Friday, May 05, 2006


Vintage Canadian Aviation Stories: "Born" in a "Norseman"!

I have mentioned in "posts" before that one of the reasons I do this Blog is to renew old acquaintances, meet new people, and hear some aviation stories besides my own. Well, I just met a new fellow aviation enthusiast by the name of Dominique Beaulieu. He is a Private Pilot from Saskatchewan and he had e-mailed me to say he liked my Blog, and was considering Commercial Pilot License flight training. At the end of his first e-mail, he gave me a "tantalizing taste" of an aviation story that was part of the fabric of his family. He had me hooked. Check out how it all unfolded............

From: "Dominique Beaulieu"
Subject: Good Blog!
Date: Mon, 1 May 2006 20:59:32

Hello Steve,

I just wanted to drop a line letting you know that I am an avid reader of your blog. I check your blog out nearly every day and see what you have to offer someone who can't stop thinking about flying and airplanes. I enjoy the wide range of topics and different aspects of aviation that you so easily seem to cover. I am a private pilot living in Regina, SK with my beautiful wife. I used to teach but am now working at SaskTel. I should just say that my career is thinking about flying and airplanes though,if only I got paid for it! I am entertaining the idea of continuing my training and getting both feet into flying. I understand that it is a long road, but I'm sure the rewards are endless. I'm not going to be like everyone else and ask you what you think I should do, I think it's apparent that you have thoroughly enjoyed, and are still enjoying your career so the decision is mine. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your blog and the personality that comes out of it (so many blogs out there are pretentious or downright annoying). I look forward to many more aviation stories/tales.

Take care,

Dominique Beaulieu

I just about sent this off when I thought of an aviation story I could share with you. My uncle was actually born in a Norseman. My grandmother was having some difficulties with her pregnancy back in 1948 in Rose Valley, SK (not far from Tisdale or Wadena -- not sure how familiar you are with SK) and she was picked up in a Saskatchewan Air Ambulance Norseman and was to be sent to Regina. Anyway, I guess
things vastly improved at 5,000 ft and my uncle was born. Apparently they turned around and went back to the point of departure once it was deemed that everyone was okay. The Norseman (CF-SAM) is now in the Moose Jaw Western Development Museum and apparently my uncle is the first Canadian to be born in an air ambulance. Oh, and my uncle is now the proud owner/pilot of a 1956 Cessna 172. How's that for irony....

Date: Tue, 2 May 2006 19:24:31
From: "Steven Taylor"
Subject: Re: Good Blog!
To: "Dominique Beaulieu"

Dominique, thanks for the e-mail. Sounds like you
really enjoy aviation, as I do. Flying training
nowadays has gotten quite expensive, but I would never
try to talk someone out of pursuing a dream. Flying,
especially in the bush, has been very rewarding to me.
Some days it is quite stressful, and it is hard work
and long hours, but when I sit on the dock at night
fishing, beside the Otter, with a beautiful sunset
"showing off", it all seems worth it. Especially when
the beer is cold and the barbecue is ready for the
"fresh walleye" you just caught. I just could never
see myself ever working inside. So, glad you like the
Blog, I have enjoyed writing it. One question: Could I
use your e-mail in a Post? The story about your Uncle
is "vintage Canadian aviation", and I laughed and
thoroughly enjoyed your short tale. No wonder
Canadians are so "tough"..............



From: "Dominique Beaulieu"
Subject: More Norseman Info.
Date: Wed, 3 May 2006 21:30:31
To: "Steven Taylor"


Yeah, sure, you can use my email in a post, that would be great! It's too bad though because I don't have any pictures of the plane to send along and I'm not sure when and if I'll be going to Moose Jaw anytime soon. However, I did find some information on the Internet regarding CF-SAM and also called my Uncle. Apparently the Government of Saskatchewan bought two Norsemans at the same time, CF-SAM and CF-SAN and flew them to Regina to start service with the air ambulance. As I told you, CF-SAM is now in a museum and after doing a quick search online it looks like CF-SAN is still happily flying the bush. After its service with the air ambulance CF-SAM went on to fill a number of different roles for the government before being sold. The flight that included my Uncle was on July 24, 1948 and it actually took off from Wadena, SK. Somewhere around Raymore, SK and at 5,000ft he was born. The pilot flying was named Julian Audette. I was surprised to learn that there was a postage stamp picturing CF-SAM in 1982!

Anyway, there's just a little more information and after emailing you the other day I got interested myself. I've found a couple of sites that have a bit more and I'm linking them below including a picture.

LINK - Plane pioneered Air Ambulance service

LINK - Artifact - Norseman Mark V Airplane CF-SAM

LINK - Novel service was first of its kind in the world (Information on Dominique's uncle Leon Dubreuil)


Well, I guess that's it for now. Thanks for the opportunity to share an aviation story with you and if you and that Otter of yours are ever in Southern Sask, be sure to look me up!

Take care,


As you have just read, a fantastic story. Born in a "Norseman". A lifelong "badge of honour" if you ask me. Between 1948-1968 17 babies were born in Saskatchewan Air Ambulance aircraft, and each one an enduring story on its own, I am sure. The geography of this great country and the great dedicated pilots who helped "web" the country together are without peer. "Men's" men, so to speak. Anyways, great story, thank you very much Dominique. I picture myself meeting you and your Uncle Leon one day at a social gathering, and sitting around a table of new acquaintances, "chewing the fat". Invariably, the conversation turns to the personal histories of the folks present, and a broad smile comes to my lips when someone asks your Uncle Leon; "And you, sir, 'where' were you born?"



Fine ship Noorduyn "Norseman" CF-SAM! Posted by Picasa

Beautiful "sister ship" CF-SAN! Posted by Picasa

CF-SAM "immortalized"! Posted by Picasa

CF-GUE, the only Norseman I have flown. She was "born" in 1943, S/N 542. This picture was taken in 1990 over the Icelandic River just south of my house by my late, good friend, Irv Bjarnason. Posted by Picasa

Most interesting, and especially so because it is a Canadian story!

Steve, you have a natural talent for writing, perhaps one day we will see a novel by you, "The Adventures of a Bush Pilot" (You might pick a better title)

Dominique, you seem to have that same talent, also! Good luck in your pursuits,too.
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