Air Enthusiast 2007-05
??? - 60 Years of Beavering /History on the wing/
The Dutch Air Force ordered nine Beavers (S-1 to S-9) - all arriving in late 1956. One was written off in 1968, the rest were withdrawn in September 1974.
The British Army Air Corps ordered 42 Beaver AL.Is in two batches, 36 arriving between 1961 and 1962, with the balance appearing in 1966 to 1967. All were built at Downsview, but assembled at the DH plant at Hawarden, near Chester. The first AL.I was XP769, appearing in September 1961.
The prototype Beaver II CF-GQE first flew on March 10, 1953 with George Neal at the controls. It was imported by de Havilland in 1953, becoming G-ANAR, and flown with vigour at that year's Farnborough airshow. Prior to that it had displayed its STOL capabilities by taking off from the apron in front of the new flight test hangar at Hatfield, Herts. It was evaluated by the RAF (1954) and the Army (1958), eventually returning to Canada in 1971, becoming CF-CNR.
Classic view of an L-20A in a sandbagged dispersal in Korea.
Biggest breakthrough for the Beaver was its adoption by the US Army as the L-20 (U-6 from 1962). Following the evaluation of six YL-20s, a total of 980 were ordered - over half of the total production run. An L-20A is seen operating from a forward airstrip in Korea, October 1952.
A pair of Beavers destined for the Dutch East Indies (JZ-PAA and JZ-PAB) at Downsview in 1954.
The first L-20A to be handed over to the South Korean Air Force, July 1953.
The RAAF ordered five Beavers, mainly for use with the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition. The first of these was A95-201 - it arrived in July 1955, but was written off during an Antarctic storm in December 1959.
Russell Bannock was the test pilot for the first ever Beaver flight, taking CF-FHB-X into the air - as a landplane - on August 16, 1947. It later flew in floatplane guise.
As well as 'straight' floats, the Beaver was offered with amphibian floats - note the additional fin under the tail.
The prototype Beaver, CF-FHB, ended up with North Canada Air (Norcanair) operating on floats. In this configuration, it was acquired by the National Aviation Museum at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, on July 29, 1980.
Robert Fowler flew the first Turbo-Beaver III on the last day of 1963 at Downsview. Illustrated is the second example, CF-ROM-X. Viking Air continues to remanufacture Beavers as Turbos.