September 2011 - Four new videos have been added, three TV commercials and a video of a CP Air Boeing 737-200 landing at LAX.
February 2011 - "From the archives" feature has been discontinued due to lack of donations.
September 2010 - A donation page has been added to help ensure the survival of this website.
August 22 2010 - New posts will be added to the front page now on a regular basic called "From the Archives". They will feature interesting articles and pictures from archived CP Air Newsletters. Check back weekly for new posts.
Throughout its history Canadian Pacific Airlines, battled Canada's big airline, the government favored Trans Canada Airlines (later called Air Canada). Forced to fly less lucrative and traditional routes along with its domestics, CPA led by its charismatic first president Grant McConachie, opened up the Pacific and developed routes to the Far East, Australia, South America and Europe.
All of the aircraft in the Canadian Pacific Airlines fleet were christened with the name and callsign of Empress along with the name of the area they primarily served. For example CPA's first Douglas DC-8-43 was named Empress of Santiago. Later on when CP Air took delivery of their first Boeing 747 it was named Empress of Asia. These names were not necessarily permanent, for example Empress of Asia was later changed to Empress of Japan. Naming the aircraft was a public relations move and not a means of identifying it. CP Air's fleet of 737s were not given Empress titles until 1984. Using Empress names had its beginnings in the late 1800's with the birth of the Empress fleet of ocean going passenger ships owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The New York advertising firm Lippincott & Margulies designed the corporate look for CP Air and it's livery. The advertising team came up with the hookline of "Orange is Beautiful" or "Orange, ca va loin," because, so the story goes, when the agency's chief executive was in San Francisco he saw an orange tree in full bloom and was deeply impressed by its vibrancy.
During the early era and turmoil of deregulation of the Canadian commercial aviation industry in the mid 80's CP Air made some aggressive moves to expand on its domestic market share and route network. Partnerships formed with smaller feeder airlines such as AirBC, Eastern Provincial Airways and Nordair. Eventually CP Air would acquire the latter two and amalgamate them into the company.
At the end of 1985, CP Air was working to re-invent itself and the then airline president Donald J. Carty wanted his employees to be the first to hear CP Air was reverting back to its old name, Canadian Pacific Air Lines. On December 17 1985 he used the Christmas issue of the airline's newsletter CP Air News to announce the phasing out of the orange livery before it was made public in January.
The new paint scheme featured planes with their lower fuselage and tail painted in blue and the upper body in white, both separated by a stripe of red. This time the new corporate image makeover was a purely Canadian contribution, designed by a Vancouver based firm West Graphika.
The multimark was modernized and renamed the "motionmark" introducing five horizontal stripes to depict all 5 continents that CP Air flew to. The name CP Air and its orange livery had been in use for 18 years and were introduced to emphasize the worldwide operations of the corporate parent, Canadian Pacific Limited. Strangely enough it was in the overseas market that the abbreviated name had the least impact.
While Canadians have been familiar with the initials C.P.R. and C.P, for generations, such was not the case abroad and, to many CP Air did not identify the airline as one of Canada's flag carriers. Worse, it caused confusion with Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific Airways which competed with CPAL on the Vancouver - Hong Kong route.
While it was planned the painting of the entire fleet would be complete in about 3 years it wasn't to last as In 1987 Canadian Pacific Air Lines was bought by Calgary based Pacific Western Airlines. The merging of each company and its employees formed Canadian Airlines International. Flying as that carrier lasted only until the year 2001 when the financially troubled Canadian Airlines was finally acquired by longtime rival Air Canada.
To this day more than 400 DC3s still remain in service worldwide proving its durability, longevity and profitability. Over 10,000 were built in both civil and military versions in the US including licensed copies in Japan as the Showa L2D and in the USSR as the Lisunov Li-2.
Development of the DC3 began in 1934 after the initial single versions of the DC1 and DC2 which made their inaugural flights in 1933 and 1934 respectively. At the request of American Airlines, Douglas was asked to develop an improved version of the DC2 to be used on transcontinental sleeper flights. This variant of the DC3 flew for the first time on December 17, 1935.
Prior to World War 2 the DC3 became the aircraft of choice for US airlines such as United, American, TWA and Eastern. With its great versatility and profitability more than 400 were sold by the end of 1941.
With the United States entering World War 2 in late 1941 the production of the DC3 increased significantly. The US Army's requirement for a transport aircraft resulted in the production of more than 10,000 military DC3s known as the C47 Skytrain. This aircraft became the standard for the US and its allies.
After the war thousands of surplus C47s were converted to civil service and became the backbone of the airline industry worldwide. Many of them remained in regular service well into the 1950s. Even today, over 70 years after its first flight, the DC3 remains in operation with small operators all over the world primarily in the cargo industry.The common saying amongst pilots and aviation enthusiasts is that "the only replacement for the DC3 is another DC3."
Canadian Pacific Airlines (CPAL), the predecessor to CP Air, acquired a fleet of 17 surplus C47s during 1946 and 1947. The aircraft were refurbished and entered service on domestic routes mainly to remote communities in Canada. With the withdrawal of these services in the late 1950s CPAL began selling off its fleet of DC3s however, CF-CRX remained with CP Air for pilot training purposes.
On July 4 1974 CF-CRX was used to fly a group of Air Cadets on a tour of the Fraser Valley, BC. The group landed at Abbotsford and after taking off the pilot was unable to get a positive indication that the landing gear had retracted. The pilot had no alternative but to return to Abbotsford and the crew and passengers were taken to Vancouver by bus. The following day CF-CRX was ferried to Vancouver with its landing gear down and on October 23 1974 the aircraft was sold.
Interesting to note, CF-CPG the forth DC8-43 delivered to CPAL, was the first commercial aircraft to exceed the speed of sound when it was being tested by Douglas prior to its delivery to CPAL on August 21 1961. During the test flight to confirm performance data on the new 4 percent leading edge, the DC-8-43 flew faster than the speed of sound. It occurred during a shallow dive over the Askania tracking range at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and was the first time a commercial jet airliner ever exceeded Mach 1.0.This feat was not repeated until a Russian Tu-144 exceeded Mach 1.0 on June 5, 1969, followed by the prototype Anglo-French Concorde on October 1, 1969. The 130th DC-8 to be built, destined to become CF-CPG of Canadian Pacific Air Lines, bore the Douglas test registration N9604Z at the time. The 52,090-foot altitude was also a record for commercial jet airliners at the time. This historic flight remains the only supersonic flight achieved by an airliner other than Concorde and the Tu-144. To commemorate the event, a small plaque was affixed to a bulkhead in CF-CPG. Sadly, after nearly 19 years of service with CPA, this historic aircraft was sold for scrap on March 17, 1980, having accumulated some 70,567 hours during 24,268 flights.
The DC8-55 was certified by the FAA on June 19 1964. Similar in most respects to the Series 53 and 54 except having a modified cabin layout and a strengthened landing gear. As with the Series 54, a DC8-55JT (Jet Trader) and 55CF (Combination Passenger/Freighter) version were offered. The 55JT could carry up to 189 passengers or 13 pallets of cargo where as the 55CF had a maximum seating capacity of 63 and 8 pallets of cargo. Unlike the Series 54, a strictly all freighter version was not offered.Canadian Pacific Airlines (CPAL), the predecessor to CP Air, took delivery of its sole DC8-55JT on November 17 1967. CP Air used the aircraft on its international and transcontinental routes until it was sold in early 1978.
In April of 1965 Douglas announced they were beginning design on three stretched versions of the DC8 known as the Super Sixty Series. The first was the DC8-61 which was designed as a high capacity airliner for domestic operations. The DC8-61 differed from the 50 Series in having two fuselage plugs which increased the length by 36ft 8in and increasing the passenger capacity to 259. First flight of the 61 Series occurred on March 14 1966 with certification granted in September of the same year.
The DC8-62 was designed for long range flights and incorporated a modest fuselage stretch of 6ft 8in compared with the 50 Series. Other changes included revised engine nacelles and pylons, greater wing span which reduced drag and increased fuel capacity and the option of more powerful Pratt and Whitney engines. The first DC8-62 took to the air on August 29 1966 with certification in April 1967. In addition to the standard DC8-62 other variants built included the 62H ( Heavy or Increased Gross Weight), 62CF (Combination Passenger and/or Freighter) and 62AF (All Freighter). All passenger versions had a capacity of up to 189 with the all freighter carrying 14 cargo pallets.
The final stretched version was the DC8-63. It combined the fuselage of the DC8-61 with the wings of the DC8-62. First flight for the 63 Series occurred on April 10 1967 with certification in late June of the same year. Along with the basic DC8-63 other versions included the 63CF (Combination Passenger and/or Freighter), 63AF (All Freighter) and the 63PF which was a passenger version with stronger freighter specifications at the request of Eastern Air Lines. The last DC8-63 was delivered in 1972 to SAS ending the production of the Super Sixty Series. In total 262 DC8-61, 62 and 63s were built.
CP Air took delivery of its first two DC8-63s in January of 1968. Two more followed in February and June of the same year with the fifth and final example arriving in September 1972. CP Air used these aircraft mainly on there European and Pacific routes until they were sold off.
The 727 was built around the same fuselage cross section as the 707 with a smaller lower fuselage due to less baggage being carried on shorter range flights. Also, a newly designed wing incorporating triple slotted Krueger flaps and power supplied by three Pratt and Whitney turbofans gave it excellent field and climb performance. Since the aircraft was going to be used at smaller regional airports with fewer facilities, an auxiliary power unit (APU) was added to the design to supply its own ground power as well as a built in rear airstair to supplement passenger loading.
The first 727-100 took to the air on February 9, 1963 and entered service with Eastern one year later. Several variants were offered including a 727-100C "convertible" and a 727-100QC "quick change". Freight was loaded through a large side cargo door located on the left side of the aircraft just aft of the main entry door. Production of the 727-100 ended in 1973 with 582 being produced. More than 300 still remain in commercial service today.
CP Air took delivery of its first two 727-100s in early 1970 followed by two more in early 1971. The type was used on domestic routes as well as to the US. However, the 727 did not have the range or passenger capacity for its international routes and turned out to be too large and inefficient for its domestic network. CP Air decided that the 737 was the aircraft of choice for its domestic routes and sold all of its 727-100s by mid 1977.
In 1965, barely a year after the 727-100 entered service, Boeing began development on a stretched version, the 727-200. The newer version was essentially a 20 ft stretch of the 727-100 increasing the maximum passenger capacity to 189. This fuselage stretch consisted of two 10 foot plugs, one forward and one aft of the wing. Otherwise the 727-100 and 200 shared identical engines, fuel capacity and maximum takeoff weight.
The 727-200 first took to the air on July 27, 1967 with certification granted three months later. In December 1967 the 200 was placed into service by launch customer Northeast Airlines and by early 1968 orders for the 727 had surpassed the 500 mark. Although the 727-200 garnered significant sales, it was restricted in its range due to having the same fuel capacity as the 100. In answer to this Boeing developed the longer range Advanced 727-200. First flown in March 1972 major changes included on the Advanced model were increased fuel capacity, thus longer range, the option of more powerful engines and structural improvements. When production of the 727-200 ceased in 1984 more than 1200 had been sold.
CP Air took delivery of its two 727-200s in early 1975 and used them primarily on domestic routes. As with the 727-100, the 200s were found to be unsuitable for these routes as they were too large and inefficient. Deciding that the 737 fit better into the domestic network, CP Air sold off its two 727-200s in early 1984.
Fleet Info (Click to Enlarge):
The 737 was born from the need for Boeing to develop a short range small capacity jet airliner to compete with the BAC111 and DC9 which were already in development. Initial design began in 1964 in consultation with launch customer Lufthansa. Originally the design called for a 60 to 85 seater but with further discussion it was decided that the aircraft would seat 100. The 737-100 made its maiden flight on April 9, 1967 and entered service with Lufthansa in February 1968. Lufthansa was the only customer to order the 737-100 with only 30 being produced. The larger capacity 737-200, a stretch of 6 feet 4 inches over the 100, made its initial flight on August 8, 1967 and was first delivered, to launch customer United, in December of the same year. In 1968 additional variants were offered, the 737-200C, a convertible passenger/cargo version, and the 737-200QC "quick change". Also an unprepared airfield kit was offered. In 1969 the 737-200 advanced model was made available. This version had more powerful engines, redesigned slats and flaps as well as a fully automatic braking system all to improve takeoff and landing performance. The 737-200 remained in production until 1988 with a total of 1114 being built.
CP Air took delivery of its first 737-200 CF-CPB on October 22, 1968. This aircraft was the first to wear the airline's orange livery and the first 737 to enter revenue service in Canada. Through the years CP Air acquired an additional 23 737-200s of various types plus 3 leased aircraft. The 737s were used on routes throughout Canada, the US, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Fleet Info (Click to Enlarge):