Make your own free website on

    History of the Fleet Canuck
    My Canuck
    The Owner's Handbook
    Other Fleet Canucks
      The Coin
      Fun Canuck things
    e-mail me


. .

The beginnings of the Fleet Model 80 Canuck go back to 1939, when J. Omer (Bob) Noury, an air engineer with the Ottawa Flying Club, decided to design and build a light aircraft for the Canadian market. The aircraft was a high-wing monoplane of conventional structure using a welded steel-tube fuselage and tail surfaces, and powered with a 65-horsepower Continental flat four-cylinder engine. The Noury T-65 Series 1 design was first flown on January 21, 1940. The aircraft was given a certificate of airworthiness and Noury sold it in 1941. Bob Noury became a well-known aircraft subcontractor during the war years.
In 1942 he formed Noury Aircraft Ltd. at Stoney Creek, with himself as president and general manager. His intent was to design and build a light aircraft based on his own monoplane design. The Noury N-75 featured side-by-side seating and a 75-horsepower Continental engine.

The side-by-side seating in the Fleet 80 Canuck was unusual for the period even though it was a far better arrangement for instruction than placing the instructor either in front of or behind the student.

It was test flown from the Hamilton Airport at Mount Hope late in 1944 by T. Borden Fawcett, Noury's test pilot and sales manager. Noury also designed and built a tandem-seat version with a slightly reduced wingspan. It first flew on November 24, 1945, from Hamilton Airport with Fawcett at the controls. Noury built three aircraft before selling the rights to Fleet.

The original panel

Fleet Aircraft felt that the side-by-side design aircraft met most of their specifications, so in May 1945 they purchased the prototype and design rights for the plane from Noury Aircraft.
The Noury was shipped to Fleet's facilities at Fort Erie and test flown by Fleet's test pilot, Tommy Williams, on June 4, 1945. Williams reported that the original fin design was too small and set to starboard instead of to port. This deficiency necessitated full right rudder to control the aircraft. Test-flying continued until July 26, when the aircraft was put into the shop for modifications to meet Fleet's specifications.

CF-BYW-X was the prototype and as s/n; 001. Notice the difference in the fin.

The principal modifications were to the forward fuselage geometry, lowering the engine four inches to improve the forward visibility, and moving the engine forward four inches to allow the relocation of the fuel tank from the centre section of the wing to the forward fuselage. This made possible the installation of a clear skylight in the cabin roof. The original Continental C-75 engine was replaced by a more powerful Model C-85, and a new fin and rudder were installed.
The redesigned aircraft emerged from Fleet's shops as the Model 80 and was named the Canuck. Fleet's vice-president and general manager, Walter Deisher, reportedly named the plane in honour of the Curtiss JN-4 (Canadian) he flew at Ottawa after the First World War. The Canuck was first flown in its modified form on September 26, 1945. Tooling and jigs were then set up to produce the Canuck in quantity, and Fleet was back in the aircraft manufacturing business.

Fleet Canuck Model 80

Original Paint Scheme


Fleet's wartime experience with wooden aircraft had proved conclusively that wood is definitely unreliable as a structural material. The canuck's fuselage was constructed of welded steel tube and fabric covered. The wings for all production Canucks had extended Duralumin ribs and were fabric covered.
The first intention was to offer the Canuck in two versions, tandem and side-by-side. After discussions with interested parties, it became apparent that the tandem seating in this type of aircraft was a thing of the past for both private flying and civilian instruction purposes. Therefore, all effort was concentrated on the side-by-side version.
Dual controls with conventional sticks were considered a necessity for the Canuck, and the instrument panel was simple and spartan, in keeping with the philosphy of the design. Hydraulic brakes and full-swivelling steerable tail-wheel were provided to give the Canuck good ground-handling qualities.
The 85-horsepower Continental engine, with its fuel injection system, proved to be a popular feature. When the Canuck was first introduced, it was announced that other engines would be optional, but this was never followed up.

The was offered at a selling price of $3,869.25 plus $247.63 tax.
The Canuck proved to be a very versatile type of aircraft being certified on wheels, skis, and floats.

The floats for the Canuck were tested during June 1946. The Fleet designs of the ski and float installations were noteworthy for their simplicity, as the skis and floats could be attached ditectly to the normal landing gear.

This made the change-over from wheels to skis or floats comparatively easy and straight- forward. Canucks were also capable of aerobatic performance, as the design was stressed to the British requirements, with a minimum load factor of 7G.


The original installation of the floats on CF-DEE with spreader bars. Note the added ventral fin and dual water rudders. The later floats installation using Fleet Model 1515 floats on CF-DPY. The normal undercarriage was used as part of the float attachment, without spreader bars.

The skis

Fleet obtained certification from the Department of Transportation once the developement and design were completed. Production rose to four aircraft per day. Standard Canucks were finished in combinations of RCAF yellow and Consolidated blue. The expected sales were slow in coming, and according to one company executive, "Planes were soon stacked about the plant on their engine mounts like dominoes." It was a sturdy aircraft he noted.

A single three-seat Canuck was made, in which the third person was accomodated on a jump seat in the baggage compartment. This design was designated the Model 81 and was produced in 1947 and registered as CF-FAL. But it was converted back to a Model 80 before being sold to the private market.

Between 1945 and 1948, 198 Canuck aircraft were built by Fleet. The Canuck proved popular and initially sold well to flying clubs, charter companies, and private owners in Canada. In addition 24 were exported: 19 to Argentina, 3 to Brazil, and 1 each to Portugal and the United States. By late 1947, plagued by postwar financial difficulties and the sales slowdown that affected all aircraft manufacturers, Fleet was forced to terminate production of the Canuck model. To raise necessary cash to keep the company going, all the jigs, tools, and completed components were sold to Leavens Brothers Ltd. of Toronto. Leavens continued to assemble Canucks by special order until 1958, when the last steel-tube fuselage was used. The earlier assembled aircraft used mostly Fleet-built components, but later aircraft required more and more manufacturing of parts as the stock of Fleet-built parts was used up. Leavens Bros. assembled 25 aircraft and one additional aircraft was assembled by the St. Catharines Flying Club, using a production frame and spare components. Total number of Canucks built was 225, including the Noury prototype.
The remaining parts and drawings were sold to Marcel Dorion Aviation of Montreal. This company intended to develope the design into a four-seater aircraft, but this plane was never completed.
The Canucks proved durable and popular with the flying clubs and schools. In 2002, 79 Canucks were still on the Canadian Aircraft Register. The fact that such a large number survived to that date attests to their ruggedness, like the earlier Fleet models Fawn and Finch. Thousands of Canadian pilots learned to fly on the Canuck during the 50s and 60s, and into the 70s.

[Home][History of the Fleet Canuck][My Canuck][The Owner's Handbook][Other Fleet Canucks][The Coin][Fun things][e-mail me]

.Copyright © 2002

Daniel Lessard