Air Enthusiast 1996-05
R.Grant - Pemmican & Penguins. The life and times of Silas Alward Cheesman
During the 1929 Wilkins-Hearst Antarctic Expedition, Cheesman became the first Canadian pilot to fly in the Antarctic. Left to right: Parker Kramer, pilot; Sir Hubert Wilkins; ‘Al’ Cheesman; Orval Porter, mechanic; on the lashed down Lockheed Vega seaplane.
Norseman CF-BTC was an RCAF aircraft acquired by Cheesman ’s Thunder Bay Airlines on February 1,1946. It went through 13 owners before purchase in 1994 by Red Lake Seaplane Serve, of Red Lake, Ontario. Fully restored, it is considered the oldest flying Norseman in Canada
American actor Andy Devine (centre in canoe) was an occasional visitor to ‘Al’ Cheesman’s northern bases in the late 1930s. Noorduyn Norseman CF-BDC served until 1947 after being destroyed by severe winds at Hudson, Ontario.
Norseman ‘QT-787’ was a favourite of ‘Al’ Cheesman while serving in Labrador. A UC-64A Mk VI, it began life as USAAF 43-5145 but was accepted by the RCAF on June 10, 1943. Stored in 1954, it became the property of Canada’s National Aviation Museum in Ottawa in 1964 and is currently on display
Universal G-CAJD was typical of Canadian-registered Fokkers owned by Western Canada Airways. Built in 1928 and powered by a Wright J-5CA Whirlwind engine, this aircraft lasted until December 10,1931, when it went through the ice of a northern Manitoba lake after landing.