Air Enthusiast 1998-05
R.Stitt - High-Flying Exotica
This typically barren northern scene includes several examples from Spartan’s eclectic fleet, from left to right: DC-3, Ventura, Lightning and Anson
Pictured at Caladero Airport, Cucuta, Colombia in early 1958, CF-HMS taxies out for a photo mission in the hands of Rocky Laroche. It wears the final Spartan finish of silver dope with red spinners, orange trim and the Canadian Red Ensign on the tail.
Mosquito CF-HMP bakes under the tropical sun at Barranquilla during the 1956-57 deployment to Colombia.
Spartan ‘Mossie’ during a run-up at Resolute Bay in 1959.
The former CF-HMQ basks in the summer sun at Edmonton Municipal Airport following completion of its second restoration as an ‘FB.VI’ of No 418 Squadron. Only the cowlings for the two-stage Merlins give any clue to its high-flying career with Spartan.
Two of the four Merlin-engined types operated by Spartan between 1955 and 1962, Mosquito CF-HMR and Lancaster X CF-IMF (previously FM222 with the RCAF), pictured at Uplands in the spring of 1956. The Mosquito’s canopy has been modified for improved visibility and its top painted white to reduce glare. The Lancaster sports a nose-mounted pitot source to provide precise airspeed measurements for its Air Profile Recorder, a radar-like device used to continually record ground elevations for contour mapping.
Photographed at Burnaston, Derby, on March 20, 1955, CF-HMS awaits overhaul by Derby Aviation. Coincidentally, David Ogilvy, who ferried and later tested the aircraft, also flew the former RS700 during its RAF service as a PR.35 with 58 Squadron; here it still wears its PRU blue finish. Ferried to Canada in July of 1956, it was the last of the ten examples to be delivered.
Mosquito CF-HMK taxies on a typical northern gravel strip. This aircraft was reregistered as LV-HHN with a Spartan subsidiary in Argentina and subsequently became the last operational example from the ten aircraft purchased in 1954.
All that a hardened photo-survey crew really needs to wait out the low lying stratus: rudimentary accommodation and a serviceable Mosquito. Resolute Bay in the summer of 1959.
Captured high above the tundra ‘barren lands’ of northern Canada, CF-HMQ cruises in the frigid isolation that characterised Spartan’s aerial photography operations. This aspect clearly shows the camera port at the aft end of the former bomb bay, the modified aft ventral hatch, plus the HF trailing antenna conduit and the fuel jettison outlet in the tail fairing.
Sitting out the rain at Whitehorse next to a USAF Northrop F-89 Scorpion, CF-HMP was destined to crash mysteriously near Neepawa, Manitoba in September of 1957. This ‘Mossie’ has two portholes for the camera operator’s compartment and is fitted with a venturi on top of the fuselage to provide a vacuum source for its Wild RC-5 camera.
Pilot Al MacNutt, left, and the ground crew at Pelly Lake can only look on as fire begins to consume CF-HMR following his two-hour ordeal with a runaway propeller; the fuel tanks exploded a few moments later. The missing port spinner was shed when the propeller went into flat pitch while the drop tanks were jettisoned during the tortuous return flight.
The Aero Space Museum Association of Calgary has long term plans to restore CF-HMS as B/IX, ‘LR503’ ‘GB-F’, a record-breaking veteran of 213 missions that was destroyed at Calgary Airport during a 1945 victory tour.
Derelict and decaying, Mk.35 CF-IMB (formerly VP200) lying out in the scrub at Bournemouth Airport, Dorset, 1960. It was one of five ferried there in 1957 for reduction to spares for Spartan.
Military police stand over the shattered remains of CF-HMN following its forced landing at Techo Airport, Bogata, Colombia on January 22, 1956. The impact tore open the fuel tanks, obliging the crew to keep cigarette-smoking bystanders at a safe distance until help arrived.
The ‘Black Widow’, here flanked by a Canso and an Anson, was lost just outside the airport perimeter at Uplands in 1955 during a training flight.
The former CF-GCH was eventually acquired by the Santa Monica Museum of Flying. Following restoration, it was auctioned in 1990 to William Lyons, chairman of AirCal, for $1.2 million, substantially more than the $6,000 Spartan paid for the aircraft in 1952. This is the only one of the three surviving Spartan Lightnings in airworthy condition.
Spartan’s CF-GDS served for another dozen years in the photo survey role following its sale in 1956. It is now displayed at the EAA Museum, Oshkosh, Wisconsin as Major Richard Bong’s P-38J, Marge.
Kenting’s chief pilot, Jack Reilly, formates Mosquito T.29 CF-GKL on a Lancaster X operated by de Havilland Canada. This was one of two Canadian-built ‘Mossies’ that passed to Spartan in early 1959 though this example was soon reduced to spares
Spartan’s P-38L Lightning trainer, CF-HDI, featured a rear bubble canopy from a P-38M two-seat night fighter though it was only fitted with a pilot’s seat.
Pilot and camera operator prepare CF-GSP for a survey. The view clearly shows the original wartime mods to the F-5G configuration plus the new transparent nose cone.
Gleaming N5596V - the former CF-GCH - served with Sports Air of Seattle, Washington, briefly during 1967-68.
Pictured at Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories in 1955, CF-GKE receives attention between sorties. It features the much-improved nose configuration introduced in 1952. The wire frame sight can be seen mounted above the cross beam inside the glazing. The fairing on top of the nose houses a direction-finding loop.
After serving briefly as N5597V with Hycon Aerial Surveys of California, the former CF-GSQ became EC-ANU and is seen here wearing its ferry markings prior to delivery. It was written off in Spain in 1969.
Spartan’s future maintenance manager, Sydney Baker, at work on the port Allison of CF-GSQ at Fort McMurray, Alberta in 1953. The troublesome aluminum coolant pipes can be seen wending their way back towards the boom-mounted
Ground crew installs a new turbosupercharger at Miles City, Montana in 1953. The upper component contains the exhaust turbine while the lower houses the supercharger impeller. The waste gate has yet to be installed on the exhaust turbine outlet.
Lightning pilot Bob Fowler already breathing oxygen as he waits to take CF-GSQ back to 35,000ft (10,670m) for another photo mission from Dawson City.
Spartan’s first Lightning, CF-GSP, after coming to grief at the Northern Ordnance Corp Airport, Minneapolis in November of 1951. The aircraft was written-off after skidding off the end of an icy runway.
The Sea Hornet at Spartan’s Uplands Airport base, shortly before passing to Renting in April of 1952. Lamentably, this lone survivor was destined to be cut up and buried.
The world’s only civilian-registered member of de Havilland’s Hornet family, Sea Hornet F.20, CF-GUO, photographed while owned by Spartan pilot, Bill Ferderber. The wire sight visible behind the windscreen helped the pilot align the photo runs.