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We hope you enjoyed answering the Canadian Aviation Moments in July. We encourage readers to send in their responses to the Canadian Aviation Moments questions at: Your responses will be included in the following month's newsletter. Here are the correct answers:

Question: What was perhaps the most important RCAF aircraft of the interwar years? How many were acquired and how long were they on strength?

Answer: “The Armstrong Whitworth Siskin was perhaps the most important RCAF aircraft of the interwar years. Indeed, along with its cousin, the Armstrong Whitworth Atlas, it represented the only pure military aircraft design in service with the RCAF between 1929 and 1936. A fighter design, the Siskin originally served with the RAF in this role and when acquired by the RCAF in 1926, it represented a state of the art design. The aircraft received a great deal of exposure in the 1930's when the RCAF formed an aerobatic display team using the type. The three-plane Siskin aerobatic team put on popular displays from coast to coast. The Siskin also formed the basis of No. 1 Fighter Squadron. The aircraft remained with this unit until the outbreak of the Second World War, eventually to be replaced by modern Hawker Hurricanes in 1939. The airframes were then turned over to various technical establishments for use as instructional airframes.” “TOS:1926 SOS: 1942 No: 12”

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft – Page 54

Question: Who had the highest scores during WWII: the British or the German night fighter crews and why?

Answer: “After the war, there was some surprise at how low the scores of our leading successful night fighter crews were compared with those of many Luftwaffe night fighter crews. The reason was simply one of opportunity. First, from 1941 onwards, the number of enemy aircraft over Britain at night was so much fewer than the hundreds, even thousands of RAF bombers over Germany. RAF night fighters had relatively few chances. Then there was geography. The few Luftwaffe aircraft usually spent perhaps only 30 minutes over the Channel and British soil. In that time, they had to be picked up by GCI, a fighter directed at them and an interception completed before they crossed back over the Channel. They could not be pursued into enemy territory; such were our fears that British radar secrets might be discovered by the Germans, that only right at the end of the war were RAF aircraft with any but the most outdated radars allowed to fly over enemy soil. In contrast, Luftwaffe night fighters had a plethora of targets that were over their territory, for at times as long as six hours. The Luftwaffe could hardly fail to make contact and attack - and identification was easy, anything with four engines was obviously "hostile". On clear nights, even day fighters ("Wilde Sau") had a ball. Having exhausted fuel or ammunition, they even had time to land, refuel and rearm to take off for another go at the bomber stream on the way out. If their ground and air radar had been as good as ours, who knows how much greater would have been the slaughter of Bomber Command. Alternatively, if our night fighter aces had had such opportunities, those high Luftwaffe scores must have been exceeded.”

Source: CAHS – The Journal of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society – Vol. 46 No. 3 – Fall 2008 – Allied Night Fighting Techniques During The Second World War– By Jack W. Meadows DFC, AFC, AE, W/C RAFVR (ret) – Page 87

Question: What was “OP FRICTION”, what aircraft was used and how was it modified for the operation?

Answer: “World condemnation was immediate following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990 with United Nations resolutions calling for a trade embargo against Iraq and the immediate withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. On 10 August 1990, Prime Minister Mulroney pledged Canadian support, dubbed “OP FRICTION,” multi-national force forming to enforce the UN resolutions. Shearwater’s HS 423 Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron would supply the ships’ helicopter detachments. Before proceeding to the Persian Gulf, Maritime Air Group decided to convert the Sea Kings from an anti-submarine helicopter to a surface interdiction aircraft. For this, the Sea Kings would be fitted with a Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) optical system for night surveillance; a Global Positioning System (GPS) for accurate navigation; Radar Warning Receivers (RWRs) to warn of hostile of hostile fire control or missile guidance radars; Laser Warning Receivers (LWRs) to warn of laser guided weapons; chaff and flare launchers to foil radar guided and heat seeking missiles; an infra-red missile jammer to foil infra-red guided missiles; a door-mounted General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) for self-defense; troop seats to double seating to six passengers; armoured aircrew seats; and ancillary items, including a cooling fan for the aircraft’s radar, desert survival kits, and a wooden floor to reduce wear and tear on the aircraft floor. The goal was to have all the equipment installed and ready for sea in less than 2 weeks.”

Source: The Observair – Ottawa Chapter Newsletter – Canadian Aviation Historical Society – Pages 1 and 2 – Past Meeting – Ernie Cable – The CH-124 Sea King and OP Friction


The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS.

The Canadian Aviation Moments questions for August are:

Question: What British troop and vehicle transport was designed and test flown in less than ten months? It was on strength with the RCAF from 1948 until 1959.

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft – Page 51

Question: How many appearances did the Red Knight make and in how many seasons? How many pilots flew the Red Knight and what type(s) of airplane was it?

Source: CAHS – The JOURNAL of the CANADIAN AVIATION HISTORICAL SOCIETY – Vol. 46 No. 3 – Fall 2008 – THE RED KNIGHT – John Corrigan – Page 105

Question: What influenced the British bombing policy during the Second World War?

Source: No Prouder Place – Canadians and the Bomber Command Experience, 1939 to 1945/ David L. Bashow – ISBN 1-55125-098-5 – Page 15