Canadian Warplanes 5: Consolidated RY-3 Privateer

Consolidated RY-3 Privateer

(DND Photo)

Consolidated Model 32 RY-3 Privateer C. Mk. IX (1), (Serial No. JT973).

The RCAF operated a single RY-3 Privateer (RAF Liberator C.IX), (Serial No. JT973), ex-USN RY-3 (BuNo. 90021), aka the "Rockcliffe Ice Wagon".  It was on loan from the RAF from 1946-1948.   JT973 was used for icing research by the RCAF Experimental & Proving Establishment in cooperation with the National Research Council, and was based at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario.  A lack of spare parts kept her grounded much of the time, and was scrapped in 1948 or 1949.
She was replaced in her ice research duties by RCAF North Star (Serial No. 17513), which was modified with a dorsal wing section on the fuselage and observation blisters.  (Group Captain)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643742)

De-icing equipment on nose of Consolidated Privateer C.IX aircraft (Serial No. JT973), 'Rockcliffe Ice Wagon', RCAF, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 27 July 1946.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574055)

Consolidated Model 32 RY-3 Privateer C. Mk. IX, RCAF (Serial No. JT973), Rockcliffe Ice Wagon, 27 Jul 1946.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643741), right.

Consolidated Model 32 RY-3 Privateer C. Mk. IX, RCAF (Serial No. JT973), Rockcliffe Ice Wagon, 27 Jul 1946.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643740)

Consolidated Model 32 RY-3 Privateer C. Mk. IX, RCAF (Serial No. JT973), Rockcliffe Ice Wagon, 27 Jul 1946.

(RCAF Photo)

Consolidated Model 32 RY-3 Privateer C. Mk. IX, RCAF (Serial No. JT973), Rockcliffe Ice Wagon.

The Rockcliffe Ice Wagon

Summarized from a note by Flight Lieutenant J. W. Wilkins, RCAF, in the Roundel, Vol. 3, No. 8, 1951, p. 38-42, and information in the Arctic Circular, Vol. 3, No. 2, 1050, p. 22^-23, and The Times of 8 and 18 August 1950.

Since 1939 a number of anti-icing and de-icing experiments have been made with aircraft of the Royal Canadian Air Force. After testing various types of equipment, it was decided that the electro-thermal de-icing system gave the best results. Thus it was found that to prevent ice formation demands excessively heavy electrical installation, and it is preferable to allow ice to form unhindered for a short time, and then to apply sufficient heat to cause a thin film of water to form between the adhering ice and the airscrew blades or wings, thus causing its dislodgement. In March 1950 a four-engined North Star aircraft, known as the Rockcliffe Ice Wagon, began a series of flights to test the electro-thermal de-icing system more thoroughly. This work was directed by J. L. Orr, head of the Low Temperature Laboratory of the National Research Council. The crew of the aircraft included: Flight Lieutenant J. J. Higgins, Pilot, Flight Lieutenant T. J. Evans, Co-pilot, Flying Officer H. A. Smith, Navigator, Flying Officer T. A. R. Harris, Wireless Operator, Sergeant A. R. Fricday, Flight engineer, two airframe technicians, three (light mechanics, an electrician, an assistant wireless operator and an instrument technician. Scientists of the Low Temperature Laboratory taking part in the tests included: D. Fraser, Leader, R.C. Brown, E. II. Bowler J. A. LynchK. G. Pettit represented the Department of Transport. A dorsal fin, 8 ft. high and 10 ft. long, with a " parting strip" 1 inch wide on its leading edge, was fitted into the fuselage. During the tests the strip was continuously heated to prevent ice forming on it. The ice which formed on either side of the heated strip was allowed to remain for a few minutes before the "shedding" zone was heated, and the ultimate removal of the ice was brought about by aerodynamic forces acting upon it. Instruments were also carried for measuring the density of clouds and their water content, for determining the effect of ice oil the airscrews, and for giving the pilot visual warning of icing conditions. Electrical power was provided by two 60 kw. electrical alternators, driven by the two outboard engines, which supplied an electrical sub-station. From this point current could be distributed through controls on the observers' panels .In August 1950 the Rockcliffe Ice Wagon, which was normally based at the Experimental and Proving Establishment at Rockcliffe, visited the United Kingdom to demonstrate the electro-thermal method of de-icing.