• Status: On display
  • Airworthiness: Airworthy (flown regularly)
  • Type: Trainer
  • Serial Number: RCAF FV702
  • Construction Number: 1070
  • Civil Registration: CF-CVF
  • Current Markings: RNAF 163
  • Length: 28 ft 8 in
  • Wingspan: 36 ft 11 in
  • Power: 200 hp
  • Engine: 1 x Ranger 6-440-C5
  • Maximum Speed: 122 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 101 mph

Aircraft Description

In early 1942, an agreement was signed between the Canadian Government and Fairchild Aircraft, which licenced Fleet Aircraft of Fort Erie, Ontario to construct the PT-26 Cornell in Canada. The first 800 Cornells used by the RCAF were supplied from Fairchild, until production commenced at Fort Erie in November 1942. By the end of the war in 1945, 2,853 Cornells had been built by Fleet - 1,565 for the RCAF and 1,288 for the RAF.

PT-26 Cornells were flown at many of the Elementary Flying Training Schools (EFTS) of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, where they replaced the Fleet Finch and the de Havilland Tiger Moth biplane trainers.

One of the Canadian flying schools equipped with Cornells, during WW II, was "Little Norway". The school was established by a number of Norwegian airmen, who had escaped from their country after it had been overrun by the Germans in 1940. They came to Canada to reorganize and set up a flight training program. In 1941, an EFTS was formed at Toronto Island Airport and this became their home for about a year. By mid 1942, the base had become too small for them, so they moved to Muskoka Airport, near Gravenhurst, Ontario, for the rest of the war.

After the Second World War, many Cornells were sold to the civilian market, but some were retained by the RCAF, where they were finally retired in 1948.

The Museum's Cornell was acquired by the Museum in 1998, after being returned to flying condition by former Fleet employees. It displays the markings of a Cornell flown by the Royal Norwegian Air Force and is named "Spirit of Little Norway".

© Canadian Warplane Heritage 2024