Save the Canso - Update
Welcome to the Canso Blog! 

The restoration is moving along very well and we want to keep everyone updated through this page.  Things may get a little slow from time to time (it's sort of like watching paint dry) but please keep checking back.

Feel free to add your comments - we look forward to your feedback.

Save the Canso - Update

Looking for a Great Uncle lost in World War II

by Doug Roy on 01/20/14

We had a recent comment on the Blog/Update from Holly at 17:03PM on 1/16/14 commented on War Years, and she said: My great uncle Francis Lawrence was a part of the 162 squadron, RCAF. He was a flight officer. His plane got shot down over the sea near Wick, Scotland. Anyone have any info on him or that squadron? He died June 14, 1944.

If anyone has any information to pass along to Holly, please let us know.

Holly:  please contact me and provide your email so we can forward some information about your great uncle.

We have engines and props!!!

by Doug Roy on 04/05/13

At least, FARS has an agreement with the very generous Newfoundland towns of St. Anthony and Stephenville which will allow some of the Fairview Canso Crew to travel to St. Anthony and swap display engines/props, with the two excellent low time engines/props that they currently have on their display Canso PBY FIZU.

We will soon have lots more information about the engines - the plan to exchange the engines/props and the amazing boost that FARS got from the agreement with St. Anthony and Stephenville.

In the meantime, check out their website for details on the aircraft and how they came to get their Canso PBY from the Newfoundland Government, for a static display:

New photos of War Years

by Doug Roy on 01/21/13

One of the unexpected, but always pleasant, side benefits of the Save the Canso project is the contacts developed with those outstanding veterans of World War II and stories they have to tell about the time they spent defending their country.  Our most recent contact has been from Patricia Adams who found our website and told us that her father, Bev Glover, had been in Reykjavik, Iceland at the end of the war and had flown on Cansos.  Bev said she didn't know much more than that.  When we asked if she had any photos of her dad, she sent the pictures shown in the BLOG-PHOTOS link below.

When we received the photos, I was amazed to see that the first name on the back of the "Finished Crew" photo was none other than our friend and Save the Canso project supporter, H.Burns (Hal, or Harry Burns, as he was known during the War).  I phoned Hal to tell him of the new contact and he immediately said that he remembered his crew member, Bev Glover, almost 70 years later...  I emailed Pat to tell her what Hal had to say and she responded as follows:      

Hi Doug    I am thrilled, and astounded, at the chances that a connection like this can be made through technology. Unfortunately my dad passed away August 1st, 2004. He would be thrilled to know that I have come in contact with some of his war buddies. It was when he became ill that I heard some of his war stories. That, and the pipe band music. I would love it if you could forward the pictures to Hal, and put the story on the web page. My dad would have been so proud. I am going to try to send you a scanned copy of the News Letter. Feel free to send a copy to Hal. I am going to try to send it to you sometime this weekend.  

Thank You so much.  My dad and I were really close; this brought a tear to my eye.      Pat Adams    

To see Pat's photos, please click on the link below:

Fellow Canso/Catalina PBY enthusists!!

by Doug Roy on 01/14/13

We recently received a phone call from Derwyn Ross who is the secretary of the Catalina Preservation Society at North Saanich, BC.  They are working with Bob Dyck and his Canso, which was purchased from Buffalo Air last year.  Derwyn asked if we would put a link to their site on our website and we would be very happy to direct our visitors to their site which is:

I have checked out their site and it is great!  We look forward to working with the Catalina Preservation Society in the future.

SOP's for the Canso

by Doug Roy on 07/04/12

A SOP (Standard Operating Precedures) is a written document or instruction detailing all steps and activities of a process or procedure.

We were very fortunate to be gifted a copy of Peter Austin-Smth's SOP for FNJE.  Peter flew the Canso for many hours post-war with the RCAF, and has been closely following our progress.  Please see the details and his story below.

Email Comment below from Peter Austin-Smith (former 11094/FNJE pilot)
Hello Doug: Sometime ago I believe, I mentioned the possibility of providing your organization with a copy of my original and very old, standard operating procedures for the Canso. I don't know the date of publication but likely it was around the late 40's or early 50's. They were given to us out at Sea Island Boat School (now Vancouver International Airport) when I was learning to fly the Canso in the spring of 1955.  If you are still interested, I will mail a copy out to you. My original is with the CWHM in Hamilton as they fly 11084,(now in WW2 livery as 5754) an aircraft which I also flew. The SOP's are fairly detailed and of course, refer to the both wartime and post- wartime configuration in that the engineer was situated in the tower with several engine instruments and controls for fuel flow. Now of course,in commercial Canso's, all controls and instruments have been moved into the cockpit. BTW, I checked my logbook for time on 11094, which turns out to be a little more than 110 hours . We flew 094 while on detachment on Anticosti Island in the summer of 1956. The airfield was a combination of gravel, grass and dirt!! At the time, we were support aircraft for survey engineers who were checking out various sites around the Gulf of St.Lawrence for suitabilty for radar stations to close the "radar gap" of that cold war period. We lived in an old house on the edge of Port Menier (sp?), and lived largely on venison as the island had an abundance of white-tailed deer . I should mention that during our Anticosti flights to various locations around the Gulf, we also had several water landings and takeoffs,including one takeoff which required JATO as the lake looked a bit small, and also landings and takeoffs on the gulf. The last take-off from the northeast shore of Anticosti Island with a full load was a bit exciting as the wind came up while we were loading, and on take off, the a/c with full power, began to plow through the waves . Water came over the nose and cockpit even though both pilots were holding the controls full back to get the a/c up on the step. When we finally did, each advance in airspeed was knocked back somewhat when we hit another huge wave. Eventually, we bounced from wave top to wave top, then slowly lifted up above the water. At a safe altitude, we all had a few puffs on a cigarette to relive the tension! Looking back into the aircraft, we could just make out the survey crew, with white knuckles and similarly coloured faces, still clutching what ever they could, to steady themselves in that heaving fuselage. Wouldn't have missed that experience for anything, but of course, I was young and damn cocky. You know the old saw about old pilots and bold pilots!!

Fabric work proceeds

by Doug Roy on 01/21/12

The fabric replacement on the ailerons for FNJE has progressed very well during the last few months.  The work needed to be done but it was decided that it would be a great idea to do it before Robert Lawrence and his wife, Jolene, left Fairview in late January to join the family veterinary practice in Westlock, AB.  Robert was very instrumental in the fabric work and painting on other control surfaces done earlier in the year and we knew he was the man for the job.  Robert was up to the task and, under the direction of Henry Dechant, the Canso Crew started the replacement of fabric on the two ailerons.  The fabric was replaced, the ribs stitched and taped, layers and layers of polybrush applied, coats of polyspray were followed by silver spray and the final coats of white and orange trim -- all in just two months' of spare time work. Our special thanks to Robert for all the good work he has done to help "Save the Canso".

Fall Update 2011

by Doug Roy on 01/09/12

Sorry that the blog is a little behind .. but that doesn't mean that nothing is happening!

Actually there has been a lot of activity and change over the last few months.  Over the next few weeks we will try to bring everything up to date. 

First of all:  please check the two new buttons on the home page - Latest News and Fabric Work for new video and photos 

Check back soon for more..

Email Comment from Peter Austin-Smith (former 11094/FNJE pilot)

by Doug Roy on 08/04/11

1.Peter J.Austin-Smith (Pete Smith, ex RCAF said on 8/3/11 - 03:18PM
Comments by Chris brought back memories of our boat school training out of Sea Island back in early 1955. We would fly over to Pat Bay to do our circuits and splashes and also practice beachings, moorings, etc. It was great fun. At mid-morning we would shut down and let the a/c drift while the crash boat would come up and we would have coffee and shrimp. What a life. One day we were basking on the wing when we heard a light a/c, then silence which was broken by a voice from above that said "hey the tower wants you", then the light a/c took off again. As for 11089, Gene Marklund and I ferried that a/c back east in Nov 1957 after delivering 11079 to Sea Island. Thanks for the memories, Chris Peter

Dick Milne's Catalina (Canso) Quest

by Doug Roy on 07/30/11

We had a very interesting visitor from England, Dick Milne, a former school teacher who's now on a mission that's taken him around the world in his search for Catalinas, and their Canadian cousins, the Canso PBY.  Dick says his interests in Catalinas only developed in the mid-70s, so his fascination lies with the "modern" role of the type as an executive aircraft, as a fire fighter and as a museum attraction.  

He said he did manage to see PBY-5A G-APZA at Southend, UK, in July 1961, just four months before its final demise.  Dick said that between 1974 and 2004 he had seen 70 of the type in places as far flung as Columbia, Indonesia, Australia, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, United States and in Canada where, in 2000, he saw Buffalo Airways fire fighting PBY's C-FUAW, C-FPQM and C-FOFI in Red Deer, AB, for maintenance.  Dick was quoted in the Catalina News, Jan. 2005 as saying, "Sadly, C-FNJE (our aircraft) was up in Yellowknife and, sadder still, sank in 2001.  Did it get recovered?".  Happily, it did get recovered and is in Fairview, AB and we were very pleased to be able to show Dick the results of the restoration and invite him back when completed.

Other Canso's in Canada that Dick has had a chance to visit are in:  Hamilton, ON, C-FPQL; Qanonoque,ON, CF-NJL; Rockcliffe, ON, RCAF 1108; Montreal, PQ, C-FPQK; Halifax, NS, C-FHFL; and Newfoundland and Labrador's former fire fighting PBY's C-FIZU, C-FNJC, C-FCRP, C-FDFB, all of which still sport their provinces colours.  Note: Our C-FNJE still has the Newfoundland and Labrador colour scheme

We certainly wish Dick well in his travels and hope he has a chance to return to Fairview in the future to visit C-FNJE at least once more.

The Fabric Shop is CLOSED (for now)

by Doug Roy on 07/03/11

Since December, 2010 fabric work has been going on Norbert Luken's farm shop, just outside of Fairview, and we are finally finished for now.  The months of work have really paid off and resulted in two re-finished ailerons, the rudder and two stabilizer extensions.  A very special thanks to Norbert and Janice for making space and putting up with our frequent visits to the shop.

Under the guidance of Floyd Stromsted from Grimshaw, the Fabric Crew took the stripped down frame, some of which had required repair, and learned the process of applying fabric, gluing down, applying poly-brush, tightening the material with a warm iron, more poly-brush, pinked edges, poly-paint, silver for UV protection and then the final coats of colour (white and orange).  Please check out the front page of the website for photos and video.  

More comments about the Canadian Aviation Historic Society meeting

by Doug Roy on 05/22/11

Here is a very interesting story from Chris Templeton regarding some of his experiences with a Canso...

Shortly after the CAHS meeting in Calgary, I was contacted by author Shirlee Matheson about Save the Canso project. Shirlee knew that I had some experience  on Canso's while stationed at Sea Island in the RCAF. I was transferred  there in 1957 and we had I think 7 Cansos, 3 DC3s 2 Otters and 2 Piasecki H21 helicopters. The boat school where all RCAF Canso pilots were trained  was part of 121 Search and Rescue squadron. I was an aircraft electrician and we got to work on all aircraft and as I loved flying I went up when ever I had a chance.

I was part of the crew on a medevac trip to Prince Rupert on June 30,1959 in Canso 11041 and we had the misfortune to crash on landing in Seal Cove when the right nose door broke the front hinge and the door swung back and right through the fuselage. The aircraft front end was destroyed and the nurse on board was killed. The rest of us were picked up by a tug and some of the crew were injured but luckily survived. The Canso's were replaced by SA16 Albatross in 1960 and I had the good fortune to be picked for the last official trip for the Canso in RCAF service when we ferried 11089 from Sea Island-(now Vancouver International) to Claresholm, AB - Rivers Man-Lakehead to Toronto Downsview. It took us 17+ hours going east and we flew back in a new CP Air DC-8 in 4 hours. 

+. Great recollections

Chris Templeton 250-493-4645 email

Thanks,Chris: If you have any photos or other stories, 
please send them along.

C-FNJE as a Water Bomber with the Province of Newfoundland

by Doug Roy on 04/19/11

Another great contact from a post war pilot of C-FNJE!  A few days ago we got an email from Neil Shae of Riverview, NB (see below) with a wonderful photo of the Canso in Conception Bay, Newfoundland (photo on the front page)

     I was looking at your web site on Canso C-FNJE. I worked with the NL Government Air Service and was a canso co-pilot for the 1979 and 1980 fire seasons and C-FNJE was part of our fleet , a check in my log book indicates that I have some time on this particular canso and have fond memories. I probably have about 250 hrs all told on the canso. I have attached a photo of C-FNJE taken by Kelly’s Island, Conception Bay, Newfoundland probably 1980 or 1981 not sure.


 Neil Shea

Riverview, NB

More comments about the Canadian Aviation Historic Society meeting

by Doug Roy on 03/22/11

I received the below email from Henry Dechant about their meeting with CAHS on March 17, 2011 in Calgary.

Hi, Doug, 

As an addendum to my little report on the CAHS meeting last Thursday, I also want to express our sincere  thanks to the group at the meeting not only for their hospitality but also for the contribution$ to cover our expenses in coming to the meeting.  After covering our expenses there will be a significant contribution to our society to be applied to the restoration of FNJE.  

Thank you, CAHS and CMS.   

Henry Dechant

Canso Crew mets with the Canadian Aviation Historic Society (CAHS)

by Doug Roy on 03/20/11

A few months ago we received an invitation from CAHS, Calgary Chapter, to speak to their group about the rescue and restoration of the Canso FNJE.  It seemed like a great opportunity to spread the word and and meet with a group of fellow historic aircraft enthusiasts.  Last Thursday Don Wieben and Henry Dechant travelled to Calgary and attended the CAHS meeting and made a presentation.  Don and Henry were very pleased with the time spent in Calgary.

Below is email from Henry regarding their visit.   

Hi Doug, 

The meeting and presentation went very well.  Don and I joined some 40 to 50 enthusiastic members of the Canadian Aviation Historic Society on Thursday March 17th at the Art Smith Aero Centre of SAIT in Calgary.  The President and Chairman Richard de Boer conducted the business of the organization in the first half hour of the meeting and this consisted mainly of short reports from several members on activities and achievements.  This group is also heavily involved in the proposed restoration of a WWII mosquito aircraft for display purposes.  The Calgary Mosquito Society has been formed to conduct the project.  Their website is 

Our presentation was very well received.  The savethecanso video presentation was shown and with the additional photos the allotted time went by very quickly.  A couple of points which I observed were:  The savethecanso 'brand' has taken hold as it was used on a few occasions, also our project is being held up as an example of what can be achieved with determination and focus.   Our success with the retrieval and transporting of FNJE from the Arctic down to Fairview was regarded as an exceptional achievement.  We received gratitude and admiration for our achievements so far. 

Receiving this kind of credit and publicity should be extremely rewarding for us.

The CAHS also has a website:, we could put their site on our site as a link.



Fabric Work Goes On at the Canso Shop

by Doug Roy on 03/08/11

Work goes on - some days and every Wednesday night with several enthusiastic Canso Crew members involved.  The weather has been very cold, -25 to -35 degrees C. with strong winds, but progress is good and the crew is learning as they go.

Check out a few new photos on the front page.

For earlier blogs, please scroll down here .........^