In celebration of its 85th anniversary, Air Canada on Wednesday (Sept. 7) donated its historic aircraft, an original Lockheed L-10A Electra airplane to Winnipeg's Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.
The aircraft, the first fleet type flown by the carrier, made its final journey as it taxied from the Air Canada hangar at Winnipeg International Airport to the Museum at a handover ceremony. The airplane will go on permanent public display as an iconic piece of aviation history.
The aircraft, with registration CF-TCC, was one of three purchased by Air Canada's forerunner, Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA), in 1937.
It was until recently one of only two Lockheed L10-A Electra aircraft still flying in the world.
Named after a bright star in the Pleiades star cluster, the 10A Electra was the pride of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation.
In the 1930s, this twin-engine, all-metal monoplane was the exciting new face of commercial aviation.
"There is no more fitting preservation and commemoration for one of our original aircraft than to have TCC be on permanent display in Winnipeg, which was one of TCA's original hubs when the airline began operations in 1937 thanks to its central location in our country,” said Captain Murray Strom, senior vice-president – flight operations at Air Canada.
“Air Canada has a long and rich history connecting Canadians from coast to coast which continues to this day, and it all started with the Lockheed L-10A 85 years ago. As we celebrate our 85th anniversary, we mark this milestone by ensuring that such an important part of Canadian aviation history will be available for Canadians and aviation enthusiasts to enjoy for many years to come,"
History of CF-TCC
CF-TCC was one of three L-10A aircraft purchased by Trans-Canada Air Lines.
The L-10A aircraft type operated TCA's inaugural flight on September 1, 1937, a 50-minute trip from Vancouver to Seattle carrying mail and two passengers.
TCA had acquired the route plus two Lockheed L‐10A aircraft from Canadian Airways. In that same month, TCA bought three additional Lockheed L‐10A aircraft, brand new, from the Lockheed factory for $73,000 each.
These aircraft were dubbed the "Three Sisters" and carried the registrations CF‐TCA, CF‐TCB, and CF‐TCC. The first aircraft, CF‐TCA is now at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.
CF-TCC last flew in 2018, and was one of two remaining Lockheed L‐10A Electra aircraft still flying in the world.
After being operated by TCA from 1937 to 1939, CF‐TCC was sold to the Department of Transport – Canada.
During the next 40 years, the aircraft was sold several times to various private corporations and individuals.
In 1962, CF-TCC was leased by TCA and six of the original TCA pilots operated a commemorative flight across Canada on the occasion of TCAs 25th Anniversary.
In 1975, a retired Air Canada employee recognized the faded old registration marks on the aircraft while attending an air show in Texas.
Air Canada kept track of the aircraft until 1983, at which point the airline purchased back the aircraft, restored it, and flew it during the Air Canada 50th Anniversary celebrations in 1986.
At the end of the Fifty stop Canadian tour, CF‐TCC was featured in the Air Canada pavilion during Expo 86 in Vancouver.
Since 1986, the aircraft has been maintained in flying condition.
Volunteers and support from the broader aviation community, including from Air Canada Maintenance and Flight Operations, over the years have dedicated thousands of hours of personal time and other contributions into keeping CF‐TCC flying for generations to enjoy.
When not flying, the aircraft has been based in the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba, or stored in Air Canada's Winnipeg hangar.
On Sept. 21, 2007, it recreated TCA's first flight from Vancouver to Seattle, marking Air Canada's 70th Anniversary.
In 2012, as part of Air Canada's 75th Anniversary Celebrations, CF‐TCC made several air show and public appearances, showcasing Air Canada's heritage and the history of commercial aviation in Canada.
In 2017 to mark the carrier's 80th anniversary, Air Canada's Lockheed 10A took to the skies for a cross country tour, beginning with a public appearance at the Royal Aviation Museum in Winnipeg.
Along the way, the aircraft made stops in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Quebec City.
In 2022, on occasion of Air Canada's 85th anniversary, the airline's Lockheed 10A made its final journey to the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada in Winnipeg.
CF-TCC was taxied to the Museum from Air Canada's Hangar by the aircraft's long-time advocates and volunteers, Retired Captain Robert Giguere, Retired Captain Gerry Norberg, Retired Aircraft Maintenance Engineer George Huntington, and Air Canada Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Mike Clarkson.