Designed/first flight: 1935
Display aircraft built: 1944
Serial number: 44-70546 C/N: 811
Production: Noorduyn Aircraft Ltd, Canada
Designer: Robert L. Noorduyn
Number built: 903
Crew/passengers: 1 (2)/10 (9)
Power plant: Pratt & Whitney
R-1340-AN1 600 hp
Max speed: 261 kph
Ceiling: 3,355 m
Span: 15.70 m
Length: 9.86 m
Height: 3.07 m
Range: 1,500 km
Max take-off weight: 3,357 kg
The Norseman is a Canadian single-engine bush aircraft, produced by Noorduyn Aircraft from 1935 to 1959. The aircraft was used for both civil and military purposes. In Norway the Norseman was especially important as an air ambulance and light transport aircraft along the coast, in the years after WWII.
The Norseman was built by Robert B.C. Noorduyn. It was intended to be a simple, robust aircraft that could be operated profitability with limited equipment and infrastructure in the outback. The plane was required to cope with the challenging Canadian climate all year round. The Norseman has high wings, to facilitate loading passengers and cargo.
It proved to be useful in all conditions and became popular worldwide. It could be fitted with a wheeled undercarriage, skis or floats. When production ceased in 1959, a total of 903 aircraft had been built. The Norseman type has been registered in 68 countries and has flown in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
The Norseman in Norway
The Norseman was sold in a variety of military versions after war broke out in 1939. 25 Norsemen were allocated to the Royal Norwegian Air Force and were used in the 'Norseman wing' of 333 Squadron, from 1945 until 1959. The RNoAF used the Norseman for ambulance flying, transport tasks and for coastal intelligence and surveillance. It will probably be remembered first and foremost as vital link between remote local communities in Northern Norway and larger centres and hospitals. The Norseman was a guardian angel for sick people and pregnant women about to give birth.
The Museum’s aircraft
The aircraft on display is being reconstructed from the wreck of LN-PAB. It was originally built in 1944 and was used by the USAAF. In 1947 it was registered to Polarfly A/S in Narvik and from 1949 to Widerøe’s Flyveselskap and Polarfly A/S. LN-PAB was Norway’s first civil-registered Norseman Mk VI. It was mainly flown in Northern Norway.
In 1952 the plane was written off while landing at Gavnevann in Finnmark, where it hit a tongue of land and capsized. This was during the Cold War and the grapevine has it that it was on a task for Norwegian Military Intelligence.
No-one was injured in the accident, but the aircraft lay at Gavnevann as a wreck for 50 years. In 2002, the Norwegian Aviation Museum and Bodø Aviation Historical Society were permitted to bring it in to the Museum. Reconstruction started in 2005 and is still under way. In the years to 2018, many thousands of hours have been invested.
In addition to the Norseman on display, the Norwegian Aviation Museum owns a flying Norseman that is operated by the Norwegian Spitfire Foundation.
The flying ferry
The aircraft is still under restoration in our exhibit, to showcase the process, and the interior of an aircraft.