Canadair North Star

The RCAF Pipe Band stands in front of the RCAF’s last North Star during the aircraft’s retirement ceremony.

DND Archives, Z-10578-2

The RCAF Pipe Band stands in front of the RCAF’s last North Star during the aircraft’s retirement ceremony.

Overview

Overview

The Canadair North Star was a unique Canadian development of the Douglas C-54/DC‑4 aircraft. Instead of radial piston engines found on the Douglas design, Canadair selected Rolls-Royce Merlin engines to achieve a cruising speed 35 mph faster. The prototype flew on July 15, 1946, and the type was selected by various airlines, including the RCAF. The RCAF North Stars were unpressurized and were used on a wide variety of general transport duties. They were, unfortunately, also infamous for the high level of interior cabin noise caused by the Merlin engines. The North Stars were assigned to 426 Transport Squadron, which was initially deployed to Dorval, Quebec and then to Trenton, Ontario. During the Korean War, from 1950 to 1952, RCAF North Star aircraft were employed ferrying supplies to Korea across the Pacific. They flew 599 round trips over the Pacific and delivered seven million pounds of cargo and 13,000 personnel both ways. North Stars were also employed by 412 Squadron from Ottawa on various VIP transport duties and, overall, the aircraft provided the RCAF valuable and reliable long-range transport services.

Model number C-54GM
Marks Mk 1
Role Transport
Taken on strength 1947
Struck off strength 1965
Number 24
Service RCAF

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft: A Military Compendium by T.F.J. Leversedge © 2007. Translated and reproduced with permission of the author.

Technical specifications

Technical specifications

 

Manufacturer Canadair Aircraft Ltd.
Crew / passengers Crew of seven with provisions for 44 passengers or 11,500 lb (5,216 kg) cargo
Powerplant Four 1,760 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin 622 piston engines
Maximum speed 353 mph (568 km/h)
Cruising speed 325 mph (523 km/h)
Service ceiling 36,000 ft (10,970 m)
Range 420 mi (677 km)
Empty weight 43,500 lb (19,731 kg)
Gross weight  73,000 lb (33,112 kg)
Span 117 ft 6 in (35.81 m)        
Length 94 ft 9½ in (28.89 m)
Height 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m)
Wing area 1,462 sq ft (135.82 m2)
Armament None
Cost Unknown

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft: A Military Compendium by T.F.J. Leversedge © 2007. Translated and reproduced with permission of the author.

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