The Noorduyn Norseman
is one of the truly Nobel light transports of Second World War and
aviation history. They flew for 18 different nations, including the
militaries of Canada, America, Norway, Brazil, Sweden, Indonesia,
Australia and the Netherlands East Indies. It's territory ranged
from the parched Australian outback and the jungles of New Guinea to
the Swedish arctic circle. Oddly enough, before the war, Canadian
Norseman and German JU-52's served side by side in the largest airlift
in history (to date) when they were used to ferry in massive amounts
of oil drilling equipment to the newly discovered fields in New
After service testing seven
YC-64s (below), which were Mk IV's, the U.S. Army Air Force adopted
the aircraft as a light transport in 1942 and placed an order for 749
Mk VI's as the C-64A Norseman. Three of these were diverted to the U.
S. Navy as JA-1s, and the Army Corps of Engineers bought an additional
six UC-64Bs fitted with twin Edo floats.
The USAAF assigned Noorduyn
the following USAAF work numbers for the 1942 production runs of the
Harvard and Norseman including
6 YC-64's and the first C-64A production model:
Noorduyn C-64A Norseman
Noorduyn YC-64 Norseman
The third Norseman accepted
by the USAAF, S/N 42-5046 is displayed at the National
Aerospace Museum and was accepted by the Army on September 21, 1942.
The National Air
and Space Museum's example bears AAF Serial Number 42-5046 and is
the third of the seven original service test aircraft. The Army
accepted this airplane on September 21, 1942, and assigned it to the
29th Ferrying Squadron at Goose Bay, Labrador. By mid-1943, the
Norseman was at Headquarters, North Atlantic Wing, Presque Isle,
Maine. In October 1944, the Army transferred it to Grenier Field,
New Hampshire, and then to Syracuse, New York, two months later.
Just before VJ Day, the aircraft arrived at Freeman Field, Indiana.
It was among the one hundred-odd Allied and Axis airplanes that
General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold selected for the National Air Museum.
The aircraft arrived at Orchard Place Airport, Park Ridge, Illinois,
on May 22, 1946, with just under 438 total flight hours on the
logbooks. The Smithsonian accepted the airplane from the Air Force
in 1960 and stored it at the Paul Garber Facility in Suitland,
Noorduyn produced 762
Norseman for the USAAF before the war ended and the Canadian Harvard
(AT-6 trainer) was also produced on a parallel production line with
the Norseman at Carterville. Both Aircraft used the same 600hp
engine. (The Harvard became the mainstay of the British Commonwealth
Air Training Plan as well as Noorduyn's profit structure during the
war. Harvard IIBs were first ordered from Noorduyn in Montreal in
January 1940. Noorduyn eventually built 2,800 Harvards for the RAF
and RCAF. Canadian Car and Foundry made 550 Mk.4s for Canada and the
United States in the 1950s.)
Designed for the worst of
conditions, the Norseman was also employed in Europe and the Pacific
as well as in the U.S. during the war. On Dec. 15, 1944, a UC-64A
disappeared on a flight from England to France with the famous band
leader Major Glenn Miller on board. The aircraft was only recently
found. Miller was on a flight from US Air Station 547 with a stop at
RAF Cranfield/Twinwood Farm to Bordeaux to set up a show for military
personnel in the area. The band was to follow a day later in a C-47.
There is reason to believe it was accidentally blown out of the sky
when a British Lancaster bomber returning to England from a scrubbed
mission, which jettisoned its' bombs right on top of the Norseman. (Click
for more info on the Miller flight)
At the end of the war,
Norseman production ended and Candair took over the Cartierville
Plant. We are not sure when, but some time after WW2 the rights to
the Norseman were sold to "Canadian Car and Foundry" who produced it
in small numbers.
Span: 51 ft. 6 in.
Length: 31 ft. 9 in.
Height: 10 ft. 1 in.
Weight: 7,400 lbs. max.
Empty: 4478 lbs,
Useful load: 2822 lbs.
Engine: One Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN1 of 600 hp.
Crew: One or two
Original Cost: $28,000
Maximum speed: 162 mph.
Cruising speed: 148 mph.
Range: 1,150 miles
Service Ceiling: 17,000 ft.
Canada (RCAF): 69
US Army Air Force:
*Other types: 4
US Navy: 3