Other Canadian Companies


Air Spray Ltd., Wetaskiwin, Alberta

Air Spray supplied only one TBM for the spray program, which crashed in 1960, its only year in NB. There is no record of its sister aircraft, FKPJ, which went to Sis-Q as N68663 then Evergreen as C-GLEG, ever coming to NB. Perhaps it did? Furthermore, the article below mentions that the company had “a trio” of Avengers.

Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame is also located in Wetaskiwin, which is just south of Edmonton, Alberta.

85652 CF-KYA #701
53334 CF-KPJ #702
Airspray TBMs FKYA and FKPJ_WetaskiwinAL_1958_GHunter
Airspray TBMs C-FKYA and C-FKPJ at an air show in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, 1958. The company name is is plain yellow. [Gordon Hunter, Flickr]
Airspray Ltd. TBM#701 (CF-KYA) wreckage, Fredericton NB, 1960
Airspray Ltd. TBM#701 (CF-KYA) wreckage, Fredericton NB, 1960. The company name is now black over yellow.

An article on the history of Air Spray can be found here (Position Report: Vintage planes dousing flames. A position report on Air Spray. Wings.). An excerpt follows:

In February 1954, 27-year-old David Harrington created Airspray Ltd. in Wetaskiwin, Alta. The company provided crop dusting services with light aircraft …. In July 1961, Airspray was awarded its first fire suppression contract from the Province of Alberta. Its expanded fleet now included a trio of Grumman TBM Avengers and a pair of Boeing Stearman biplanes [one of which sprayed in New Brunswick for a year or two -CA]. In 1967 Harrington renamed the company Mercury Flights Ltd., but later that year it became Air Spray (1967) Ltd.

Hicks and Lawrence, Hillcrest, Maritime and Miramichi Avengers

The ownership of this group of twelve Avengers jumped around among one U.S. and three Canadian companies for a period of eight years. All were of U.S. origin. Nine crashed and were written off, and only two survived to 1985 when they were sold by Hicks and Lawrence. The twelfth is at a museum in Alberta.

They can be roughly divided into four groups:

1) Hillcrest Aircraft and Miramichi AS, later Hicks and Lawrence Ltd. (FBEF and FBEG)

2) Hillcrest Aircraft and Miramichi AS only (FXOM, FXON, FXOO)

3) Maritime AS and Hicks and Lawrence Ltd. (FZTA, FZTR and FZTS)

4) Hicks and Lawrence Ltd. only (FBQS, FBQT, FZYB and FZYC)

Details and origins of Hicks and Lawrence, Hillcrest, Maritime and Miramichi avengers.
Cdn. Reg’n. BuNo Tail No. Origin U.S. Reg’n.
FBEF 53078 #110 / A25 I. Gustin N68683
FBEG 85983 #01 / 1 Simsbury N4039A
FXOM 69325 #900 / 18 Aero Insect Control N1044
FXON 85829 #911 / 17 Simsbury N6584D
FXOO 53488 #922 Simsbury N6586D
FZTA 53351 #716 H. Parkhurst N7411C
FZTR 53775a #A18 / A18 US Navy N4173A
FZTS 53775b #A23 US Navy N7028C
FBQS 53914 #– Aerial Applicators N7029C
FBQT 91171 #21 Aerial Applicators N7858C
FZYB 53256 #19 Aerial Applicators N9592C
FZYC 53607 #20 Aerial Applicators N8398H

A jumble of Hillcrest (Hill – bold), Maritime (Mar) and Miramichi (Mir) avengers in the mid-spray period, 1969 to 1976, followed by Hicks and Lawrence (H&L) avengers, 1972 to 1984. There is a two-year gap (1971-72) in FXOM where the ownership details are lacking.

Reg’n. Crashed 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984
FBEF 20-May-75 ✓Hill ✓✓Hill ✓✓Hill ✓✓Mir ✓✓Mir ✓✓Mir ✓✓Mir
FBEG ✓✓Hill ✓Hill ✓✓Hill ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L
FBQS 18-May-72 ✓✓H&L
FBQT ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L
FXOM ✓✓Mar ✓✓Mar ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L
FXON 21-May-74 ✓✓Mar ✓✓Mar ✓✓Mar ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L ✓✓H&L
FXOO 13-Jul-69 ✓✓Mar
FZTA 21-Jul-74 ✓✓Mir ✓✓Mir ✓✓Mir ✓✓Mir
FZTR 16-Jun-72 ✓✓Hill ✓✓Hill ✓✓Mir
FZTS 05-Jun-73 ✓✓Hill ✓Hill ✓✓Hill ✓✓Mir ✓✓Mir
FZYB 01-Jun-71 ✓H&L
FZYC 20-May-75 ✓✓H&L


JD Irving Ltd., Saint John, New Brunswick

JD Irving Ltd., under its Forest Patrol Ltd. name, conducts aerial herbicide application and forest protection work for its parent company in Canada. One of its aircraft was associated with the FPL spray program during the late sixties, and possibly earlier.

85833 CF-IMO #508
JD Irving TBM#508 (FIMO), Saint John NB, 28 Jun 1970. Barry MacLeod.
JD Irving TBM#508 (FIMO), Saint John, NB, 28 June 1970. [Barry MacLeod.]
JDI TBM#508_DunphyNB_1969_A2-20_crop
J.D. Irving TBM #508, Dunphy, NB, 1969. The aircraft was almost all yellow save for the bit on the tail.

Maritime Air Service, Moncton, New Brunswick

Maritime operated three TBMs out of McEwen’s Field, near Moncton, NB, in 1969 and 1970 (see tables above). FXOM and FXON were sold to Hicks and Lawrence and FXOO crashed in Newfoundland in 1969.

Maritime AS TBM#911 FXON #900 FXOM Rabbit team_JuniperNB_1970
Maritime AS TBM#911 FXON & MAS #900 FXOM, with their Bugs Bunny logos, FIMW #506 at rear: Pink Rabbit Team, Juniper NB, 1970. L to R: Joe Gagne (#1 Cessna pilot), Doug Johnson (#1 pointer), Dave Scott (#2 pointer), Jim Thompson (#2 Cessna pilot), Claude Marcoux (Lead TBM pilot), John Lavigne (#3 TBM pilot), Barry Paton (#2 TBM pilot).

Miramichi Air Service, Douglastown, New Brunswick

Miramichi Air Service was operated by Andrew Retfalvy. In 1970, he purchased a property known as the Douglastown Airfield from James R. Seel, who operated a licensed air service with one TBM (CF-ZTA). According to a letter to FPL dated 7 December 1971, General Manager Paul Daigle asked FPL if it was possible to temporarily import #A25 under Miramichi Air Service Ltd., in order to work the coming season with FPL. This aircraft and one other (N4049A, later FBEG) were still registered in the United States, and he did not think that it would pass the inspection date of 15 February set by the Canadian Transport Commission. Only N68683 worked in NB that year.

See tables above for details of the aircraft.

Miramichi Airlines letterhead 1971
Miramichi Air Service letterhead 1971
Miramichi TBM#A23 FZTS wreckage_1973_L1A-17C
Miramichi Air Service TBM #A23 (CF-ZTS) wreckage, Sevogle ,NB. Crashed 5 June 1973. This aircraft is white above and orange and black below (the Hillcrest colours).
Miramichi TBM #716 FZTA, 1972. Merrill McBride.
Miramichi TBM #716 CF-ZTA, 1972. This aircraft is all orange. [Merrill McBride Collection]
Miramichi TBM#A25_CharlottetownPE_18Sep1973_BMacLeod
Miramichi Air Service TBM #A25 at Charlottetown, PEI, 18 September 1973. This Canadian Avenger has the same paint job as the American company, Hillcrest, but note the Canadian registration and the small red maple leaf. [Barrie MacLeod]


Hicks & Lawrence Limited, Saint Thomas and Tillsonburg, Ontario

Hicks & Lawrence supplied seven TBMs to the spray program from 1971 to 1984 (see table sabove). This company had its TBMs painted in several colour schemes. Hicks and Lawrence has operated since 1947 and now operates out of northern Ontario (Dryden) as a wholly owned subsidiary of Discovery Air Fire Services.

A Brief History of Hicks Aviation

Edited from the company’s website, now private:

Mervin A. L. Hicks (1915-2001) became a pilot in 1941, after constructing airports pre-WWII. … He retired from the R.C.A.F. as a flight lieutenant, and started a flight school near his hometown of Tillsonburg at an abandoned military base. The Government Asset Corporation offered the base to the town for $1. Merv leased the land from the town, and what became known as the “Hicks & Lawrence Airport” was born.

Tom Lawrence was in Merv’s first class of students, and they went on to form Hicks & Lawrence in 1947. Tom was to be in charge of the agricultural end of the business, which started by growing corn on the airport grounds, and grew to include what was the foundation of a 65 year old company – crop dusting. The company was first marketed agriculturally in the large local tobacco market. They operated J2 and J3 Cubs, and on to Stearman aircraft in the 1950’s. They purchased war surplus aircraft, including many Harvard’s and B25.

Mervin’s son Duane Sr. expanded to St. Thomas and operated the airport there, while expanding into the North including fire bombing and birddog operations in Dryden. They also operated Grumman TBM Avenger aircraft equipped with a hopper and spray nozzles, spraying in New Brunswick every year from 1969 to 1985. Other spray contracts led to the acquisition of more modern aircraft, such as the PZL-Mielec M-18 Dromader.

Duane Sr. took over the company in 1987, and a year later obtained a large fire detection contract with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. At this point Hicks & Lawrence was operating up to 38 aircraft between spray, detection and birddog operations. Duane Jr. …  took over aerial (spray) applications in 1989, and sold the spray business less than 8 years later to focus on aerial fire. He purchased the rest of the company in 2001.

Duane Jr. revolutionized the company by closing St. Thomas operations (moving headquarters to Dryden) and by implementing many operational changes. … Hicks & Lawrence was the first of many acquisitions by Discovery Air, which now operates over 160 aircraft. …

… Duane and his son Michael started consulting. Hicks Aviation in its current state was born. …

Wreck (1975) of FZYC showing Hicks and Lawrence name and location. [J. Dyer]
Hicks & Lawrence TBM#1 and FPL TBM#22, with an AgCat, Dunphy NB, 1979
Hicks and Lawrence colour scheme for TBM #1, FBEG in 1979.
Hicks & Lawrence TBM#1 in pits, Brockway NB, 1984
Hicks and Lawrence colour scheme for TBM #1, FBEG in 1984.

NORFOLK AIR SERVICES (1970-72) / Norfolk Aerial Spraying Ltd. (1973-85)

Simcoe, Ontario, and Fredericton, New Brunswick

Norfolk obtained three TBMs from Air Tankers Inc., Newcastle, Wyoming, in 1973. Also from Sonora Aviation Inc., Tuscon, Arizona and Carson City, Nevada, and D&D Aero Spraying, Rantoul, Kansas. Norfolk supplied seven TBMs to the spray program from 1970 to 1983, and, in later years, also M18 Dromaders. In 1985, Norfolk relocated it’s Fredericton facilities to the Evergreen hangar at the Forest Protection Limited facilities. In 1986, listings for Canadian Companies says that NAS Ltd. Is “Inactive – discontinued on 1986-10-27”. All the Norfolk aircraft with the possible exception of CF-AXS sported a Canadian flag on the tail or on the nose.

Avengers owned by Norfolk Aerial Spraying from 1970 to 1983, with FPL tail numbers.

Reg’n. BuNo Origin US Reg’n. Tail # Colour
C-FAXS 53209 Sonora N7960C 002 / 2 / B17 Grey, white trim and top
C-FAYG 53829 Sonora N9591C 005 / 5 / B20 Orange-red and grey, white trim —> All grey, white trim and top —> Deep yellow with black trim
C-FAYL 86091 D&D N9307Z 001 / — Grey with distinctive red-white-red nose
C-GLDX 53768 Air Tankers N10361 B18 Pale yellow – later deep yellow – with black trim
C-GOBJ 85632 Air Tankers N7002C B15 Pale yellow – later deep yellow – with black trim
C-GOBK 69531 Air Tankers N17930 B19 Pale yellow – later deep yellow – with black trim
C-GOEG 69361 Air Tankers N9596C B16 Pale yellow – later deep yellow – with black trim

Lineup at airstrip, Norfolk Air Services, Simcoe, Ont., 1973. TBM #5 FAYG, Former Air Tanker TBMs B15 N7002C, B19 N17930 and B16 N9596C [Paul Schaareman]
Lineup at airstrip, Norfolk Air Services, Simcoe, Ont., 1973. TBM #5 FAYG and three of the former Air Tanker TBMs B15 N7002C, B19 N17930 and B16 N9596C [Paul Schaareman]
Norfolk #B18 GLDX, with the yellow and black paint job that Norfolk used in its later years, in the pits at Juniper, 1981. [E. Kettela, Canadian Forest Service]
Norfolk #B18 GLDX, with the yellow and black paint job that Norfolk used in its later years, in the pits at Juniper, 1981. [E. Kettela, Canadian Forest Service]
Norfolk TBMs #B15 #B16 #B18_FrederictonNB_23Aug1985_BMacLeod-c
Norfolk TBMs #B15 C-GOBJ, #B16 C-GOEG and probably #B18 C-GLDX, Fredericton NB, 23 August 1985. [Barry MacLeod]
Avengers owned by Norfolk Aerial Services from 1970 to 1983. AT is Air Tankers Inc. of Wyoming.

Cdn. Reg’n. Tail No. Crashed 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983
CF-AXS 2 / B17 15-Jun-79 ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ x x x x
CF-AYG 5 / B20 ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓
CF-AYL 001 / — 17-Jun-73 ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ x x x x x x x x x x
C-GLDX B18 ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓
C-GOBJ B15 AT ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓
C-GOBK B19 30-May-78 ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ x x x x x
C-GOEG B16 ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓ ✓✓
Number that flew on spray program 1 1 3 3 4 5 6 6 6 5 4 4 4 4


Richel Air, St-Jean, Quebec

According to Barrie MacLeod’s research in the Civil Aviation Register for 1961, the two Richel Air Avengers were former USN then RCN aircraft: CF-JJB and CF-JJC. The latter is BuNo 53078, which became CF-BEF under Miramichi Air Services. These were apparently the only two “high top” Avengers built. FJJB flew in NB in 1960, but FJJC only flew in NB under Hillcrest Aircraft and later Miramichi Air Services ownership.

86175 CF-JJB #—
53078 CF-JJC #—
RCN 421 + 386
A page from “The Grumman Avenger in the Royal Canadian Navy” by Leo Pettipas (1988) showing Avengers with RCN numbers 421 and 386. The Bureau # of 386 is clearly readable as 53078. Apparently there were three different RCN Avengers with the side number 386. The upper Avenger is probably CF-JJB. [Barrie MacLeod]


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