Red Lake, ON, Canada - July 2006

In 1969 my father, a hot shot 23 year old commercial pilot returned to northern Saskatchewan and back to the bush flying job he had with Norcanair Ltd. After three years working his way through Cessna 180s, Noorduyn Norsemans and de Havilland Beavers, the summer of 1969 was to be on the twin-engine Beech 18. (Trevor McTavish)

Dad always said the Beech was his favorite airplane, so much so, that he still keeps a tattered black and white photo of his beloved CF-TBC in his wallet. When, in 2006, we arrived in Red Lake for the annual Norseman Festival, his eyes lit up when he spotted another Beech 18 sitting on floats. It belonged to Chimo Air Service. (Trevor McTavish)

After some talking with the manager and pilot they agreed to charter us C-FHZA for a short 'familiarization' flight. Already armed with my multi-engine and seaplane ratings, jumping into the Beech didn't scare me. In fact, I was surprised to discover that all the speeds are almost identical to our Twin Navion. Having dad base the checklists for our plane on those from Norcanair's Beech didn't hurt either. (Trevor McTavish)

After a couple circuits, I jumped out of the right seat and forced dad into the front. Despite a 37 year absence, he took to flying that Beech like a duck takes to water. (Trevor McTavish)

You can't see it, but I bet there's a smile on dad's face. (Trevor McTavish)

With the big cabin windows, the view from the back seat was pretty good too. (Trevor McTavish)

Afterwards I made sure to snap a photo of dad with the Beech - notice the smile? It didn't leave until we were half way home. The overhead hatch was the only entrance when the rear cabin was jam-packed with cargo. (Trevor McTavish)

Today, Beech 18s on floats are all but extinct, with only a small handful still flying. I'm sure you could count the number left in Canada on a single hand. Luckily C-FHZA is still being cared for, and earning a living for the folks at Chimo Air Service. (Trevor McTavish)

Once we were back on the docks, dad was quick to point out some of the differences between C-FHZA and CF-TBC. There was a different freight door, landing lights in the nose, three-blade propellers and Chimo's machine was a civilian D18S, whereas Norcanair's was a military Expeditor 3NM. (Trevor McTavish)