Article: Super Universal–Rebirth of a Legend

  • The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada is proud to have the only fully restored and flight-worthy Fokker Super Universal in the world—CF-AAM. This unique aircraft was rebuilt over the course of 18 years by two enterprising museum members, Clark Seaborn and Don McLean in Calgary. In order to reconstruct this piece of Canadian history, the bones of three Super Universals were retrieved from their crash sites in the Yukon. The original planes were designated CF-AAM, CF-AJC, G-CASL. Parts from American NC-6880 were also used. The original colours and registration were taken from the most complete wreckage.

    It was long-time museum member, Bob Cameron, who first realized the historic significance of the plane, and retrieved what remained of the wreckage on behalf of the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada. Ownership was granted under the condition that it be restored to her original Northern Airways specifications.

    CF-AAM had spent four years flying for Northern Airways on a mail route based out of Carcross, Yukon. On December 5, 1937, it was overloaded and failed to reach flying speed at Dawson City – flipping over at the end of the runway. Fortunately, neither the pilot or six passengers had any serious injuries.

    Fifty years after the crash, museum members Clark Seaborn and Don McLean undertook the project at their shop in Calgary. Seaborn had only one request in return. He wanted to fly it first. Restoration took 10,000 hours of labour, and a team of dedicated volunteers. On July 24, 1998, CF-AAM took to the air for the first time in 61 years. One year later, the original registration CF-AAM was reissued. Seaborn then took off for a fabulous six-year adventure picking up a number of awards at air shows along the way.

    During this adventure, Clark Seaborn, Bob Cameron and Don McLean would share crew duties as they showcased this Canadian treasure across Canada. They had the opportunity to return to Carcross, Yukon, where CF-AAM had serviced Northern Airways and also had a second chance to take off from Dawson City, where the plane had previously crashed in 1937.

    Perhaps the best-known flight of the newly restored CF-AAM occurred in 2001 in which the flight recreated the mail delivery route of the late 1930’s known as the “Yukon Odyssey.”

    CF-AAM can be seen in its permanent home at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada

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