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Waco Sesquiplane CF-AYS

Waco (pronounced “Wah-co”) YKC-S CF-AYS was produced by the Weaver Aircraft Company in Lorain. Ohio. One of the smaller bush-planes to fly in north-western Canada, it is a good example of a sesquiplane – a type of biplane where the lower wing is significantly smaller than the upper (the term itself meaning “one-and-a-half wings”). While maintaining the structural strength of the conventional biplane, the sesquiplane design can reduce weight and drag. In the case of CF-AYS, the lower wing is not only of an unequal span to the upper but the two wings are staggered with the leading edge of the upper ahead of the lower. A practical advantage of this “positive stagger” was better downward visibility for the pilot. However, from a bush-flying perspective, one drawback of the sesquiplane was the potential for the lower wing to be damaged during landing on rough terrain.

Built in 1935, CF-AYS was part of the Waco “Custom Cabin” series of single-engine, fabric-covered biplanes featuring an enclosed cockpit and four-to-five seat cabin. The internal fuselage structure was welded steel tubing, a design typical of this period. The wings were made primarily of wood (spruce). Although it served with several different owners, the Waco will be displayed as part of the “Northern Connections” exhibition in the colours of Central Northern Airways (C.N.A.). During its service with this Winnipeg-based company, the primary role of CF-AYS would have been freighting passengers and equipment into the mining districts of north-central Manitoba and north-western Ontario.

Unfortunately, little information specific to the operation of CF-AYS while with Central Northern has been found. One likely story, though, comes from February 16, 1949. That morning, a ski-equipped company Waco flew from Lac du Bonnet to Dauphin River, about 200 miles north of Winnipeg, in response to a radio message requesting urgent medical aid for an unidentified patient. Aboard the plane with the unnamed pilot, Dr. T. W. Brokoszki, head of the Pine Falls Indian Hospital. At Dauphin River, the Waco was scheduled to land on a strip marked out by local resident Dave Settagreen near the shore of frozen Lake Winnipeg (Winnipeg Tribune: “Plane Rushes Medical Aid North,” February 16, 1949).

References

“Plane Rushes Medical Aid North,” Winnipeg Tribune, February 16, 1949, p. 17.

“Captain Walter Mitchell Dzogan,” Winnipeg Free Press, October 24, 1974, p. 43

“CF-AYS,” Civil Aircraft Register – Canada (airhistory.org.uk)

“Francis Roy Brown,” https://cahf.ca/francis-roy-brown/

“Marie Julia Dzogan (Batrynchuk),” DZOGAN MARIE – Obituaries – Winnipeg Free Press Passages (September 2019)

“Aircraft CF-AYS Data,” Aircraft Data CF-AYS, 1935 Waco YKC-S C/N 4267 (airport-data.com) (April 2021)

“Ashton, Milton Ernest,” https://www.kenoragreatwarproject.ca/royal-air-force/ashton-milton-ernest/

“Waco YKC-6 CF-AYS,” Harold A. Skaarup web pages (silverhawkauthor.com) (May 2020)

SPECIFICATIONS
A008

Built: 1935 (acquired 1975)

Capacity: 2 crew + 2 passengers

Length: 7.7 metres (25.4 feet)

Height: 2.6 metres (8.5 feet)

Wingspan: 10.1 metres (33.2 feet)

Empty Weight: 818 kilograms (1,800 pounds)

Engine: 1x Jacobs R-755 (184 kilowatts / 245 horsepower)

Maximum speed: 229 kilometres per hour (143 miles per hour)

Range: 848 kilometres (530 miles)

Service Ceiling: 4,368 metres (14,000 feet)

GALLERY

CF-AYS was donated to the Western Canada Aviation Museum by the wife of long-time northern pilot Walter Dzogan after his death in October 1974. Dzogan was born and educated in Winnipeg. His aviation career as a pilot and engineer spanned 35 years, the final ten flying with Transair – into which Central Northern Airways was merged in 1955. In addition to being a long-time member of the Winnipeg Flying Club and Canadian Airline Pilots Association, Wally Dzogan was also a mentor: “He helped many young people who came to him with any aviation problems and went out of his way to help someone achieve their aviation goals always lending a hand to those who asked for it” (Winnipeg Free Press: “Captain Walter Mitchell Dzogan,” Winnipeg Free Press, October 24, 1974).

Marie Julia Dzogan died in September 2019, and, in part, her obituary reads: “Mom was instrumental in making sure her husband’s aircraft, the Waco CF-AYS, was donated to the Aviation Museum after his death. The aircraft has been restored and will be on display in the new museum location.” The notice also asks that donations be made to the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.