Canadian Warplanes 2: Super 71P, Fairchild 82

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3256158)

Fairchild Super 71P, (Serial No. 666), 26 Nov 1936.  

Fairchild Super 71P (2), (Serial Nos. 665, 666), for a total of 2 aircraft.

The Super 71P (for photographic) was a variant that had been developed for the RCAF.  A new wing mount and the change to a front cockpit were the two visible changes but the variant also had provision for multiple cameras and additional radio equipment.  Two examples were built and placed in service in 1936, (Serial No. 665) and (Serial No. 666).

The 71P had a chequered history as the type performed poorly in its aerial survey role with No. 666 crashing on 6 Aug 1937.  The list of problems included structural problems with the floats, engine overheating (the prototype had the bottom half of the cowling removed to aid air circulation), adverse handling on the water and on the ground, and problems with the brakes.  The remaining aircraft, No. 665, was assigned to RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario as an air ambulance but was not used extensively in this role

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643711)

Fairchild Super 71P, (Serial No. 666), 26 Nov 1936.

(RCAF Photo)

Fairchild Super 71P floatplane, RCAF (Serial No. 665).

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3580897)

Fairchild Super 71, CF-AUJ, 3 Jul 1935.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390367)

Men loading the hull of boat into Fairchild Super 71 aircraft CF-AUJ of Canadian Airways Ltd., N.W.T. Taken 1934-1939.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650782)

Fairchild Super 71, CF-AUJ, 1935.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3580888)

Fairchild Super 71, CF-AUJ, 2 March 1935.  

(Author Photos)

Fairchild Super 71 (Serial No. 50), CF-AUJ.  Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada (RAMWC), Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Equipped with floats and powered by the 525 hp (391 kW) S1D1 Wasp, the Super 71 prototype, CF-AUJ, flew for the first time on 31 Oct 1934.  After the aircraft completed airworthiness tests, it was loaned to Canadian Airways which conducted operational trials in both Quebec and Ontario before the aircraft was written off after running into a submerged log and sinking off Sioux Lookout, Ontario on 3 October 1940.  The airframe was salvaged and is currently on display in the RAMWC.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3580946)

Fairchild 82, CF-AXD, 27 Dec 1935.  This model retained the stretched forward fuselage and separate flight deck that had been a feature of the Super 71, but increased passenger and load capacity.  The resulting aircraft proved a modest success, with three sold to the government of Venezuela, one to the government of Mexico, and another seven going to various Canadian regional airlines. Variants with various powerplant changes followed, three of which went to Argentina.

The Fairchild 82 was a rugged aircraft and it found a niche as a freighter especially in northern Canada, although export versions were used for a variety of roles including surveying and light transport.  It was operated by numerous Canadian firms including Canadian pacific Airlines.  While its main competitor, the Noorduyn Norseman was finding success with military orders, Fairchild decided to abandon the bushplane market temporarily in favour of producing the Bristol Bolingbroke bomber for the RCAF and RAF immediately prior to the Second World War.

The company had intended to enter the postwar civilian market with an upgraded Model 82 but the original tooling had been destroyed during the war years. The remaining Fairchild 82s remained in service until the late 1960s.

A 40-year-old mystery of the Arctic was solved when the remains of a Fairchild 82 were found south of Bathurst Inlet.  Chuck McAvoy was flying a pair of American geologists on 9 June 1964 when they disappeared.  An extensive search ensued at the time but was unsuccessful, and it wasn't until in 2003 when the RCMP finally found the crash site.

(Provincial Archives of Alberta Photo, A5286)

Fairchild 82, CF-AXB, 10-passenger airplane owned and operated by Dominion Skyways, c1930.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3580914)

Fairchild 82, Reg. No. CF-AXA, 8 Aug 1935.

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