Thursday, April 4, 2019

A Shearwater Angel And BCATP

The Sikorsky S-55 HOA4S-3 is close by the two helicopters I showed you yesterday. This class of helicopter was in production for more than a decade starting in 1950, for both military and civilian purposes. This one spent its active career with Canadian navy ships, its crews distinguishing themselves in rescue missions and the helicopter taking on a nickname- the Shearwater Angel. Its most famous rescue occurred on November 17th, 1955, when its crew rescued 21 crew members (plus the ship's dog and cat) of a Liberian freighter after it ran aground off Cape Breton. This Sikorsky has been in the Museum collection since 1970.

There is an area here with several planes in yellow that is designated for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). This was a program that was a legacy of the Second World War, when training young pilots in Canada before sending them over into the fight was an initiative as part of the war effort. The same initiative was done in Australia and New Zealand, as well as similar ideas in other parts of the old Empire. Canadian bases for the purpose ended up training over 130 000 pilots and crew during the war. The artifacts here include a flight simulator. Among the planes here (though one that I didn't photograph in full) was a Harvard II, one of the training planes used for the program.

This is the Avro Anson, one of the planes used for the program. A twin engine plane suited for the job, this continued to see service through the war, but were soon phased out afterwards.

This is the nose section of a Lancaster. A staircase is set up to allow the visitor to ascend and have a look into the cockpit. Looking at the map layout of the Museum, I believe the yellow wing below at left is the Harvard, while above that is the right wing of the Anson.

Here we have a look across at the Douglas DC-3, the X-01, and the Challenger.

Something on a smaller scale- toy planes. These are equipped with wheels for toddlers to have a go with around the paths. I saw several kids with these.


  1. Sweet to mention the rescued ship's dog and cat.
    That flight simulator, oh, my!
    Always interesting to see such a cockpit. I was on the USS Constellation (1999, Fremantle) and kids were allowed in the real machines.
    Oh, and the toddler one, cute and thoughtful.

  2. I have never seen such planes before. Great exhibits. I like the smaller planes for toddlers.

  3. I am sure the kids loved the toy planes.

  4. Some of those vehicles are the oddest shapes, like the Navy helicopter with the orange cross on it.


  5. I like those cute toy planes :-)

  6. Helicopters get my attention outdoors. It is usually something wrong!

  7. I like that shot of the Douglas DC-3, the X-01, and the Challenger.

  8. Great exhibit. I think my son used to have some of those small wooden planes. Wishing you a happy day!

  9. @Iris: it was good to get them off as well.

    @Nancy: I saw a number of kids using them.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Catarina: they were having a ball.

    @Janis: and yet they flew well.

    @Tom: very yellow!

    @Tamago: I did too.

    @Jennifer: I don't see too much in the way of helicopters in the city, aside from air ambulances.

    @Jan: I like that one as well.

    @Eileen: thank you!

  10. I am enjoying learning all about the planes and helicopters.

  11. I’d love to see the Lancaster.

  12. It is good to have those small planes to help the wee kids get around!

  13. A most interesting collection...used to live near the Sikorsky plant in CT. Would not pay attention to helicopters then as I do now, which is rare when I hear them. Now it's either for a forest fire when they go to lakes to scoop up water or to rescue someone from a highway incident and take them to a hospital.

  14. You have inspired me to try and get to our air museum William, I believe they do have a Lancaster there. Love the little wooden planes for kids to play with, reminds me of the plane we got for our grandson for Christmas 😀

  15. When I was a little kid we lived near a training base. Harvards flew over the farmyard many times a day. They bring back good memories.

  16. @DJan: I'm enjoying presenting the series.

    @Marie: it was interesting to get a different view of it, even as a partial plane.

    @RedPat: the kids looked like they were enjoying those little planes.

    @Barbara: the helicopters we see here most are the air ambulances.

    @Grace: you should get out there sometime soon.

    @Red: I'll have to come back and photograph that Harvard.

  17. That nose section of the Lancaster reminded me of the time I got to fly an air force refueling mission. I had to lay down in this bubble like area on the bottom of the plane while the tiny little female technician maneuvered the refueling pipe down to the jet under us. It was quite an experience.

  18. I remember the Sikorsky S-55 very well. They used to do maneuvers over our home way back when. Thanx for taking me back down memory lane.


  19. Love those toy planes, bet the kids love them too!

    All the best Jan

  20. The kids probably enjoy seeing those toy planes.

  21. Love the toy planes for the children.
    What a fabulous display of planes.

    cheers, parsnip

  22. not sure how well those wooden planes would fly? love all the yellow. cool windows. ( :

  23. Fascinating series beautifully documented. Thank you William :)

  24. @Lady Fi: I think so!

    @Sharon: I can imagine!

    @Padre: you're welcome.

    @Jan: they were having fun.

    @Bill: they did!

    @Parsnip: it is.

    @Beth: well, they can move at a fair clip!

    @Denise: you're welcome.

  25. Like the Navy helicopter and the little model plane ~ neat photos ~

    Happy Days to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  26. I also enjoy aviation museums. I have been inside 2 Avro Lancasters and they are HUGE.

  27. Small wooden planes are cute.