Canadian Warplanes 5: Canadair CC-106 Yukon

Canadair CC-106 Yukon

(DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Canadair CL-44/CC-106 Yukon, a Canadian turboprop airliner and cargo aircraft based on the Bristol Britannia, developed and produced by Canadair in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  Although innovative, only a small number of the aircraft were produced for the RCAF (as the CC-106 Yukon), and for commercial operators worldwide (as the CL-44).  The aircraft is named after the Canadian territory of Yukon, and was given to the aircraft by the RCAF's Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Hugh Lester Campbell OBE, CD.

The Canadair CL-44/CC-106 Yukon, a Canadian turboprop airliner and cargo aircraft based on the Bristol Britannia, was developed and produced by Canadair in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  Although innovative, only a small number of the aircraft was produced for the RCAF (as the CC-106 Yukon), and for commercial operators worldwide (as the CL-44).  The aircraft is named after the Canadian territory of Yukon, and was given to the aircraft by the RCAF's Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Hugh Lester Campbell OBE, CD.

Canadair began work on a long range transport primarily intended to provide personnel and logistics support for Canadian Forces in Europe. In January 1957, Canadair received a contract for eight aircraft, later increased to 12. The RCAF designation for the new design was CC-106 Yukon, while the company's civilian variant was known as the CL-44-6. In company parlance the CL-44 was simply "the Forty-Four.” The RCAF specified the CL-44 to be equipped with Bristol Orion engines. When the British Ministry of Supply canceled the Orion program, the RCAF revised the specifications to substitute the Rolls-Royce Tyne 11. The CL-44 fuselage was lengthened, making it 12 ft 4 in (3.75 m) longer than the Britannia 300 with two large cargo doors added on the port side on some aircraft, while the cabin was pressurized to maintain a cabin altitude of 2,400 m at 9,000 m (30,000 ft). The design used modified CL-28 wings and controls. The Yukon could accommodate 134 passengers and a crew of nine. In the casualty evacuation role, it could take 80 patients and a crew of 11.

The rollout of the Yukon was a near-disaster because the prototype could not be pushed out of the hangar since the vertical fin could not clear the hangar doors. The first flight took place 15 November 1959 at Cartierville Airport. During test flights many problems were encountered, from complete electrical failure to engines shaking loose and almost falling off. Rolls-Royce had problems delivering engines, resulting in the sarcastically-named "Yukon gliders" being parked outside Canadair as late as 1961.

Initially, the CL-44-6 was produced for the RCAF as the CC-106 Yukon. Once initial problems were resolved, in RCAF service the Yukon performed well and in December 1961, a Yukon set a world record for its class when it flew 6,750 mi (10,860 km) from Tokyo to RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario, in 17 hours, three minutes at an average speed of 400 mph (640 km/h). Later, a Yukon set a new record staying airborne for 23 hours and 51 minutes. These records were unbroken until bettered by the Boeing 747SP in 1975. By the time of their retirement, Yukons had flown 65 million miles, 1.5 billion passenger miles and 360 million ton-miles.

On the cargo aircraft variant CL-44D4 the entire tail section hinged. It could be opened using hydraulic actuators to load large items quickly. An inflatable seal at the hinge-break enabled cabin pressure to be maintained, and eight hydraulic-operated locks assured structural integrity. The tail could be opened from controls within the tail in 90 seconds. The flight controls at the joint were maintained by a system of push pads. (Wikipedia)

Canadair CL-44D, CC-106 Yukon (12), (Serial Nos. 15501, renumbered to 15921, renumbered to 106921), 15922, renumbered to 106922, 15923, renumbered to 106923, 15924, renumbered to 106924, 15925, renumbered to 106925, 15926, renumbered to 106926, 15927, renumbered to 106927, 15928, renumbered to 106928, 15929, renumbered to 15555, renumbered to 106929, 15930, renumbered to 106930, 15931, renumbered to 106931, 15932, renumbered to 16666, renumbered to 106932).

Detailed records of all known RCAF and Canadian-built aircraft may be viewed on line in the Canadian Aircraft Serials Personnel Information Resource (CASPIR). The  CASPIR website is researched, coded, and maintained entirely by Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (CWHM) volunteers with only one staff assisting periodically. This work has taken several years and is unlikely to be finished as continuing research leads to “new finds” and rediscovered Canadian aviation heritage and history.  The CWHM volunteer team looks forward to continuing to update and correct the record as additional information and photos are received. Check here for the Yukon.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon (Serial No. 15501, renumbered to 15921, later renumbered to 106921).

(Aage. C. Skaarup Photo)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon, RCAF (Serial No. 15922), No. 437 (T) Squadron, RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario, shown here on the tarmac at 1 (F) Wing, RCAF Station Marville, France, 20 June 1963.  This Yukon was later renumbered (Serial No. 106922).  Sold 18 November 1971 to aircraft broker Beaver Enterprises.  No Canadian civil registration known.  Sold to Societe Generale d'Alimentation (SGA), registered as 9Q-CWN.  First flight with these markings, in Canada, on 12 November 1973.  Named "Hoto Mbio".  Delivered, Montreal to Toulouse, on 18 November 1973.  First commercial flight, Toulouse to Kinshasa, Zaire on 23 November 1973.  Later stored in Luxembourg.  Operator name changed to TRAMACO, Transports et Manutentions Commerciaux, by 1 February 1977, when commercial flights resumed.  Stored at Kinshara from 1978.  Scrapped there, 1 April 1983.  (RWR Walker)

The author's first flight was in this aircraft from 1 (F) Wing, RCAF Station Marville, France, to RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario on 20 June 1963.  The author's father and family, was based at 3 (F) Wing, RCAF Station Zweibrücken, West Germany, from 1959 to 1963.  RCAF Station Zweibrücken was in service from 6 Jan 1953 to 29 Aug 1969.

3 (F) Wing was one of four RCAF wings consisting of three fighter squadrons each, established in Europe in the early 1950s to support the goals of NATO in Europe during the Cold War.  These wings were part of  No. 1 Air Division.  Two wings were located in France (RCAF Station Marville and RCAF Station Grostenquin), and two were located in West Germany, (RCAF Station Zweibrücken and RCAF Station Baden Soellingen).

(Ken Fielding Photo)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon (Serial No. 15925), 17 May 1969.

(Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Centre PCN-67-850)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon (Serial No. 15927), with red roundels, 4 July 1967.

(Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Centre PCN-67-848)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon (Serial No. 15927), with red roundels, 4 July 1967.

(CF Joint Imagery Centre Photo, REC-68-718)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon (Serial No. 15927), with blue roundels, refueling, 15 May 1968.

(RuthAS Photo)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon (Serial No. 15927), later (Serial No. 106927), No. 437 (T) Squadron at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario, shown here at Gatwick Airport, London, UK, 1 Sep 1968.  

This Yukon was sold 18 Nov 1971 to aircraft broker Beaver Enterprises, stored at Montreal.  Sold on 29 Sep 1971, to AER (Aerotransportes Entre Rios), became LV-JYR.  Disapeared on flight from Montevideo to Santiago de Chile, over Andes Mountains, on 20 June 1972.  Wreckage never found.  (RWR Walker)

(DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon (Serial No. 15928), later (Serial No. 106928), offloading at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.  Was RCAF 15928.  No confirmation that CAF serial was ever marked.    Operated by No. 437 (T) Squadron at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.  Sold 18 November 1971 to aircraft broker Beaver Enterprises, stored at Montreal.  Sold on 1 January 1972 to TAR (Transporte Aereo Rioplatense.  Registered as LV-PRX for ferry flight, later received permanent registration LV-JZB.  Retained this registration when leased to AER on 3 November 1973.  Sold to ALAS Uruguay Cargo on 3 November 1978, registered as CX-BKD.  Scrapped after leaving runway on landing with gear partially extended on 10 October 1979.  Hulk burned, apparently before any official investigation of the accident.  (RWR Walker)

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon (Serial No. 15929), with red roundels.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon, RCAF (Serial No. 106930).  Was RCAF 15930.  No confirmation that CAF serial was ever marked.  Operated by No. 4 (T) Operational Training Unit at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.  Sold 18 November 1971 to aircraft broker Beaver Enterprises, stored at Montreal.  Sold to SGA.  Named "Gegitelo", registered as 9Q-CWK.  Flew first service, Toulouse to Kinshasha, Zaire on 7 December 1973.  Withdrawn from use, stored at Manston, UK in 1980.  Kept this registration when sold to Katale Air Transport in 1981.  This company may have also operated under the name Uni-Air.  Later stored at Goma, Zaire, scrapped on 1 April 1983.  (RWR Walker)

(RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Telecommunications wire being loaded on a Canadair CC-106 Yukon, RCAF (Serial No. 106930).  These are disaster supplies for Turkey in 1966.

(Steve Williams Photo)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon (Serial No. 15932), later (Serial No. 106932), London Gatwick Airport, 17 May 1969.  Delivered as RCAF 15512, became 16666 on 21 April 1961, then 15932 on 1 May 1962.  Fitted with VIP interior.  No confirmation that CAF serial was ever marked.  17 November 1971 - Struck off.  

This Yukon was in storage at CFTSD at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan when it was sold to aircraft broker Beaver Enterprises on 18 November 1972, Reg. No. CF-JSN issued same day.  Stored at Montreal.  Sold to Andeas Airlines on 1 May 1974, Reg. No. HC-AZH.  Withdrawn from use on 1 Jan 1985, stored at Guayaquil, Equador.  Ownership transferred to Ecuador Air Force in November 2000.  The Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa is attempting to raise funds to have this aircraft returned to Canada.  (RWR Walker)

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon, No. 426 'Thunderbird' (T) Squadron.  This Squadron was formed in the early part of 1961 under the command of Squadron Leader R. L. Lloyd and referred to as the "Yukon Flight".  The Flight became the nucleus of No. 437 "Husky" (T) Squadron when that unit reformed on 1 October 1961.  Trans-Atlantic proving flights began on the 31st of August, 1961.   No. 426 (T) Squadron was officially disbanded on the 31st of August 1962.

On the 3rd of March, 1961 Yukon (Serial No. 15927) was delivered to RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.  This was the sixth accepted by the RCAF but the first made available for training.  The aircraft's unmodified Rolls Royce Tyne engines were removed at Trenton by a Canadair Mobile Repair Party and returned to Cartieville, Quebec.

The second Yukon, (Serial No. 15928) was delivered to RCAF Station Trenton on the 27th of April, 1961. This aircraft also too had unmodified engines which were removed and modified ones were installed.  The aircrafrt was then put into the training program.  In May, (Serial No. 15930) was assigned to No. 4 Operational Training Unit at Trenton.  By the end of May, No. 426 Squadron was operating (Serial Nos. 15925, 15926, 15927 and 15928).

The Yukon Flight used the following aircraft: (Serial Nos. 15923, 15925, 15926, 15927, 15928, 15930 and 15931).

(DND Photo via Mika Kaehler)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon.  At 15:00 hours on the 9th of June, 1961, a ceremony was held near No. 10 Hangar at RCAF Station Trenton.  Mrs. Campbell performed the naming ritual much as was done when chistening a ship.  She smashed a bottle of champagne on to the nose.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CC-106 Yukon.

(RCAF Photo via Chris Charland)

A diamond formation made up of three Canadair CC-106 Yukons with a Canadair CT-114 Tutor in the slot position.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4753431)

Arrival of last International Yukon flight. Left to right: Sgt. Bennett, Sgt. Chaison, Cpl. French, Capt. Townsend, Capt. Mazey, Cpl. Brady, Pte. Moore, Pte. Manuge, Capt. Aitken, Capt. Adam, CFB Trenton, Ontario, 1 April 1971.

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