Noorduyn Norseman Mk.6
Single-engine high-wing float/land utility bush monoplane, (country)

Archive Photos [1]

[Noorduyn Norseman Mk.VI (C-64A, UC-64A) 3-view drawing (Drawing copyright © 2012 Skytamer Images)]

[Noorduyn Norseman Mk.VI (RCAF 787/QT 787) on display (9/17/2003) at the Canada Aviation Museum, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Photo by John Shupek copyright © 2003 Skytamer Images)]

Overview [2]

    Noorduyn Norseman
  • Role: General aviation aircraft
  • Manufacturer: Noorduyn Aircraft Ltd.
  • Designer: Robert B.C. Noorduyn
  • First flight: November 14, 1935
  • Status: Around 18 remain in service
  • Primary user: Bush plane operators worldwide
  • Number built: 904, including prototypes

The Noorduyn Norseman is a Canadian single-engine bush plane designed to operate from unimproved surfaces. The partial streamlining of the landing gear, in the form of two small "wings" extending from the lower fuselage, is a distinctive feature of the design which makes it easily recognizable.

Originally introduced in 1935, the Norseman remained in production for almost 25 years with over 900 produced. A number of examples remain in commercial and private use to this day. Norseman aircraft are known to have been registered and/or operated in 68 countries throughout the world and also have been based and flown in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

Design and Development [2]

Designed by Robert B.C. Noorduyn, the Noorduyn Norseman was produced from 1935 to 1959, originally by Noorduyn Aircraft Ltd. and later by the Canada Car and Foundry company.

With the experience of working on many ground-breaking designs at Fokker, Bellanca and Pitcairn-Cierva, Noorduyn decided to create his own design in 1934, the Noorduyn Norseman. Along with his colleague, Walter Clayton, Noorduyn created his original company, Noorduyn Aircraft Limited in early 1933 at Montreal while a successor company bearing the name, Noorduyn Aviation, was established in 1935.

Noorduyn's vision of a bush plane revolved around a few basic criteria: it should be an aircraft with which a Canadian operator utilizing existing talents, equipment and facilities could make money, it should be a high-wing monoplane to facilitate loading and unloading of passengers and cargo at seaplane docks and airports and, finally, it should be an all-around superior aircraft to those in use in Canada. From the outset, Noorduyn designed the transport to have interchangeable wheel, ski or twin-float landing gear. Unlike most aircraft designs, the Norseman was first fitted with floats, then skis and, finally, fixed landing gear.

The final design layout looked much like Noorduyn's earlier Fokker designs, it was a high-wing braced monoplane with an all-welded steel tubing fuselage structure and wood stringers applied to it for the attachment of a fabric skin. The Norseman's wing had an all wood construction and was fabric covered, except for the flaps and ailerons, which were made of welded steel tubing. It had a divided type landing gear fitted to fuselage stubs, the legs were secured with two bolts each to allow the alternate arrangement of floats or skis. The tail wheel strut could be fitted with a wheel or tail skid.

Operational History [2]

The first Norseman, powered by a Wright R-975-E3 Whirlwind, was flight tested on floats on November 14, 1935 and was sold and delivered to Dominion Skyways Ltd. on January 18, 1936, registered as "CF-AYO" and named "Arcturus." In summer 1941, Warner Brothers leased CF-AYO for the filming of "Captains of the Clouds" starring James Cagney. Principal aerial photography took place near North Bay, Ontario with CF-AYO carrying temporary registration "CF-HGO." CF-AYO was lost in a crash in Algonquin Park in 1952. Its wreckage currently is on display at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre.

Almost immediately, the Norseman proved itself to be a rugged, reliable workhorse with steady sales. The first aircraft, CF-AYO, was designated the Norseman Mk I. The next aircraft, "CF-BAU," having some minor changes required after the certification tests, and a new Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp SC-1 engine up-rated from 420 to 450 hp, was designated Norseman Mk.II while the next three aircraft were Norseman Mk.III's: "CF-AZA" going to MacKenzie Air Service, Edmonton, Alberta, "CF-AZE" to Prospector Airways, Clarkson, Ontario and "CF-AZS" to Starrat Airways, Hudson, Ontario. "CF-BAU" would be modified on June 26, 1937 to became the prototype Norseman Mk.IV, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp S3H-1. The Norseman Mk.IV become the "definitive" model but the production run might have ended at a few hundred examples if not for the advent of the Second World War.

Second World War [2]

Until 1940, the Noorduyn company had sold only 17 aircraft in total, primarily to commercial operators in Canada's north and to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. With the outbreak of war in Europe, demand for a utility transport led to major military orders. The Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces became the two largest operators; the RCAF ordered 38 Norseman Mk.IVW's for radio and navigational training for the Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

USAAF Colonel Bernt Balchen had been involved in establishing a staging route across Greenland to facilitate the ferrying of aircraft from North America to Europe. He required a bush plane rugged enough to survive in the harsh conditions of the Arctic. After evaluating six Norsemans diverted from a previous RCAF order, late in 1941, he recommended the purchase of the Norseman Mk.IV specially modified to USAAF requirements as the YC-64A. After the US entry into the Second World War, the USAAF placed the first of several orders for a production version C-64A Norseman. The principal differences involved fitting two fuselage belly tanks bringing the standard fuel capacity to 201 Imp. gal (914 liters); an additional cabin fuel tank of 32 Imp. gal (145 liters) could also be installed. These changes resulted in an increase of 950 lb (431 kg) in the loaded weight of the standard Mk.IV. Deliveries began in mid-1942, with the American military eventually placing orders for 749 Norseman Mk.IV's as the C-64A (later UC-64A).

Throughout the Second World War, the USAAF Norseman aircraft were used in North America (primarily Alaska) as well as other in theaters of war, including Europe. Three UC-64A's were used by the US Navy under the designation JA-1. Six C-64B floatplanes were used by the US Army Corps of Engineers, as well as by other Allied air forces, who placed orders for 43 Norseman Mk.IV's. The RCAF ordered an additional 34 aircraft as Norseman Mk.VI. Noorduyn was the sole manufacturer, but when the USAAF considered ordering a larger number of C-64A's, license production of 600 by Aeronca Aircraft Corp. (Middletown, Ohio) was contemplated before the contract was cancelled in 1943.

It was a Norseman in which Glenn Miller was flying as a passenger when he disappeared over the English Channel on December 15, 1944.

Postwar [2]

In postwar production, the Canada Car and Foundry in Fort William, Ontario acquired rights to the Norseman design, producing a version known as the Norseman Mk.V, a civilian version of the wartime Mk.IV. In order to exploit the market further, the "Can Car" factory designed and built the Norseman Mk.VII. This version had a bigger engine, a new all-metal wing and greater cargo capacity but was fated never to go into production. With large Korean War commitments at that time, the company put it into temporary storage where it was destroyed in a hangar fire in September 1951.

In 1953, Noorduyn headed a group of investors who bought Back the jigs and equipment from Canada Car and Foundry and started a new company called Noorduyn Norseman Aircraft Ltd. Bob Noorduyn became ill and died at his home in South Burlington, Vermont on 22 February 1959 but the company he had created, provided support for operating Norseman aircraft and even built three new Norseman Mk.V's before selling its assets in 1982 to Norco Associates. Norco provided support services only, as the manufacture of a new Norseman aircraft, being labor intensive, was very expensive.

The last Noorduyn Norseman to be built was sold and delivered to a commercial customer on January 19, 1959. A total of 903 Norseman aircraft (Norseman Mk.I to Norseman Mk.V) were produced and delivered to various commercial and military customers. There are currently 30 Norseman aircraft on the active Canadian aircraft registry. The number in use worldwide is not known.

In recognition of the Norseman's role in serving the remote villages of northern Canada, the town of Red Lake, Ontario, a jumping-off point for remote communities in Northwestern Ontario, promotes itself as The Norseman Capital of the World. Each summer in July, the "Norseman Floatplane Festival" brings Norseman aircraft to Red Lake as the centerpiece of a community based weekend festival ranging from stage entertainment, children's games and rides, contests, cultural and historical displays and street vendors with craft and specialty booths.

The Canadian Second World War "ace-of-aces" George Beurling died in a Norseman while landing at Urbe Airport in Rome, Italy, in 1948.

Norseman aircraft have appeared in the films Grey Owl (1999) and The Snow Walker (2003).

Major Civil Operators [2]

  • Argentina: Aviación del Litoral Fluvial Argentino.
  • Canada: Austin Airways, Bearskin Airlines, Buffalo Airways, Canadian Airways & Western Canada Airways, Canadian Pacific Airlines, Central Northern Airways, Imperial Oil, Lamb Air, Ontario Provincial Air Service, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Saskatchewan Air Ambulance, Saskatchewan Government Airways, Starratt Airways.
  • Norway: Fjellfly, Norving, Widerøes Flyveselskap.

Military Operators [2]

  • Australia: Royal Australian Air Force - 14 aircraft were in service with the RAAF from 1943 to 1946, No. 1 Communications Unit RAAF, No. 3 Communications Unit RAAF, No. 4 Communications Unit RAAF, No. 5 Communications Unit RAAF, No. 7 Communications Unit RAAF.
  • Canada: Royal Canadian Air Force.
  • Costa Rica: Air Surveillance Service.
  • Cuba: Cuban Air Force.
  • Czechoslovakia: Czechoslovakian Air Force - Postwar.
  • Honduras: Honduran Air Force.
  • Israel: Israeli Air Force.
  • Netherlands: Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force.
  • Norway: Royal Norwegian Air Force.
  • Paraguay: Paraguayan Air Force.
  • Sweden: Swedish Air Force.
  • United Kingdom: Royal Air Force.
  • United States: United States Army Air Force, United States Air Force, United States Navy.

Specifications Norseman Mk.V (C-64A) [3]


  • Single-engine transport monoplane suitable for various military and civil duties.


  • High-wing braced monoplane.
  • Wing attached direct to top of fuselage longerons and braced to stubs by steel tube Vee struts.
  • Structure consists of routed solid spruce spars with walnut packing-pieces under fittings, spruce ribs, steel-tube drag struts and swaged wire bracing, duralumin covered leading-edge, fabric covering.
  • Flaps and ailerons have steel tube frame and fabric covering.
  • Slotted mass-balanced ailerons and flaps.
  • Ailerons droop as flaps with first half of flat movement.


  • Welded chrome-molybdenum steel-tube framework, faired to an oval section by steel-tube frames and "T" section spruced stringers and covered with fabric.

Tail Unit

  • Braced monoplane type.
  • Tail-plane structure same as for wings.
  • Fin, rudder and elevators have welded steel-tube frames with fabric covering.
  • Trimming-tabs in elevators and rudder.

Landing Gear

  • Divided type.
  • Consists of two cantilever oleo legs which may be removed from the fuselage stubs by removing two bolts each for substitution of standard Edo type Yd floats or approved skis of Noorduyn or other design.
  • Tail-wheel strut may carry either wheel or tail-ski.

Power Plant

  • One Pratt & Whitney Wasp R-1340-AN1 nine-cylinder radial air-cooled engine rated at 550 hp at 5,000 feet (1,525 m) and with 600 hp available for take-off.
  • NACA cowling.
  • Two-bladed Hamilton-Standard constant-speed airscrew.
  • Eclipse direct drive starter with emergency hand-crank.
  • Fuel tanks (two) in wing-roots (100 Imp. gallons = 120 US gallons) with gravity feed to engine-driven pump.
  • One or two additional tanks of 37 Imp. gallons (45 US gallons) and 64 Imp. gallons (75 US gallons) respectively may be installed and baggage space under floor of cabin, thus providing alternative fuel capacities of 100 Imp. gallons (120 US gallons), 137 Imp. gallons (165 US gallons) or 201 Imp. gallons (242 US gallons).
  • Oil capacity 8-16 Imp. gallons (10-20 US gallons).
  • Equipment includes oil dilution system.


  • Pilot's enclosed and heated cockpit seating two side-by-side in front of wings.
  • Full-sized doors on each side.
  • Pilot's seat and rudder pedals, fully adjustable.
  • Swing-over type dual control.
  • Below wing is main sound-proofed cabin of 150 ft³ capacity.
  • Bench-type seats for eight passengers may be instantly removed.
  • Individual upholstered passenger chairs optional.
  • One passenger door hinged on additional removable section to provide 46 in. opening when required.
  • Fixed front and cabin windows, lowering cockpit and cabin door windows.
  • Additional space for baggage or freight below floor of cabin (33 ft³) and behind the cabin (10 ft³) with outside doors.
  • Cabin heater with three controllable outlets.
  • Lower part of the Back wall of cabin may be removed for stowage of long articles of freight into tail of fuselage.


  • Wingspan: 51 ft 8 in (15.8 m)
  • Length: 31 ft 9 in (9.68 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 1 in (3 m)
  • Wing area: 325 ft² (30.2 m²)

Weights and Loadings

  • Weight, empty (landplane freighter): 4,420 lb (2,007 kg)
  • Weight, empty (seaplane freighter): 4,890 lb (2,220 kg)
  • Weight, empty (skiplane freighter): 4,600 lb (2,088 kg)
  • Additional weight for 6-passenger military equipment: 54 lb (24.5 kg)
  • Additional weight for 8-passenger commercial cabin equipment: 120 lb (54.5 kilograms)
  • Weight, loaded (landplane, seaplane or ski plane): 7.400 lb (3,360 kg)
  • Wing loading: 22.8 lb/ft² (111.26 kg/m²)
  • Power loading (take-off): 12.3 lb/hp (5.58 kg/hp)


  • Cruising speed, 75% power, landplane: 148 mph (236.8 km/h)
  • Cruising speed, 75% power, seaplane: 130 mph (208 km/h)
  • Cruising speed, 75% power, skiplane: 142 mph (227.2 km/h)
  • Landing speed: 68 mph (108.8 km/h)
  • Climb (landplane) to 5,000 ft (1,525 m): 6.5 minutes
  • Climb (landplane) to 10,000 ft (3,050 m): 15.5 minutes
  • Climb (landplane) to 15,000 ft (4,575 m): 28.5 minutes
  • Climb (landplane) to 10,000 ft (3,050 m): 15.5 minutes
  • Service ceiling (landplane): 17,000 ft (5,185 m)
  • Cruising range at 75% power and maximum tankage (landplane): 1,150 miles (1,840 km)


  1. Shupek, John. The Skytamer Photo Archive, photos by John Shupek, copyright © 2003 Skytamer Images (
  2. Wikipedia. Noorduyn Norseman
  3. Bridgman, Leonard. "The Noorduyn Norse Mk.V (C-64A)," Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1945-46, London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, Ltd, 1946, pp 89c-90c.

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