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  • Joe Breitfeller

Air Canada Marks 85th Anniversary With Donation of Historic Lockheed L-10A to Royal Aviation Museum

Celebrating their 85th anniversary, Air Canada today donated an original Lockheed L-10A Electra from their original fleet to Winnipeg’s Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada. The aircraft, registration CF-TCC, was purchased by predecessor Trans-Canada Air Lines in 1937.


Air Canada Donates Historic Lockheed L-10A Electra (CF-TCC) to Winnipeg's Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada - Courtesy Air Canada

On Wednesday (September 7, 2022) Air Canada celebrated their 85th anniversary by donating a historic original Lockheed L-10A Electra to the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada in Winnipeg. The iconic aircraft, registration CF-TCC, was originally purchased by Air Canada’s predecessor Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA) in 1937. The aircraft made its final journey today from the Air Canada hangar at Winnipeg International Airport to the museum for a handover ceremony. Until recently, Air Canada’s Lockheed L-10A Electra was one of only two of the aircraft type flying in the world. Named after a bright star in Pleiades, the 10A Electra was the pride of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, and in the 1930s, the twin engine all-metal monoplane represented an exciting new age in commercial air transport.


In Wednesday’s announcement, Air Canada’s Senior Vice President – Flight Operations, Captain Murray Strom, said,


“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. 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.”


Also commenting on the historic gift, Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada’s President & CEO, Terry Slobodian, added,


“We're very pleased that CF-TCC has landed at the Royal Aviation Museum and is now part of our permanent collection. This aircraft has ties to Winnipeg dating back to 1937 and to our museum in particular. Our museum was previously located in the original TCA hangar here in Winnipeg. The Lockheed Electra is a perfect picture of the early days of commercial air travel in Canada. We are grateful to Air Canada for their longstanding support of our museum and for entrusting us with this spectacular piece of aviation history.”


Air Canada's Lockheed L-10A Electra Arrives at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada - Courtesy Air Canada


Aircraft CF-TCC was one of three L-10As purchased by Trans-Canada Air Lines, and the type flew the carrier’s inaugural service on September 1st, 1937, a 50-minute flight from Vancouver to Seattle carrying two passengers and mail. TCA had acquired the route and two Lockheed 10A Electra aircraft from Canadian Airways. The company also purchased three new L-10As from Lockheed for $73,000 each. Those aircraft were dubbed the ‘Three Sisters’ and were registered CF-TCA, CF-TCB, and CF-TCC. The first aircraft listed (CF-TCA) is now housed at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.


CF-TCC was operated by TCA from 1937-1939 and was later sold to the Department of Transport – Canada. Over the next 40 years the aircraft changed hands several times to various private corporations and individuals. On TCA’s 25th anniversary in 1962, the aircraft was leased by the company and six of TCA’s original pilots operated a commemorative flight across Canada. In 1975, a retired Air Canada employee recognized the faded old registration marks on the airplane while attending an airshow in Texas. Air Canada then kept track of the aircraft until 1983, when the company repurchased it, restored it, and then flew it during Air Canada’s 50th anniversary in 1986. After a 50-stop Canadian tour, CF-TCC was featured in Air Canada’s pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver.


Lockheed L-10A Electra and Boeing 777-300ER Comparison - Courtesy Air Canada

Since 1986, CF-TCC has been maintained in flying condition with volunteers and support from the greater aviation community, including team members from Air Canada Maintenance and Flight Operations. When not flying, CF-TCC was based at the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba or stored in Air Canada’s Winnipeg hangar. Marking Air Canada’s 70th anniversary on September 21, 2007, the aircraft recreated TCA’s first flight from Vancouver to Seattle. Again in 2012, celebrating Air Canada’s 75th anniversary, CF-TCC made several airshow and public appearances, showcasing Air Canada’s heritage and the history of Canadian commercial aviation.


In 2017, marking the carrier’s 80th birthday, the aircraft took the skies for a cross country tour, starting with a public appearance at the Royal Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, before making stops in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and Quebec City. Finally, The Lockheed 10A Electra (CF-TCC) marked Air Canada’s 85th anniversary with a final journey to the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada in Winnipeg. The airplane was taxied to the museum from Air Canada’s hangar by long-time advocates and volunteers, Retired Captain Robert Giguere, Retired Captain Gerry Norberg, Retired Aircraft Maintenance Engineer George Huntington and Air Canada Maintenance Engineer Mike Clarkson.



Source: Air Canada