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Old Nov 22, 15, 4:34 pm
  #7815  
WHBM
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: London, England.
Programs: BA
Posts: 7,898
Originally Posted by jlemon View Post
... the Canadair North Star, which is an aircraft type that I'm obviously not very familiar with!
Well used across Canada, although in piston engine days at Trans Canada it always played second fiddle to their Constellation fleet, and didn't cross the Atlantic. There were a couple of operators in the Caribbean, including immediate post-revolution Cuba (Canadian spares and British engines to get round the embargo). This operation is little known, so here's a picture of one

https://www.flickr.com/photos/edk7/8561448663

[what strikes a Brit about this shot in Toronto is the ground support vehicle in front, a British Morris Minor 1000 car, ubiquitous in the UK and the colonies at the time (loads in Africa, New Zealand, etc) but I always thought never even marketed across North America].

However the last Canadairs in passenger service were with a little carrier Turks Air or (another name) Air Caicos, from Caribbean, who got a couple of ex-Canadian military ones and used them for the best part of 10 years from Providenciales over to Florida. Their last trip was in 1975, the final aircraft being broken up in Miami the next year. Anyone find them in an old OAG ?

The Rolls-Royce Merlin engine in the Canadair Argonaut/North Star was that from the WW2 RAF Spitfire fighter and Lancaster bomber, plus many other comparable types. BOAC and BEA pilots and base engineers for a generation after 1945 were ex-RAF WW2 personnel, and knew the engine intimately, compared to the likes of the R-2800, so the skills were all there to look after them, and I believe the main Canadian operators had comparable RCAF experience on the engine. They were generally regarded as more reliable than US-built radials, but when they did go wrong then it was typically a big job. The aircraft was notably noisy on the flight deck from all those exhausts in line, a later modification put the exhausts over on the side of the engine away from the fuselage to try and deal with this, but it was noted in retirement, alas too late, how many ex-BOAC Argonaut crews suffered from hearing problems.
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