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Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada

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Not having enough to do in my retired life, I volunteered to be a tour guide at our Aviation museum, which has been building for the last 3 years.   Unfortunately for them, they accepted me :) and I have spent the last two months training and helping with the setup.   Saturday, the doors opened!  I will add one of our aircraft to this topic every once in a while…

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no 1.    JU52 m/1. (My favourite)

m1 means 1 engine, only 6 built and Canada bought 1.  The engine (a BMW) was too underpowered as the only engine and it was converted to a ROLLS ROYCE Buzzard (precursor to the R and the Merlin). This plane could fly on wheels, floats or skis and landed on the Red River in the heart of Winnipeg to load and unload yikes!

there is a large door in the side for loading and an even larger door in the roof to load large cargo and even livestock.  

The original aircraft was scrapped in 1952 and sold for the metal content.  The plane you see here is a converted JU-52 M3 of the Spanish Air Force for our display.  I understand the cockpit is unconverted and if I am a good volunteer I expect to be let in to take pictures..   enjoy






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I've seen a three engined Ju-52 flying, I can't imagine a single engined version being able to stay in the air. It's a Large aircraft, and not light at all.

Wow ..interesting that it landed on the river in Winnipeg. Bet that was a bit of an exciting ride.

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Next subject.   Bellanca air cruiser.   Used mostly for mining areas, this one was used to carry uranium out of the northern mine and transfer crews and supplies in

also called the flying W (gee I wonder why?) it is classed as a sesquicentral aircraft (1 1/2 wings)

was also almost the “spirit of St. Louis”.  Lindbergh purchased one for $15,000.  When he went to pick it up, he talked to Bellanca about how he was going to make changes to it for the ny - Paris run.   Bellanca said that the only changes he would allow must be made by his crew.   Lindbergh probably said something nasty and walked away from the buy and over to Ryan to get their monoplane.

this one crashed when it “lost power” on a lake takeoff.  Seems the pilots gloves (unseated cockpit and Manitoba winter) got caught on the mixture lever and turned it to lean.  Oops…




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Next up VICKERS Vidette.   In the 1920’s the Canadian government decided it was time to map the north.   Having the success of the trench mapping in WW1 they commissioned VICKERS to make some flying boats, no airports up north yet.  The photographer would hold a single plate 25lb camera over the side from the front tub and take a picture based on a grid layout.  Then sit down change plates and repeat.  The pilot and a native guide would complete the crew….well almost, a homing pigeon was kept behind the pilot to be released if they got stuck somewhere.   They also carried a bucket to fill with local rocks if they needed ballast to maintain CG.

The wheels seen in the picture are solely for maintenance on land as this a true flying boat (actually was nicknamed “flying canoe”)

This Vidette was made from blueprints made by volunteers from 3 sunken wrecks of the craft.  22 years and almost 500 volunteers finally got what you see before you.   The engine on the plane is an actual UNUSED version, the government had purchased an extra in case they needed one and never used it.   So we got it!






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