CP Air's Fleet of Douglas DC-3's

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.

CP Air's Fleet of Douglas DC-8's

The DC8 was Douglas' first jet powered airliner and the United States second behind the Boeing 707. Douglas announced the development of the DC8 in June 1955 a year after the prototype 707 took to the air. The DC8s first flight didn't occur until May 30 1958, just before the 707 entered service with Pan American. Certification was given on August 31 1959 and entered service with launch customers United and Delta on September 18 of the same year. This one year offset did eventually cost Douglas sales and the 707 out sold the DC8 in the end 2 to 1. The initial short fuselage DC8 came in five versions. The Series 10, designed for the US domestic market, was powered by Pratt and Whitney turbojets. A total of 28 were produced and delivered to Delta and United. The Series 20 was similar, but with more powerful turbojets and sales totaling 34. The Series 30 was designed for intercontinental use incorporating higher fuel capacity and a strengthened fuselage and landing gear. Sales of the DC8-30 totaled 57.

The Series 40 was the first turbofan powered airliner in the world. Powered by Rolls Royce Conway turbofans, the DC8-40 produced better efficiency, less noise and less smoke. However, the Series 40 sold poorly due to US airlines reluctance on purchasing a foreign product and the Pratt and Whitney turbofan engine was due out within a year. Total sales for the DC8-40 reached 32 with the only customers being Trans Canada Air Lines (later Air Canada), Alitalia and Canadian Pacific Airlines. The Series 50, the last version of the baby DC8s, was powered by Pratt and Whitney turbofans with sales totaling 88.

Canadian Pacific Airlines (CPAL), the predecessor to CP Air, took delivery of its first DC8-43 on February 22 1961 followed by three more examples in April, May and November of the same year.

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.

Two additional DC8-43s were acquired by CPAL, one in May 1963 and the second in October 1965. The second example CF-CPK was written off while attempting to land at Tokyo Haneda Airport in bad weather on March 4 1966. The DC8-43s were utilized on CP Air's international and transcontinental routes up until the end of 1981 by which time all had been sold off.
The Series 50 was the most popular of the short fuselage DC8s. With more powerful Pratt and Whitney engines and a redesigned wing, the 50 Series produced less drag than earlier versions of the DC8 and thus greater range. In an all economy layout the aircraft could seat up to 179 passengers. Douglas produced another variant the DC8-53AB, which stood for 'aft bulkhead extension', increasing the maximum seating capacity to 189. The first DC8-53 was delivered to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines on April 3 1961. It remained in commercial service with various operators until it was dismantled in 1985.

Canadian Pacfic Airlines (CPAL), the predecessor to CP Air, took delivery of its only DC8-53 on May 31 1966. CP Air used the aircraft on its international and transcontinental routes until June 1982 when it was sold.

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.
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CP Air's Fleet of Boeing 727's

The Boeing 727 is a short to medium range airliner and the second most successful jet airliner ever built. Design began in June 1959 with consultations between United and Eastern. United was looking for a four engined aircraft to service its high altitude airports such as Denver, while Eastern wanted the efficiency of a three engined design to serve its over water flights to the Caribbean. With the two airlines finally deciding on the trijet configuration and ordering 40 apiece, serious development on the 727-100 began.

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.

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CP Air's Fleet of Boeing 737's

The Boeing 737 is the world's most popular commercial jet aircraft. With more than 6000 orders to date and over 5000 delivered, it is the most produced commercial jet airliner of all time and has been in continuous production since 1967. The 737, in its many variants, is so numerous that at any given time, there are over 1200 in the air worldwide. On average, one takes off or lands every 5 seconds.
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.
CP Air also had a business commuter airline within the airline called Attache which had 2 leased 737-300's painted in a white and gray livery. It flew between Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax. One other CP 737 had a white livery, a Britannia Airways 737-200 that CP Air leased for a few short months.
CP Air's Boeing 737s were not christened with "Empress" titles like the larger planes in the fleet. Eventually this changed in early 1984 when it was announced the planes would be painted with Empress titles of the names of the bases they normally served.

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