1955 – The Fourth Season

Latest draft 31 March 2020

New Brunswick

Active Airstrips and number of planes: Boston Brook, Budworm City, Charlo, Horne’s Gulch, Nictau (16), Renous (6). Rose Hill and Sevogle are idle this year and Nictau was idle in 1954. The far north Horne’s Gulch strip is being used to service areas in adjacent Quebec.

Dunphy, Taxes, Juniper, and Tabu airstrips were built after the 1955 spray season for use in 1956. The Dunphy airstrip was built by Forest Protection Limited and is situated in the village of Upper Blackville. The site was a former landing strip owned by Arthur Dunphy and, after augmented with other land, will be large enough to hold 14 to 16 planes along with observation planes.

9 Cessna 170s and 1 Cessna 180 under contract from Laurentide Aviation Ltd., Cartierville, Que. (Jack Schofield), for aerial inspection of spraying operations and for pre-spray aerial surveys
82 Stearman sprayed in both New Brunswick and Quebec (often listed as 83 Stearman, but one was actually a Cessna; Table I in Elliott 1955)

The 1955 Calibration Report

The information on the aircraft for this year was largely based on an 18-page report: Ken R. Elliott, 1955. Rate of Flow Calibration for the 1955 Forest Spraying Project in Northern New Brunswick from the Canada Department of Agriculture, Science Service, Forest Biology Division (September 1955). Pages 5-15 contained Table I, a list of calibration details of all 83 aircraft. These details were spray number and registration, contractor and pilot, nozzle equipment: original and final nozzle orifice, original and final rate of flow, indicated operation pressure, number of times flights required (from 1 to 12) and number of U.S. gallons required.

This was the fourth aerial spraying project since 1952. A total of 1 million acres were sprayed in northern New Brunswick and an equal number in Quebec’s Gaspé region. Forest Protection Limited’s Barney Flieger again directed the operation from its headquarters in Campbellton, N.B. Originally, 80 Stearman with boom-and-nozzle spray units were contracted by Wheeler Airlines of St. Jovite, Quebec, who in turn used Marsh Aviation of Mesa, Arizona, to sub-contract the US operators. However, a series of non-fatal accidents during the operation necessitated the procurement of three additional aircraft, for a total of 83, one of which was a Cessna.

With the exception of Stearman #59 (N56940), which crashed during the calibration trials, all of the aircraft were calibrated at Nictau airstrip, the base airstrip of the operation. Method: the spray apparatus of each aircraft was checked and its features recorded, then spray runs were made to determine the rate of flow so that it is standard for the whole fleet. A total of 432 flights were recorded. As in previous years, the aircraft and their spray apparatus were in good condition, but there was little standardization of equipment.

Elliott writes that the calibration serves three purposes: 1) all pilots will have the same earning capacity as far as output time is concerned; 2) each pilot and contractor will know that his aircraft spray system has an output of 1 gallon per acre (at 100 m.p.h. and swath width of 100 feet); and 3) the mechanical means are provided by which a good spray job can be done with even spray atomization and spray deposit over the whole area. This is accomplished by three routines: a preliminary equipment check, priming during a running engine to check the nozzles, then timing runs in which a measured amount of “goop” (amount not revealed to the pilot) is put in the tank, after which the pilot makes a timed run until the pressure gauge falls.

The Biology

It took 20 days, from June 7 to 26, to complete the New Brunswick portion of the project. “Because the season started earlier there, it was possible to deploy almost the entire fleet from the six operational airstrips before shifting part of it to Quebec.”

Areas for treatment and timing of applications are timed to commence after the opening of the balsam fir buds when the growing needles have flared sufficiently to expose the feeding larvae. This susceptible period lasts about three weeks in northern New Brunswick, and ends with the start of the pupation of the larvae. Spraying early in the period has the advantage of providing protection of the current year’s crop of foliage from heavy feeding that occurs toward the end of the larval stage (because the larvae are nearing maximum size).

Since the areas in Quebec were farther north and thus later in the cycle, the New Brunswick areas were finished before the shift to Quebec. The graphic below shows the areas sprayed in Quebec and New Brunswick for 1952 to 1955 and the airstrips used. Source: “The 1955 Aerial Spraying Program against Spruce Budworm in New Brunswick and Quebec”, reprinted from Canada Lumberman, November, 1955, Vol. 75 (11):34-35, under the title “No sign of Decline in Budworm Outbreak”; author F.E. Webb. The 1955 spray area is indicated by horizontal hatching.

From the Moncton Daily Times, 9 June 1955.

The Season

Much of the following is gleaned from articles from the digital archives of the Telegraph-Journal (Saint John, New Brunswick) family of newspapers, which reported frequently on the progress of the spray program.

Again, most of the pilots will come from the United States’ west coast, men who normally spray cotton and coffee plantations. However, there will be an increase of Canadian pilots taking part this year, as “aerial spraying is a growing business in Canada (Tom Wheeler, St. Jovite, Quebec).

In May, the New Brunswick Resources Minister announced that funding for the fight against the spruce budworm will be extended three years until March 31, 1959, with Forest Protection Limited being the firm carrying out the program.

Nictau airfield, which is at a lower altitude, was the first airstrip to commence spray activities, when 16 planes took off at 5:25 a.m., June 7. The spraying had to be called after one hour because of wind. Meanwhile, the remainder of the fleet waited at four other airfields: Charlo, Budworm City, Renous and Boston Brook. Spraying in New Brunswick was completed on June 26, with the last area sprayed located near Charlo.

On June 17 planes from the northern four airstrips were grounded because of heavy smoke from forest fires in the Lake Metis area of the Gaspé Peninsula. The smoke had reduced visibility to almost zero. The fire situation was not expected to delay the start of spraying in Quebec.

A crowd of 500 were treated to a demonstration of manoeuverability and rescue by a Navy helicopter at Charlo airstrip on June 19. The pilot was Lieutenant Leslie Caslake of Winnipeg. Also in the crew was Lt.-Cdr. H.R. Welsh of Edmonton, Alberta, who piloted the helicopter in a rescue mission to Horne’s Gulch airstrip (see Accidents below).

Two Stearmans from the Wheeler Airlines budworm spray team again sprayed mosquitoes in the Moncton area, as in 1954.

The City of Bathurst was invaded about 11 p.m. Thursday July 14 by swarms of budworm moths. The moths were so thick that it was difficult to walk or drive, and several restaurants had to close after their doors began to fill up with moths. The next morning shopkeepers and residents had to clean moths up from outside and inside their premises. Last summer (1954) thousands of moths stayed around for two days before dying or leaving for the forests. (Daily Gleaner, 16 July 1955)

Three views of Stearmans at Nictau airstrip, June 1955. Photographer Joe Stone

Above and below: Stearmans parked at Nictau airstrip in 1955, from the Forest Protection Limited files. This image was also published in the Moncton Daily Times on 11 June 1955. The photographer is Joe Stone of Fredericton. Some of the aircraft in these images are Arizona Aviation #28 N1310N and #29 N56716, possibly Hammer #55 N62955, Wheeler #62 CF-EQT #64 CF-EQV and #65 CF-EQW, and Bradley #72 CF-DZC and #73 CF-DQP, plus an unidentified Central Stearman. Another image shows Russel #47 N4740N and Central #11 N56464 and #16 N58850.

New Brunswick

May-June 1955: Nictau, New Brunswick

Central Stearmans at Green River NB, 1955
Unidentified Central Stearmans at Green River Research Area, N.B., 1955. [FPL Files]

By the Skin of My Teeth: A Cropduster’s Story

By the Skin of My Teeth: A Cropduster’s Story by William “Bill” Robinet was the basis of much of the following. In this very readable book, Bill describes his years as a loader and a pilot cropdusting cotton with Stearmans and other ag aircraft in Arizona and Mexico for the years 1950 to 1957. He visited New Brunswick as a pilot to take part in the Spruce Budworm Spray Project for three of those years, 1955, 1956 and 1957, and his insights and descriptions of those situations are vivid and provide a real look at the program from the ground level up.

Billville Press is a book publishing imprint of WJR Enterprises, Inc., which is a company that buys and sells aircraft, repairs them and gives flight instruction; Bill Robinet is the president. He is a Mechanical Engineer, Flight Instructor, A & P mechanic and IA. He is also a recipient of the Orville and Wilbur Wright Master Pilot award. He has written two books and has a third nearly ready to publish. Leslie Robinet, Bill’s wife, is the company Secretary/Treasurer and a flight instructor. The stories below are told mostly in his own words.

Wheeler Airlines was the chief contractor, and in turn, it contracted with Marsh Aviation to obtain the necessary American Stearmans, which came from 15 U.S. companies, including Marsh. Wheeler employed four Canadian companies. “Each year I flew on the project, twenty airplanes would originate out of the Phoenix area with others leaving from California, Texas, Oregon, Louisiana, and even British Columbia, Canada. We would all converge on a staging area outside of Canada on or about May 20.” Robinet flew for three seasons in New Brunswick, and the staging areas were Watertown, N.Y. (1955), Syracuse, N.Y. (1956) and Old Town, Maine (1957).

A total of 83 aircraft sprayed in 1955, but one, #80 CF-EKZ, was actually a Cessna operated by Skyway that was included in the calibrations and listed in Table I. Thus 82 Stearmans flew that year, not 83.

Origin and number of Stearmans in New Brunswick
and Quebec in 1955
Canadian 18
5  Bradley Air Services, Ontario
4  Leavens Bros. Air Services, Ontario
2  Skyway Air Services, British Columbia
7  Wheeler Airlines, Quebec
American 64
2  Aerial Crop Service, California
5  Aero-Agricultural Service, ?
1  Agriculture Aviation Service, Ohio
2  Arizona Aviation, Arizona
10  Central Aircraft, Washington
6  Farm-Air Company, California
3  Farmer’s Air Service, Oregon
10  Hammer Crop Dusters, California
6  Marsh Aviation, Arizona
2  Medford Air Services, Oregon
1  Pillar Air Service, ?
6  Quaadman Dusters, California
3  Russell Dusting Company, Texas
3  Simsbury Flying Services, Connecticut
2  Sprayair, California
2  Ueding Flying Service, Indiana

History of Arizona’s Marsh Aviation Marsh Aviation Company, Inc., says Robinet, “was the largest and most successful crop dusting and spraying operator in the country, if not the world.” Their main office was in Phoenix, and they had branch offices in several locations in Arizona and Washington states, each of which had scattered satellite offices. Bill Marsh founded the company in the late 1940s, and after his death, John Neace took over as president and CEO.

In March of 1955, John Neace of Marsh asked Robinet to fly for him on the spruce budworm project in New Brunswick. He had subcontracted “for two airplanes out of Safford, Arizona, owned and operated by a local named Abe Sellards. Abe had one pilot, Sam Steele, who had tree spraying experience. I was to fly the other one.”

A.B. “Abe” Sellards had started out operating a lone Stearman duster (N4769V, flew out of Budworm City in 1952 under the Central logo) based in Safford, Arizona. Sam Steele, his good friend, was an engineer who helped Abe add the first spray tanks to his aircraft. Later, Sellards partnered with Gene Packard and Floyd Stilwell to form Aircraft Specialties Inc. There is a nice U-Tube interview of Abe Sellards conducted by his son Avery, published on 2 January 2016.

The ferry to New Brunswick From Safford, Arizona, the Stearmans flew via Socorro, New Mexico, up to Albequerque, then east to Liberal, Kansas, where they stopped for fuel. It was necessary to stop every 150 miles for fuel, which was 1.5 hours of flying time with a 30-minute reserve. They spent the night at Ashland, Kansas, and the next day made it to Sandusky, Ohio. They had five days to make rendezvous at Watertown, New York, with all the other Stearmans on the project. It was at Watertown where the airplanes were inspected by Canadian DOT [Department of Transportation] officials. After that, they flew up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal then Rimouski, Quebec, where they met with the Chief Pilots of Forest Protection Limited, and obtained charts.

Nictau, New Brunswick, the base of operations Ten of the group then proceeded under escort to the New Brunswick airstrip called Nictau, an airfield configured in the shape of a giant “U” where one landed in one direction, turned into the pits, then flew out the takeoff runway in the opposite direction. Nictau was the base of operations for the 1955 project and also the place where the spray systems on each airplane were checked and calibrated (see the calibration report). As more airplanes arrived, they were escorted to other airfields around the province. Sam Steele and Bill Robinet were assigned to Nictau. They waited until the budworm larvae reached the fourth instar, as determined by the federal biologists, a period of a week to ten days. After the final preparations, eighteen Stearmans were stationed at Nictau. Of those aircraft in 1955 were #28 N1310N, flown by Sam Steele, and #29 N56716, flown by Robinet.

See the year 1953 for a gallery of images of the Nictau airstrip; Nictau was not used in 1954.

The Nictau airfield was constructed around an existing farm, a situation unique among the budworm airstrips in New Brunswick. There was a house [the former Miller Hotel], a large barn and an office-type building, to which were added “more sleeping quarters, a kitchen, a dining hall, central bath, shower facilities, control tower and a small shop building.” Every room of the house was converted to a bedroom and the barn had been converted to a two-story barracks. As of 2019, none of the buildings associated the operations are present, although the airstrip is still usable.

Accidents – New Brunswick

Hammer Crop Dusters N56940 #59

The first accident at Nictau involved a California pilot who Bill calls “Red” and who crashed into trees during a calibration run on 2 June 1955. He was flying Hammer Crop Dusters N56940 #59. The accident card and the 1955 report list the pilot as W.L. Karshner and that the aircraft stalled after an engine failure while attempting to return to the airstrip. Bill Robinet takes three pages to describe this incident. The nose of the Stearman pitched straight down and the aircraft hit the ground in an exact vertical attitude and hard enough that the engine cylinders became completely buried. This is evident in the image below. “Red” survived and was in hospital for only three days; after this he was hired by the corporation to shuttle mail and people in a Cessna 172.

The Daily Gleaner reported on June 3 and 6, 1955, that the pilot, Wilfred “Red” Karshner of Porterville, California, was in hospital in Plaster Rock, N.B., and that he had suffered head lacerations and leg injuries. Herb Henderson, piloting one of Joe Hammer’s planes from Charlo airstrip, carried Mr. Hammer and Doctor S.C. Ragic to the scene of the accident. A crash helmet Karshner wore is credited with saving his life. He had had a string of bad luck recently: before coming to New Brunswick he had to make three forced landings in Wyoming because of engine trouble.

Hammer Crop Dusters N53178 #52

The second accident at Nictau occurred on 9 June 1955 and involved Hammer Crop Duster N53178 #52 flown by C.N. Proctor, who Bill refers to as Jeff Anderson. During this day, VIPs from the lumber companies had come to see the normal operations. The accident card reads that the pilot turned downwind throwing the aircraft out of control and into heavy bushes. This was out of sight of the airstrip, so the mishap was not seen by the officials; the crash site was actually on a nearby island in the river. The pilot had come in at nose high and with wings level between two trees, shearing the trunks close to the tops and removing all four wing panels. The Stearman hit the ground flat on the fuselage but spun around, driving a two-inch branch through the fuselage behind the cockpit, narrowly missing the pilot.

Hammer Crop Duster N53178 #52

An RCN Piasecki HUP-3 helicopter (#945; 51-16621, as seen on the fuselage), piloted by two Navy pilots, who were also bunking on site, was engaged to pick up the pieces of the wreck and take them back to the airstrip. This is actually recorded in two images from the Forest Protection Limited files.

Bill Robinet describes the extraction process this way: “A large raft was constructed to obtain access to the area. Over the next several days, people, equipment and pieces of airplane were shuttled to and from the island quite frequently. To get [the] airplane out of the trees, the fuselage was cut just behind the cockpit into two sections. The rudder, elevators, horizontal stabilizer and other small parts were transported back to the strip by raft. The engine was taken back by helicopter, as was the fuselage from the firewall back to the cockpit.”

“For the next few days, Sam and I watched the Navy pilots … ponder over manuals and weight and balance data, for some divine guidance to justify going after [the] Stearman. To lighten the load, everything they could take out of the helicopter came out.” A cool temperature and light wind would also be favourable. It was made clear that “if at anytime during the lift, if things didn’t feel right, they would drop the load no matter what was below them.”

On the day of the lift, a large crowd gathered to see the operation. This was made up of everyone from the airstrip who could attend and members of a fishing club that was actually situated on the island. The operation started at 10 AM but by then the wind had picked up. The lift of the cockpit and hopper section went alright, but the engine posed a problem. While the helicopter was approaching the airstrip, “the load went wide, pulling the copter out with it” after which the pilot let go, smashing the engine into the ground from 150 feet.

The images above show the successful transport of the fuselage and landing gear. It seems that the HUP-3 was still numbered 945 in May-June 1955 while stationed at Nictau.

The RCN Piasecki helicopter
First date: 11 May 1954.
Taken on strength. Ex USAF H-25, kept US serial number in RCN service. Arrived at RCNAS [Royal Canadian Naval Air Service] Shearwater in U.S. Army markings on 18 May 1954. To VH 21 at Shearwater in 1954, coded “945”. Renumbered as “245” in 1955. Still numbered “245” when transferred to VU 33 at NAF Patricia Bay, British Columbia, in 1958. Transferred by rail, arrived 10 July 1958. Later marked “405”, “921” and “621” while on the west coast.
Last date: 18 January 1964 – Struck off. R.W.R. Walker page

An RCN publication called “Squadrons and Shore Bases 1945-1962” briefly describes the events of 1955: “Detachment No. 3 of the helicopter squadron, which since April had been known as HU 21, was sent to provide search and rescue facilities for civilian aircraft spraying the New Brunswick forests against the spruce budworm infestation. During this hazardous business, commercial aircraft were involved in seven crashes and a mid-air collision, two pilots being rescued from dense bush by the Piasecki helicopter.” [pages 59-60]

Hammer Crop Dusters #53 N9719H

One Stearman, #53 N9719H, crashed into heavy woods out of Budworm City on 15 June 1955, with no injury to the pilot, F. Church. The cause was engine failure. The aircraft is called N9717H on the accident card and in the report but the crash image definitely shows N9719H on the tail.

Aero-Agricultural Service #41 N66301

N66301 #41 piloted by W.F. Meyer crashed at the end of the runway at Charlo airstrip, New Brunswick, 20 June 1955, after an aborted takeoff. The aircraft received substantial damage. No images.

Accidents – Quebec

Agricultural Aviation #99 N4787B

“Less fortunate was pilot Sam LeFever of Lancaster, Ohio, who ended up in hospital in Dalhousie with a fractured shoulder when his plane [#99, N4787B], crash-landed in a heavily wooded area near Horne’s Gulch airstrip.” This location, pictured below, according to the Department of Transport accident card, was actually 40 km northwest of Kedgwick, N.B., which puts it in Quebec, 14 km west of L’Ascension-de-Patapedia, if the coordinates on the card are correct.

An article in the Daily Gleaner on 20 June described what happened. The Navy helicopter, piloted by Lt.-Cdr. Harold Welsh, left Charlo to assist the Stearman pilot in response to his emergency call. Welsh said that the trees in the crash area were too tall for him to effect a hoist rescue, so the crew directed pilot LeFever to make his way to a nearby road where he was picked up by a truck and driven to a clearing. The helicopter landed and took him to hospital in Dalhousie.

Two Canadian and one American Stearman also suffered accidents in Quebec during the 1955 spray season. Descriptions are from the DOT accident cards, but we do not have any images.

Bradley Air Services CF-DZC #72 piloted by E.A. (Jim) Waters of Mount Brydges, Ontario, suffered engine failure and crashed 4 miles southwest of Nouvelle Airstrip on 19 June 1955. Damage was substantial but the pilot was not injured. Waters was found by a ground search party and taken by jeep to the Nouvelle airstrip.

Leavans Bros. Air Services CF-GAR #78 piloted by H.M. Hodgins crashed 1 mile east of Matane on 25 June. The pilot had noticed oil spraying on the starboard side. The oil pressure dropped and the engine began losing power, forcing the pilot to make a forced landing on a nearby road. Damage was substantial but the pilot was not injured.

Central Aircraft N1729B #20 piloted by Dean R. Brandon of Central Point, Oregon, ran out of gasoline crashed behind the St. Vincent de Paul Orphanage in Upper Town, Quebec City, on 27 June 1955 while on ferry after the end of spray operations. Damage was substantial but the pilot was not injured. The plane was one of six headed for Ancienne Lorette airport near Quebec City after spraying DDT over the forests of Quebec. (Moncton Daily Times, 29 June 1955)

List of Stearman spray aircraft in New Brunswick and Quebec in 1955. Tail number, registration and pilot.

FARM-AIR COMPANY, West Sacramento, Calif.
#1 N1065N A.C. “Mac” McGlothin, Owner of Farm-Air Co.
#2 N56806  C. Klein
#3 N53084  E.F. Coulter
#4 N1074N  G. Waage
#5 N64736  D. Whatley
#6 N1309N  R.E. Poet (Destroyed by fire in 1956, Sevogle, N.B.)
#7 not used

Below: several of the Farm-Air Stearmans spraying or parked in 1955. Sources: Provincial Archives of New Brunswick file P342-4666-001 and FPL files, showing images of Fredericton photographer Joe Stone.

#8 N1262N  E.O. Ducrest
#9 N57049  J. Kellog
#10 N49268  R.H. Dobrinska
#11 N56464 R.J. “Buck” Wheat
#12-14 not used
#15 N68441  R.K. Brown
#16 N58850 J.B. Crom
#17 N59553  W.T. Edgecombe
#18 not used
#19 N1728B R.E. Hudson
#20 N1729B  D.R. “Dean” Brandon Crashed Upper Town, Quebec City, Que., 27 June 1955, while on ferry home, substantial damage (DOT card) (See image under Marsh Stearmans.)
#21-22 not used
#23 N75521  R.F. Schmidt
#24-27 not used

#28 N1310N S. “Sam” Steele
#29 N56716 W. “Bill” Robinet

QUAADMAN DUSTERS, Corcoran, Calif.
#30 N59448  Zak
#31 N1318N  E.A. Turner
#32 N68456  P.R. Cook
#33 N56843  D.L. Carrier
#34 N68461  G. Mower
#35 N62630  A.A. Fafleur
#36 not used

Quaadman Dusters #30 N59448, 1955.

Piller Air Service, [location?]
#37 N1152N J.F. Welton
#38-39 not used
No images

Aero-Agricultural Service, [location?]
#40 N5214N D.E. Royal
#41 N66301 W.F. Meyer Crashed 6 mi sw Charlo airport, Charlo, N.B., 20 June 1955, substantial damage.
#42 N75867 W. Myers
#43 N75868 W.G. Thomas
#44 N52600 W.F. Kane

Aero-Agricultural Service #43 N75868, 1955. Provincial Archives of N.B. P342-4666 (detail).

Russell Dusting Company, San Antonio, TX
#45 N4747N R.F. Trimble Crashed nose down, appears undamaged in image, no accident card.
#46 N64358 L.B. Lindburg
#47 N4740N M.L. Suhr
#48-50 not used

Russel #45 N4747N nose down. From Larry Johnson, 18 Sep 2015.

Hammer Crop Dusters Inc., Sacramento, CA
#51 N4825V J.E. Meader
#52 N53178 C.N. Proctor Crashed 0.5 mi northwest of Nictau airstrip, N.B., 9 June 1955, destroyed. Described in Robinet book. See images above under Accidents.
#53 N9719H  H.I. Coones / F. Church [N9717H on accident card and in report; image of crash shows N9719H on tail] Crashed 4.5 km northwest of Budworm City airstrip, N.B., 15 June 1955, substantial damage, pilot F. Church (on DOT card). See images above under Accidents.
#54 N62834 G.L. Dehay
#55 N62955 Joe K. Hammer
#56 N4826V F. Church
#57 N9129H W.C. Swanson Bill Swanson crashed N1316N in N.B. in 1952; he purchased N9129H in 1956 [Aerial Visuals]
#58 N1313N N.N. Varain
#59 N56940 M.L. Karshner Crashed 300 yds (275 m) north of Nictau airstrip, N.B., 2 June 1955, destroyed. Described in Robinet book. See images above under Accidents.
#60 N75100 J.O. Payton

Hammer Stearmans #54 and #55 spraying New Brunswick forests, June 1955. Joe Stone image.

Wheeler Airlines Ltd., St. Jovite, QU
#61 CF-EQS M. Beluse
#62 CF-EQT B. Pullman
#63 CF-EQU  J. Tichopad
#64 CF-EQV D. Zaglavira
#65 CF-EQW G. Levitt
#66 CF-EQX P. Papillon Destroyed in Quebec 1960.
#67 CF-EQY  H. Lewin

Wheeler Stearman #67 CF-EQY spraying, 1955.

Sprayair Ltd., Sacramento, CA
#68 N1712B A. Quensel
#69 N73796 V. Leach
No images

Bradley Air Services Ltd. Carp, ON
#70 CF-HKZ K. McLennan
#71 CF-FBD J. Watson Was N1632M, exported to Canada 1952.
#72 CF-DZC J. Watters / E.A. Waters Crashed 4 miles southwest of Nouvelle airstrip, Que., 19 June 1955, substantial damage, piloted by E.A. Waters (on card).
#73 CF-DQP D. Debliquie
#74 CF-IBA D. Hamilton

Leavens Brothers Air Services Ltd., Essex ON
#75 CF-FRY T. Foster
#76 CF-FRW B. Croft
#77 CF-FRZ D. “Doug” Worgan
#78 CF-GAR R. Hodgins / H.M. Hodgins Crashed 1 mi e L. Matane, Que., 25 June 1955, substantial damage.
#79 not used; #80 was Cessna CF-EKZ piloted by T.H. “Tom” Wilson and included in the calibration tests.

Skyway Air Services Ltd., Langley, BC
#81 CF-DFC  E.W. Batchelor
#82 CF-DQL F. Legrice

Skyway Stearman #82 CF-DQL parked, 1955.

Farmers’ Air Service, Klamath Falls, OR
#83 N58680 L. Olsen
#84 N62775 M. Hartley
#85 N56773 J. Genever

N56773 Farmer’s Air Service #85. Big Summit Prairie, Western spruce budworm control project, Ochoco National Forest, Oregon. Photo by R.B. Pope, July 1955. USDA Forest Service, Region 6, State and Private Forestry, Forest Health Protection.

Marsh Aviation Co. Inc., Mesa, AZ
#86 N68162 A. Richardson
#87 N56383 W. Goswick
#88 N53025 G. Rye
#89 N56805 G. Bishop
#90-91 See Medford
#92 N67884 C. Rich
#93 N53090 S. James
#94 not used

Marsh Aviation Stearmans at Nictau airstrip 1955.

Medford Air Services, Medford, OR
#90 N1054N J.W. King (Destroyed at Budworm City, N.B. 1957.)
#91 N1055N A.L. Cleven (images below)

Ueding Flying Service, Vincennes, IN
#95 N9955H C.D. Richardson
#96 N55898 C.L. Landis
No images

Aerial Crop Service, Carlsbad, CA
#97 N50087 P.E. Oakes
#98 N69881 R. Cox
No images

Agriculture Aviation Service, Lancaster, OH
#99 N4787B S. Lefever Crashed 14 km west of L’Ascencion-de-Patapedia, Que. (= 40 km northwest of Kedgwick, N.B.) 19 June 1955, substantial damage.
See images under accidents above.

Simsbury Flying Services, Simsbury, Conn.
#100 N51071 J. Slovak
#101 N9386H H. Lindsay
#102 N58065 G. Bailey

Simsbury #101 N9386H at Nictau, N.B., 1955.
This image was published in the Daily Gleaner (Fredericton) on 17 June 1955, but I have not been able to confirm its presence at any of the airstrips. Perhaps it remained on call at Canadian Forces Base Shearwater in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.


DDT was applied to 1,040,000 acres [Blais 1956; Webb et al. 1961; Blais et al. in Prebble 1975]. This was the first year that the Gaspé Region was sprayed for budworm but the second for the Lower St. Lawrence Region. The operation took place in three separate districts, Rimouski, Matane and Baie des Chaleurs. In Quebec four airstrips constructed in 1954 for the 1955 season were Cap Chat (Matane District, 173,000 acres sprayed), Laverendrye, Nouvelle and Farm Lake (Baie des Chaleurs District, 776,000 acres sprayed) and, just over the border in New Brunswick, Horne’s Gulch (Rimouski District, 91,000 acres sprayed) (Webb et al. 1961). The locations of the spray areas and airstrips are shown on the map at the beginning of this page.

The operation was sponsored by Quebec Forest Industries Limited and the cost was shared jointly with the Government of Quebec and private leaseholders. Spraying was carried out by Forest Protection Limited. Spraying commenced on June 19 for the Rimouski District and June 19 for the Matane and Baie des Chaleurs districts, which were farther north and thus later in insect development. Spraying wound up for the year on June 29.

Cap Chat

Bill Robinet describes being at the Cap Chat airstrip, located on the north coast of the Gaspé about 60 miles inland from Matane and the nearby coastal community of Cap Chat [English: Cape Cat]. This Gaspé airfield was configured such that the departure was the same direction as the landing, with the pits situated in a dogleg in the middle. The landing approach was from the east, then a right turn into the pits and a left turn to leave them for the takeoff runway. Bill Robinet and colleagues spent the remainder of the season at Cap Chat. Compared with Nictau, the flying in the Gaspé was difficult, as most of the flying required a flight over a mountain range.

At the end of the season the Cap Chat Stearmans were ferried under escort to Rimouski and then to Montreal and home to Arizona.

Two views of Cap Chat airstrip, Quebec, 1955 [Jacques Beaulieu, received 16 October 2015]