Save the Canso - Update
It was close - the deal for low hour engines/props off a DC3 was tentatively made - Don & Marg Wieben and Brian & Karen Wilson were packed and ready to go to Oshkosh, WI to run the engines, check oil screens, leak test cylinders and hopefully remove everything from the aircraft when we got concerned about the overhaul history and long idle times on the engines. It was a tough decision as these were exactly the right engines and props and the price seemed fair.
Our Canso Crew discussion was also based on the fact that it would be at least a year before the engines would be needed and existing funds can certainly be used to complete other scheduled repairs.
After all our excitement with the Fly-In Breakfast and our visit from Mr. Bob Ellis, former rigger with the RCAF who actually worked on and flew in FNJE during WWII, from 1941-43, things have been a little slow. We are all involved with harvest in the Peace River Country – which is about 3 week earlier than usual.
Watch for an announcement regarding ENGINES/PROPS in the near future.
The Canso Crew
It was a great morning at the Fairview Airport as about 250 people gathered to have breakfast, watch aircraft landing, check the many small planes on the tarmac and to visit with the pilots and their friends. For the first time in 20 years a Fly-In breakfast, hosted by the Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society, the Town of Fairview and Municipal District of Fairview, brought together flying enthusiasts from through-out the area. Everyone seemed to have good time and many enjoy the short trip to the nearby shop where the Canso is being restored, for a tour. Everyone had a chance to visit with our special guest, Bob Ellis, from Vancouver. Bob was stationed in Nova Scotia during World War II - from 1941-43, and worked on several Cansos as a rigger (airframe mechanic) and specifically on FNJE. Mr. Ellis is with us for a few days so we are trying to listen to and record many of the spell-binding stories of his time with the RCAF and time spent working on and flying in this Canso.
Thanks to everyone for their support!
July 25, 2010
Everyone is welcome to the Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society Fly-In Breakfast at the Fairview Airport - breakfast starts at 8 AM - tours of the Canso will be available. CASARA will be there to explain the importance of search and rescue in the Peace Country.
Special thanks to the Town of Fairview and the MD of Fairview for their help and support for the breakfast.
A special visitor at the breakfast will be a gentleman named Bob Ellis from Vancouver. Bob was stationed in Nova Scotia from 1941-43 during WWII and was present when the first Cansos were delivered, including FNJE. He flew in the Canso often, inluding to Iceland where he was also stationed for a period of time. We look forward to meeting Mr. Ellis at the Fly-In and listen to, and hopefully record, some of his memories of this historic aircraft.
After several months of structural work, today was a moment of truth for the Canso. We have had Mark Bach, a structural engineer from Kelowna, working on many repairs to the aircraft but the area that was of our greatest concern was the pylon, the area where the fuselage meets the wing, which had been significantly damaged during the hard landing, sinking and subsequent recovery of the fire-fighting Canso from the waters of Sitidgi Lake, near Inuvik, NWT.
We were concerned that the wing would not correctly fit back on the fuselage after the repairs were done (in spite of Mark's well founded confidence that everything would be all right). It was just a matter of having to lift the wing and make sure it would work.
Well, that is exactly what happened this morning! FNJE was pushed half way out of the shop and placed under the wing which was waiting suspended by two grain bin cranes and a farm tractor loader. The wing was then carefully lowered to the pylon. It took a little shifting this way and that way but before long the two pins, connecting the wing to the fuselage, slipped into place. Like a hand in a glove. What a great relief!
We talked about it after the work-bee and realized that this was the moment when we knew for sure we had a viable project! Canso PBY 5A C-FNJE will fly again!
It was great to have Donna McElligott, host of the CBC Radio show - alberta@noon, visit with us at the project near Fairview, Alberta a few months ago. Donna was very interested in the restoration of the Canso FNJE and talked to Don and Henry about the rescue portion of the project in Inuvik, as well as current work in progress and plans for the future. The show first aired on June 30th, 2010 - the introduction is below.
Several farmers from Fairview have turned their love of aircrafts and military history into an important restoration project. The Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society has formed to retrieve, restore and one day fly an old Canso aircraft. Donna caught up with Don Wieben and Henry Dechant in a huge shed at a local farm where they were working on the plane they pulled from a lake near Inuvik, NWT.
(To listen to the show please click on the link below)
Recently Jack Dueck, Editor of Bits and Pieces, visited with Henry Dechant in Fairview, AB and toured FNJE and our restoration project. Mr. Dueck was very interested in the project and has subsequently written an excellent article for EAA, The Spirit of Aviation. Please follow the link below:
Thank you, Jack, for your interest and a well written history of this historic aircraft..
Some of the Canso Crew had an opportunity to meet with the Honourable Lloyd Snelgrove, President of Treasury Board, for the Province of Alberta, on May 17, 2010. The appointment was scheduled with Minister Snelgrove as part of a four Minister Tour to Fairview so Don Wieben and Henry Dechant met with him, talked about our project and showed him a few of our pictures. Henry told me later that "Mr. Snelgrove immediately became excited about what he was seeing and after a few minutes asked where this project was being worked on. We told him it was about 5 minutes out of town and he then asked if he could see it. We, of course, agreed to take him out so we gave him about a 15 minute tour which seemed to impress him even more. He indicated that he had grown up in an aviation connected family and his father had worked on or built a home built aircraft. He indicated that he would - see what he could do - when we advised him that we our grant application had been turned down."
We were very encouraged by his visit and hope to have a follow-up soon.
We mentioned awhile ago that the Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society (FARS) had applied for funding under the Community Initiatives Program (CIP), a Project-Based Grant program from the Alberta Government. Well, I'm sorry to report that we were turned down, this time around. We can re-apply by the end of May - so the plan is to find out what went wrong and try again. There seems to be a lot of groups looking for a share of the same small pot of money these days!
Money to help finance the project is becoming more important every day as we get further into the FNJE restoration so if you have any suggestions for finding funding, donations or sponsors please contact us. Your help will be greatly appreciated.
Our operating wing of the project, Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society, applied for funding in late December, 2009 under the Community Initiatives Program (CIP), a Project-Based Grant. This program is funded by the Government of Alberta through the Alberta Lottery Fund in order to build strong communities and enhance the quality of life for Albertans. We haven't heard whether our application has been approved but we were assured that we would receive a letter in the next 2 or 3 weeks. We had applied for $75,000 for this 2nd phase of the project and at the time we told that it was a good project for their consideration. We are all hoping the news is positive as it will make the world of difference on the viability of the restoration. We will keep you posted