The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS. The questions and the answers are now being published together in the same e-newsletter, rather than questions one month and the answers the next. We are hoping this instant gratification might encourage more interest and research by our readers. Spoiler alert - if you read any further, you will find the answer to November's questions directly below. Good luck and have fun!

The Canadian Aviation Moments questions and answers for November are:

Question 1: What aircraft was rejected as a fighter before WW II and for a time in 1941 constituted the sole fighter force, in the RCAF, on Canada’s east coast?

Question 2: Once the Gulf air and land war began on 16 January 1991, what were the Sea Kings also asked to do?

Question 3: Who was Johnny Canuck?



Question 1 Answer: The second report on his file was composed in response to test flying a “Grumman Two-Seater Fighter” (Grumman FF-1) on 25 March 1939. His remarks were based on a mere 40 minutes of flying. In many respects he liked the machine which he described as “very strongly built and inspired confidence.” On the ground, it was difficult to taxi owing to a narrow undercarriage and limited forward visibility. Once airborne, he deemed it a pleasant aircraft to fly - easily manoeuvred, easy to spin when the pilot wanted and easy to recover from the spin. Flight Lieutenant Briese (as he then was) realistically noted that the Grumman was of “no value as a first line aircraft,” given its low speed; 170 mph in level flight, 250 mph in spins and dives.” [Editor’s Note: With the advent of war, however, the RCAF was forced to ‘reassess’ the bleak assessment of the Grumman FF-1 and the force acquired 15 aircraft of the type built under licence by Canadian Car and Foundry. Known as the Goblin in RCAF service, the aircraft equipped No. 118 (Fighter) Squadron at Rockcliffe and later Dartmouth, and for a time in 1941 these aircraft constituted the sole fighter force on Canada’s east coast.]

Source: The Observair – Ottawa Chapter Newsletter – Canadian Aviation Historical Society – Page 7 – Rambling Through Records– Written by Hugh Halliday


Question 2 Answer: Once the air and land war began on 16 January 1991, the Canadian Sea Kings were also used to protect the naval forces from small terrorist craft. Dhows (fishing boats) were known to have launched shoulder-mounted missiles during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. Prudence dictated that the many dhows working their traditional fishing grounds in the Persian Gulf be directed away from the fleet. To do this, a Sea King crew member would don a gas mask and hold up a stop sign with a skull and cross bones in the open doorway. On 1 February, when a dhow refused to heed these signals, Master Corporal Karin Lehmann, the Sea King’s door gunner, was forced to fire several bursts across the dhow’s bow before it retreated.”

Source: The Observair – Ottawa Chapter Newsletter – Canadian Aviation Historical Society – Page 2 – Past Meeting – Ernie Cable – The CH-124 Sea King and OP Friction – Written by Timothy Dubé

Question 3 Answer: “At first glance, Johnny Canuck, one of four Canadian "Comic Book Superheroes" stamps issued in 1995, might seem like an unlikely subject for a colourful postage stamp! Johnny Canuck, the fearless air force captain, was the comic-book creation of 16- year-old Leo Bachle of Toronto. Since Bachle was too young to enlist in 1941, he decided to create a superhero "to right all the world's wrongs and fight Nazi oppression." Although the character had no super powers, he was tall and strong and reportedly had a mean right hook! He first appeared in the February, 1942 issue of Bell's Dime Comics No.1. (see this link to Library and Archives Canada for some of the original Johnny Canuck comics. Johnny Canuck served on the front lines during the Second World War as a secret agent who worked with partisans and guerrilla forces. He even came face-to-face with Hitler himself! In the 1950s, Bachle changed his name to Les Barker and became a nightclub comedian in the United States and Canada. He performed with stars such as Marlene Dietrich, Eartha Kitt, Tony Orlando, Loretta Lynn and Mickey Rooney. Johnny Canuck's creator died in 2003.”

Source: Windsock – February 2009 - Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter – Canadian Aviation Historical Society – Aviation Heritage through Canada’s Postage Stamps – Personalities and Canadian Contributions By Ross Herrington – Page 3