Introduced in 1928, the Super Universal was an improvement on the older Fokker Universal. Featuring an enclosed cockpit for the pilot, a strong, unbraced cantilever wing, and a more powerful engine, it was able to carry nearly 50 percent more cargo. With its rugged steel-tube construction and robust fixed landing gear, the Super Universal proved ideal for operating from rough northern airfields and was extensively used as a bush plane and general cargo and passenger aircraft throughout the 1930s.
One airframe, G-CASK, had a particularly storied career. Purchased by Western Canada Airways Ltd. in 1928, in August of that year the aircraft was flown by legendary bush pilot Clennell “Punch” Dickins on a record-breaking 6,326 kilometre (3,956 mile) flight over the Barren Lands of the Northwest Territories (now Nunavut). In August 1929, G-CASK was one of the two aircraft flown by the MacAlpine copper-prospecting expedition when it ran out of fuel and was forced to land near Dease Point, NWT, sparking a massive search operation. The following year, the aircraft was salvaged and used by WCA pilot Walter Gilbert to complete the first overflight of the North Magnetic Pole on September 4, 1930.
The museum’s aircraft, CF-AAM, was built in 1928 and purchased new by the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company (Cominco). From 1929 to 1934, it flew mineral prospecting flights out of Trail, British Columbia and assisted in the search for the missing MacAlpine Expedition, even flying several of the lost prospectors out of Cambridge Bay, NWT. In 1934, the aircraft was purchased by Northern Airways of Carcross, Yukon, and used to fly mail and passengers throughout the region. On December 5, 1937, the aircraft crashed on takeoff from Dawson City with pilot Leslie Cook and 6 passengers aboard. Though none aboard were injured, the aircraft was declared a write-off and abandoned beside the runway.
Nearly four decades later, in 1974, the aircraft’s remains were salvaged by the Western Canada Aviation Museum (now the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada) and taken to aircraft restoration expert Clark Seaborn of Calgary, Alberta. Seaborn agreed to restore the aircraft in exchange for the right to fly it for five years. Over the next 18 years, Seaborn and his team used the wreck and those of two other Super Universals found in the Yukon to restore CF-AAM to flying condition. The most painstaking part of the process was building the aircraft’s wings. This involved nailing sheets of plywood over wooden ribs using thousands of closely-spaced nails. The end result was an exacting recreation of CF-AAM as it appeared right before its final flight, down to the wood paneling and mohair seats in the cabin.
In 2001, Clark Seaborn flew the restored CF-AAM along its original airmail route in the Yukon before donating it to the RAMWC.