2001 Netletter #548 Jan 4th, 2001

#548 Jan 4th, 2001
T H E                    _| TCA |_
_|| AIR |/|_
N E T L E T T E R   >  CANADA   <
( For retirees of the new Air Canada family)

Number 548 Jan 4th, 2001,  We first Published in October 1995

Chief Pilot - Vesta Stevenson   -      Co-pilot  - Terry Baker

To get in touch with either editor/pilot our  email address is
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


. From the RAPCAN eMailNews issued by Duane Frerichs -
Still another saga on the Vickers Vanguard !
The following is a reprint from the CALPA (R) October 1995 Newsletter that
might be of interest to our VANGUARD fans:
Remembering the Vanguard  By Captain Murray Wallace
A year or so ago I wrote a piece for this newsletter about my
recollections of the Bristol Freighter. A lot of people commented
favourably upon it, so I thought I might try my luck again - this time
with the story of TCA and Air Canada's involvement with the Vanguard.
Unlike the Bristol, we had many more Vanguards, 23 in all, and it operated
for a period of ten years rather than three, so a great many more of us
were involved. Perhaps this will bring back a few fond (or unfond) memories.
I must emphasize that this is not a deeply researched article, but mainly
my own recollections, backed up by a few old books and notes from that
period, and reference to Janes "All the World's Aircraft".

To begin with "Why the Vanguard"? We must remember that in the 1950's,
when the world's Airlines were making fleet plans for the next decade or
more, everyone was convinced that the pure jet would not be economical
over short to medium routes, and that a big turbo-prop would be required
to fill this gap. The Bristol Britannia was considered a bit too large and
expensive (as well as being three years behind in deliveries) and the
choice ended up being between Lockheed's Electra, and the Vanguard. TCA's
proven success with the Viscount, and the rapport built up with Vickers
over the years had a great deal to do with the final decision. Another
factor was the Rolls-Royce Tyne engine, as their Conway had been selected
for the DC-8's. TCA ordered twenty-three Vanguards, with delivery
scheduled for early 1960. However, problems with the Tyne engine delayed
the first delivery until late that year, with more arriving in 1961 and
1962. When they finally arrived what an imposing sight they were! With a
wingspan of 118 feet, and a length of about 123 feet, they were more than
"just a big Viscount". Each of the Tynes put out 5050 SHP plus a static
thrust of 1265 pounds, and the whole affair grossed 146,500 pounds. They
carried 108 passengers and could hold 5100 imp. Gallons of fuel. There was
also a cargo capacity of over 1500 cubic feet, a very important factor.
They cruised about 85 knots faster than the Viscount, and normally
operated between 15,000 and 20,000 feet.

However, their arrival was no bed of roses for TCA. Due to late deliveries
to BEA we were the first airline to put them into scheduled service, and
problems commenced immediately. The Tynes required a lot of maintenance,
and hydraulic leaks were legend. At one point most of the fleet sat
bleeding to death on the ramp until it was discovered that the seals in
the system didn't like Skydrol, which TCA had specified. Then windshields
started to crack, and when the British manufacturer couldn't replace them
a big delay was involved before an American firm was able to come up with
a better design. At one time the ramp at the Dorval base had several
Vanguards with aluminum panels installed where the windshields should be
(to keep out the weather and birds I guess) while waiting for new screens.
Early in the program maintenance delays were so common that the
Trans-Continental flights were backed up by a Constellation standing by
(the famous "Conguard"), and it frequently took over the flight.
Passenger acceptance was also less than enthusiastic. The new aircraft was
noisier than the Viscount, and despite efforts to eliminate it over the
years, suffered severe vibration. A few minutes seated on the forward
toilet, right between the engines, gave one a great prostate massage.
My personal involvement didn't happen until early 1962, by which time a
lot of these problems had been overcome. Ground school at our brand new
training center at Dorval was the usual four weeks "nuts and bolts" course
of that era. The instructors that I recall were Jerry Quinn, Glen Cawker,
and Scotty Stewart. It immediately became apparent that this was in some
ways a very strange bird.

It fell to Glen to teach the electrical system, which seemed incredibly
complicated. Each engine had a frequency-wild alternator (to avoid the
complication of a constant-speed drive, according to the manual!) The
resultant AC was fed to 4 transformer-rectifiers which converted it to DC.
This in turn was fed to inverters which converted it back to AC of a
frequency that the instruments and radios could use. As if this wasn't
enough, there were 2 more alternators on the outboards used for tail and
windshield de-icing.

The hydraulic system had a pump on each engine and operated the landing
gear, flaps, brakes and nose-wheel steering. The system had the usual
pressure gauges, and also, by the Captain's left knee four mysterious
"Hydraulic Low Flow" lights which nobody really understood. In
desperation, Maintenance finally removed the bulbs from the lights and
painted the gauges matte black! From then on we had few problems in flight
with hydraulics!

There was no power-assist on the flight controls which were operated by
servo tabs in flight. However, it took a stupendous effort to move them
through their entire range during the before take-off check. The only
power trim was on the rudder, which had a high speed electric motor,
needed badly in the event of an engine failure!

Pressurization was handled by two huge Rootes type blowers mounted on the
inboards rather than the now familiar bleed air system, and these too were
a constant source of trouble. There was also a strange resonance in the
ducting which usually became apparent while reducing power at the top of
the climb. The result was an enormous rumble, known to all as "The
Elephant's Fart" emerging from the ducting right behind the right pilot
seat. It was fun to wait for the F/O's reaction to this the first time it
happened, followed immediately by a terrified scream from the girls in the
forward galley!

The cockpit however was a pilot's dream. This was probably the last
aircraft where TCA had the final say in flight-deck design, and it really
was great. Everything was right where you expected it to be. The nose
section was so large that you entered your seat by walking erect around
the outboard side of the seat and just sitting down! A large space beside
the seats accommodated your flight bag, and there was a fold-down table
for charts. Everything was adjustable, including the control wheels, which
could be moved up and down. Each pilot had his own set of interlinked
throttles, weather radar scope and nose-wheel steering. The central
pedestal looked very much as it would today, with all the radios,
autopilot, cabin intercom and trim tab controls close to hand. Flight
instruments were state of the art for 1960, with split needle ADI's and
HSl's and RMI's on both panels. The autopilot could be operated in both
NAV and Approach modes, and did quite acceptable auto approaches. The
flight deck featured our first built-in mechanical checklist, folding up
from the center of the glare shield. Feathering and fire controls were
grouped along the edge of the shield.

Vickers and BEA had designed the Vanguard to be a three crew member
operation, and as a result there was a second overhead panel out of reach
of the pilot's seats which mainly consisted offset them and forget them"
switches and indicators. After a lengthy negotiation with CALPA and the
MOT it was agreed that TCA would fly with two pilots, and this panel was
covered up by a hinged aluminum panel. Officially termed the "Maintenance
Panel" you will all remember it as the "Lindy" panel. Over the years
little holes kept appearing in it as it was decided that some warning
light or switch had to be accessible. By the time the Vanguard was
retired, there were more holes than panel!

The engines were equipped with enormous electric starters rather than the
now familiar pneumatics and needed a hefty ground power unit to get them
wound up. Engine start was largely automatic, except that when the RPM and
temperatures stabilized in what was called "Low Ground Idle" a start lever
ahead of each throttle was moved to "Run" and the engine then accelerated
to "High Ground Idle" The propeller featured a BETA range on the ground
where throttle movement only changed the pitch of the giant 4 bladed
propellers. Incidentally, as the reduction gear ratio was around 16'. 1,
the propeller was only turning at around 200 RPM in Low Ground Idle. You
could almost count the blades!

Four fuel trim levers were set for take-off according to ambient
conditions, and take off was then at full throttle. No reduced thrust for
this bird! Once the throttles were advanced a hinged stop dropped down to
prevent moving them back into the BETA range. This made for a fast
two-handed game on landing or rejected take-off as the PNF had to remove
it to allow return to BETA again. This put the blades almost flat at idle,
and gave sensational deceleration. Reverse was available, but seldom
necessary, especially after you used it for the first time with snow on
the runway and visibility went to zero-zero! Reverse could also be used to
back up, but care was needed in using the brakes - it was easy to end up
with the nose wheel about three feet in the air. Nose wheel steering was
heavy but positive, and also had its own peculiarity. If you managed to
get it beyond 70 degrees (or if the towing crew left it that way) it
turned into a giant caster with no control whatsoever. It was possible to
get it through 180 degrees, and if you didn't have room to jiggle around
until it got back into the steering range it was necessary to get a
tractor and tow bar to straighten it up.

Ground school finally ended and we progressed to the simulator. It was not
a bad machine for it's day - built by Redifon in England, and analog, not
digital. The whole floor of the building was filled with giant cabinets
full of vacuum tubes, little brass gears and "suitable linkages." I can
still see John L. Sullivan tearing around with a little wheel-barrow
changing tubes! No visual system of course, but this was normal for the time.
I was teamed up with Jack Breen, and Jack E. Smith was our instructor. At
that time there was no organized syllabus of instruction in use, so you
never knew what was going to happen next! We managed to get through it
eventually and progressed to the real thing. Jack Smith had to go to the
UK to take part in one of the delivery flights, so AI Wilton took over at
this point. Flight training was pretty extensive in those days, and
included such things as full stalls and two engined approaches and
go-arounds (with one leathered and the other on the same side at a zero
thrust setting). This last was pretty hairy, and I remember AI repeating
"Get your speed back" and me mentally saying "Do you think I'm out of my
mind?" With 7000 feet of runway a few knots extra never hurt anyone." Bill
Irving gave us our final check ride - the only MOT involvement was to have
them endorse our licenses after it was all over.

Back to YYZ and on the line, I was pretty junior on the equipment and
therefore on reserve for some time. However this made life interesting, as
the Vanguard was by then flying from coast to coast, as well as to New
York, Chicago, Tampa, and the Caribbean. By now the aircraft had settled
in, but strange things were still happening. On one flight between YWG and
YYZ the cabin blower on No. 3 seized up and disintegrated. The only
cockpit indication was an amber warning light and the fact that the flying
pieces knocked the throttle and fuel controls off the side of the engine,
leaving it merrily running at cruise power with no control whatsoever. As
the blower automatically de-clutched and one supercharger could carry the
system, I felt it unnecessary to shut the engine down and alarm the
passengers, so I left it running in cruise power until just before
touch-down and then feathered it. Cabin blowers were a common problem at
the time, as the blades of the blower would creep and suddenly seize the
whole thing up. The solution was typically British. They wrapped the
supercharger in steel cable and enclosed it in a sort of armoured garbage
can to catch the pieces!

On another flight Duffy Dwyer and I were just about on the ground at
Toronto when an engine suddenly auto-feathered (ADLS'd was the term used
standing for "Automatic Drag Limiting System," much easier to remember
than Auto-Feathering) so we just landed and wrote it up in the log book.
Later, on my days off, Don Lowry called me to come in and fill out an
"Engine failure in Flight or Precautionary Shut- Down Report." When I
protested that we were on the ground 5 seconds after it happened he
insisted, so I filled it out literally: "Altitude- about 6 inches."
"Nearest suitable airport - YYZ." "Outline your reasons for landing at
this airport -It seemed to be the thing to do at the time." Never heard
another word about it!

On another YUL-YYZ flight, Gary Anderson and I (you're really old when all
the young F/O's you flew with are now retired 747 Captains!) started
slowly losing cabin pressure. A few seconds later an excited flight
attendant arrived to tell us that there was a loud howl coming from one of
the rear washrooms. I went back to investigate and had a hard time getting
the door opened. When I finally did, I discovered our cabin pressure (and
all the towels, toilet paper and my tie) disappearing down the toilet! It
ruled out that the cap had come off the holding tank and the check valve
had failed. As near as I can guess, we dumped the entire contents
somewhere around Perth. Thank the Lord - no one was seated on the
contrivance at the time!

On a flight with Moe Servos alongside we had just departed Edmonton when
the cockpit started to fill with acrid smoke. We returned and discovered
that one of the two compass transformers had shorted. It was possible to
remove the unit, and the aircraft had a switch that allowed you to operate
both compass indicators from either side. The MEL allowed this procedure
in order to reach a main base, so we departed again for Vancouver. Around
Rocky Mountain House the remaining transformer did the same thing, so we
pulled the fuses (believe it or not, the Gyrosyns had great big English
fuses) from it, leaving us with the little magnetic compass in the roof as
our only source of direction. It was very turbulent on descent, and when
Moe advised the center of our problem, they immediately said "Roger - turn
left to 240". Moe answered "Hell - we don't even know where North is!"
There is a follow up to this story - a few years later I was coerced into
instructing on the Vanguard, and mindful of this compass problem, ! always
showed trainees where the transformers were located (in a compartment
behind the hat stowage hole in the radio rack). One day while doing this,
when the compartment was opened it contained six bottles of Appleton
Estate as well as the transformers. Apparently some pilot bought them
duty- free in Jamaica, hid them there, and hoped they would still be in
place on his next non-customs flight on the aircraft (they weren't). I'll
bet one of you reading this has always wondered where they went!
The Vanguard was built like a battleship. On one memorable flight in 1963
George Smith encountered the down part of a mountain wave over the east
slope of the Rockies and dropped over a thousand feet in a split second.
Some seats came adrift and several passengers and flight attendants were
injured. One passenger died of a heart attack (George almost did!). This
was the only fatality in the ten years and over 400,000 hours of our
Vanguard operation. The aircraft never even popped a rivet!

The Vanguard had both forward and rear airstairs. For some strange reason,
it was impossible to operate the rear stairs unless the left prop brakes
were on (it actually required these to stop the huge 15 foot paddles after
shut-down). However, the front stairs could operate with the engines
running! There was a red warning light by the switch to warn the girls
that the brakes were not on, but faithful to Murphy's law it could happen.
One day at O'Hare I was sent by ground control to hold in the famous
"Penalty Box" while awaiting a gate. After being stopped for a minute or
two, I was astounded to look out and see several of our passengers
wandering around in front of the running engines about two miles from the

As mentioned above, in the fall of 1965 Kent Davis talked me into
instructing on the Vanguard "for a few months". Much to my surprise I
enjoyed it immensely. took it on permanently, and continued doing it on
various aircraft for the next seventeen years.

Actually, most of us learned to love the Vanguard, and the Airline flew it
for ten years without a major incident. With only a 16,000 pound gap
between Max T/O and Max LDG it was very versatile. It was possible to fly
from Montreal to Torbay making all the stops without refuelling if you
only needed adjacent alternates. It was a very stable instrument platform,
once you learned to keep that big rudder trimmed, and a joy to handle on
slippery runways due to the ground fine and reverse features.

In all, there were only 44 Vanguards built. Vickers kept the prototype and
eventually scrapped it. Twenty went to BEA, where some of our pilots
furloughed in the '60's flew them. The remaining 23 were all TCA Series
952's. One of them (911 CF-TJK) was converted to a cargo liner by Air
Canada in 1966, but without the addition of a wide door. It had a payload
of 42,000 pounds and flew in that configuration until it was retired as
our last Vanguard in 1971. When they became redundant most of them went to
a company called Air Holdings in a complicated deal involving the
financing of the L- 1011's. From there they ended up all over the world.
I have more information on the fate of some of them, but I feel it's
beyond the scope of this short article.

I left the Vanguard in 1966 to move onto the shiny new DC-9, but like most
of us who flew her, will always have fond memories of this great aircraft.
The next time you're enjoying happy hour, be sure and hoist your glass to
the old "Mudguard".

" ' "

. Terry's travel tips.
Brought to you by Interlining Plus -
7 day Caribbean Barbados/Southbound;
Sailing from Barbados, Nevis, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Iles Des Saintes,
Pigeon Island  *From $695 us    January 21, 2001
*From $895 us     February 18, March 18
7 day Caribbean Barbados/Northbound;
Sailing from Barbados, Tobago, Bequia, Fort-De-France, Grande Anse,
Pigeon Island, Mayreau
*From $895 us February 11, 25 & March 11, 2001
Amazon River Cruise 17 day cruise Inside  from $1299 us Ocean  from $1549 us
February 12, 2001   Sailing from Ft. Lauderdale return
Orinoco River Cruise 12 day cruise Inside from $799 us Ocean from $999 us
March 01, 2001 Sailing from Ft. Lauderdale return
Maya Equinox Cruise 11 day cruise Inside  from $799 us Ocean  from $999 us
March 13, 2001
Sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to Montego Bay, Isla de Roatan, Puerto Cortes,
S. Tomas de Castilla, Belize City, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel & Key West
Unforgettable WORLD CRUISE...from $48 us/day
72 day World Cruise Sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome
Ocean View stateroom from $3449 us  February 15, 2001
19 day World Cruise: Australia - Southeast Asia Sail from Sydney to Singapore
Ocean View stateroom from $1354 us  March 18, 2001
23 day World Cruise: India, Egypt & Mediterranean Sail from Singapore to Rome
Ocean View stateroom from $1624 us  April 6, 2001
RESERVATIONS  call toll free 1-800-665-3100
All rates are per person based on double occupancy - taxes + port charges
not are included.

Bill Willows sends this info -
Came across this web site which may be of interest to
.....Altho the site is a come-on to entice one to buy the book, it does provide
lots of useful free info.
The book "Florida Bound: The Essential Guide for Canadian Snowbirds" was
written by Andrew Cummings.  Another similar book written by Douglas
Gray "The Canadian Snowbird Guide" this latter book includes most
everything one need to know about Living Part-time in the U.S.A. &
Mexico.           - Bill Willows  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

" ' "
. Smilie.
Airline abreviations -
ALITALIA - Always late in take-off, always late in arrival
BOAC     - Better on a camel.
CAAC     - Chinese airline always cancelled.
DELTA    - Departing even later than anticipated.
EAL        - Eastern's always late.
ELAL      - Every landing always late.
JAT        - Joke about time.
LIAT       - Leave island any time.
LOT       - Luggage on tarmac.
PIA        - Panic in the air.
SABENA - Such a bloddu experience never again.
SAS       - Sweet and sexy.
SIA        - So incredible, Aaah
TACA     - Take a chance airline.
TAP      - Take another plane.

" ' "

That you can read or retrieve back issues of  "theNetLetter" ?
Just visit our web site at:
and click on the "Archives" button.
This area is only open to "the NetLetter"  subscribers and you will
need the following password to enter -
User Name: netletter  Password: vesta

Mailing of 'the NetLetter" is a service of the ACFamily Network
**************http://www.acfamily.net **************