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  • avion ancien
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Aug 2007
    • 5286

    Wingless Widgeon

    Does anyone have, or know of the whereabouts of, a photo of Westland Widgeon CF-AIQ in its final form? This Widgeon started life as G-AALB; went to Canada in 1930; gained a coup top to the front cockpit in 1939; and, apparently, was converted into a snowmobile in 1946! I have tried to visualise a "snowidgeon" but have failed miserably. Even cropping and adding to the photo of CF-AIQ, which appears in volume III of 'British Civil Aircraft 1919-72', fails to produce anything that might have even half a chance of propelling itself across the frozen wastes of North America. If no photo exists, maybe someone with a more ingenious mind and/or better graphic design skills can come up with an idea.
  • David Burke
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Jan 2000
    • 10025

    #2
    Imagine the fuselage in flying attitude - then delete undercarriage and substitute a ski on each side of the fuselage held in position by two struts and thats pretty much how I imagine it.

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    • keithnewsome
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Aug 2007
      • 2324

      #3
      Nice 'winged' widgeon video from the 80's at :-

      www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAFecEKcjHQ
      NOSTALGIA ..... It's not what it used to be .....

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      • avion ancien
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Aug 2007
        • 5286

        #4
        ................I had thought that some of the Canadian forumites might have been able to assist on this one!

        Comment

        • avion ancien
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Aug 2007
          • 5286

          #5
          More than ten years on I still haven't found a photograph of the Widgeon snowmobile, CF-AIQ!

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          • avion ancien
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Aug 2007
            • 5286

            #6
            Come in Canada?

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            • G-ORDY
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Mar 2005
              • 928

              #7
              Was that the one at Flinflon?
              Now finished Hawker Hurricane Survivors - published by Grub Street http://grubstreet.co.uk/product/hawk...ane-survivors/

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              • avion ancien
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Aug 2007
                • 5286

                #8
                Yes, that's the one. The photograph of CF-AIQ - with its wings - which features in 'British Civil Aircraft 1919 - 1972' bears the caption:

                'Widgeon IIIA CF-AIQ, formerly G-AALB, after modernisation by A.S.Carson at Flin Flon, Manitoba in 1939. It also acquired a coup top to the front seat.'

                Are you aware of a photograph of her in her postwar 'Wingless Widgeon' state?

                Comment

                • Mothminor
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Dec 2012
                  • 992

                  #9
                  Hi AA,

                  Airhistory.org's CF- register gives your Widgeon's last owner as A. Ingham. From 1946 Ingham built snow-sleds leading on to the successful Ingham Motor Toboggan in 1950. There is a photo of one of their early designs which may or may not include all that remained of the Widgeon It possibly only used the cockpit area as, from what I have seen, adaptations of aircraft into snowmobiles tend to dispense with most of the airframe and render it unrecognisable. I doubt we are looking for anything vaguely resembling an aircraft!
                  Photo of the 1947 Ski-Bee - http://goodoutdoors.tripod.com/id1.html

                  On a happier note, there is some footage of CF-AIQ in better days on Youtube -



                  Comment

                  • avion ancien
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • Aug 2007
                    • 5286

                    #10
                    Thank you, MM. That offers a perspective that had not, hitherto, occurred to me. I'd been thinking more along the lines of remove all the flying surfaces, except the rudder, replace the wheels with skis, throttle up and disappear in a plume of snow!

                    I was delighted by the newsreel footage of CF-AIQ. It demonstrated that the front cockpit of a Widgeon clearly was not a place for a lady!

                    Comment

                    • G-ORDY
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Mar 2005
                      • 928

                      #11
                      Not aware of a photo - I remembered it as my neighbour when I lived in South Woodford in the 1970s was from Flin Flon and I asked her, she knew nothing about it.
                      Now finished Hawker Hurricane Survivors - published by Grub Street http://grubstreet.co.uk/product/hawk...ane-survivors/

                      Comment

                      • wieesso
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Aug 2006
                        • 1862

                        #12
                        Michael, it is possible to order the book from Allister Ingham http://snowmobilehistory.com/index.html
                        but it's risky if the conversion of the Widgeon is reported there!

                        Comment

                        • avion ancien
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Aug 2007
                          • 5286

                          #13
                          Thank you, Martin. It's a rather expensive book for someone who isn't a snowmobile aficionado - and particularly so if, as MM has suggested, what was used of the Widgeon might be unrecognisable in snowmobile form.

                          Comment

                          • avion ancien
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Aug 2007
                            • 5286

                            #14
                            I contacted Don Ingham, whose father wrote the book to which Martin referred. He has responded to me as follows:

                            'CF-AIQ was owned by my uncle Austin who did sell it to someone that wanted parts to build a snowplane, I think for the use of the engine primarily. As this happened 20 years before I was even born Im only assuming that a local farmer bought the airplane for parts to build the snowplane and likely not a conversion. Aircraft like so many was probably just pushed into the bush somewhere on a farm. Snowplanes were fairly common on the Canadian prairies as roads were closed, and many machines were home made.'

                            Comment

                            • Mothminor
                              Rank 5 Registered User
                              • Dec 2012
                              • 992

                              #15
                              Nice to get confirmation but it was a sad end for the poor old Widgeon

                              Comment

                              • avion ancien
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Aug 2007
                                • 5286

                                #16
                                Better than the flying club bonfire on 5th November. At least it seems to have been put to some use when it ceased to have an aeronautical use.

                                Comment

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