August 24, 2017

Beaver Turns 70


Long a symbol of Canadian aviation, the deHavilland Beaver celebrated its 70th birthday last week by doing what it has done for decades: it went to work. The iconic bush plane first flew on Aug. 17, 1947 and it’s been in widespread use all over the world hauling everything from troops to fish and everything in between. “I don’t want to incriminate myself or anybody else, but I’ve seen things from oil tanks to four-wheelers [strapped to them],” Brad Greaves, the owner of Ignace Airways, a northwestern Ontario charter company told the CBC.”Yeah, there’s been some interesting things on the side of a Beaver.”

The aircraft was conceived based on demand from bush operators for a tough, high capacity short field aircraft that was easy to fly and maintain. The aircraft caught on immediately and was exported all over the world. The U.S. Army flew them and Beaver’s supported Sir Edmund Hilary’s crossing of Antarctica in 1958. Beavers live on thanks in large part to Viking Air, in Victoria, which bought the type certificate from Bombardier more than 10 years ago and continues to make parts and do overhauls of the bush planes.