Noorduyn YC-64 Norseman IV

The Norseman is an example of an early bush aircraft-machine that operated in the vast wilderness of northern Canada and Alaska and contributed much to the development of those areas. As with more famous types such as the Douglas DC-3, the vast majority of bush airplanes were originally designed to meet wartime needs, primarily those of the U. S. Army Air Forces.

Transferred from the United States Air Force.

Physical Description:
Medium-size, versatile transport, rugged aircraft.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Manufacturer
Noorduyn Aviation Company Ltd.

Date
1942

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Dimensions
Overall: 10ft 2 1/16in. x 51ft 6 1/8in. x 27ft 10 5/8in., 4680.4lb. (310 x 1570 x 850cm, 2123kg)

The Norseman is an example of an early bush aircraft-machine that operated in the vast wilderness of northern Canada and Alaska and contributed much to the development of those areas. As with more famous types such as the Douglas DC-3, the vast majority of bush airplanes were originally designed to meet wartime needs, primarily those of the U. S. Army Air Forces.

R.B.C. "Bob" Noorduyn was the son of a British-Dutch couple who began his long association with aircraft at the Sopwith factory in England in 1913. After immigrating to the United States in the early 1920s, he worked for Fokker (Atlantic Aviation division) and later Bellanca before he became interested in bush flying. In 1934, Noorduyn moved to Montreal and obtained backing for a new backcountry aircraft design.

Noordyn took over the former Curtiss-Reid facility outside Montreal, and established Noorduyn Aviation in 1935. His first airplane was a medium-size, versatile transport aircraft. Known as the Norseman I, the aircraft was supposed to appeal to civil and military users who needed a rugged plane to operate from water (with floats), land (wheels), or snow (skis) in the severe climatic conditions found in the Canadian north. The prototype first flew on November 14, 1935, with a 420 horsepower Wright engine. It seated up to eight passengers and two crew in an enclosed and heated cabin. Noorduyn started producing the aircraft in 1936 as the Norseman II but soon found it was underpowered. Three Norseman IIIs followed with a 450 horsepower Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, but the aircraft really came into its own as the Norseman IV powered by the Pratt & Whitney 550 horsepower engine. This version first flew on November 5, 1936, and became quite popular with Canadian bush operators.

When the United States entered World War II, Noorduyn production moved into high gear. The Royal Canadian Air Force had already bought several dozen as navigational and radio trainers when the U. S. Army Air Forces (AAF) ordered seven Norseman IVs for service testing. When these proved their worth, the AAF ordered 749 more Norseman IVs as C-64A transports (later designated UC-64A). 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. In general, the Norsemans served as utility transports hauling passengers and cargo in remote areas around the globe.

One of the most famous stories about the AAF Norsemans involved Major Glenn Miller, the noted Big Band leader. On December 16, 1944, Miller and a small group boarded a Norseman in England and took off for Paris. His band was to follow soon after his arrival for a series of Christmas concerts. Miller was never seen again. Five decades later it came to light that the aircraft was probably lost over the English Channel due to a tragic accident. A Royal Air Force Lancaster bomber was unable to find its assigned target and, in keeping with standard operating procedures, jettisoned it bombs into the Channel as it returned to home base. Exhaustive research showed that the Norseman's flight plan put it directly under the Lancaster when the bomber dumped its bombs. Winter fog and weather prevented the Lancaster crew from knowing that anyone was below them.

When the war ended, many Norsemans were sold as surplus in the civilian market. The military forces of Norway, Sweden, Indonesia, Australia, Brazil, and the Netherlands East Indies also bought them. But Noorduyn continued new production as well. He had retained the Norseman V designation for his first post-war model-"V" for Victory-and then sold the production rights to the Canadian Car & Foundry. Production continued in small amounts until December 1959. That month, the 904th Norseman rolled off the line, 24 years after the type first flew.

NASM'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, Maryland.

The Norseman is an example of an early bush aircraft-machine that operated in the vast wilderness of northern Canada and Alaska and contributed much to the development of those areas. As with more famous types such as the Douglas DC-3, the vast majority of bush airplanes were originally designed to meet wartime needs, primarily those of the U. S. Army Air Forces.

Transferred from the United States Air Force.

Physical Description:
Medium-size, versatile transport, rugged aircraft.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Manufacturer
Noorduyn Aviation Company Ltd.

Date
1942

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Dimensions
Overall: 10ft 2 1/16in. x 51ft 6 1/8in. x 27ft 10 5/8in., 4680.4lb. (310 x 1570 x 850cm, 2123kg)

The Norseman is an example of an early bush aircraft-machine that operated in the vast wilderness of northern Canada and Alaska and contributed much to the development of those areas. As with more famous types such as the Douglas DC-3, the vast majority of bush airplanes were originally designed to meet wartime needs, primarily those of the U. S. Army Air Forces.

R.B.C. "Bob" Noorduyn was the son of a British-Dutch couple who began his long association with aircraft at the Sopwith factory in England in 1913. After immigrating to the United States in the early 1920s, he worked for Fokker (Atlantic Aviation division) and later Bellanca before he became interested in bush flying. In 1934, Noorduyn moved to Montreal and obtained backing for a new backcountry aircraft design.

Noordyn took over the former Curtiss-Reid facility outside Montreal, and established Noorduyn Aviation in 1935. His first airplane was a medium-size, versatile transport aircraft. Known as the Norseman I, the aircraft was supposed to appeal to civil and military users who needed a rugged plane to operate from water (with floats), land (wheels), or snow (skis) in the severe climatic conditions found in the Canadian north. The prototype first flew on November 14, 1935, with a 420 horsepower Wright engine. It seated up to eight passengers and two crew in an enclosed and heated cabin. Noorduyn started producing the aircraft in 1936 as the Norseman II but soon found it was underpowered. Three Norseman IIIs followed with a 450 horsepower Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, but the aircraft really came into its own as the Norseman IV powered by the Pratt & Whitney 550 horsepower engine. This version first flew on November 5, 1936, and became quite popular with Canadian bush operators.

When the United States entered World War II, Noorduyn production moved into high gear. The Royal Canadian Air Force had already bought several dozen as navigational and radio trainers when the U. S. Army Air Forces (AAF) ordered seven Norseman IVs for service testing. When these proved their worth, the AAF ordered 749 more Norseman IVs as C-64A transports (later designated UC-64A). 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. In general, the Norsemans served as utility transports hauling passengers and cargo in remote areas around the globe.

One of the most famous stories about the AAF Norsemans involved Major Glenn Miller, the noted Big Band leader. On December 16, 1944, Miller and a small group boarded a Norseman in England and took off for Paris. His band was to follow soon after his arrival for a series of Christmas concerts. Miller was never seen again. Five decades later it came to light that the aircraft was probably lost over the English Channel due to a tragic accident. A Royal Air Force Lancaster bomber was unable to find its assigned target and, in keeping with standard operating procedures, jettisoned it bombs into the Channel as it returned to home base. Exhaustive research showed that the Norseman's flight plan put it directly under the Lancaster when the bomber dumped its bombs. Winter fog and weather prevented the Lancaster crew from knowing that anyone was below them.

When the war ended, many Norsemans were sold as surplus in the civilian market. The military forces of Norway, Sweden, Indonesia, Australia, Brazil, and the Netherlands East Indies also bought them. But Noorduyn continued new production as well. He had retained the Norseman V designation for his first post-war model-"V" for Victory-and then sold the production rights to the Canadian Car & Foundry. Production continued in small amounts until December 1959. That month, the 904th Norseman rolled off the line, 24 years after the type first flew.

NASM'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, Maryland.

ID: A19600298000