1944 Grumman G-21A Goose, c/n B-101, CF-VFU, FIFT. Dockside somewhere up Knight Inlet, B.C., Canada in spring 1969.

[1959 Kodak Retina IIIS (Type 027) rangefinder 35-mm roll film camera, s/n 86125, with Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Xenon 50-mm f/1.9 Synchro Compur lens, s/n 6841319; Kodak Plus-X Pan (ISO 125/22°) 36-exposure black & white negative film]


© Copyright photograph by Uwe Kündrunar Scharnberg, 1969 / Stephan Alexander Scharnberg, March 2011





“The whole history of the Canadian North can be divided into two periods—before and after the aeroplane.”
Hugh L. Keenleyside, Deputy Canadian Minister of Mines and Resources, October 1949




Thursday, March 8, 2012

1944 Grumman G-21A Goose, c/n B-101, CF-VFU, FIFT

1944 Grumman G-21A Goose, c/n B-101, CF-VFU, FIFT (Forest Industries Flying Tankers Ltd.), Sproat Lake, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada, based at Sproat Lake Seaplane Base (CAA9), Sproat Lake near Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, B.C.; powered by two 450-hp Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-14B Wasp Junior supercharged nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial piston engines with constant-speed three-blade Hartzell propellers; amphibious flying boat hull; crew of two (pilot and co-pilot), eight passengers, commercial transport; built by The Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Bethpage, Long Island, New York, USA at Plant 2, Bethpage, Long Island, New York (F); built as JRF-5 Goose (Model G-38), powered by two 450-hp Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-6 Wasp Junior supercharged nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial piston engines with constant-speed two-blade Hamilton Standard propellers; delivered as BuNo 84806 to US Navy in November 1944; US Navy surplus in 1945; converted to G-21A Goose; N62899; imported to Canada in 1967; CF-VFU, FIFT, Sproat Lake, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada on April 7, 1967; engines upgraded, fitted with retractable floats and long-range fuel tanks in the wing centre section for a six-hour endurance; used to transport timber companies’ personnel; as my father was a treeplanting foreman with BCFP (British Columbia Forest Products), he and his crew flew on this aircraft up the central British Columbia coast in the late 1960s and early 1970s from Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island to Knight Inlet; re-registered as C-FVFU; also used for forest patrols, support, and spotter, lead-in aircraft for FIFT’s two Martin JRM-3 Mars water bombers from 1980 to 1988; registration cancelled on September 28, 2001; registration renewed as C-FVFU, Flying Tankers Inc., Sproat Lake, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada on September 28, 2001; fitted with the extended dorsal fin; visited Groningen Airport Eelde (GRQ), Eelde, Drenthe, Netherlands on November 9, 2001 en route to Austria and Croatia; registration cancelled on February 6, 2002; over 15,000 airframe hours; C-FVFU, C-Tec Ltd., Saint John, N.B., Canada on February 6, 2002; leased(?) as C-FVFU to European Coastal Airlines, Zagreb, Croatia; named Aline; refurbished at Salzburg Airport (SZG), Salzburg, Austria in March 2002; still carrying Canadian registration C-FVFU while operating in Croatia, even though registration cancelled on July 5, 2005 and deleted from Transport Canada website on July 8, 2005, therefore registration no longer valid; should be carrying Croatian registration, prefixed with code 9A-; European Coastal Airlines, established in September 2000, AOC issued in 2001, put on hold after September 11, 2001, re-launched in 2007, then attempted to launch scheduled services in 2008, AOC expired, commercial operation announced three times, failed three times, never in commercial operation in Croatia despite much promotion for over ten years; plans were for C-FVFU to fly regular scheduled flights between Zagreb and Mali Losinj, Zagreb and Rab, Zagreb and Rijeka, Pula and Rijeka (Flight Timetable valid on July 1, 2008 in planning phase and not yet activated); European Coastal Airlines expansion plans reported in July 2010; fleet includes one Lake LA-4-200 Buccaneer, two (plus six ordered) de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters, and the Grumman G-21A Goose; launch of expanded services announced for May 2011; this Goose is an Annex II aircraft under EASA, no commercial operations (JAR Ops 1) allowed, apparently reason why still carrying Canadian registration; current status unknown.

Taxiing to the floating dock somewhere up Knight Inlet, B.C., Canada in spring 1969.

Somewhere up Knight Inlet, B.C., Canada in spring 1969.

Starboard retractable float of 1944 Grumman G-21A Goose, c/n B-101, CF-VFU, FIFT.






(?) Possibly BCFP’s (British Columbia Forest Products) Crofton Pulp and Paper Mill, Crofton, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada on return flight to Cowichan Bay after 10 days or two weeks treeplanting on the steep slopes at and near the head of Knight Inlet.

[1959 Kodak Retina IIIS (Type 027) rangefinder 35-mm roll film camera, s/n 86125, with Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Xenon 50-mm f/1.9 Synchro Compur lens, s/n 6841319; Kodak Plus-X Pan (ISO 125/22°) 36-exposure black & white negative film]

© Copyright photographs by Uwe Kündrunar Scharnberg, 1969 / Stephan Alexander Scharnberg, March 2011

1 comment:

  1. Not sure what prompted me to take this trip down memory lane (or how I remembered CF-VFU from 40 years ago...) My dad worked for Pacific Logging, one of the FIFT consortium. I would occasionally go up to Rivers Inlet with him and the FIFT pilots would usually let me take the controls while they ate their lunch. Big thrill for a 12 year old. Never got to sit up front in the Mars though!

    ReplyDelete