Tundra Survivor:
Recovery of a Canadian Historical Aircraft

In the summer of 2004 during a routine flight to Northern Québec, Patrick Cloutier, bush pilot for Aventures Norpaq noticed a familiar shape reflecting from the wilderness. It became clearer the closer he flew that this was not an ordinary aircraft,it was a Lockheed Lodestar. Upon his return from dropping off a group of fishermen, he started his research and came to the conclusion that this was the Lodestar that originally flew with Canadian Pacific Airlines during WWII. This was the start of what became known as the CF-CPA Project, a group of aviation enthusiasts dedicated to restore, preserve and operate the 1942 Lodestar. The Lodestar, serial number 2177, served with Canadian Pacific Airlines during the Second World War.

The Lodestar history: The Lockheed 18 Lodestar was the last twin-engine transport designed by Lockheed. The prototype, a Lockheed 14 Super Electra, lengthened by five feet, flew on September 21, 1939. A total of 96 Lodestars were ordered by foreign airlines in Canada, Africa, Brazil, France, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, UK and Venezuela. In addition to commercial markets, the Lodestar also flew in the military. The first military orders for the Lodestar came from the US Navy. In 1940, the Navy ordered three variations, a seven passenger executive transport (R50-1), a personnel transport carrying 14, and a paratroop transport carrying 18. In 1941, the US Army Air Corps had 13 Lodestars built and designated them as C-57. In addition, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a number of civilian Lodestars were requisitioned and designated as C-56. Between 1942 and 1943, the USAAC acquired 324 18-seat paratroop transports C-60A. Some of these aircraft were passed on to the UK. RAF versions were known as the Lodestar I (C-56), Lodestar IA (C-59), and Lodestar II (C-60), and most were operated as medium-range transports. After the war, some Lodestars were converted into executive aircraft while others went to work for small freight operators.

 

The Aircraft: This CF-CPA Lockheed 18 Lodestar was one of those slated to join the Dutch East Indies Air Force in Java in 1940 where it was given the serial number LT-926. However, when the Japanese overran Java, the Lodestar was diverted (seized, might be a better term) by the U.S. Government to the Army Air Corps as a C-60-LO and given the serial number 42-108787. The Army Air Corps never used the plane and released it to Canadian Pacific Air Lines in the early 1940s. Canadian Pacific Airlines flew the aircraft until 1950, after which it was sold to Hollinger Ungava Transport from Sept-Îles, Québec. It served there until 1955 when it was sold to E.D. Bourque Aerial Photography of Ottawa. On August 20, 1960, while CF-CPA was performing aerial photography, it suffered fuel starvation and belly-landed 100 miles north of Schefferville, Quebec. As a result of the pilot’s extraordinary skills, no one was injured and the plane sustained only minimal damage. Due to the extreme wilderness of the landing area, the owner of the aircraft did not feel it was worth recovering it and it has remained in the tundra these last 46 plus years until it was discovered by one of our members, Patrick Cloutier.

The CF-CPA Project was formed when Marcel Deschamps bought the aircraft in 2006. Marcel realized his dream of becoming a pilot at 50 years old. After earning his private pilot’s licence, Marcel’s passion for antique planes and their history has grown. He founded Air Marcel, whose mission it is to restore classic planes. Air Marcel owns a1943 Boeing Stearman, a beautiful 1946 Globe Swift, a 1965 Nanchang CJ-6A, a classic 1946 Piper Cub and a replica of a Pietenpol, plus the following projects; a second 1943 Stearman to be completed by summer 2008 and a 1911 Blériot X11 military replica to be completed in 2009. The first order of business is to recover CF-CPA , which will be no small task. The plane has been sitting in a swamp since 1960, where it belly-landed.

We estimate that it will take seven to ten years to completely return the plane to pristine condition, as it was in its glory days. The Lockheed Lodestar Project is a huge task that we cannot do alone. Anyone who wishes to get involved or is ready to supply the expertise, time, and muscle are welcome to join us. All the help you give will go a long way toward getting CF-CPA back in the air. For info on the project visit our website at www.cf-cpa.ca

Keep em flying
Michel Côté
Public Relations Officer- CF-CPA Project



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