Photo of Consolidated Canso A

  • Status: To be on display at the British Columbia Aviation Museum
  • Airworthiness: Airworthy
  • Type: Bomber
  • Built: 1943
  • Serial Number: RCAF 11024
  • Construction Number: CV 302
  • Civil Registration: C-FUAW
  • Current Markings: RCAF 11024
  • Length: 63 ft. 11 in.
  • Wingspan: 104 ft
  • Power: 1,200 hp each
  • Engine: 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp
  • Maximum Speed: 179 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 117 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 14,700 ft.
  • Range: 2,545 miles



Aircraft Description

The successful PBY line of flying boats was designed in 1933, in Buffalo, NY. The prototype first flew from Lake Erie in March 1935 and eighteen months later, the first PBY-1 flying boat went into service with the US Navy. The PBY had a very long range and a large load carrying capacity. Development continued and by 1939 the amphibious PBY-5A version, with a tricycle undercarriage, was ready for manufacture.

By late 1939, the RCAF needed a successor to the Stranraer flying boat and selected the Consolidated PBY-5A. The Canso, as the RCAF named it, was to be manufactured in Canada and by late 1940, Boeing Aircraft in Vancouver had started building an order for 55 Cansos using US made parts. Meanwhile, Canadian Vickers in Montreal were awarded a contract to manufacture the aircraft from scratch. The first PBY-5A Canso built by Boeing Canada flew in July 1941 and the first Canso from Canadian Vickers in December 1942. Between 1935 and 1946, a total of 3,431 PBYs of all types, were built in North America; 730 of them in Canada. A further 1,500 PBY-5s were produced under license in the Soviet Union.

Cansos served with eleven RCAF Squadrons in WW II. They operated from both coasts and were employed in coastal patrols, convoy protection and submarine hunting. RCAF No. 162 Squadron, when stationed in Iceland and Scotland in 1944, accounted for the six German U-boat sinkings made by RCAF Cansos. After the Second World War, Cansos served with the RCAF in photo reconnaissance and search and rescue roles, until they were finally retired November 1962.

The Museum's Canso was built by Canadian Vickers Ltd. in Montreal in 1943. It was taken on strength on December 7, 1943, by the RCAF as 11024. The Canso was assigned to No. 3 Operational Training Unit at RCAF Station Patricia Bay, BC, and served primarily as a training aircraft for long-range maritime patrol missions. In November 1948, work began to convert the aircraft to a Canso 2SR configuration for search and rescue. On August 14, 1949, it was assigned to 102 Composite Unit Trenton, Ontario. During the summer of 1950, a JATO system was installed before the aircraft was delivered to No. 103 (Rescue) Unit at RCAF Station Greenwood, NS in 1952. The Canso was then delivered to No. 121 (K) Unit at RCAF Station Sea Island, BC on September 14, 1955, then to No. 102 (KU) at Trenton on October 4, 1957. On September 29, 1959, it was back at No. 121 (K), then was out into storage. On October 20, 1961, it was struck off strength from the RCAF.

© Canadian Warplane Heritage 2022