Tp 78 - Noorduyn UC-46A Norseman (1948-1959)

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R.B.C. Noorduyn, founder of the Noorduyn Aircraft Limited, designed a typical aeroplane for ”bush-flying” in the remote areas of Canada. It should be able to be used with wheels, skis or floats, be high-winged to give the pilot a good view and to have a powerful engine. The prototype, named Norseman I, flew for the first time on 12 November 1935. The somewhat modified variants Norseman II and Norseman III, became soon popular by small airliners. 

The fuselage consisted mainly of a framework of chrome-steel piping covered with canvas. The wings had wooden spars and ribs. The front edge of the wings was covered with duralumin.  

The rigid landing gear was - like other Canadian ”bush-planes” - fitted with shock absorbers of both hydraulic and pneumatic type. The change between wheels, skis or floats could be done fast. 

In the end of the forties, the Swedish Air Force bought three Norsemans for Search And Rescue/Flying Ambulance service. The three machines belonged from the beginning the USAAF, but were after the war purchased by the Swedish aviation enterprises ”Norrlandsflyg AB” (SE-ASC, SE-ASA) and ”Ahrenbergsflyg” (SE-ATB). They were of the USAAF variant UC-64A. In the Swedish Air Force they got the designation Tp 78 (Air Force numbers 78001 - 78003). The aeroplanes were painted all orange according to the regulations. In additions to the roundels of the Swedish Air Force, they got Red Cross markings on fuselage and wings. 

was former USAAF serial 43-35418. In 1946 it was registered in Sweden as SE-ASC and named "Sarek". It was purchased by the Air Force in April, 1948 and based at Wing F 2 at Hägernäs in Stockholm. In September, 1954 it was rebased to F 4 at Frösön in the province of Jämtland where it served until 1959. The aircraft begun a civil career again and was flown by Jämtlands Aero and Turistflyg i Arjeplog AB for about 20 years, now as SE-CLZ.

78002 was ex USAAF 44-70336, registered in Sweden in 1946 as SE-ASA and namned "Abisko". This aircraft was purchased by the Air Force in April, 1949. It was based at Wing F 21 at Kallax in the north of Sweden, but was later moved to F 4 and in June 1954 to F 2 at Hägernäs. It was destroyed about a month later in a crash at Blidö in the archipelago north of Stockholm.

78003 (ex USAAF 44-70294 and since 1946 SE-ATB) was taken over by the Air Force in December, 1951 and was based at F 2 until it was destroyed in a fire in September, 1956.

The Tp 78 had a flight crew of two from the Air Force. Usually, one civil doctor or nurse joined the crew at ambulance flights. At transport flights (without stretcher), eight passenger could be carried. 

The Tp 78 had one Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1 engine, delivering 600 hp.  

SE-CLZ (once 78001) was bought by Flygvapenmuseum in 1980 and restored close to Tp 78 standard (photo at bottom). The b/w photos at top and below show # 78003 in the time of its active service. Note that the museum aircraft lacks the original floats. These were replaced by floats from a SAAB S 17BS.

Lenght: 9,68 m. Span: 15,80 m. MTOW 3.363 kg. Max speed: 272 km/h (wheels) - 246 km/h (floats).

Stamp depicting the Canadian ambulance aircraft CF-SAM, a Noorduyn Norseman, similar to the Swedish ambulance aircraft.

CF-SAM was one of two Norseman aircraft bought by the Saskatchewan Air Ambulance Service in Canada in 1946. The need for this was great. Thousands of citizens lived in rural areas in this waste province. CF-SAM (C/n N29-27) is preserved and on display in the Western Development Museum. The memorial stamp was released in 1982.


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© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2010-02-16