British Columbia, Canada
 Aircraft Companies,
 and Airplanes
ca: 1920's to 2012

Site Index

Aircraft Section Home Page

Airline Companies
Queen Charlotte Airlines
Associated Air Taxi
Conair Aviation Ltd.
BC Air Lines Ltd.

BC Airways Ltd.
Pacific Western Airlines Ltd.
Trans Provincial Airlines Ltd.

Western Straits Air
Westinghouse Airways
Air Caledonia
Canadian Pacific Airlines
Pacific Airways Ltd.

Helicopter Companies
Okanagan Helicopters Ltd.

Transwest Helicopters (1965) Ltd.
Vancouver Island Helicopters
Northern Mountain Helicopters
Quantum Helicopters Ltd.

Aircraft Repair Shops
Associated Aero Services

Aircraft Sales Company
Vancouver Aircraft Sales Ltd.

Airport-Seaplane Bases
Patricia Bay, Catalina Graveyard

Sea Island

Pilots - Owners Bios
Herman Joseph "Slim" Knights
Robert Benjamin "Bob" Gayer
Arthur John "Jack" Moul
Ashton James Ward "Jim" Spilsbury
Ronald F. "Ron" Connelly
Leslie George "Les" Kerr
Francis Russell "Russ" Baker
John Francis "Jack" McMahon
Edward Percy Hector Wells
William Frederick "Bill" Waddington

BA Concord and RAF Red Arrows
May 1985, taken from QE II

Bristol Type 170 Freighter
First Around the World Flight

Corporate Jets
BC Tel-Telus

External Links
(Note- NOT my sites)
Ext links


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Queen Charlotte Airlines

PWA bought Queen Charlotte Airlines Ltd.
for a reported $1,500,000.00.
Sale effective end of June 1955.

QCA was founded by Ashton James Ward "Jim" Spilsbury,
QCA operated from 1945-1955.
It was the 3rd largest airline in Canada in 1955.

Apr 18, 1941 formed a business
Spilsbury and Hepburn Ltd., with Jim Hepburn.
they were in the radio servicing business.
they became incorporated in 1941
as Spilsbury & Tindall Co.
(Jack Tindal)
Office at 570 Cardero St in Vancouver BC

In 1943 He borrowed $500.00 on his life insurance policy
to buy his first aircraft,
a moth eaten old 4 seater, Waco, Standard
CF-AWK Waco YKC-S, c/n 4239.
built May 27, 1935. QCA sold it to Babb (Canada)
Fate- Forced landing on city street South Porcupine ON, Aug 8, 1949

QCA formed in 1945
Company owned by Spilsbury & Tindall Co.

He started with a single route,
 from Vancouver to Comox in 1945

QCA had their office at Sea Island, Vancouver BC

Norman Henry Landahl,
b- ca 1915
d- May 8, 1980 in Vancouver BC, age 65,
 QCA Claims Manager
and one time Personnel Manager

They had 2- 20 passenger, Supermarine Stranraer flying boats,
3- Noordyn Norsemen,
2- Stinson 108-2s,
a Rapide, and a prototype Fairchild Husky.
all above on floats
5- Anson V's built by Federal Aircraft, not on floats.

They had 8- twin engine, 8 passenger Ansons,
14- 7 passenger Norsemen float aircraft,
2- 20 passenger Canso boats,
and 2- 20 passenger Supermarine Stranraer, flying boats
plus 4 smaller machines,
all by 1952.

1952 he had 30 aircraft, 35 pilots, and 250 employees.

Subsidiary of QCA bought some of their planes.
"Western Aircraft Sales and Service"

Aircraft Crashes

Stranraer, Flying Boat, #909- CF-BYL, "Skeena Queen"
Aug 31, 1946,
 Chatham Sound, 18 mi N of Prince Rupert,
Mercy flight from Stewart to Prince Rupert.
Pilot- Captain Kenneth Berkeley Wilson, age 36
d- Aug 31, 1946
Co-Pilot, George Hatch
J. Madsen & Lloyd Douglas, Engineers,
the Crew all from Vancouver
Passenger, Mrs. Margaret Althea Dempsey,, age 23, body found
husband Paul Dempsey from Stewart identified her body.
She was taking her sick daughter Bernice Joy Dempsey, age 3,
 to Prince Rupert for medical treatment.
another passenger, Nicholas Killas of Prince Rupert.
Acquired by QCA July 1946

Sept 1, 1948, (Sept 2, 1948 in another record)
a 1946 QCA Bellanca Senoir Skyrocket, c/n- 6, CF-DOH,
Manufactured by Northwest Industries Ltd. (Edmonton AB).
 The plane was destroyed by fire at Cracroft Island, BC in one record,
and at Alert Bay on Cormorant Island in another,
and Growler Cove in yet another.
The plane was on a routine Fisheries Patrol.
2 Occupants:
Pilot- Walter Cyril Britland, age 30, an ex WWII Stranraer pilot,
and Federal Fisheries Department Superintendent,
Kenneth "Ken" Edwin Weaver, age 38.
The accident was declared Pilot Error.

Canadian Vickers Stranraer -#915, CF-BYJ,
crashed Dec 24, 1948, Belize Inlet, 2 fatalities
 (see below)
plane flipped over. 2 passengers drowned on landing.
John Buckley one passenger that drowned
20 passenger plane, 3 crew and 2 other passengers lives
were saved by Oscar Johnson,
on hand to meet the plane by small boat.
Gordon Squarebriggs, age 27, was one survivor.
Acquired by QCA Sept 1946

Noorduyn Norseman CF-GRQ, Aug 4, 1951,
Off Vancouver island, 7 fatalities
Chartered plane, Inter Island Hop.
Passengers believed to be loggers
left Muchalat arm, noon on Saturday.
Destination Tofino, 75 miles away
Pilot- Captain E. C. "Ted" Williams, of Zeballos, BC
passengers- K. Mugridge, Shediac NB
George Palmer, Sarnia ON
Charles Warne, age 18
Reginald L. Brown, age 34,
Arthur Costley, age 63, came from Saskatoon
Larry Larson, age 19
last 5 from Vancouver

Noorduyn Norseman CF-CRS, Aug 23, 1951, Elk Bay, no fatality
Pilot Cedric Mah, and 7 passengers
damaged in a landing accident, due to smoke from a forest fire.
bought originally by Canadian Pacific Air Lines, Mar 27, 1947 for $18K
from Crown Assets Disposal, RCAF 2480
then bought by QCA from CPAir, Apr 1, 1948
delivered to RCAF May 2, 1941

Noorduyn Norseman, CF-GPK, Sept 9, 1951, Garibaldi Lake, no fatality
Pilot and Traffic Manager, Johnny Hatch
UBC students, Shirley Hill, Norah Neilson, and Marjorie Schmidt all survived.
Single engine plane hit a downdraft over Garibaldi Lake, and veered into tree tops.
The girls were heading to an Alpine Club outing
plane bought from Newfoundland Airways Ltd. May 26, 1951
started out life in the USAAF, Mar 25, 1944

Consolidated Catalina Canso, CF-FOQ,
Oct 17, 1951, near Witchcraft Lake,
 on MT. Benson, 6 miles west of Nanaimo BC, 23 fatalities
Only thing left was the right wing, with float attached.
Wreckage strewn over 500 ft.
on route from Kemano to Vancouver.

CF-FOQ at Kemano Beach Dock, Bud Walker Photo

Oct 18, 1951, a Queen Charlotte Airlines
Twin Engine Amphibious Plane, CF-FOQ,
crashed into Mount Benson, near Nanaimo BC,
 near the end of a 400 mile flight to Vancouver,
from Kemano, killing 20 passengers and 4 crew.
(one source said 23 total)
Crew names I found, Pilot Doug McQueen,
Jaginder S. Johl, First Officer, and Ray Williams, Crewman
CF-FOQ was a Canso PBY flying boat.
I have read since this entry, that this plane was carrying
all of the Alcan Kitimat Directors, which caused QCA problems.

Next 4 photos of CF-FOQ
sent to me by Stan Strazza, Jan 2012
If you want to know about this plane
save some time and contact Stan in Nanaimo BC. 
He has it all, but still looking for more.

click thumbnails to enlarge

Notes from Stan on researching info on CF-FOQ


 Douglas Duncan "Doug" McQueen, age 33, veteran coast pilot
lived at 1807 SE Marine

2nd Officer-
Johl Jiginder Singh, age 23
some records show last name Johl,
but death registry shows Singh as his last name.

Radio Operator-
Raymond Edward "Ray" Williams, age 31
Crew were all from Vancouver


Joseph "Eric" Melanson, age 36, Vancouver
Chief Project Engineer, for Kitimat Constructors

Cyril Depauw, age 53, Mission BC

John Redding, age 42, New Westminster

Kenneth Edwin Krug, age 39, West Vancouver

Patrick Arthur Brisson, age 44, Vancouver

Philibert J. P. Daigneault, age 30, Vancouver

Robert Webster McFadyen, age 23, Vancouver
2nd Cook at Kemano

William Edward B. Perry, age 25, Winnipeg
Employee Kitimat Constructors

Joseph "Charles" Morin, age 37, Vancouver
Employee Kitimat Constructors
married, no children

John Allan Rowand, age 27, Edmonton
Engineering Consultant
Employee Kitimat Constructors

John David Watson, age 37, Cowichan Lake
Kitimat Constructors Comptroller
Married, 2 children

Gordon Graham, age 29, Victoria
James Albert Campbell, age 40, Grand Coulee, WA, USA
married, Chief Mechanical Superintendent,
of the West Daetfa Company

Denis Edward Guillemin, age 41, Burnaby

Thomas Bone, age 52, Vancouver

James Walter McDowell, age 19, Vancouver
Employee Kitimat Constructors

Harry Thomas Comerford, age 32, Vancouver BC

Carl Oscar Nedel, age 21, Vancouver

Jack Bernard Fereguson, age 30, Parksville

Michael Henry Cairney, age 28, Seattle
Business Agent for building Labourer's Union at Kitimat

James Burns Cairney, Michael's son, sued the estate of the pilot,
Roberta Burrells McQueen, and QCA,
through his mother, Jeanette Cairney, wife of Michael,
 and the suit was dropped in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Avro, MK V, Anson crash, CF-FGM, Dec 5, 1952, at Vancouver, 1 fatality
Pilot- Captain Francis "Bruce" Wilson, age 41 (40 in death record)
b- Dec 04, 1911 in Greenshields, Alberta
His body was found Dec 9, 1952
crashed into a mountainside, at 1800 ft level, near Halfmoon Bay,
40 mi NW of Vancouver
Only person aboard the twin engine Anson.
It was used as a freighter
Disappeared on a Friday on a flight to Comox, from Vancouver.
RCAF helicopter sighted the wreckage on Monday, Dec 8
the cockpit was the only part still intact.
Bruce married Flora Isabelle Houghtaling and had 3 children
Plane bought from Northern Airways Ltd.
built almost entirely from plywood.

Douglas DC3 crash, June 23, 1957, Port Hardy, CF-EPI, 14 died
In some history books shown as QCA plane
but technically this was a PWA aircraft in 1957
Douglas R4D-3
Even though it was in OCA colours ,
PWA had bought the airline June 30,1955 for a reported $1,500,000
Info from Hugh MacCallum

View my PWA page for a movie and details of this plane

Planes QCA Used

de Havilland, DH89A, Dragon Rapide

1949, Dragon Rapides CF-BND and CF-AYE
1953, Mark V Ansons CF-DXK, CF-EHV, CF-FYK, CF-FZL, and CF-GDP

Twin engine, light transport bi-plane,
1 crew, 8 passengers. 48ft wingspan.
Max speed, 157 mph.
2- de Havilland Gipsy Six, 200hp inline engine.

Avro, MK V, Anson

1950, Mark V Anson CF-FGM and CF-EHV
 (CF-FGM see crash above)

1950, Mark V Anson, CF-DXK

One of these 5 Ansons, was called, "The Alberni Queen"

1,069 Mk Vs were built in Canada for navigator training,
 powered by two 450 hp (340 kW)
Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior R-985 engines.
built of plywood due to shortage of steel
Built in Canada by Canadian Federal Aircraft Ltd.
Anson was originally built in England.
The Anson was a bomber training machine.
It was a mid wing monoplane,
with a max cruising speed of 188 mph.
It was made from a laminated plastic-treated
wood construction, covered with fabric.

 Supermarine Stranraer PBY Flying Boat

Stranraer Flying boat was a reconnaissance
bombing torpedo transport and navigation training unit.
during the war it carried a crew of 8.
Powered by 2 engines, max speed of 165 mph,
cruising range of 1,000 miles,
capacity load of 3,450 lbs.
It was metal construction, covered in fabric.

Vickers Supermarine "Stranraer Flying Boats"
made by Supermarine Aviation Works (Vickers) Ltd.
twin engine Bristol Pegasus medium supercharged engines.
Hull was "Alclad" with stainless steel attachments.

QCA owned 5 Stranraer "Stranny" planes

CF-BXO, known as "Alaska Queen",
Supermarine Stranraer #920.
Built by Canadian Vickers
at its St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec Plant, using British equipment,
and fitted with 810 hp Bristol Pegasus X engines.
sold to PWA
now in the RAF museum, last known survivor of this plane.

CF-BYI, known as "Haida Queen", #907

CF- BYL, known as "Skeena Queen", #909

CF-BYJ #915
1947, Stranraer CF-BYJ (see crash abpve)

CF-BYM, #949, last Stranraer in service with RCAF
until Jan 20, 1946, sold to PWA
Crashed Oct 1, 1957, into trees and burned
taking off from Sovereign Lake, BC
killing 4 occupants, plane written off.
They were on a salvage trip, of 2 pontoons,
on a previous wreck of a PWA Beaver.

Consolidated PBY Catalina, CF-GHU,
1951-1957, "Kitimat Queen"
N2763A  c/n CV-548 , Ex USN Bu no 21232

QCA, CF-GHQ  made the first airmail flight
 from Vancouver to Kitimat, B.C., 22 April 1952.

Canadian Vickers PBV-1A Canso

1951, Canso CF-FOQ, bought from Hudson's Bay Co.
(see crash above)

Great Photo of QCA Canso
approaching Kemano Wharf

QCA Canso Plane
at Kemano Wharf
Exact Reg # unknown

Both of these pictures are of
the same plane,
and it has the bubble on the back,
and a different paint scheme than the one below.
Good possible subject,  and my guess,

Consolidated PBY Catalina, CF-GHU,
1951-1957, "Kitimat Queen"
N2763A  c/n CV-548 , Ex USN Bu no 21232

Side Passenger Door, of a QCA Canso,
docked in the photo, at the Village of Alert Bay,
on Cormorant Island, in the Queen Charlotte Strait.
Jim Hanna was flying from Vancouver to Kemano,
after Christmas 1955, and fog forced the plane,
to land at Alert Bay for the night.
Stewardess in the doorway was from NZ,
and she happened to come over to Canada
on the same boat, the RMS Orion,
as Jim Hanna did, from Auckland NZ.

I am almost 100% positive the bottom photo was CF-GLX
which was a Canadian Vickers PBV-1A Canso
c/n CV-560
The 3 stripes on the back, the lack of a bubble window/door,
leads me to this conclusion.
It was originally built for the USAAF.

3 Canso Pictures above,
Courtesy Jim Hanna, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Noorduyn Norseman

1946- Norseman, CF-EJB,
 1947, Norseman, floats
1948, Norseman CF-GHH
1950, Mark VI Norseman CF-GUE
1948, Norseman CF-CRS (see crash above)
1951, Norseman, CF-OPK, CF-GPK, CF-GRO (see GPK crash above)
1951, Norseman #427, CF-GRU
1951, Norseman, CF-GOB
1951, Norseman, CF-GSK
1952, Norseman CF-OBO
1953, Norseman CF-GDN

North American (Noorduyn) Harvard

Harvard MKII

1946, Harvard, RCAF 2737, const # 66-2470

1950, Harvard, CF-EMY

De Haviland Canada

De Haviland Beaver DHC-2

1948, De Haviland Beaver CF-FHC
1949, De Haviland Beaver, CF-FHF

Single Engine, Single wing, Prop Driven, STOL aircraft.
This was known as a great "Canadian Bush Plane"

Cessna Aircraft Company Inc, USA
Wichita Kansas

1946, Cessna Crane- CF-BXW
Wingspan 41 ft 11"
Max speed 185 mph
2- Jacobs L-4MB, 225 hp, radial engines
Designed as a trainer in WWII

1954, Cessna 180, CF-HLA


Stinson 108-2 Voyager models
single engine, prop plane.

1949, Stinson CF-FZO
1950, Stinson CF-EXR

Bellanca Aircraft Co.

1948, Bellanca Senoir Skyrocket, CF-DOH (see crash above)
Bellanca Pacemaker- no known info


1950, Grumman G-21, Goose, CF-GEB,
amphibious aircraft.
US Navy JRF-5 model  #37792 (c/n B-45) to RCAF as 384.
This plane was owned by BNP Airways as an 8 seat,
Executive equipped plane.
BNP was a consortium of B.C. Electric, Northern Construction,
the Power River Company and MacMillan Bloedel.
sold in 1952 for $32,000 to Barney Lamm, Ontario Central Airlines.
This plane was owned by BC Air Lines in the 60's
two 450 horsepower (340 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Jr.
 nine-cylinder, air-cooled, radial engines
 mounted on the leading edges of the wings.
The deep fuselage served as a hull.
It was equipped with hand-cranked retractable landing gear.


1951, Beech stagger-wing D17S, CF-GPO
bought from Grubb Oil Co.
The fabric-covered fuselage was faired with wood formers
and stringers over a welded, steel tube frame
1 - Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1 "Wasp Jr" radial engine, 450 hp
1 crew, 3 passengers
Wingspan 32 ft

Fairchild Aviation Ltd.

Fairchild Husky, reg # unknown
Fairchild FC-2, Razor-Back, G-CAIH

Douglas DC3's-

May 15, 1953- DC3, CF-HCF
by 1954- CF-EPI

 Douglas C-53D-DO, c/n 7408 (see my PWA page)

manufactured Feb 1940, Santa Monica CA
log book in Canadian Museum of Flight, 1956-66
USAAF #42-57506, Douglas C-49H-DO DC3- 227B,
c/n 2198, 1953-1962
Jan 22, 1959 this plane was re-registered CF-PWH
history- American Airlines, USAAF, Trans Alaska Airlines,
QCA, PWA, Great Northern Airways,
became derelict in Terrace BC,
parts machine for Trans Provincial Airlines
Plane is now restored and on display in Langley BC
Spirit of the Skeena, see link below.
The FIRST DC3 owned by a BC airline.


Chief Pilot, John "Johnny" Angus Hatch, DFC
QCA Operations Manager
b- 1913, Toronto ON
enlisted Sept 5, 1940, in RCAF, in Hamilton, ON
Posted to No 409 Squadron, Fighter Command
Reg # J.11307
By Oct 31, 1944 he destroyed 3 enemy planes at night.
While Acting Squadron Leader,
He was awarded the Distinquished Flying Cross
Released from RCAF Sept 6, 1945
1946 married Agnes Grace Hatch, nee ?
Divorced in 1950
married Muriel Jean Hatch, nee ?
she died 1981 in BC, also shown as divorced.

1950 he was living at 1607 West 57th
July 1964 he was rescued from the Beacon Arms Hotel fire,
in Ottawa.  Lived at 10032- 201 st. Langley BC,
and Manager of BC Pony Express Ltd. at the time.

Howard Hughes
In July 1972, the real "Howard Hughes"
the Texas billionaire, came to Vancouver,
to expand his airline business in BC
he stayed at the Bayshore in Vancouver, at $1,000.00 a day.
they were looking to expand Hughes Air West,
into the Vancouver area.
Air West operated as far north as Seattle at the time.
somewhere his name showed up as a pilot for QCA.
I can't believe what I have found actually.
Howard Hughes was 66 years old at this time.
Arthur Hall, BC registrar of companies,
confirmed Hughes lawyer, signed documents,
registering Hughes company
"to engage in Air Transportation in BC".
Hughes bought Air West in 1968.

Herman Joseph "Slim" Knights
Herman Joseph "Slim" Knights

The book "The Accidental Airline",
by Jim Spilsbury and Howard White,
tells the history of the QCA.

by Harbour Publishing


External Links
Note- Not my sites, links may or may not work in the future

Norsemen History

Book Excerpt

CF-AWK photo, Spilsbury's first plane

Timetables etc

Plane pictures

Norseman History

The first DC-3 in their fleet,
CF-PWH, Spirit of the Skeena
Canadian Museum of Flight

1950 historical Document
Roy Berryman, Pilot, QCA "Skidegate Queen", makes mercy flight

video of it
toy model

How about a model?

QCA Avro at Penticton

Consolidated PBY, CF-GLX
crashes in California

Belize crash above, wreckage retrieved

Stranraer History


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and you want them removed from this site,
please contact me ASAP.
I do not purposely use copyright photos.


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Page created by Doug Gent 2016
Created Jan 11, 2012
Revised Mar 16, 2014

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