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Spartan Air Services Vertol H-44A lifts off from Great Whale River slinging a fuel tank, April 12, 1959. In the 1950s and ’60s, these rotary workhorses were indispensable during the construction and maintenance of Mid Canada Line radar sites in northern Quebec and Labrador. (RCAF)

Canada’s very first tandem rotor helicopters were three Piasecki HUP-3s operated by the Royal Canadian Navy. (RCN)

Piasecki’s fabric-covered HRP-1 during an early demonstration for U.S. military personnel. (via P. Gardiner)

Newly manufactured H-21s arrived in Canada by rail from Piasecki’s U.S. plant. They were then unloaded and trucked the short distance to the Arnprior facility for assembly, flight testing and delivery. (via P. Gardiner)

Piasecki Canada’s test pilot, Max Nebergall. (via P. Gardiner)

The RCAF’s first heavy lift helicopter was one of six H-21As (9610-9615) originally purchased for search and rescue. (RCAF)

RCAF Piasecki H-21B 9636 lands to pick up another load of lumber during the construction phase of the Mid Canada Line, March 17, 1956. This helicopter, re-registered as CF-JJY, was one of many air force H-21s overhauled and modified to commercial standards by Vertol Canada for operation by private contractors Spartan and Dominion on MCL supply duties. (RCAF)

Vertol H-21B 9643 lifts a typical load of six fuel drums off a lakehead supply site. Operating as CF-JJU with Dominion, it was eventually destroyed in a 1965 Mid Canada Line accident. (D. Campbell)

A view inside Vertol Canada’s Building No.1 at Arnprior during the early 1960s: Left to right are Lyle Argue, John Boese, Jack McCormick, Ron Whyte and Ambrose Robinson. Formerly RCAF 9638, CF-JJT had a long working life beginning with Spartan and Dominion on the Mid Canada Line. In 1976, it was exported to the United States, but in 1990 it returned to Canada for heli-logging with Sterling Lumber of Golden, British Columbia. Today, C-FGZM remains stored after a February 1991 accident. (via P. Gardiner)

Vertol H-21B CF-JJO seen at Arnprior airport in October 1957. (N. Bentley)

JJO being inspected in January 1958 after it went out of control and crashed during a servicing trip along the Mid Canada Line. Cause was determined to be from failure of the right-hand lateral control cable. JJO’s registration letters were recycled on a Vertol 42A used by Skyrotors. The second airframe was eventually abandoned at Fort Chimo (Kuujjuaq, Quebec). (N. Bentley)

With Spartan and Dominion on the Mid Canada Line: Transporting a new piston engine for an unserviceable aircraft at Site 318, August 19, 1960. (N. Bentley)

Vertol H-21B CF-JJP visits a major radar site. Blowing snow from rotor down-wash made landing at poorly maintained helicopter pads a challenge. (N. Bentley)

Dominion and Vertol personnel work on Great Whale-based H-44A JJV after a landing accident.

The Herman Nelson is going all out to provide heat for the repairs. (N. Bentley)

JJY is refuelled from 45-gallon drums near Site 218 in 1962. (R. Kilburn)

Nelson Bentley in H-44 JJV, June 1958.

H-21Bs and H-44As JJS, JJV, JJP, JJQ, JJX and JJW on the flight line at Knob Lake, May 26, 1958. (N. Bentley)

With floats deflated and disconnected from 9610, 9591 prepares to hook up for the 19-minute salvage flight to RCAF Station Greenwood. The trip was made in calm winds at 38-40 knots with 9610 slung at a 90° angle to the line of flight. June 28, 1961. (RCAF)

An H-21A piloted by Dan Campbell sits high up on a British Columbia mountain top, 1964. Special wheel pads have been attached to prevent the helicopter from sinking into the deep snow. See the cabin roof to the left! (D. Campbell)

Crashed USAF 53-4327 at Comma Island, Labrador, in August 1959. (via P. Gardiner)

The nine-member Vertol salvage team, including Max Nebergall and Tom Cannon, righted the helicopter with securing ropes and had it flying again within three weeks. (via P. Gardiner)

Pan Am crews pick up a rocket nose cone on the Churchill, Manitoba range. (A. Smith)

A Skyrotors Vertol H-44 strings rope during an Ontario Hydro contract. (N. Bentley)

SUU undergoes a complete engine change at Schreiber Camp, March-April 1969. Engines were generally good for about 600 hours TBO, which ensured there would always be some remote on-site replacements. (N. Bentley)

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