Canso Crew visit with former 11094 (now C-FNJE) pilots! : Save the Canso - Update
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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.

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Canso Crew visit with former 11094 (now C-FNJE) pilots!

by Doug Roy on 11/01/10

A few weeks ago Don & Marg Wieben and Joe and JoAnne Gans traveled to Nova Scotia and had the pleasure of spending time with James M McRae, who flew the aircraft during WWII  with 162 Sqdn on anti-submarine missions and Peter Austin-Smith who flew 11094 some 10 years later. Don was able to tape record many of the stories these two veterans had to tell and we hope to be able to share them with you through the webpage.

Peter recently sent me 6 photos which you can see by clicking the WAR YEARS button.  I asked Peter if it would be alright to include his pictures on the webpage and below I have attached a copy of his email talking about the photos:

Hello Doug: I would be very pleased to have some of the photos on your  website.  I should give you a bit more info. regarding them. First, all my experiences with the Canso were with 408 Sqdn out of Rockcliffe, Ontario, 1955 until the summer of 1957 when I flew Cansos with 102 Comm and Rescue Flight at Trenton, Ontario. (Flew Daks and Expeditors at same units.)  My experiences flying 094, were of course, 10 to 11 years after Jim McRae flew it while on 162 Sqdn.  As for the photos, the first showing 094 pulled up on a beach is one I found somewhere but can't remember, so you should note that it is source unknown. You will note the modified main rear hatch which was standard on Cansos used for supply and transport.  The picture of 9815 on the water shows the hatch in more detail.  As you are aware, 9815 is in my mind, an historic a/c as it is shown on the dust cover of vol 2, of The Creation of a National Air Force, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force, 1986.  Sadly, this a/c was left to deteriorate on Vancouver Island.
The next picture of the nose of 094 shows me and my nav, George Baker, goofing around at St.Jean,PQ where a/c were taken for overhaul. Note the bubble on the nose located above the nav. compartment. This was usually replaced (not always) with a flat plate window on takeoff and landing as the nav. could not stay in the nose compartment during those maneuvours. The a/c (11091) anchored on the water was taken at Ft.Albany.  The next photo of 11087 shows again the rescue configuration of the Canso.  I should state that all Cansos at that time required a flight engineer as most engine controls were in the tower, the engineers compartment.  We communicated via intercom and by a series of toggle switches and lights on the yoke which as you know, spans the cockpit.  Finally, the last blurred picture is of yours truly at the controls of a Canso.
I believe Joe Gans, while here with Don, took down the title of a wonderful book on postwar Cansos. It is the Consolidated PBY Catalina, The Peacetime Record.  It is well worth having.
I hope these comments and the pictures will be of much interest to you and the rest of the Canso Crew.  Best regards to all, and especially to Don and Joe
Peter (ex RCAF Canso pilot)

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