Queen Charlotte Airlines

  • QCA was founded by Ashton James Ward "Jim" Spilsbury,
  • QCA operated from 1945-1955.
  • PWA bought Queen Charlotte Airlines Ltd. for a reported $1,500,000.00. Sale effective end of June 1955.
  • It was the 3rd largest airline in Canada in 1955.
  • In Apr 18, 1941 Jim formed a business Spilsbury and Hepburn Ltd., with Jim Hepburn.
  • they became incorporated in 1941 as Spilsbury & Tindall Co.(Jack Tindal)
  • Office at 570 Cardero St in Vancouver BC
  • In 1943 Jim borrowed $500.00 on his life insurance policy to buy his first aircraft, a moth eaten old 4 seater, Waco Standard YKC-S, c/n 4239 CF-AWK
    • QCA later sold this plane to Babb (Canada) Fate- Forced landing on city street South Porcupine ON, Aug 8, 1949
  • QCA formed in 1945
  • Company owned by Spilsbury & Tindall Co.
  • Started with a single route from Vancouver to Comox in 1945
  • QCA had their office at Sea Island, Vancouver BC
    • Norman Henry Landahl,
      • b- ca 1915
      • d- May 8, 1980 in Vancouver BC, age 65,
      • QCA Claims Manager and one time Personnel Manager


They had 2- 20 passenger, Supermarine Stranraer flying boats:

  • 3- Noordyn Norsemen,
  • 2- Stinson 108-2s,
  • a Rapide, and a prototype Fairchild Husky.

all above on floats

  • 5- Anson V's built by Federal Aircraft, not on floats.


They had:

  • 8- twin engine, 8 passenger Ansons,
  • 14- 7 passenger Norsemen float aircraft,
  • 2- 20 passenger Canso boats,
  • and 2- 20 passenger Supermarine Stranraer, flying boats
  • plus 4 smaller machines,

So by 1952 he had 30 aircraft, 35 pilots, and 250 employees.

  • A subsidiary of QCA bought some of their planes. “Western Aircraft Sales and Service”

de Havilland, DH89A, Dragon Rapide

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Dragon_Rapide 1949, Dragon Rapides CF-BND and CF-AYE
1953, Mark V Ansons CF-DXK, CF-EHV, CF-FYK, CF-FZL, and CF-GDP

  • Twin engine, light transport bi-plane,
  • 1 crew, 8 passengers. 48ft wingspan.
  • Max speed, 157 mph.
  • 2- de Havilland Gipsy Six, 200hp inline engine.

Avro, MK V, Anson

By Oren Rozen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 1950, Mark V Anson CF-FGM and CF-EHV (CF-FGM see crash below)

1950, Mark V Anson, CF-DXK

One of these 5 Ansons, was called, “The Alberni Queen”

  • It was a mid wing monoplane, with a max cruising speed of 188 mph.
  • It was made from a laminated plastic-treated wood construction (plywood), covered with fabric, due to steel shortages
  • 1,069 Mk Vs were built in Canada for navigator training,
  • powered by two 450 hp (340 kW) Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior R-985 engines.
  • Built in Canada by Canadian Federal Aircraft Ltd.
  • Anson was originally built in England.
  • The Anson was a bomber training machine.

Supermarine Stranraer PBY Flying Boat

CF-BYM photo by Bill Lythgoe courtesy of http://www.murraylundberg.com/history/lythgoe-photos.html  Vickers Supermarine “Stranraer Flying Boats” made by Supermarine Aviation Works (Vickers) Ltd. was a reconnaissance bombing torpedo transport and navigation training unit. During the war it carried a crew of 8. It was Powered by twin Bristol Pegasus medium supercharged engines, max speed of 165 mph, a cruising range of 1,000 miles, a load capacity of 3,450 lbs. Hull was “Alclad” with stainless steel attachments,while the wings were metal construction, covered in fabric.

QCA owned 5 Stranraer “Stranny” planes

  • CF-BXO:
    known as “Alaska Queen”,Supermarine Stranraer #920. Built by Canadian Vickers at its St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec Plant, using British equipment, and fitted with 810 hp Bristol Pegasus X engines. Sold to PWA and now in the RAF museum, last known survivor of this plane.
  • CF-BYI:
    known as “Haida Queen”, #907
  • CF-BYL,:
    known as “Skeena Queen”, #909
  • CF-BYJ,:
    #915 1947, Stranraer CF-BYJ (see crash below)
  • CF-BYM:
    #949, last Stranraer in service with RCAF until Jan 20, 1946, sold to PWA. Crashed Oct 1, 1957, into trees and burned taking off from Sovereign Lake, BC killing 4 occupants, plane written off. They were on a salvage trip, of 2 pontoons,on a previous wreck of a PWA Beaver.

Consolidated PBY Catalina,

CF-GHU 1951-1957, “Kitimat Queen” N2763A c/n CV-548 , Ex USN Bu no 21232

QCA, CF-GHQ made the first airmail flight from Vancouver to Kitimat, B.C., 22 April 1952.

based on this site http://www.warbirdregistry.org/pbyregistry/pby-21232.html it appears that in 2004 it was in storage..perhaps to be restored one day?

Canadian Vickers PBV-1A Canso

1951, Canso CF-FOQ, bought from Hudson's Bay Co. (see crash below)

Courtesy Jim Hanna, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Great Photo of QCA Canso approaching Kemano Wharf Courtesy Jim Hanna, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

QCA Canso Plane at Kemano Wharf,Exact Reg # unknown. Both of these pictures are of the same plane, and it has the bubble on the back, and a different paint scheme than the one below.Good possible subject, and my guess:

  • Consolidated PBY Catalina, CF-GHU,
  • 1951-1957, “Kitimat Queen”
  • N2763A c/n CV-548 , Ex USN Bu no 21232

Courtesy Jim Hanna, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Side Passenger Door, of a QCA Canso, docked in the photo, at the Village of Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, in the Queen Charlotte Strait. Jim Hanna was flying from Vancouver to Kemano, after Christmas 1955, and fog forced the plane to land at Alert Bay for the night. Stewardess in the doorway was from NZ, and she happened to come over to Canada on the same boat the RMS Orion as Jim Hanna did, from Auckland NZ. I am almost 100% positive the photo was CF-GLX which was a Canadian Vickers PBV-1A Canso c/n CV-560 The 3 stripes on the back, the lack of a bubble window/door, leads me to this conclusion. It was originally built for the USAAF.

3 Canso Pictures above, Courtesy Jim Hanna, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Noorduyn Norseman CF-GDN

  • 1946- Norseman, CF-EJB,
  • 1947, Norseman, floats
  • 1948, Norseman CF-GHH
  • 1950, Mark VI Norseman CF-GUE
  • 1948, Norseman CF-CRS (see crash above)
  • 1951, Norseman, CF-OPK, CF-GPK, CF-GRO (see GPK crash above)
  • 1951, Norseman #427, CF-GRU
  • 1951, Norseman, CF-GOB
  • 1951, Norseman, CF-GSK
  • 1952, Norseman CF-OBO
  • 1953, Norseman CF-GDN

North American (Noorduyn) Harvard

Harvard MKII

1946, Harvard, RCAF 2737, const # 66-2470

1950, Harvard, CF-EMY

De Haviland Canada Beaver DHC-2

1948, De Haviland Beaver CF-FHC 1949, De Haviland Beaver, CF-FHF

Single Engine, Single wing, Prop Driven, STOL aircraft. This was known as a great “Canadian Bush Plane”

Cessna Crane, 1946 CF-BXW Wingspan 41 ft 11“ Max speed 185 mph 2- Jacobs L-4MB, 225 hp, radial engines Designed as a trainer in WWII

Cessna 180,1954 CF-HLA

Stinson 108-2 Voyager models single engine, prop plane.

1949, Stinson CF-FZO 1950, Stinson CF-EXR

Bellanca Senoir Skyrocket,

1948, CF-DOH (see crash above)

Bellanca Pacemaker- no known info

Grumman G-21, Goose,

a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada License.
CF-GEB, 1950, amphibious aircraft.
US Navy JRF-5 model #37792 (c/n B-45) to RCAF as 384. This plane was owned by BNP Airways as an 8 seat, Executive equipped plane. BNP was a consortium of B.C. Electric, Northern Construction, the Power River Company and MacMillan Bloedel. It sold in 1952 for $32,000 to Barney Lamm, Ontario Central Airlines. This plane was owned by BC Air Lines in the 60's two 450 horsepower (340 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Jr. nine-cylinder, air-cooled, radial engines mounted on the leading edges of the wings. The deep fuselage served as a hull.It was equipped with hand-cranked retractable landing gear.


1951, Beech stagger-wing D17S, CF-GPO bought from Grubb Oil Co. The fabric-covered fuselage was faired with wood formers and stringers over a welded, steel tube frame 1 - Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1 “Wasp Jr” radial engine, 450 hp 1 crew, 3 passengers Wingspan 32 ft

Fairchild Aviation Ltd.

Fairchild Husky, reg # unknown Fairchild FC-2, Razor-Back, G-CAIH

Douglas DC3's-

May 15, 1953- DC3, CF-HCF by 1954- CF-EPI

CF-EPI Douglas C-53D-DO, c/n 7408 (see my PWA page)

photo by Bill Lythgoe
CF-HCF manufactured Feb 1940, Santa Monica CA log book in Canadian Museum of Flight, 1956-66 USAAF #42-57506, Douglas C-49H-DO DC3- 227B, c/n 2198, 1953-1962

Jan 22, 1959 this plane was re-registered CF-PWH

history- American Airlines, USAAF, Trans Alaska Airlines, QCA, PWA, Great Northern Airways, became derelict in Terrace BC, parts machine for Trans Provincial Airlines. Plane is now restored and on display in Langley BC “Spirit of the Skeena”, see link below.

Date A/C Info Location Incident Info
31-Aug-46 Stranraer, Flying Boat, #909- CF-BYL, “Skeena Queen” Chatham Sound, 18 mi N of Prince Rupert, Mercy flight from Stewart to Prince Rupert.
Pilot- Captain Kenneth Berkeley Wilson, age 36
d- Aug 31, 1946
Co-Pilot, George Hatch
J. Madsen & Lloyd Douglas, Engineers, the Crew all from Vancouver
Passenger, Mrs. Margaret Althea Dempsey,, age 23, body found (husband Paul Dempsey from Stewart identified her body.) She was taking her sick daughter Bernice Joy Dempsey, age 3, to Prince Rupert for medical treatment.
Another passenger, Nicholas Killas of Prince Rupert.
Acquired by QCA July 1946
Sept 1, 1948, (Sept 2, 1948 in another record) 1946 QCA Bellanca Senoir Skyrocket, c/n- 6, CF-DOH,
Manufactured by Northwest Industries Ltd. (Edmonton AB).
Cracroft Island, BC in one record,
and at Alert Bay on Cormorant Island in another,
and Growler Cove in yet another.
The plane was destroyed by fire, he plane was on a routine Fisheries Patrol.
2 Occupants:
Pilot- Walter Cyril Britland, age 30, an ex WWII Stranraer pilot, and Federal Fisheries Department Superintendent, Kenneth “Ken” Edwin Weaver, age 38.
The accident was declared Pilot Error.
24-Dec-48 Canadian Vickers Stranraer -#915, CF-BYJ Belize Inlet 2 fatalities (see below)
plane flipped over. 2 passengers drowned on landing.
John Buckley one passenger that drowned
20 passenger plane, 3 crew and 2 other passengers lives were saved by Oscar Johnson, on hand to meet the plane by small boat.
Gordon Squarebriggs, age 27, was one survivor.
Acquired by QCA Sept 1946
Aug 4, 1951 Noorduyn Norseman CF-GRQ Off Vancouver island, 7 fatalities
Chartered plane, Inter Island Hop. Passengers believed to be loggers.
Left Muchalat arm, noon on Saturday. Destination Tofino, 75 miles away
Pilot- Captain E. C. “Ted” Williams, of Zeballos, BC
passengers- K. Mugridge, Shediac NB; George Palmer, Sarnia ON; Charles Warne, age 18
Reginald L. Brown, age 34; Arthur Costley, age 63, came from Saskatoon; Larry Larson, age 19
last 5 from Vancouver
23-Aug-51 Noorduyn Norseman CF-CRS Elk Bay no fatality
Pilot Cedric Mah, and 7 passengers
damaged in a landing accident, due to smoke from a forest fire.
bought originally by Canadian Pacific Air Lines, Mar 27, 1947 for $18K from Crown Assets Disposal, RCAF 2480 then bought by QCA from CPAir, Apr 1, 1948
delivered to RCAF May 2, 1941
09-Sep-51 Noorduyn Norseman, CF-GPK Garibaldi Lake no fatality
Pilot and Traffic Manager, Johnny Hatch
UBC students, Shirley Hill, Norah Neilson, and Marjorie Schmidt all survived.
Single engine plane hit a downdraft over Garibaldi Lake, and veered into tree tops. The girls were heading to an Alpine Club outing plane bought from Newfoundland Airways Ltd. May 26, 1951
started out life in the USAAF, Mar 25, 1944
17-Oct-51 Consolidated Catalina Canso, CF-FOQ near Witchcraft Lake on MT. Benson 6 miles west of Nanaimo BC 23 Fatalities,
See below for more info
05-Dec-52 Avro, MK V, Anson crash, CF-FGM Vancouver, 1 fatality
Pilot- Captain Francis “Bruce” Wilson, age 41 (40 in death record) b- Dec 04, 1911 in Greenshields, Alberta. His body was found Dec 9, 1952
crashed into a mountainside, at 1800 ft level, near Halfmoon Bay, 40 mi NW of Vancouver
Only person aboard the twin engine Anson.
It was used as a freighter, Disappeared on a Friday on a flight to Comox, from Vancouver. RCAF helicopter sighted the wreckage on Monday, Dec 8
the cockpit was the only part still intact.
Bruce married Flora Isabelle Houghtaling and had 3 children
Plane bought from Northern Airways Ltd. built almost entirely from plywood.
23-Jun-57 Douglas DC3, CF-EPI Port Hardy 14 died
In some history books shown as QCA plane
but technically this was a PWA aircraft in 1957
Douglas R4D-3

Info from Hugh MacCallum: Even though it was in OCA colours , PWA had bought the airline June 30,1955 for a reported $1,500,000

CF-FOQ at Kemano Beach Dock, Bud Walker Photo Oct 18, 1951, a Queen Charlotte Airlines twin engine amphibious plane, CF-FOQ, crashed into Mount Benson, close to Nanaimo BC, nearing the end of a 400 mile flight to Vancouver from Kemano, killing 20 passengers and 4 crew.(one source said 23 total)

Crew names I found, Pilot: Doug McQueen, First Officer: Jaginder S. Johl and Crewman: Ray Williams,

CF-FOQ was a Canso PBY flying boat.

I have read since this entry, that this plane was carrying all of the Alcan Kitimat Directors, which caused QCA problems.

Next 4 photos of CF-FOQ sent to me by Stan Strazza, Jan 2012. If you want to know about this plane save some time and contact Stan in Nanaimo BC. He has it all, but still looking for more. ” hubcitysalvage@gmail.com Notes from Stan on researching CF-FOQ

Crew and Passengers

Pilot- Douglas Duncan “Doug” McQueen, age 33, veteran coast pilot lived at 1807 SE Marine

2nd Officer- Johl Jiginder Singh, age 23 some records show last name Johl, but death registry shows Singh as his last name.

Radio Operator- Raymond Edward “Ray” Williams, age 31 Crew were all from Vancouver


Joseph “Eric” Melanson, age 36, Vancouver Chief Project Engineer, for Kitimat Constructors

Cyril Depauw, age 53, Mission BC

John Redding, age 42, New Westminster

Kenneth Edwin Krug, age 39, West Vancouver married

Patrick Arthur Brisson, age 44, Vancouver

Philibert J. P. Daigneault, age 30, Vancouver

Robert Webster McFadyen, age 23, Vancouver 2nd Cook at Kemano

William Edward B. Perry, age 25, Winnipeg Employee Kitimat Constructors

Joseph “Charles” Morin, age 37, Vancouver Employee Kitimat Constructors married, no children

John Allan Rowand, age 27, Edmonton Engineering Consultant Employee Kitimat Constructors

John David Watson, age 37, Cowichan Lake Kitimat Constructors Comptroller Married, 2 children

Gordon Graham, age 29, Victoria James Angus Campbell, age 40, Grand Coulee, WA, USA married, Chief Mechanical Superintendent, of the West Daetfa Company

Denis Edward Guillemin, age 41, Burnaby

Thomas Bone, age 52, Vancouver

James Walter McDowell, age 19, Vancouver Employee Kitimat Constructors

Harry Thomas Comerford, age 32, Vancouver BC

Carl Oscar Nedel, age 21, Vancouver

Jack Bernard Fereguson, age 30, Parksville welder

Michael Henry Cairney1, age 28, Seattle Business Agent for building Labourer's Union at Kitimat

1James Burns Cairney, Michael's son, sued the estate of the pilot, Roberta Burrells McQueen, and QCA, through his mother, Jeanette Cairney, wife of Michael, and the suit was dropped in the Supreme Court of Canada.

As these are NOT my sites, I am not responsible for their content, links may, or may not work, in the future.

Norsemen History

Spilsbury Book Excerpt

Timetables etc

Plane pictures





Norseman History

CF-EJB, CF-DFU, CF-DFV, CF-CRS, Cf-GHH, CF-GUN, CF-GUM, CF-FAA, CF-GRQ, CF-GLI, CF-GYY, CF-GUE, CF-OBO, CF-GDN, CF-GSR http://www.norsemanhistory.ca/Aircraft.htm

The first DC-3 in their fleet:CF-PWH, Spirit of the Skeena at the Canadian Museum of Flight http://www.canadianflight.org/content/douglas-dc-3

1950 historical Document
Roy Berryman, Pilot, QCA “Skidegate Queen”, makes mercy flight http://www.queencharlotte.ca/pdf/historicalnewsletter/January16_1950.pdf
video of it: http://www.ovguide.com/queen-charlotte-airlines- 9202a8c04000641f800000000037a25a

toy model

More models

QCA Avro at Penticton

Stranraer History

  • Last modified: 2018/02/20 10:41
  • by dlgent