Canadian Warplanes 5: de Havilland CC-108 Caribou

de Havilland CC-108 Caribou

(de Havilland Photo)

de Havilland CC-108 Caribou.

The de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou (designated by the United States military as the CV-2 and later C-7 Caribou) is a Canadian-designed and produced specialized cargo aircraft with short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability.  The Caribou was first flown in 1958 and although mainly retired from military operations, is still in use in small numbers as a rugged bush aircraft.  The Caribou was flown by No. 424 Squadron Transport and Rescue Squadron, until it was retired from the Canadian Forces in 1971.

The de Havilland Canada company's third STOL design was the first DHC design powered by two engines.  The Caribou was primarily flown as a military tactical transport. The United States Army ordered 173 in 1959 and took delivery in 1961 under the designation AC-1, which was changed to CV-2 Caribou in 1962.

The majority of Caribou production was destined for military operators, but the type's ruggedness and excellent STOL capabilities requiring runway lengths of only 1200 feet (365 metres) also appealed to some commercial users.

de Havilland CC-108 Caribou Mk. I (1), (Serial No. 5303), Mk. 1A (4), (Serial Nos. 5320-5323), Mk. 1B (4), (Serial Nos. 5324-5327), for a total of 9 aircraft.

(RCAF Photo via Chris Charland)

de Havilland CC-108 Caribou Mk. 1A (Serial No. 5320) in UN markings, RCAF Station Goose bay, Labrador, c 1962-1963.

While still with De Havilland of Canada as a demonstrator aircraft, it was given the Canadian civilian registration CF-LVA.

The aircraft was taken on strength with the R.C.A.F. on 17 Aug, 1960.  The aircraft movements included:

No. 115 Air Trasnport Unit at El Arish, Egypt.

No. 134 Air Transport Unit at Sana, Yemen.

No. 117 Air Transport Unit at Rawalpindi, West Pakistan and later Lahore, West Pakistan.

No. 115 Air Transport Unit at El Arish, Egypt.

No. 102 (K) Unit at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.

No. 115 Air Transport Unit at El Arish, Egypt.

No. 102 (K) Unit at CFB Trenton, Ontario.

No. 424 (C&R) Squadron at CFB Trenton, (Communications & Rescue).

No. 424 (T&R) Squadron at CFB Trenton, (Transport & Rescue).

The aircraft suffered Cat B damage on the 27th of October, 1965 while with No. 117 A.T.U. The aircraft overshot the runway at Kohkhroper, West Pakistan, then struck a small tree stump with the nosewheel which drove it up into the nose.  The nose section from Caribou 5324 was transplanted on Caribou 5320.  On 7 Sep 1965, Caribou 5324 was strafed and severely damaged by a Pakistani Air Force F-86 Sabre.  The same scenario would happen years later when Canadian Forces Twin Otter (Serial No. 13808) from No. 424 Squadron was strafed by Indian Air Force Hawker Hunters on 5 Dec 1971.  The aircraft was a total write-off.

  (Fred Paradie Photo)

de Havilland CC-108 Caribou Mk. 1A (Serial No. 5320) in UN markings.  5320 had an interesting life starting its RCAF career on 17 Aug 1960.  While serving with the UN it overran a runway extensively damaging the nose of the aircraft.  In the meantime 5324 was strafed by a Pakastani Sabre and destroyed on the ground at Srinagar, India, on 8 Sep 1965.  In spite of the damage to 5324, its forward fuselage was intact.  This ortion of 5324 was cut off and then and grafted onto 5320, allowing it to continue flying for many more years.  The entire surviving RCAF Caribou fleet was later transferred to Tanzania.  5320 became (Serial No. JW9012) in Tanzania.  It was later Reg. No. N1016P, in service until it wasscrapped in 2002. (Mike Kaehler)

(Fred Paradie Photo)

de Havilland CC-108 Caribou Mk. 1A (Serial No. 5320) in UN markings.  

(Fred Paradie Photo)

de Havilland CC-108 Caribou Mk. 1A (Serial No. 5320) in UN markings.  

(DND Photo via Jim Dunn)

de Havilland CC-108 Caribou Mk. IB, (Serial No. 5327).

Jim Dunn had this story about the Caribou: At Trenton circa 1969 I had a Caribou request landing clearance.  I told the pilot that I had a wolf on the centreline about 6,000 feet from touchdown.  He accepted the clearance & landed with room galore to spare.  He then asked for permission to taxi down the runway toward the wolf since he had a Malaysian student onboard who had never seen a live wolf.  I approved this and he taxied up behind the wolf, a couple of hundred feet or so distance.  The wolf just glanced over its shoulder and continued to trot along until it exited the runway in the approach lights.  The pilot said, "I bet you have never seen that before, a Caribou chasing a wolf".

(DND Photo via James Craik)

de Havilland CC-108 Caribou Mk. 1A (Serial No. 5322).

(RCAF Photo)

de Havilland CC-108 Caribou Mk. 1A, UN and RCAF colours.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

de Havilland CC-108 Caribou Mk. 1A (Serial No. 5323).

(RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

An Arab camel rider talks with a member of 115 ATU as he sits in the cockpit of a de Havilland CC-108 Caribou Mk. 1A.