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Birth of a Giant, the designing and building of the Argus ASW aircraft

Colin Parkinson

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I remember the sound of the Argus's when they flew overhead, miss it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=424oXB6-44Y
 

FJAG

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725 days from mahogany model to test flight.

You can't get a pistol through procurement that fast anymore.

;D
 

Colin Parkinson

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Yes it's quite telling isn't it. Notice their procurement process for the window frames? I bet that was simplified for the camera, but it still was far easier than any contract today.
 

FJAG

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Really good film. I like stuff about how things are built. I particularly liked the mock-up of the assembly plant floor layout.

:cheers:
 

lenaitch

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Back  in the largely analogue days when we had three military airframes being built with an eye to Canadian content.
 

OldSolduer

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FJAG said:
725 days from mahogany model to test flight.

You can't get a pistol through procurement that fast anymore.

;D

Pistol? More like 725 years to get a new pistol.

Under two years to design and fly - amazing.
 

dimsum

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Unpopular opinion, but I never thought the Argus was a particularly good-looking aircraft.  However, the bombardier bubble up front would have had amazing views during takeoff/landing and while low level.

Also, 24+ hour flights (26.5 from Wiki with load, tested to 31 hours).  Ew.

The RCAF summer khaki uniform was pretty nice though  :nod:
 

Weinie

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Colin P said:
I remember the sound of the Argus's when they flew overhead, miss it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=424oXB6-44Y

I grew up in Amherst, Nova Scotia, on the Isthmus of Chignecto; the strip of land that connects Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Argus used to fly over our back yard all the time as they transited from the Bay of Fundy to the Northumberland Strait, and they were often very low. As a 8 or 9 year old, I and a bunch of local kids used to gather and wave at them, and often the crew rocked their wings in response. You could hear them coming forever, which was the signal for the kids to gather. 
 

Eye In The Sky

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Dimsum said:
Unpopular opinion, but I never thought the Argus was a particularly good-looking aircraft.  However, the bombardier bubble up front would have had amazing views during takeoff/landing and while low level.

My dad, a retired Argus FE, has some stories about people staying the bubble on a dare for landings, and the...'screaming' that happened sometimes.  ;D  I remember crawling into it when I was a kid.  Pretty neat.

Also, 24+ hour flights (26.5 from Wiki with load, tested to 31 hours).  Ew.

They also had more crew comforts than we're used to on the '140.  They could take off, level off and "put a turkey in" for the transit.  4 bunks for the crew, too, IIRC.

I did one of my presentations when I was going thru Wpg on the Argus;  they could take off from the east coast of Canada, transit to off the coast of Ireland, patrol for 8 hours and then RTB back to the east coast. 

Dad also has some stories about having to fly 'thru' weather because they couldn't fly over it (unpressurized).  He was one of the lucky "iron gut" types who didn't get sick flying, ever.  I've thanked him more than once, silently, for passing that gift on to me.  Dad retired with 13,000 hours logged with over 10,000 of them on the Argus, most of that with VP415 when it was on the Island.

1st pic attached is from the front of the radome of Argus 739, in her resting place at the Air Force Heritage Park in Summerside, PEI.

2nd pic attached is one of my favorites;  Dad's crew in Kinloss in Sept '68.  Forge caps in flight suits, wets on the ramp after a successful 'something'.  It really gives you an idea of the size of the airplane.

I grew up around the Argus, and I've got some great memories of crawling around it, and of the people my Dad served with on it. 
 

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Loachman

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Eye In The Sky said:
My dad, a retired Argus FE, has some stories about people staying the bubble on a dare for landings, and the...'screaming' that happened sometimes.

I cannot imagine why.

I cadged three Argus flights while on OJT in Summerside prior to PFT - one four-hour Pilot Trainer and two eight-hour Crew Trainers. I politely declined offers to go on full-blown patrols, as even the Pilot Trainer was incredibly boring.

Two things made it worthwhile, though - unlimited quantities of pretty good food in the galley, and time in the nose bubble. That was almost like sitting in space.

Nobody was allowed there during take-offs and landings because of a fatal accident some years previously, despite certain of us begging.

Certainly an interesting and respectable machine.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Loachman said:
I cadged three Argus flights while on OJT in Summerside prior to PFT - one four-hour Pilot Trainer and two eight-hour Crew Trainers. I politely declined offers to go on full-blown patrols, as even the Pilot Trainer was incredibly boring.

What year was that?

I actually liked PPFs, LRPFs (outside the local area) were even better (my favorite one was an overnighter to Key West). 

Nobody was allowed there during take-offs and landings because of a fatal accident some years previously, despite certain of us begging.

Birdstrike? 
 

Haggis

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There is a record of a crash on landing in Summerside in 1977 with three fatalities.  The aircraft reportedly departed the runway and hit a Lockeed Electra which was parked.  The only other crash record I could find was a total loss off Puerto Rico in 1965 during a training mission.  In that incident, the aircraft reportedly clipped a large swell during a low level turn and crashed.

I saw my first Argus when I was a young Air Cadet in the early 1970's.  It was an imposing and impressive aircraft.  You never forget that sound.
 

exspy

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Eye In The Sky said:
2nd pic attached is one of my favorites; Dad's crew in Kinloss in Sept '68. Forge caps in flight suits, wets on the ramp after a successful 'something'. It really gives you an idea of the size of the airplane.

Great photograph of the real RCAF back in the day. Air Force blue rather than CF green.

Do you have any more?

Cheers,
Dan.
 

dimsum

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Dan M said:
Great photograph of the real RCAF back in the day. Air Force blue rather than CF green.

We're back to the RCAF now, and green flight suits make more sense operationally. 

But that's really neither here nor there.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Dan M said:
Great photograph of the real RCAF back in the day.

I wonder if AirCom really considered the "chicken in a basket" types (MAG) as part of the "air force"... 8)
 

Blackadder1916

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As previously posted, the nose bubble was not to be occupied during take-offs and landings supposedly due to a previous fatal accident.  However, there may have been another reason for the requirement.

https://documents.techno-science.ca/documents/CASM-Aircrafthistories-CanadairCL-28Argus.pdf
Crew Stations. Flight operating crew members, employed in their primary role, occupied the following
positions: pilot, co-pilot%u2019s seats, flight engineer%u2019s station, routine navigator%u2019s station, radio operator%u2019s
station. The tactical crew, was located primarily in the tactical and detection compartment, but there was a
nose lookout station, sometimes occupied by a bomb-aimer, observer, or whomever was free at the time
during flight. It was not occupied during take-off and landing. The nose watertight door was to be kept
closed at all times except for entrance and exit purposes
.

. . .

Argus Incidents: Close Calls, Bird Strikes and Crashes

Collapsed Nose Gear. Due to the large size of the nose radome, there was limited clearance to the
runway upon landing. The clearance for the Argus Mk 1 was 58 cm (23 in) and the Argus Mk 2 cleared by
76 cm (30 in). Thus any problems with the nose gear during landing could result in a smashed radome
and a wrecked radar antenna. That is what occurred to Argus 10725 of 404 Squadron, CFB Greenwood
in the winter of 1970/71. The aircraft touched down 18 m (60 ft) short of the runway threshold, bounced
onto the runway and came to a stop 1,280 m (4,200 ft) from the button. The nose landing gear collapsed
and folded back along the bottom of the fuselage, resulting in the need for a new radome and radar
antenna.

. . .
Bird Strikes
Because the Argus operated at low altitudes and in the avian-rich maritime environment, it was
susceptible to bird-strike events. Gulls striking the large aircraft in its vulnerable nose and wing leading
edge areas could cause a good amount of damage to the aircraft, let alone the crew members who might
be in the exposed observation area of the nose.
Two such incidences are described here.

Bird Strike on Take-off. On 4 September 1960, Argus 20722 of No. 405 Squadron piloted by W/C C.N.
Torontow and co-pilot, F/L D.R. Watson suffered multiple bird strikes during a night take-off from RAF
Kinloss in Northern Scotland. The fully glazed, Perspex nose of the aircraft was shattered and the nose
compartment was full of dead seagulls, blood, guts and feathers.
Additionally, the windscreen was
damaged and there were numerous dents in the leading edge of the wings. The pilots and flight engineer
managed to get the aircraft airborne long enough to complete one circuit of the airfield before landing
safely.

Bird Strike and Personal Injury. On 14 December 1962, Argus 20735 of No. 415 Squadron, piloted by
F/L A.F. Farris, was conducting an exercise with a RCN submarine. Flying Officer B.R. Johnson, a radio
officer, was in the nose compartment when a seagull penetrated the Perspex and struck Johnson on the
left foot, splintering the bone in his left toe. The nose compartment was filled with gale-force frigid air
along with the remains of the deceased seagull.
The compartment had to be evacuated and sealed off,
whereupon the aircraft returned to base as the radio officer required medical attention for his injuries.
 
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