Fleet 80 Canuck
The beginnings of the Fleet Model 80 Canuck go back to 1939, when J. Omer (Bob) Noury, an air engineer with the Ottawa Flying Club, decided to design and build a light aircraft for the Canadian market. The aircraft was a high-wing monoplane of conventional structure using a welded steel-tube fuselage and tail surfaces, and powered with a 65-horsepower Continental flat four-cylinder engine. The Noury T-65 Series 1 design was first flown on January 21, 1940. The aircraft was given a certificate of airworthiness and Noury sold it in 1941.
In 1942 he formed Noury Aircraft Ltd. at Stoney Creek, with himself as president and general manager. His intent was to design and build a light aircraft based on his own monoplane design. The Noury N-75 featured side-by-side seating and a 75-horsepower Continental engine. It was test flown from the Hamilton Airport at Mount Hope late in 1944.
Fleet Aircraft felt that the side-by-side design aircraft met most of their specifications, so in May 1945 they purchased the prototype and design rights for the plane from Noury Aircraft.
The Noury was shipped to Fleet's facilities at Fort Erie and test flown by Fleet's test pilot, Tommy Williams, on June 4, 1945. This resulted in modifications to the forward fuselage geometry, lowering the engine four inches to improve the forward visibility, and moving the engine forward four inches to allow the relocation of the fuel tank from the centre section of the wing to the forward fuselage. This made possible the installation of a clear skylight in the cabin roof. The original Continental C-75 engine was replaced by a more powerful Model C-85, and a new fin and rudder were installed. The Canuck was first flown in its modified form on September 26, 1945.
The side-by-side seating in the Fleet 80 Canuck was unusual for the period even though it was a far better arrangement for instruction than placing the instructor either in front of or behind the student.
Between 1945 and 1948, 198 Canuck aircraft were built by Fleet. The Canuck proved popular and initially sold well to flying clubs, charter companies, and private owners in Canada. In addition 24 were exported. By late 1947, plagued by postwar financial difficulties and the sales slowdown that affected all aircraft manufacturers, Fleet was forced to terminate production of the Canuck model.
The Museum's Canuck was flown in Alberta for about 20 years before joining the Museum in 2003.
Serial: 220, CF-HOU
Engine: 85 hp Continental C85 horizontally-opposed
Maximum speed: 111 mph (178 km/h)
Cruising speed: 93 mph (149 km/h)
Empty: 934 lb (423 kg)
Gross: 1,480 lb (671 kg)
Span: 34 ft 0 in (10.3 m)
Length: 22 ft 4.5 in (6.8 m)
Height: 7 ft 1 in (2.1 m)
Wing area: 173.5 sq ft (52.8 sq m)
(Photo credit: Wikimedia)
Progress Report, September 2015
Steady progress is being made for the Canuck to return to its element - in the air. Final cockpit fit out is complete with electrical and radio wiring installed, all new upholstery in place, wing fairings fitted and a number of other small details being attended to.
One of the major steps for a rebuild is the updating of the Weight and Balance report. This is gone into in great detail in government regulations. To comply with these, the aircraft has all its normal equipment on board, but no fuel. The aircraft is then put into the level attitude while on scales and the reading at each wheel is noted. Calculations are then done to specify the total empty weight of the aircraft and the location of the centre of gravity. These numbers are then compared with the certification data for the aircraft and if all is in order then this test is satisfactory. The information is used before each flight so the pilot can calculate the weight and balance to ensure controllability of the aircraft - having the centre of gravity beyond the certified limits can result in serious controllability issues.
The Canuck in the level flight attitude on the scales.
Sample calculations from the FAA handbook.
Progress Report, July 2015
The complete aircraft! Ray (right) and some of the volunteers who made a Complete Canuck.
Progress! The left wing is installed.
Progress Report, June 2015
So, how much special finish does it take to finish the wings? A small mountain!
The finished product gleams after the final coat of white finish.
The pace continues with work on the right wing underway!
The initial coat of finish has been applied.
The fabric has been applied to the lower surface of the wing.
The metal surfaces have been coated with Polybrush.
Progress Report, May 2015
The finished product!
The wing had the two coats of white applied, then was masked for the registration letters to be applied.
Three coatings of silver finish have been applied, each one in a cross pattern for
complete coverage. These protect the fabric against UV rays.
Progress Report, April 2015
Recovering of the wings of the Canuck is under way in Ray's workshop. The left wing has had the fabric covering installed, the fabric tightened with a hot iron and the initial layers of Polybrush applied. This is progress!
Ray applies one of the three coats of primary finish to the wing.
Bill carefully applies one of the initial coats of special finishing material.
After the second ironing the fabric covering has been stretched taut over the frame.
The synthetic fabric has been applied to the wing and the hot ironing started.
Progress Report, February 2015
Steady progress is being made on the Canuck restoration with the time-consuming interior fit out well under way. The next major project will be for the wings to receive their fabric covering and paint.
The wings are fitted to ensure accurate fitting of the windshield and the wing fairings.
The windshield is now in place.
Electrical and radio fit out is a painstaking (and painful?) job for our avionics technician, Mike.
Progress Report, May 2012
The Canuck is coming together nicely and work has begun rigging the tail section. We'll continue to post photos and updates as they become available.
Progress Report, March 2012
Things are moving along at good pace over at Ray's place. More photos will be posted as they come.
Big thanks to Ray and his team for an awesome job
The Canuck fuselage is finally home in the CMF hangar!
April, 2012 - Masking removed, paint scheme takes shape!
April, 2012 - masking removed
April, 2012 - Blue coat goes on
April, 2012 - Front cowl and gear installed to setup the masking for the pattern
April, 2012 - White coat goes on
first coat complete ~ March 15, 2012
Ray starts the first coat of silver ~ March 15, 2012
tail all tied together nicely ~ March 15, 2012
Masking/taping just about done and ready for spray coats ~ March 13, 2012
Left to right ~ Chris, Bill and Ray hard at work on a Wednesday afternoon
Bill (rear) and Ray (front) turn the Canuck fuselage
Progress Report, Feb 2012
The fuselage was taken out of storage and moved to Ray's place for fabric. Once completed it will return to the museum for further assembly.
The Canuck fuselage laying on it's side (bottom facing camera)
Ralph, Terry, Ray and Bill ~ Ray cutting the first length of fabric
A look inside at the Canuck's flight controls
Progress Report, July 2011
The preliminary activity on the Canuck has been completed with certification of the work by a licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. The components are now in storage awaiting the start of fabric covering of the wings and fuselage later this year.
Progress Report, April 2011
The wings have been trial fitted to ensure the alignment of all components. If you are wondering why you can see through the Canuck's skeleton, it is because of the typical construction methods of the 1940s. The fuselage is steel tube with wooden battens used for shaping, the whole lot then being covered with cotton. These days we use a modern, long-lasting synthetic fabric covering. The wings are aluminum alloy structure also covered with fabric. Many coats of special finish are applied to make the covering aerodynamically smooth and long lasting.
Progress Report, March 2011
The wings have been trial-fitted to the fuselage - a sound procedure that confirms all components are in alignment before fabric covering is started. The final structural work on the wings is well under way with skinning of the leading edges with aluminum sheet almost completed. Flight controls and their control cables, as well as navigation lights and wing struts have been prepared for final assembly.
In addition, preparation is well under way for the permanent mating of the wings to the fuselage with the installation of the landing gear. Although our fine old lady may feel a little embarrassed by being rudely hoisted, engine-less into the air for the fitting of her wheels, she will soon feel comfortable in her new set of fine fabric clothing.
The final work on the wings is under way.
Back on her wheels again!
Progress Report, July 2010
Wing structural components in final assembly.
Progress Report, May 2010
Wing structure ready for assembly.
Progress Report, October 2009
Fuselage prepared for covering with fabric.
Progress Report, November 2008
Cockpit awaiting interior fitout.
Wing components awaiting assembly.