Fairchild designer Elsie MacGill, who, before being tasked with helping Nathan Vanderlipp on the 45-80, had played a major part in a number of Fairchild designs, including the Super 71, the prototype of which, CF-AUJ, is seen here.
Somewhat underpowered, the Sekani was fitted with a pair of nine-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Juniors, these being a smaller version of the same company’s R-1340 Wasp. The Sekani’s powerplants were fitted with NACA heavy-gauge aluminium alloy cowlings equipped with nose shutters to provide temperature control. The Wasp Junior was used more successfully on the Beech 18, Vultee Valiant and de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver.
The Sekani’s cabin volume was approximately 450 ft2, and several internal configurations were proposed: a freighter with a plywood floor; a dedicated bush aircraft with bench-type seats; a photographic aircraft with a hole cut in the cabin floor and a darkroom or a standard passenger aircraft for up to ten passengers and their luggage.
Only two Fairchild 45-80 Sekanis were made, CF-BHD and CF-BHE, both built at the company’s factory on the St Lawrence River at Longueuil, opposite Montreal. This is the prototype moored on the St Lawrence in 1937.
The Sekani was the first Canadian-designed aircraft to be fitted with a retractable undercarriage, the heavily faired landing gear folding away rearwards. The undercarriage-retraction system was of the mechanical type and manually operated, usually by the second pilot. The tailwheel was fully castoring for ease of handling. Dual flight controls were fitted in the cockpit, the right-hand set being easily removable for extra passenger accommodation.
A slightly rough but rare contemporary Fairchild company general-arrangement drawing of the Sekani.