Canadian Aircraft Since 1909


530 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-920002-11-0





Reviewed by Ross Willmot

Ross Willmot is Executive Director of the Ontario Association for
Continuing Education.


This well-researched, well-illustrated book covers the ups and downs of the history of individual Canadian aircraft companies and their products. Good background is given on factors influencing the development and health of the industry and the types of aircraft built, such as the size and nature of the country itself and its population, the development of its civil aviation and government encouragement of it, and finally its military policy. The book starts with the 1909 attempt of Canada’s pioneer aviator and her first licensed pilot, J.A.D. McCurdy (along with F.W. “Casey” Baldwin) to start our aircraft industry. It was prophetic that the Canadian government, the only possible purchaser, showed no interest in its own industry, despite a later proved need. The interesting story continues through wartime boom and peacetime bust to the present controversial government ownership of Canadair and de Havilland Canada. The government cancellation of the Avro Canada Arrow contract in 1959 “destroyed what is often described as the best engineering team ever assembled in Canada,” the authors say, forcing this leading producer out of business. Avro’s successor, McDonnell Douglas of Canada, should be brought into the industry picture, if it is to be privately restructured, as the politicians have promised, “for their Malton factory remains the best site in Canada for the manufacture of complete aircraft.”

Individual aircraft in chronological order under each manufacturer are described in detail. These include the Avro Canada Jetliner, which was the second jet transport produced in the world, the de Havilland Canada STOL transports, the Noorduyn Norseman, the Canadair CL-215 water bomber, and many others which have contributed greatly to the development of Canada. Appendices provide a production list of Canadian-built aircraft, and there is a section on the more important projects.


Molson, K.M., and H.A. Taylor, “Canadian Aircraft Since 1909,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024,