Author Topic: Jackrabbit  (Read 12345 times)

Offline upnorth

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2022, 02:37:43 AM »
July 15, 1963: Cartierville Airport, Quebec, Canada

Four MB-326s, two company demonstrators and two RCAF examples lifted off from the Cartierville runway on their way to Central and South America. Shortly after take off, they were joined by a support aircraft in the form of an RCAF C-130 Hercules.

In response to Paul Hellyer's overt dislike of the MB-326 from the start, a sales tour was deemed essential by both Canadair and Aermacchi. Securing export customers for the Canadair built version of the aircraft would make it more difficult for the minister to undermine the aircraft in the face of foreign revenue generated by it.

A former Canadair marketing executive:

"It wasn't enough that we were building the MB-326 for the RCAF, we needed export customers for it. It was the plan from the start that Canadair would be the primary provider of the aircraft to the Americas, but it took on a new level of urgency with Paul Hellyer in place as the Defense Minister. Export orders would be some level of insurance against him simply trying to cancel it.

Our target market was anyone using the Lockheed T-33, as the MB-326 could act as a more modern replacement; something the aircraft was already in the process of doing in the RCAF.

The tour lasted about a month and the aircraft generated a good amount of interest. Both Brazil and Argentina were very interested, but both wanted to license build the aircraft as both countries had domestic aircraft producers.

In the end, we had Confirmed orders from Uruguay, Paraguay, Nicaragua and Guatemala."

"Project Viper"

Even before the MB-326 sales tour of Central and South America took place, the planning of an armed variant of the aircraft had been taking place in earnest as a private venture.

Tentatively named "Viper" the aircraft had a redesigned forward fuselage to accomodate a pair of 30mm DEFA cannons. The two seat cockpit dimensions were retained, but the rear cockpit was redesigned to house an equipment module with gear specific to the light strike mission.

To maintain parts commonality with the trainer variant, the cockpit canopy was not changed. This also allowed some rearward vision for the pilot to be retained.
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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2022, 03:16:16 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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Offline apophenia

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2022, 07:48:16 AM »
Nice! And I sense some interesting marking options coming down the pike  :smiley:
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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2022, 01:06:54 AM »
Well Paraguay flew the type int he real world but I don't believe the others did:

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Offline apophenia

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2022, 04:28:24 AM »
Well Paraguay flew the type int he real world but I don't believe the others did:

Right! And RW Paraguay got its EMB-326GBs from Embraer, of course. So, how does Brazil respond to Canadair pushing into 'its' South American market?
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2022, 12:40:42 PM »
Well Paraguay flew the type int he real world but I don't believe the others did:

Right! And RW Paraguay got its EMB-326GBs from Embraer, of course. So, how does Brazil respond to Canadair pushing into 'its' South American market?

Working on the details of that right now. :-)
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #31 on: May 10, 2022, 04:18:37 AM »
Working on the details of that right now. :-)

Excellent! No pressure  ;)
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2022, 02:48:57 AM »
September 17, 1963: Varese, Lombardy, Italy

Even before Canadair had begun pushing "Project Viper" and securing sales in South America, it had been decided that the first four prototypes of the CL-215 would be built and tested by Aermacchi at their facilities in Varese, Italy.

Priority had been put on getting one prototype each of the Rolls Royce Dart powered version and General Electric T64 powered version. The Dart powered version had been completed and taxi runs done with it by early September.

September 17 saw the first taxi runs of the T64 version completed and a small naming ceremony held for the two aircraft.

The Dart powered prototype was given the name "Dorothea" and the T64 prototype would be known as "Teresa".

A former Aermacchi executive:

"We surprised ourselves in getting the first two CL-215 prototypes finished less than a year after deciding to go ahead with the project. Mind you, Canadair had already done a lot of the design work. Mostly, we just had finer details to work out in the design by this point.

Given the situation with the MB-326 in Canada and what a priority it was to secure customers for it, we decided to take the pressure off Cartierville by starting the CL-215 prototyping and testing in Varese. We had the space available to do it and we had Lake Varese available when it was time to test the aircraft in the water.

Canadair sent their CL-215 design team to Italy to help form the Aermacchi part of the team and lead the team. The design was Canadian, so it was only fair that Canadians should be leading it."

By the end of September, both CL-215 prototypes had taken their first flights and were seen favourably by the test pilots.

A former Canadair test pilot:

"Testing the first CL-215 prototypes in Italy went quite smoothly for the most part; they both handled well and didn't hit us with any nasty little surprises.

I'd flown Dart powered aircraft before. It was a good engine and I knew what to expect from it, but aero engine technology was going ahead by leaps and bounds at the time and the Dart was an older engine as turpoprops went.

The T64 was also a good engine, nicely responsive and no particular bad habits.

The real advantage of the T64 was how much lighter it was than the Dart. The version of Dart we used was of higher horsepower than the T64 in order to offset the weight difference.

The difference in engines made "Teresa" a lighter aircraft on the controls and more fuel efficient than "Dorothea". I had a feeling "Dorothea" would be the only prototype fitted with the Dart, and I was right."

November 10, 1963: Lake Varese, Italy

Early in the morning, "Teresa" and "Dorothea" taxied into the waters of Lake Varese for the first time. Their landing gears were retracted and neither aircraft had any water leakage through the hull. The morning was occupied with taxi testing on the water and further tests for leakage. Both aircraft did very well in those tests.

After lunch, the crews returned to the aircraft and it was time to test their ability to take off and land on water.

The former Canadair test pilot continues:

"The advantages of the T64 over the Dart were made very clear when taking off from water. Even without taking on a load of water, "Dorothea" took longer to get airborne and used more fuel to do so than "Teresa". None of the test pilots were keen to try scooping water with "Dorothea" after taking off with her empty and we let the design team know that in our reports.

They still made us do water scooping tests, but it was all very academic by that point. Both aircraft could scoop and get back in the air, but "Dorothea" took a bit longer to get back up in the air and the fuel guages made clear to us that she wouldn't be able to stay in the fight as long as "Teresa" without going home for fuel.

Immediately after the scooping trials, all further testing with the Dart was cancelled and the T64 was settled on as the engine for the CL-215 from that point on.

It wasn't the end for "Dorothea" though. She was inspected and it was decided that it was worth keeping her and refitting her with T64s. In spring of 1964, she was back in the air with new engines and seemed much happier for the change."
« Last Edit: July 26, 2022, 03:04:37 AM by upnorth »
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2022, 08:47:37 AM »
Very cool!

Moving CL-215 development to Italy took me off guard as did your early move to turboprops for the waterbomber. Nice!

Especially like your use of GE T64s! Commonality with DHC-5s/CC-115s and Aeritalia G.222s  :smiley:
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2022, 12:17:52 PM »
Very cool!

Moving CL-215 development to Italy took me off guard as did your early move to turboprops for the waterbomber. Nice!

Especially like your use of GE T64s! Commonality with DHC-5s/CC-115s and Aeritalia G.222s  :smiley:

Thanks!

The T64 commonality with the DHC-5 and G.222 was a big part of my decision to bring the engine into play.

Moving CL-215 development to Italy made sense for keeping space free at Cartierville at a critical time for the MB.326. It was also a bit of a nod to Aermacchi's heritage with seaplanes and using Lake Varese to test them.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2022, 05:37:27 AM »
... Moving CL-215 development to Italy made sense for keeping space free at Cartierville at a critical time for the MB.326. It was also a bit of a nod to Aermacchi's heritage with seaplanes and using Lake Varese to test them.

And, of course, the Vigili del Fuoco becoming a major user of CL-215s in OTL.
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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2022, 02:38:01 AM »
This thread needs some images... ;)
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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Offline upnorth

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #37 on: July 27, 2022, 05:03:00 AM »
This thread needs some images... ;)

I know, but I've been lazy to get the drawing pens out and real life tends to get in the way too. :(

Apophenia can feel free to step up and make images if he'd like.  :smiley:
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #38 on: July 29, 2022, 12:36:20 AM »
November 12, 1963: Cartierville, Quebec, Canada

Things were going well for Canadair on both sides of the Atlantic. The MB-326 line in Cartierville was busy making aircraft for the new customers in South and Central America while the "Project Viper" team were busy refining what would be the armed variant of the aircraft.

The success of the MB-326 sales tour put Paul Hellyer on his back foot, for a while at least, and he concerned himself with other defense related matters for the time being.

The success of the CL-215 prototypes in Italy only served to embolden the team at Cartierville further.

A former Canadair employee:

"Those were really good days to be working for Canadair, everything was coming together so well. Motivation was high in all departments and seeing the defense minister with egg on his face made everything that much better!

I was working on the MB-326 line at the time, specifically building the aircraft to fill the Nicaraguan order; not that they were any different from the other MB-326s we were making. There was a true sense of pride in building those aircraft even the ones that weren't destined for the RCAF.

As it was, I didn't stay on the MB-326 line for long after that. Shortly after the CL-215 prototypes first flew and showed their potential, I was moved over to that project due partly to my seniority and the fact that I was of Italian ancestry and could speak the language fluently. While there would eventually be a Canadian production line for the aircraft, the first production batch at least would come from Italy. The company decided to send me there to help supervise production.

There was so much to be optimistic about at the company at the time, we were on a real high."

November 15, 1963: RCAF Station Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada

The ramp at RCAF Moose Jaw was full, one end to the other, with MB-326s reflecting the winter morning sun in their silver laquer paint. Among the many RCAF student and instructor pilots at the base were pilots from the first four export customers for the Canadair built version of the aircraft.

A former Guatemalan air force pilot:

"We had been in Moose Jaw since August of 1963 to learn how to fly the MB-326. I enjoyed it emensely, with the exception of the cold prairie winter, and everyone on the base and in the local community were very kind to us.

We were being trained ultimately to be instructors on the aircraft so we could go home with the knowledge to teach pilots back home how to fly them. This meant none of us were novice pilots, we all had many hours in T-33s already.

Climbing into the MB-326 felt good from the start; not too different from the T-33, but certainly newer. It was that 'The same, but different' feel.

The aircraft felt right in just about everyway and I can't think of anything I really disliked about it. I have many great memories of flying it.

Getting in to an MB-326 after flying more advanced fighter types for a while was like getting into a sports car on the weekend and hitting the highway. There was just something smooth and carefree about it."
« Last Edit: July 29, 2022, 12:41:37 AM by upnorth »
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #39 on: September 28, 2022, 02:56:58 AM »
Early January, 1964: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

A former Bristol executive:

"It was a shock to say the least when we received the order directly from the Minister of Defense to immediately cease production of the Viper engine for the Canadiar built MB-326 fleet. It was an outrageous overreach by the minister if I'm to be perfectly blunt.

It didn't take long for us, Canadair and the RCAF brass to fire back at the minister for an explanation; the Prime Minister got directly involved not long after.

Initially, Hellyer was evasive about his reasons. However, his decision had raised the ire of the Prime Minister and he had no choice but to answer.

As it turned out, he wanted Bristol to stop producing the Viper as he had it in mind to order the Canadian MB-326s refitted with the General Electric J85 engines that were intended for the CL-41 and have the construction carried out by Orenda. In this way, he could create jobs closer to his own constituency in Ontario.

He was showing us he could still meddle with the Canadian end of the MB-326 even if he could not quash it outright.

Happily, before January of 1964 was out, Paul Hellyer was no longer a problem for us and we merrily continued Viper production in Winnipeg."

Hellyer paid dearly for his meddling. The RCAF brass, very happy with the MB-326, demanded Hellyer be relieved of his ministerial portfolio. Top executives of Canadair and Aermacchi as well as the Trade Ministers of Canada and Italy put additional pressure on the Prime Minister to take corrective action.

The beginning of February 1964 saw a reshuffled cabinet with the defense portfolio safely out of Hellyer's hands.
 
« Last Edit: September 28, 2022, 03:00:20 AM by upnorth »
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #40 on: October 05, 2022, 04:19:09 AM »
Hey! I somehow missed this installment  ???

... The beginning of February 1964 saw a reshuffled cabinet with the defense portfolio safely out of Hellyer's hands.

A scenario : A now-elderly George Pearkes declines to extend his tenure as BC's Lieutenant Governor. Jack Nicholson accepts the position of 21st LG of BC and resigns his Vancouver Centre seat. To cover some of Nicholson's ministerial positions, Paul Hellyer is assigned the roles Postmaster-General and Minister for CMHC. [1]

As Lester Pearson expected of his erstwhile rival, Hellyer resigns these new positions and crosses the floor to sit as an independent. Hellyer then runs as an independent in the November 1965 general election. However, Hellyer only splits the local vote with the Liberal drop-in candidate, Charles Templeton. The inevitable result was the loss of the Trinity seat to Progressive Conservative candidate, John Brazill.

So, who does become the next MND? Lo Cadieux?  :D

_________________________________________________________

[1] An alternative concept (assuming that Pearson wants to keep Hellyer close and under his control) would be to transfer him from MND to Transport (as happened RW in September 1967).
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #41 on: November 13, 2022, 04:11:11 AM »
Prairie Rattlers

March 2, 1964: RCAF Station Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada
The newly installed Minister of Defense, Lucien Cardin, made a visit to RCAF Station Cold Lake one of his priorities after being moved up from the Associate Defense Minister position to replace Paul Hellyer. Hellyer was left without a portfolio after the reshuffling.

Primarily, Cardin came to see how the testing of the armed version of the MB-326 was progressing. He was well aware of Hellyer's disdain for the MB-326 and was eager to make his own assessment of it. He knew the trainer version was very popular with the crews at Moose Jaw; he would be going to Moose Jaw after his visit to Cold Lake and would be getting a ride in one.

A former RCAF test pilot:
"We were excited, but also a bit apprehensive, about the new Defense Minister. Anybody had to be better than Hellyer, at least where the MB-326 was concerned, and it was heartening for us to see the new guy paying us a visit and seeing the aircraft for himself.

We were definitely out to make the best impression on him that we could. Part of that was to give the test aircraft some nose art that played off the "Project Viper" name.

We had two aircraft for testing and we decided to name them "Prairie Rattler I" and "Prairie Rattler II" and give them slightly different nose art based on rattlesnakes. It made sense as the prairie rattlesnake is a type of viper and you can find them in some parts of the Canadian prairies.

The minister was with us for a couple of days at Cold Lake, so we got a really good chance to show him around the aircraft as well as give him a chance to see it in action over the weapons range.

Just as important as showing off the aircraft, was showing the minister our pride in the aircraft and our general esprit de corps. In showing that, naming the aircraft had been a good move as the minister rather liked the nose art.

As the minister left for Moose Jaw, we were more relaxed than we had been in some time. He seemed to like what he saw during his visit to us. We got confirmation of that after his visit to Moose Jaw and his ride in a trainer there."

As long as Lucien Cardin was Minister of Defense, the MB-326 was safe in Canada.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2022, 03:25:03 AM by upnorth »
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #42 on: November 20, 2022, 04:41:07 AM »
May 1, 1964: ILA airshow, Langenhagen airport, near Hanover, West Germany

A pair of Aermacchi built CL-215 water bombers, Dorothea and Teresa, finished their display with a spectacular dump of water in front of the crowd at the 1964 edition of the ILA airshow.

As the two water bombers touched down on the runway, the pilot of Prairie Rattler II positioned his aircraft for take off. Receiving clearance, he pushed the throttles to full and took the aircraft skyward for what would become one of the most talked about performances of the 1964 ILA show.

During the performance of Prairie Rattler II, a crowd was building at the joint Aermacchi - Canadair ground display to get a closer look at Prairie Rattler I and the selection of weapons it was displayed with.

A former Aermacchi marketing executive recalls:

"We were increadibly lucky with ILA 1964. We had no idea if we would have an armed version of the MB-326 to show or not until Canada got a new Minister of Defense.

Once the new minister showed his approval for the MB-326 in Canada, everything moved along swiftly and we were able to get both of the armed MB-326 prototypes to the show.

The basic MB-326 trainer had already been in service for a couple of years, so we had nothing to prove with that. However, it was a different story with the armed version of the MB-326 and the CL-215.

Happily the armed MB-326 and the CL-215 both generated a great deal of interest and orders for both types would follow soon after."

A former Canadair marketing official:

"ILA 1964 was something special. Since the reshuffling of the cabinet, everyone involved with the MB-326 in Canada had been breathing much easier.

The pilot of Prairie Rattler II was putting the aircraft through its paces like there was no tomorrow and the crowd was loving it.

I fielded a ton of questions about the armed MB-326 at the ground display. It was quite something to see the array of weapons laid out in front of Prairie Rattler I. As it turned out, many of the weapons on display would never be carried by the MB-362 in service.

The CL-215 generated just as much interest and we had firm orders from Greece and Spain for the water bombers before the ILA 1964 show was over."

Soon to be commander of the Luftwaffe, Johannes Steinhoff, was in attendance for the the MB-326 display:

"At the time, the Luftwaffe had  fleets of both the Lockheed T-33 and Fouga Magister trainers. Both were fine aircraft and well liked, but they were first generation jet trainers and something would be needed to replace them before the 1960s were out.

As I watched the flying demonstration of the armed MB-326 and got a closer look at the one in the ground displays, I already knew this aircraft would be part of the future of the Luftwaffe.

Between the ILA 1964 show and when I was made commander of the Luftwaffe in 1966, I learned everything I could about the MB-326. I made trips to both Italy and Canada to get closer looks at it and learned to fly it.

I liked it, and I made sure the Luftwaffe got it."



« Last Edit: November 20, 2022, 04:45:04 AM by upnorth »
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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #43 on: November 20, 2022, 05:21:15 AM »
Is the armed version here a single or twin seater?
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #44 on: November 20, 2022, 02:45:50 PM »
Armed version is a single seater, as per the description in an earlier post. Standard MB-326 canopy kept for parts commonality, but rear cockpit stripped out and replaced with electronics and gear for armed missions.
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Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #45 on: November 25, 2022, 02:12:06 PM »
Any chance of joint co-production with Australia?  The RAAF was quite pleased with the MB326...

Offline upnorth

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #46 on: November 26, 2022, 01:16:37 AM »
Any chance of joint co-production with Australia?  The RAAF was quite pleased with the MB326...

I'm mulling that over at the moment. I have a couple of ideas for the Australian angle bouncing about in my head at the moment.
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Offline upnorth

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Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #47 on: February 27, 2023, 04:43:16 AM »
Almost as soon as Lucien Cardin had completed his assessment of the MB-326 after taking the Minister of Defense portfolio, he gave the go ahead for full production of the armed MB-326 variant for the RCAF and for an operational training unit for the type to be formed within the year.

A former Canadair employee recalls:

"When the order came to put the armed version into full production for the RCAF, everyone at the company felt fresh wind in their sails. Happily we had enough basic MB-326 aircraft in one state or another of completion and some in for overhaul at the factory that could be diverted on the assembly line to be completed as armed versions, or converted during overhaul to armed versions.

We could give the RCAF their training unit worth of aircraft within the year."

September 1, 1964: RCAF Station Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada

A crowd of people, both civilians and military, filled a small grandstand behind a platform with a dias on top of it. Praire Rattlers I and II stood to either side of the platform and were impecably clean.

Flags of both Canada and Italy had been hoisted up flagpoles.

The ground crews, both Canadian and Italian, of the about to be formed operational training unit were standing at ease facing the grandstand in their full dress uniforms.

The aircrews were enroute with the unit's fleet of 15 new aircraft, they were flying in from a fuel stop at RCAF Namao.

The ceremony progressed through speeches, band music and a march past before the standard of 403 "City of Calgary" Squadron was handed over to the commanding officer of the new unit.

The culmination of the ceremony was three formations of five MB-365 overflying the proceedings.

A former RCAF instructor pilot:

"It was a great day, beautifully clear flying weather and the honour of carrying the number of a squadron with a fighter pedigree.

403 had flown Tomahawks and Spitfires in World War II and then flown Mustangs and Silver Stars as an Auxiliary squadron through part of the 1950s.
They shifted to transport duties and flew Otters and Expeditors until the unit was disbanded at the end of March in 1964.

Some said 403 was an odd choice to use as it had not been disbanded for long and was not expected to be activated again so soon. There was word that someone senior in the setting up of the training unit was a former 403 man and was able to pull the strings to make it happen.

Whatever the case, we were proud to carry the number."

A former Italian air force instructor pilot:

"The decision had been made quite early that Itallian pilots of the armed version of the MB-326 would take their initial training on the type at Cold Lake. To that end, we made sure that all Italian pilots destined for that version got their basic jet flight training at Moose Jaw.

We had our own fleet of MB-326 trainers back in Italy to handle pilots going to other types. We were also planning squadrons of the armed variant and pilots going to those units from Cold Lake could get any training specific to Italian air force needs after getting home.

As we would be in Canada for a while, we felt it right that the Italian part of the training unit should have a number of its own. It wasn't difficult to decide which; 403 Squadron had a wolf in their badge, the Italian air force had a "Wolf" squadron too: 98 Gruppo.

The trouble was that 98 Gruppo was an active squadron at the time, flying C-119 transports.

We wondered how we might be able to have the transport unit renumbered so we could have 98 Gruppo for ourselves."
« Last Edit: February 27, 2023, 04:50:28 AM by upnorth »
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Offline elmayerle

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  • ber Engineer...at least that is what he tells us.
Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #48 on: March 18, 2023, 07:41:02 AM »
I'm really enjoying this, but a few points;
- Aermacchi has a factory at Lake Varese, before WW II, it produced flying boats, afterwards they used it for their licensed production of Harley-Davidsons.  I have no problem seeing a part of the plant being repurposed for the CL-215 effort.
- Considering that both Canada and Italy operate the F-104, I could see the MB.326C radar trainer generating more interest than in OTL.
- On OTL, the single-seat MB.326 has the cannon ammunition where the second seatis located in the two-seater.  How is this handled on the Prarie Rattler or are the guns a bit farther back?
- Also note that the main factory, at that time was in Varese, but all aircraft have to be partially disassembled and trucked to the test airfield at Venegono for reassemly, final checkout, and flight testing.  Aer Macchi has since built a new plant at Venegono.  Considering that the plant in Varese is completely surrrounded by Varese, this is perhaps understandable.

How do I know this?  Fifty years ago, summer of 1972, I was there, working for Aer macchi, on an exchange program between my Junior and Senior years of college.

One more thought for your scenario, ALitalia bought four MB.326Ds to use in trasitioning their pikots from props to jets.  With Canadian MB.326 production, I could see the various Canadian and perhaps some of the US airlines using a similar training method.  Since the MB.326Dx were finished in Alitalia's then current paint scheme, I could see some colorful possibilities with other airlines.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2023, 01:53:52 PM by elmayerle »

Offline upnorth

  • Distorting a reality near you.
  • You want maple syrup on that Macchi?
Re: Jackrabbit
« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2023, 03:28:50 AM »
I'm really enjoying this, but a few points;
- Aermacchi has a factory at Lake Varese, before WW II, it produced flying boats, afterwards they used it for their licensed production of Harley-Davidsons.  I have no problem seeing a part of the plant being repurposed for the CL-215 effort.
- Considering that both Canada and Italy operate the F-104, I could see the MB.326C radar trainer generating more interest than in OTL.
- On OTL, the single-seat MB.326 has the cannon ammunition where the second seatis located in the two-seater.  How is this handled on the Prarie Rattler or are the guns a bit farther back?
- Also note that the main factory, at that time was in Varese, but all aircraft have to be partially disassembled and trucked to the test airfield at Venegono for reassemly, final checkout, and flight testing.  Aer Macchi has since built a new plant at Venegono.  Considering that the plant in Varese is completely surrrounded by Varese, this is perhaps understandable.

How do I know this?  Fifty years ago, summer of 1972, I was there, working for Aer macchi, on an exchange program between my Junior and Senior years of college.

One more thought for your scenario, ALitalia bought four MB.326Ds to use in trasitioning their pikots from props to jets.  With Canadian MB.326 production, I could see the various Canadian and perhaps some of the US airlines using a similar training method.  Since the MB.326Dx were finished in Alitalia's then current paint scheme, I could see some colorful possibilities with other airlines.

I'm glad you're enjoying this.

Thanks for the details from your experience. I'll keep them in mind and maybe work them in somehow.

The Prairie Rattler is pretty much the armed MB.326 as known from real life; Cannons where the back seat would be.

The F-104 nosed MB.326 would certainly be interesting, though I'm not sure how far down the F-104 road I'll go in this story.

IN this story, the armed MB.326 runs on the idea that perhaps the Fiat G.91 never came to be, but interest remained in a light attack platform.
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