Canadian Warplanes 5: Canadair CL-2 North Star and C-5 North Star transports

Canadair CL-2 North Star and Canadair C-5 North Star transports

(DND Archives Photo, PL-107404)

Canadair CL-2 North Star Mk. I (Serial No. 17506), from the RCAF's Air Transport Command rests on the runway at Gibraltar.

The Canadair North Star is a 1940s Canadian development, for Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA), of the Douglas DC-4. Instead of radial piston engines used by the Douglas design, Canadair used Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 engines to achieve a higher cruising speed of 325 mph (523 km/h) compared with the 227 mph (365 km/h) of the standard DC-4. Requested by TCA in 1944, the prototype flew on 15 July 1946. The type was used by various airlines and by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). It proved to be reliable but noisy when in service through the 1950s and into the 1960s. Some examples continued to fly into the 1970s, converted to cargo aircraft. (Wikipedia)

Canadair CL-2 North Star Mk. I (17), (Serial Nos. 17501-17517), Mk. 1I (7), (Serial Nos. 17518-17523, 17525), for a total of 24 aircraft.

Canadair CL-11, RCAF C-5 North Star VIP Transport (DC-4/C-54 Skymaster/DC-6 hybrid), (1), (Serial No. 17524, later 10000).

(DND Archives Photo, PL-101530)

Canadair CL-2 North Star Mk. I (Serial No. 17511).

(Wilma Bearman Photo via Don Smith)

Canadair CL-2 North Star Mk. I (Serial No. 17511).

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-2 North Star Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 17510).  This aircraft is a standard unpressurized North Star with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, round windows and a large rear cargo door.  The difference between the CL-2 and the single VIP C-5 can be seen in the photo immediately below, with its Pratt & Whitney radial engines and rectangular windows (similar to those on the pressurized North Stars built for civil airline customers).  (Ken Pickford)

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair C-5 North Star VIP Transport, RCAF (Serial No. 10000).   The number “10” on the nose would later be removed and replaced with “C5”, to avoid confusion with RCAF North Star (Serial No. 17510), also with the identifier number “10” on the nose.  (Ken Pickford)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234733)

Canadair CL-2 North Star, RCAF (Serial No. 17507), with Canadians on UN Duty, ca 1960s.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234732)

Canadair CL-2 North Star, being unloaded by Canadians on UN Duty, ca 1960s.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-2  North Star Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 17518).

(RCAF Photos courtesy of the Canadian Aviation Preservation Association)

Canadair CL-2 North Star Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 17508), landing.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-2 North Star with No. 439 Squadron Canadair CL-13 Sabres at Bagotville, QC on the first stop on a crossing to England.

(DND Photo)

Canadair CL-2 North Star Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 17511), No. 426 Squadron, with cargo being unloaded in Tokyo, Japan by American troops during the Korean War.

(DND Photo)

The crew of a Canadair CL-2 North Star, No. 426 Squadron, unloading baggage at Haneda Air Base near Tokyo after a flight from McChord Field.  The Canadian contribution to the air effort during the Korean War began early in the war when 426 Transport Squadron was attached to the USAF’s Military Air Transport Service.  It moved to McChord Air Force Base in Washington to carry out its duties.  The squadron flew Canadair 12 “war strength” North Stars (similar to the C-54GM), on 599 round trips over the north Pacific, transporting 13,000 personnel and three million kilograms of freight and mail to Japan.  There, cargo was offloaded for onward transit to Korea.  The intense, challenging route, which involved long legs over open water, terrible weather and a treacherous landing strip at the midway point in Alaska, took them perilously close to the Soviet Union.  Although there were some close calls and incidents, there were no fatalities and no cargo was lost during the airlift.  (RCAF in Korea, 1950-1953)

(RCAF Photo via Shaun Mullins)

Canadiar CL-2 North Star Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 17512) cn 119, high artic, ca 1950s.

(RCAF Photo courtesy of the Canadian Aviation Preservation Association)

Canadair CL-2  North Star Mk. II, RCAF (Serial No. 17518)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584272)

Canadair CL-2 North Star (Serial No. 17501), Experimental and Proving Establishment (EPE), 26 July 1949. This was the first new-built North Star for the RCAF. In 1951 the title was changed to Central Experimental and Proving Establishment (CEPE).

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584297)

Canadair CL-2 North Star, with RCAF refuelling tender No. 655, 6 Sep 1949.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3585507)

Canadair CL-2 North Star Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 17502), Airlift Tokyo, 29 Dec 1950.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair CL-2 (C-54GM) North Star, RCAF (Serial No. 17514). c/n 121.  Taken on strength 8 March 1948.  With No. 425 (T) Squadron.  To Greenland for Operation Re-supply in April 1952.  With No. 426 (T) Squadron at RCAF Stations Dorval, PQ and Trenton, Ontario.  Fitted briefly with belly radar installation in late 1950s.  Delivered nerve gas from Baltimore, USA to Suffield, Alberta, June 1959.  Carried UN troops and supplies to Belgium Congo, in 1960. SOC 27 September 1956 - Free issue to National Research Council.  Later to civil register as CF-SVP-X. Operated by National Aeronautical Establishment with extensive magnetic survey gear.  Used to map earth's magnetic field, and to develop anti-submarine detection gear.  Last airworthy North Star.  Last working flight on 8 May 1975, on behalf of the National Aeronautical Establishment.  Later to Crown Assets for disposal, offered for sale from November 1978.  Purchased by Aircraft Salvage of Dallas, Texas in February 1979.  Sold to Miami based company.  Operated in Caribbean until about 1980, Reg. No. N8022L.  Allegedly used in smuggling operations.  Scrapped early 1980s at Greater Inagua Island.  (rwrwalker.ca)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584501)

RCAF refuelling tender servicing a Canadair C-5 North Star VIP Transport, RCAF (Serial No. 10000), 23 May 1951.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3388176)

Canadair C-5 North Star VIP Transport, RCAF (Serial No. 10000), 25 Sep 1951.

(CANAV Books Photo)

Canadair C-5 North Star, RCAF (Serial No. 10000).

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4183490)

Canadair C-5 North Star, No. 412 Squadron, group shot of crew before departure.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584461)

Canadair C-5 North Star, RCAF (Serial No. 17524), 18 Oct 1950.

(RCAF Photo)

Canadair C-5 North Star, RCAF (Serial No. 17525), being loaded in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Photo caption reads "The ice box that came in so handy in the tropics is loaded on the North Star by two Ceylonese airport workers". The tail stand was used when loading or unloading to stabilize the rear of an aircraft when it was at rest.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair C-5 North Star, RCAF (Serial No. 10000).

(RCAF photo)

Two rigger-air frame technicians of No. 426 Squadron change an engine at Luqa Airport in Malta.  The North Star aircraft was on a trip to Australia when it was forced to stop over at Malta.  A spare engine was flown in from Langar.  (Rigger is slang for an Air Frame Technician and Fitter is slang for an Aero Engine Technician).

(Library and Archives Canada Photo,  MIKAN No. 3584400)

Canadair CL-2 North Star Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 17513), Rockcliffe Ice Wagon, Experimental Proving Establishment.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584727)

Canadair CL-2 North Star Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 17513), Rockcliffe Ice Wagon, Experimental Proving Establishment, 1 Oct 1952.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584866)

Canadair CL-2 North Star Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 17513), Rockcliffe Ice Wagon, Experimental Proving Establishment, Air Force Day 1953.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584878)

Canadair CL-2 North Star Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 17513), Rockcliffe Ice Wagon, Experimental Proving Establishment, 18 Dec 1953.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643748)

Canadair CL-2 North Star Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 17513), Rockcliffe Ice Wagon, Experimental Proving Establishment, 8 Aug 1959.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3388178)

Trans Canada Airlines Canadair North Star, CF-TCM, Aug 1946.

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