The buildings are still standing, but with holes in the roofs.
Has mike ever run down one of his AME's with his truck?higherthenakite wrote:....who would be worse to work for "Mike" or "the Champ". I know a few folks that say Mike but I also know a few that say The Champ.
_________________________________302sc wrote:Hey BOBO !!
didn't we cross path in wiebenville I flew O.J b-18 cf- prz on floats out of horseshoe lake across the road from wiebenville summer of 72 and spent the winter of 72 on cf- ttz on skis with conrad racine as captain. pm me and I will tell that hellish story if indeed we crossed path there
HI.... I Knew a guy named Conrad Racine who flew F-86 in Korea and he was shot down and made POW... is it this guy ? If yes, I knew him very well, enough to write a biography... He died 4 years ago. I tried for years and still trying to find his copilot to know more about Conrad. I think I just hit the jackpot ! TELL ME MORE PLEASE....
I have lot of questions. Thanks
in Sioux Lookout, Pickle Lake, and Weibenville.
The company taught me a lot and I still use some of it today.
Great bunch of guys.
Had one of the largest Beech 18 float and ski operations in the country.
Orville Wieben manufactured his own Beech skis.
I never worked in Thunder Bay but they rebuilt dozens of aircraft there.
They also operated Otters, Beavers, and Cessna 180s on floats and straight skis.
The DC-3,s were on wheel/skis in the winter. AUQ and XXT were the first
DC-3,s in the fleet. Otter CF-GBX was serial #4.
To this day I enjoyed the years I was there and the friendships I made.
Always have great stories to tell.
I too flew beech a beech 18 on floats primarily out of Nakina in the summer but spent the winter of 71-72 flying beech 19 CF-VCE on skis out of Pickle Lake and Wiebenville. I always felt uncomfortable with that machine. No escape hatch in the cockpit roof meant the only way out was over top of your load.
I know that in my 5 plus years flying for OJ that I learned an awfull lot.
I am sure that our paths crossed at some point in the time I was there.
Corpus Christi TX
Thanks Mike and Matt!
I never flew the Beech. I was a dockhand went then into maintenance for my AME. Spent a full 42 years in the business. Now retired.
If you were a kid from Sioux and loved aircraft there was nothing prettier than the Beech 18 on floats.
You surely flew VCE. Only someone who was around VCE would know it had no hatch or for that matter no cargo door.
VCE was I believe based in YQT in the summer on wheels and was put on straight skis in the winter. The last time I saw VCE
operating, was in Sioux Lookout in the winter of 1973/74. In the spring it was pulled off the ice in Sioux and stored behind the
office at the water base. I could be out by a year but it flew no longer than the spring of 74 because it did not have a spar mod
installed. Sometime in 1975 or 76 after I had left Wieben's, some maintenance people did arrive in Sioux and installed engines and
some flight controls that had been robbed for other aircraft and I believe Orville Wieben may have flown the aircraft away himself.
I would attach a few photos of VCE on skis that I have but I am not sure how to attach them.
I do remember your name mentioned when I was with Mr. Wieben and it was always mentioned in a very good way.
I will try to list some of the ones that were around in my time and some that were not.
All the aircraft during that time had the CF- registration. I am starting with the Cessna 180
CF-VSD was based in Sioux Lookout but spent a lot of its life flying out of Round Lake.
It was written off in a whiteout accident on Dec 8, 1973 in Wunnumim Lake.
CF-VGA was based in Sioux Lookout. After I left heard this was written off in a bad weather accident?
CF-JQM was based mainly in Sioux. Built in 1957. She was the oldest 180 in the fleet and there are
a lot of good stories to be told about the life JQM had. I will try to tell some. Some have
stories of their own. I am not sure where JQM is today.
CF-LBR was based in Sioux lookout early on and then spent a lot of its life in Round Lake. It broke its left leg
taking off at Bearskin Lake in March 1973. It was flown out of Bearskin Lake with Orville Wieben's
band aid attached to the belly. For those of use who were around to see the band aid in operation
it was really a marvel of engineering for its time. A lot of Cessna 180's with broken legs were flown
home with it attached to the belly and aft float fitting. The last I saw of LBR it was in pieces on
CF-LSN was based in Sioux sort of. Only came to Sioux for spring and fall changeover and for float repair.
It spend most of its time in Big Trout Lake. I do not know what became of LSN.
CF-KVU I believe KVU was based in Pickle Lake. It may also have been in Armstrong or Nakina. The last I
saw of KVU was on skis in Sioux Lookout in the spring of 1971. KVU seemed to have had a harder
than normal life. I am not sure what became of KVU but I believe it was damaged before I left in
1974 because I never saw it again after that spring in 71. I do remember it having one heck of a
rough landing that spring on the ice in the bay in Sioux Lookout.
CF-KQP Not sure exactly where KQP spend its life. I know it was in Pickle Lake and Armstrong a lot. One
pilot who flew KQP in the summer of 1971 always said the P in KQP meant patch. When I saw this
180 it was either on straight skis or CAP floats. These may have been Superior's only CAP set of
floats. I do not know what became of KQP.
CF-KJZ The only time I saw KJZ was in the summer of 1969, maybe the summer of 1970. I am not sure if it
was owned or just leased by Mr. Wieben. I do know it was written off landing on glassy water
north of Sioux Lookout. When it was salvaged, the fuselage was tied onto the side of the floats on
the Otter CF-GBX and flown out. I did see a photo of it and it looked pretty big. The last I heard
of KJZ was it was being rebuilt in Thunder Bay.
CF-IWD This was Mrs. Wieben's aircraft. I only saw it a few times but it always looked good. I think it was
based out of Pays Plat or maybe Thunder Bay but I am not sure about that.
CF-RNF This was based mainly out of Thunder Bay. It was one of the very few aircraft the Wieben's had on
wheel skis in the winter. It did operate a bit out of Sioux Lookout in the winter of 1973. I am not
sure where this aircraft ended up.
All the Cessna 180's spent their summers on floats and all spent their winters on straight Federal Skis. Except for
CF-RNF who had a set of Federal Wheel/Skis.
A few Cessna 180's that I heard about but were gone before my time were: CF-DMB, CF-JDH, CF-LBX.
There are no doubt Cessna 180's that Severn Eneterprises / Superior Airways operated that I have missed or did
not know about. Please feel free to add any Cessna 180's I have missed.
I will follow up with information on the Beaver, Otter, Beech 18, and DC-3 fleets in the coming days.
A bit more information about the Cessna 180 fleet operated by Severn Enterprise / Superior Airways in the
late 1960's to approx 1974.
One Cessna 180 that was missed was CF-HDE. It was leased by Mr. Wieben in 1973. It arrived in
Sioux Lookout on floats and was flown by the owner. HDE was built in 1953 making it one of the 180's
from the first year of manufacture. It still had a Continental 0-470-A engine installed. I do not remember
seeing any ski fittings attached to the airframe so I believe this aircraft was never on skis. It did come from
the west coast that first summer.
CF-KVU mentioned in the pevious post about a hard landing in Sioux Lookout. The hard landing occured in
the spring of 1971. (probably early April). The ice was bare because the snow had melted and the water
had drained off because the ice had risen. In the bay just east of Slate Falls Airways dock the town had
cut the ice to drop down a water line. A two to three foot high snow and ice ridge remained across the
bay's east end.
KVU landing into the bay from the west touched down between Hooker Air Service and Severn Enterprise docks.
Because of the bare ice the Cessna could not stop and ran into and over the snow and ice ridge at the east end
of the bay. For all who saw KVU hit the bank, no one could believe the two legs stayed on the aircraft. No one
could believe that those two skinny spring steel legs could bent and flex the way they did. But they did.
KVU did taxi back and finished the ski season in 1971. That spring was the last of saw of KVU.
I never saw CF-LBX.
I did see some photos of LBX after it went through the ice in North Spirit. The aircraft was sitting on the ice
up to its wings. Mr Wieben went in and attached a sling to the four sling points on the fuselage with a long
cable and a plastic bottle that would float. He then cut around the winds and fuselage and sent the 180 to the
bottom. (to late in the year to lift it out of the ice). He returned after the ice left and located the floating
plastic bottle with the cable end attached to it. He placed two logs between two canoes and winched the 180
to the surface of the lake and pulled it to shore. At the shore it was lifted by a pole A-Frame and dried out.
Next CF-PLU one of the Beech 18's arrived with the floats dismantled and hanging on the boat rack under the
fuselage. The floats were reassembled (spreader bars attached, etc) and installed on LBX and she was flown
Another Cessna 180 that was gone before my time was CF-LBX.
I believe it burnt in the hangar fire in Thunder Bay. (Ft William back then).
A number of aircraft were lost in that fire.
Correction to Severn Enterprise / Superior Airways Cessna 180 fleet in
the last post.
The Cessna 180 that I burnt in the hangar fire in Thunder Bay
was CF-JDH not LBX as reported.
I never saw CF-JDH but I believe it was operated out of Sioux lookout
on both floats and straight skis in the early to mid 1960's.
floatplane - thanks for the information you provided about CF-IWD that was operated by Superior's Airways
in the 60's and 70's. I never knew where she ended up. Nice to see her still in Northwestern.
Ontario and in good hands. And on floats.
A little bit more history of IWD. As I mentioned before that Cessna was always called Mrs. Wieben's 180.
The fuselage in those days was painted a kind of dull yellow with a fair bit of black over the nose and down
the sides. The rest of the fuselage, horizontal stab and wings were polished bare metal. The name painted
on the side said - Wieben's Resort and Motel - Rossport, Ont. Below that was painted - operated by
Superior Airways Lts.
I know of two accidents involving IWD. The first one occurred while it was on floats in the summer of 1972
or 1973. It overturned while trying to turn in high winds while taxing to the dock outside of I believe Thunder
Bay. It was not a high speed accident as it was taxing at the time. The aircraft was recovered and dried out
and returned to service. I believe IWD had Edo 2870 round top floats at the time.
The other accident happened after I left Severn Airways / Superior Airways and I only saw photos of it a friend took.
It occurred north of Pickle Lake in 1975 or 76 during the winter when IWD was on skis. (straight Federal Skis).
The Cessna went onto its nose on landing then came down hard on its tail ski. The tail ski stinger sheared
off and the fuselage buckled approx 2-3 feet ahead of the horizontal stab. The vertical stab forward end
also buckled. The prop contacted the ice and both blades were bent. The main gear legs and skis stayed on.
I am not sure where IWD was repaired after this incident but normally Thunder Bay would carry out these types
of repairs. It is possible that it required jigging because of the buckled fuselage.
All that being said the pilots that flew IWD always said they like her and she was a good performer.
The aircraft always looked good. It was another Cessna 180 that Mr. Wieben operated that worked hard every
day whether on floats or skis. It was just a bit special because it was Mrs. Wieben' aircraft and everyone liked
One aircraft that Severn Enterprise / Superior Airways operated out of Sioux Lookout
in the late 1960's and early 1970's was bit of a strange fit to the fleet.
The aircraft was a Cessna 172. Registration was CF-VBW. It was blue and white.
It was a Cessna 172 owned by Lakehead Flying School that operated out of Thunder Bay.
Lakehead Flying School was owned by Orville Wieben. A lot of pilots that worked for Mr. Wieben
got their flying careers started at Lakehead Flyng School and then landed jobs with
Severn Enterprise or Superior Airways.
In the spring, VBW flew into Sioux Lookout on wheels and landed at the town airport.
It was then put onto floats.
It operated out of the bay in Sioux with the rest of the fleet for the float season.
The aircraft was nicknamed The Spoiler by the other pilots and the one pilot who was
flying it was called The Spoiler Pilot. They were all happy to get off of VBW and into
their own Cessna 180 as quickly as possible.
It did not fly very much but did supply some of the fishing and hunting camps with
supplies during the summer and fall. The payload on floats was really quite small
and the performance was not great.
VBW always came off floats in the fall and went back to Thunder Bay for the winter.
CF-VBW was the smallest aircraft operating in Sioux Lookout in that period outside of
a PA-16 operated by Slate Falls Airways. Its registration was CF-VTN.
We used to say VTN stood for Very Tiny Norseman. It like VBW spent the summer
on floats but it stayed in Sioux Lookout for the winter and was on straight skis.
Superior Airways / Severn Enterprise operated a fleet of DeHavilland Beavers in the
1960's and 1970's. A bit of information on their Beaver aircraft.
CF-GQU was painted in the Superior Airways / Severn Enterprise red, white, and black colours.
The aircraft was based mainly out of Sioux Lookout and operated on floats and straight skis in the winter.
The aircraft did due long term contract work north of Sioux during some of the summer months on floats.
One unique item that few were aware of is GQU actually had a set amphib floats installed. The wheels had
been removed and the nose wheel attachment areas covered as were the main wheel wells. The main
wheels wells were filled with foam and covered with fibreglass and metal.
The aircraft was completely repainted in Sioux Lookout in the summer of 1971 and had new interior installed
at the same time.
CF-GQU was written off on Oct 30, 1971 while taking off at Bamaji Lake north of Sioux Lookout. It was
suspected a possible ice build up on takeoff or low clouds with freezing rain caused the accident.
The pilot and five passengers were killed in the crash. The aircraft ended up submerged in the lake.
It was salavaged the following summer and taken to Thunder Bay. I do not know what became of GQU
CF-MXR was I believe a leased Beaver from the west coast that flew for Severn / Superior. It spent a
great deal of its time in Pickle Lake and Sioux Lookout. It flew on floats in the summer and straight skis
all the way around in the winter. At the end of float season in 1973 MXR blew #9 cylinder north of
Sioux Lookout at a spot called Camp 19. The engine was on an extension at the time. It did make
the end of float season and had the engine changed when put onto skis.
Later after leaving Severn / Superior I saw photos of MXR on wheel/skis with Central Air Transport.
MXR is still flying on the west coast today.
CF-ODD was an ex Lands and Forest Beaver purchased by Mr. wieben. ODD it was in the standard
Lands and Forest yellow paint scheme. It operated on floats in the summer and straight skis in the winter.
This was a very nice aircraft when I saw it and well maintained. The last time I saw ODD was on skis in the
spring of 1974. It had flown off the ice in the bay in Sioux the winter of 73/74.
CF-FHO was another Beaver that was red, white, and black in colour. It was the oldest Beaver in the fleet.
I believe it was the 50th Beaver built in 1949. FHO was an original Beaver with no port hole windows aft of
the main cabin doors on the fuselage.
FHO very seldom came into Sioux Lookout. I believe it spent most of its time in Nakina, Armstrong, and Pickle Lake.
It operated on floats in the summer and straight skis in the winter. I do not know to much about FHO.
I believe CF-FHO still flies in Northern Ontario today.
One Beaver that I never saw except in photos was CF-MPN. This Beaver was lost in an accident outside of
Thunder Bay (Fort William at the time). This was a fatal accident with the pilot alone on board.
It was red, white, and black in colour. It also operated on floats and straight skis.
There may have been other Beavers operated by Severn Enterprise / Superior Airways but I am not aware
of them. When I said the Beavers operated on straight skis in the winter, that meant skis all the way
around. No wheels on the three skis at all.
The Beavers were a very important part of the operation and lakes they went into were pretty tight
most of the time. The pilots that flew the Beavers were a good group and took pride in their aircraft
and the work they did with them.
You are right about MXR, it is on the coast. I have a few hours in it from when it worked out of Port McNeill. I had a passenger on board one day, a former pilot who had flown in Sioux Lookout/Pickle Lake area in the 70's and MXR was one of the planes he flew. He was pretty surprised to come across it 30+ years later on the other side of the country!
Siddley Hawker - thanks for the photo of FHO. The times that I saw FHO the cowling was painted
red, white, and black. I do not know why it is all black in the photo.
Enbt - thanks for updating me on MXR. Nice to see she is still flying for a living.
A few items and features about the Beaver fleet that Severn Enterprise / Superior Airways operated
in the late 1960's and early 1970's.
All the Beavers had the lower mounted air intakes for the carb. GQU, FHO, and ODD had the large intakes
and MXR had the more streamlined three sided sheet metal intake. None of the Beavers had the air intake
mounted up high on the right hand side as is seen on many Beavers today.
CF-FHO had wing tip fuel tanks installed. There were no wing tip fuel tanks on GQU, MXR, and ODD.
All the Beavers were fitted with the mannual fuel wobble pump. None had electric fuel pumps.
None of the Beavers had ELT's due they were not required back then.
In the winter the cabins in the Beavers were all heated by the exhaust pipe heater tube. The aircraft
were cold in the winter. To this day I have a great deal of respect for the pilots that flew the Beavers
in the -30 and -40 degree weather day after day. I never heard one complain.
In the winter all the Beavers carried engine tents and blow pots. For those who have never seen a blow
pot, it is used to heat the engine in the morning so you can start it.
You sit under the engine tent with the blow pot and as a rule, until the frost line on the propeller melts into
the hub. Then you start the engine. If you are operating where there is no electrical power you are
under the engine tent for 30 to 60 minutes every morning.
At the end of each day the Beaver oil tank was diluted. You let the engine cool a bit after the last flight
then fired it back up and diluted for a minute or two. If you did not do this, engine start in the morning
was impossible. Put the engine tent on for the night and that is the day.
I remember in the winter of 1973, MXR had an unserviceable oil dilution system for about 10 days. We
were draining the oil tank at the end of each day during that time.
Most of the pilots blocked a portion of the oil cooler intake in the winter to help maintain a steady oil temp.
I do not remember any of the Beavers carrying wing covers. They did carry the standard emergency gear.
Another part of the winter kit was a dish pan shaped metal plate mounted on the engine nose case behind
the propeller. It was about thirty inches in diameter and was covered with felt on the back. It covered
the engine case from the propeller shaft to approx the lower porition of the cylinders. It help keep a better
even engine temp in the cold.
On floats in the summer, the exhaust heater tube was removed and the Beaver flew the summer with no
heat. I notice the photo of CF-FHO that Siddley Hawker attached earlier has the heater pipe installed.
That photo may have been taken in very early spring or late fall. Normally no heater pipe was on the aircraft
during float season. I also noticed it had a hydromatic propeller installed. During my time with Mr. Wieben
only counter weight propellers were on the Beavers. I suspect that photo was taken after 1974.
The Beavers in the summer carried one paddle mounted between the flying wires on the floats, approx 200 feet
of rope each and a float pump. Also the standard emergency gear.
The Beavers flew a lot and were away from there home bases for extended periods of time in the summer.
Those were a few items and features on the Severn Enterprise / Superior Airways Beavers.
Superior Airways / Severn Enterprises operated DeHavilland Otters in the late 60's and early 70's.
The Otters that were around in my time were painted in the red, white and black colours.
The Otters were true work horses hauling everything and anything anywhere.
They operated on floats in the summer months and straight skis off the ice in the winter.
The Otters spent most of their time in the Sioux Lookout and Pickle Lake area. They were also
based in and out of Wiebenville in the winter. I am not 100% sure but I believe the Otters
went into Thunder Bay in the spring and fall for change over from skis to floats and floats to skis.
They did not come off floats or skis in Sioux Lookout for sure. Sioux changed the Cessna, Beaver,
and Beech 18's over each season. Not all of them but quite a few.
All the Otters were powered by the Pratt and Whitney R-1340 geared engine. (No turbine Otters in
At the start of float season a pilot waiting to get into his own Cessna 180 usually ended up riding
shotgun on the Otter for quite a bit of the summer.
The Otters also spent time in Armstrong and Nakina.
I know of three Otters operated by Superior Airways. There may have been others but I am not
aware of them.
CF-GBX was the 4th Otter manufactured. It was purchased by Mr. Wieben as a written off airframe
and rebuilt in the hangar in Thunder Bay. (Ft. William). This was the longest serving Otter with Superior
Airways / Severn Enterprises. It went into service after the rebuild in 1965 and flew with Superior until
approx 1979. I have seen photos of GBX hauling some strange loads. One was a Norseman wing tied
to the right side of GBX while on floats and the other was a Cessna 180 fuselage of CF-KJZ that was
written off in a glassy water accident also tied on the right side while GBX was on floats.
CF-GBX was sold to Central Air Transport in Sioux lookout in 1979 and was written off in an
accident at Carling Lake in May 1980. The aircraft crashed and burnt shortly after taking off from the lake.
Carling Lake is about 45 miles north of Sioux lookout.
CF-DDX was an Otter that was purchased by Mr. Wieben in the early 1970's from I believe the U.S. Army.
It did arrive in Thunder Bay from the U.S. In Thunder Bay is was prepared for its future career flying in
the bush. When it went into service it was the pride of the fleet. We considered it a brand new aircraft.
I do remember CF-DDX tearing off its tail ski in the winter of 1973/74 after hitting an ice ridge north of Pickle
Lake. The damage to the fuselage and lower rudder was extensive but it was repaired on the ice and was
back in service in a few days.
CF-IKT was an Otter I never saw. It was gone before I was employed by Severn Enterprise / Superior Airways.
I do not know if it was owned or if it was a leased aircraft.
I believe I saw it in photos and it looked exactly like DDX and GBX in colour. Someone told me that IKT is now
hanging in an aviation museum in Dodo, Norway on wheel skis.
That is just a bit of information about the Otter fleet that Severn Enterprise / Superior Airways operated
approx. 40 to 45 years ago.
Superior Airways / Severn Enterprise aircraft from the late 1960,s to 1974.
Here is some additional information that I missed about two Cessna 180's that
I worte about in the March 6 and March 8 postings. In those postings I mentioned
that the only Cessna 180 Mr. Wieben had on wheel skis was CF-RNF. I missed the
two aircraft below that also had wheel skis.
CF-LBR arrived in Sioux Lookout in the summer of 1969. I believe it was purchased
from an operator in Dryden, Ontario. CF-LBR operated on Pee Kay 3500 floats in the
summer. The floats were large for a 180 but all the pilots that flew it liked the P.K.'s
in rough water. The first two winters CF-LBR operated on Federal wheel skis. The
first winter it was based in Sioux Lookout and the second winter it was based in Round Lake.
Because the aircraft was always operating off the ice, Federal straight skis were installed
at change over in November 1971. All remaining winters LBR flew on straight skis.
CF-LBR was built in 1959.
CF-LBX was a Cessna 180 that I only saw in photos. It was fitted with wheel skis in all
the winter photos I ever saw of her. I am not sure what type of wheel skis they were
but the main wheel sat between two tunnels and there was a small idler type wheel at the
back end of the ski. These were skis built probably in the 1950's or early 1960's and I
never came across any thing like them on any other aircraft I was around. Because I know
very little about LBX I suspect it was on wheel skis because I believe it operated out
of Thunder Bay in the winter. (Ft.William at the time).
In the summer CF-LBX was on Edo 2870 round top floats.
CF-LBX was built in 1956.
Outside of those three Cessna 180's - CF-LBR - CF-LBX - CF-RNF
the rest of the Cessna 180 fleet operated on straight skis in the winter as far as I know.
Just a bit more information about some of Superior Airways / Severn Enterprise aircraft during
the 1960's and early 1970's.
Superior Airways / Severn Enterprise aircraft from the late 1960's to 1974.
Here are two more Cessna 180 aircraft that Mr. Wieben operated during that time.
CF-IRM was a Cessna 180 that was operated on floats in the summer and Federal
straight skis in the winter. The aircraft was painted yellow with red lines on the
fuselage and a black upper cowl and spinner. I am not sure where IRM was normally
based as this aircraft was gone when my employment began. I beleive CF-IRM was
built in 1956 but I could be out by a year. I only saw photos of IRM and heard of
her when others who had been around longer talked about her.
CF-PHL was a leased Cessna 180 Skywagon that appeared out of no where in the
summer of 1971. It taxied to the dock in Sioux Lookout one Sunday and spent
the rest of the float season working for Severn Enterprise.
I do remember one issue PHL had that the pilots did not like a lot. It was fitted
with the two cell fuel tanks in each wing but only had a fill cap on the outer tanks.
CF-PHL was not a very good performing Cessna 180 as I recall.
It operated on Edo 2870 round top floats that summer. I don't remember seeing
any ski fittings on the aircraft so it may not have ever been on skis.
It was painted white with a fair bit of yellow on the fuselage the summer it was in
Sioux. PHL departed Sioux lookout around the end of October in 1971 ending its
career with Severn Enterprise / Superior Airways.
I believe the aircraft was built in 1964 or maybe 1965.
Around 1975 /76 CF-PHL returned to Sioux Lookout with Patricia Air Transport.
The aircraft had been repainted in a more modern mid 1970's Cessna paint scheme
and looked very good. It operated out of Sioux and Pickle Lake with PAT Air.
It was operated on floats and was fitted with Federal Wheel Skis in the winter.
That was about the last time I remember see CF-PHL.
A bit of information about two more aircraft operated by Superior Airways and
Severn Enterprise during the 1960's and early 1970's.