great act of neighborliness with their involvement with the Great Canadian Aircraft Engine Exchange.  

FARS also wants extend heartfelt thanks the people of Fairview and area (the Canso Crew members who stayed home) that also worked so hard to get the display engines/props and the traveling "billboard" ready for the exchange.

It was great to see the local governments in St. Anthony and Stephenville, Newfoundland and the Town of Fairview and Municipal District of Fairview No. 136, in Alberta, getting behind a project that will help to preserve a Canadian made historic aircraft to be shared as a flying museum with school kids and aviation enthusiasts across the country.

The "Great Canadian Aircraft Engines Exchange" is over for now.  The engines and props are back in Fairview in storage, waiting for the next big step.
Does anyone else see the resemblance? We sure did and presented Brittany, our AME summer student, with a Thank-You card showing the two posters along with our sincere appreciation for the summer of good work on the Canso project.
Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) has had a very busy and productive spring/summer.  It started in April with the Great Canadian Aircraft Engine Exchange (see below), followed by FARS' application to the federal government's Hire-A-Student Program.  FARS was fortunate to be approved for  the program and very fortunate to be able to hire Brittany, an  Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) student from  Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek, BC.  It turned out very well, especially since several volunteers were needed to organize and supervise the various tasks Brittany took on.  As a result, a lot of work got done.  

Another great benefit was a classmate of hers showing up as a volunteer for a week.  It seems the reports back to the college must have been favourable because we've since had offers from one of Brittany's instructors and two of her graduated classmates to volunteer for the month of September.  We are looking forward to getting a lot more work done and FARS is most appreciative of these generous donations of time and energy.  

There's an African proverb that says, "It takes a village to raise a child".   Maybe, for our purposes, we could paraphrase this to say: "It takes a country to restore a Canso PBY."   At least it seems like that when you have hundreds of people from all across the country working to see this project completed. Be it through volunteering of their time and skills and-or donating money/gifts-in-kind, from Inuvik, NWT to St. Anthony and Stephenville, NL, every community that FARS has had contact with has  stepped up to make things work!  The expressions of interest and support that come in from around  the world are also helpful and greatly appreciated.

All donations are very much appreciated and will greatly assist with the reclamation of this historic aircraft.  
  • click on photos below to enlarge 
It's been a big year for the restoration of 
Canso PBY 5-A, C-FNJE
Thanks to the good people of the Towns of St. Anthony and Stephenville, NL, after the GREAT CANADIAN AIRCRAFT ENGINE EXCHANGE, we have two engines with props back in Fairview. These two Newfoundland towns generously allowed FARS to exchange the serviceable engines/props from their Canso, which is on display in downtown St. Anthony, for timed out engines and props prepared for the swap. Our preliminary evaluation of the new engines appears very positive.  

The hydraulic systems are all checked out and working.

A number of the wings sections have been repaired and painted. Our AME Summer Student, from Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek, BC, worked out very well and lots of work got done this summer.

Most recently, we had another in the series of visits from our technical adviser, Rollie Hammerstedt, from Ontario.  Whenever Rollie is here we get a lot of high quality productive work done.  This trip was no exception and after a very thorough check of all the work and tasks completed, Rollie said he thought FARS would be able to finish the project in 2014.  
This is Great News!

Photo above: February, 2014 - Joe Gans, with Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) working at Greg Wieben's shop, doing a borescope inspection on the port engine. This was one of the serviceable engines brought back from St. Anthony, Newfoundland as part of the Great Canadian Aircraft Engine Exchange
Contact Us

Father's Day Fly-In Breakfast  
June 15, 2014
Another successful Fly-In at the Fairview Airport!
Thanks to all who arrived by air or on the ground. 

 Visitors had a chance to spend time with a pilot who actually flew this very Canso during World War II - Mr. Hal Burns, from Edmonton, who was interviewed by CBC Edmonton, capturing Hal's reunion with the Canso after more than 
70 years!

Interview with Hal Burns, Veteran Canso Pilot

The links below will take you to a great CBC story about a reunion between Hal Burns, WWII pilot, and the Canso PBY he flew 70 years ago with 162 Squadron over the North Atlantic. 
August 2014 - The Canso Crew has been very fortunate to have some great help this summer.

In early June, we hired James Waugh, who had just graduated from the AME program at SAIT, in Calgary.  James came to help us out for about six weeks during which time we also had one of our regular two-week visits from Rollie Hammerstedt of Kenora, ON.  

Rollie has more than 60 years experience on Canso and similar aircraft and always amazes us with his knowledge and skill.  

The third member of our summer work force is Stuart Madden, first year AME student at Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek, BC, hired under the Canada Summer Jobs program.

Please click the link below for a look at the very interesting story written by Chris Eaken of the Fairview Post about these three AMEs on their different paths to the Canso.

AME Summer Student 
James Waugh talks about his time in Fairview working for FARS on the restoration of the Canso PBY-5A, C-FNJE
It was with great sadness we learned of the passing of Albert Frost, on August 11, 2014, 
a most valued and appreciated member of the Canso Crew.

In 2008, when the original Canso Crew travelled to Inuvik, NWT to salvage the Canso PBY-5A from the frozen shores of Sitidgi Lake, no one was more important to the mission than local guide, trapper and friend - Albert Frost.  Albert helped with every facet of the operation, even down to providing some old carpet to cushion and insulate the floor of the walled tent in -25 degree weather.  His skills on a snowmobile and local knowledge of the area were amazing to us all.

We extend our  sincere condolences to Albert's wife, Lorraine Greenland, his family and friends.

Albert Frost, 2008 near Sitidgi lake, NWT
Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society is always happy to have Rollie Hammerstedt, our favourite AME, visit with us and help to keep us on track!
Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) was very pleased to have Stuart Madden, an Aircraft Maintenance  Engineer (AME) student from Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek, BC, with us in July and August, 2014, as our Summer Student, under the Federal Government sponsored Summer Student Program.
Everyone has a Christmas Wish List so it wasn't surprising that Don Wieben asked that a request for parts be put up on the webpage in hopes that Santa might have spares.  Since Don isn't on the "naughty" list this year, let's hope the parts show up to make his Christmas wish come true. 
If you know where we can source these parts, please let us know.
Canso Fuel Guage.
We also need two (2) fuel transmitter units, as shown 

Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) was very pleased recently to have our guest book signed by Clifford (Cliff) Dyson from Buffalo Airways. in Yellowknife. Cliff probably knows more than anybody about what makes this particular aircraft tick!

Cliff's comments from the guest book state:
 "I was part of the recovery of this aircraft from the lake. I was Chief Engineer @ Buffalo Airways in charge of the Canso Division. It is definitely my favorite! I was involved with the arrival of the fleet of 4 Cansos that they operated for 6 yrs. They were used for Fire Fighting. It was definitely a blast and the best years of my career. I still work for the same company but it's just not the same not having those Glorious Flying Pig Boats as part of the fleet!!! "

Cliff plans to come to Fairview in late February and we look forward to re-uniting him with FNJE.  He says he has some "pretty wild" photos of the recovery from Sitidgi Lake, some 40 km NE of Inuvik, NWT, which we hope to be able to share on the website. We got to see Cliff occasionally during episodes of ICE PILOTS, NWT, but it will be great to meet him in person.
We were very pleased to hear from another strong supporter of the SavetheCanso project - Tom O'Brien, Mayor of the Town of Stephenville, NL, who signed our guest book and sent best wishes for 2015.  Tom's support was very instrumental in the Canso Crew being able to make what came to be known as the "Great Canadian Aircraft Engine Exchange", in May of 2013.  The Towns of Stephenville and St. Anthony, Newfoundland, had been given a sister plane to our FNJE by the Provincial Government to be used as a commemorative display aircraft recognizing the important role the Canso PBY-5A played fighting forest fires and transporting medical patients in earlier years. The aircraft was first given to Stephenville, NL and then they agreed to move it to St. Anthony so therefore both towns had to agree with the proposal to exchange the good serviceable engines that were on their Canso (IZU) for the two timed out engines, that FARS would supply.  Thankfully, in a great spirit of Canadian neighbourliness, an agreement was reached and the Canso Crew travelled some 13,000 kms across Canadian to exchange the engines. This gesture was a great morale and financial boost to the restoration project and it was agreed that FARS will attempt, as part of an epic Canadian tour, to fly the Canso to Newfoundland to visit these two great maritime towns, some time in the future.  
Fairview, May 3, 2013 - The Great Canadian Aircraft Engine Exchange - ready to leave for Newfoundland

Early photos at Sitidgi Lake, NWT - April 2008
Summer Job Opportunity – 2015

Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) is currently restoring a World War II Patrol Bomber, Canso PBY-5A C-FNJE, and is interested in hiring a 1st year AME Summer Student.

The position location is in Fairview, AB with a commencement date of about
May 1, 2015. The successful candidate will be self-starter, keenly interested in
aircraft restoration and maintenance, and mechanically inclined. You
will be expected to assist other AMEs and volunteers with all aspects of the
restoration of this historic aircraft to flying condition.

This position is funded under the Canada Summer Jobs program.

For more information about the project, check out our web site
Please contact or send your resume to:

Don Wieben - Cell: 780 835-7787; email:
Henry Dechant - Cell: 780 835-0088; email:

The last week of July, 2015 was the start of one of the greatest airshows in North America. Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) is very fortunate to have Henry Dechant, one of our founding members, there representing the Canso Crew at a special Canadian presentation of Save the Canso.  

In the U.S. and many other parts of the world, the World War II aircraft that we know as a Canso PBY, is also known as a Catalina PBY, was produced in great numbers during the War by Consolidated Aircraft.

Henry and his presentation of the rescue, restoration and future plan for this Canso, was featured in the Canadian Pavilion at Oshkosh for all the world to hear and see!
Great progress is being made at the Canso Shop - the wing has been moved outside the shop so that the outboard wing, ailerons and trailing edge could be put on.
Attaching the aileron  (French for "little wing")
July, 2015 - As the sun sets in the Alberta sky we have the wing finally back in one piece - all 104 feet!!
Don Wieben and Rollie Hammersted talk about the restoration progress to date
Photos above:  Installing the elevators - flight control surfaces, which control the aircraft's pitch, and therefore the angle of attack and the lift of the wing
(click on any photo to enlarge)
YouTube above:  James Waugh, AME and former FARS Summer Student
Dennis Lang and our FARS, AME Summer Student Braeden Heffren, working on the last bolt to go in place.
Photos above:  Installing the aileron (French for 'little wing') - a hinged flight control surface forming part of the trailing edge of each wing of a fixed-wing aircraft.
(click on any photo to enlarge)
Check out the recent story in the Northern Pen:

The video below shows the almost final repair of the nose wheel gear doors.  The damaged doors were the very beginnings of the trouble back in 2001 when the Canso PBY-5A, C-FNJE sank in 90 feet of water in Sitidgi Lake, NWT.  While loading water on the go to help control a nearby forest fire the aircraft started "porpoising" or bouncing on the water which damaged the doors and drove the nose wheel up into the cabin, which soon filled with water.