An L-402 by any other name is still an L-402 – or an AL-60 or a Conestoga or a Ranger or a Santa Maria or a Trojan, unless it’s a Kudu, Part 2

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One of the Aeronautica Macchi AL-60s used in Canada by Northwest Industries Limited to interest potential customers, Edmonton, Alberta. Anon., “Aeronews.” Air Progress, July 1969, 15.

Hello, hello, my reading friend, and welcome to the second part of this article on the Lockheed Georgia L-402 / Aeronautica Macchi AL-60 utility aircraft. If you do not mind, let us really get to the heart of the matter. I shall be brief.

Let me quote the legend of the photograph above, wrestled to the ground from the July 1969 issue of the American monthly Air Progress.

Canada’s Northwest Industries at Edmonton offers improved Lockheed / Aermacchi Model 60 as Northwest C-5 Ranger.

Northwest Industries Limited, a small company based in Edmonton, Alberta, specialising in subcontracting and the overhaul of civil and military aircraft mentioned in February and March 2020 issues of our blog / bulletin / thingee, wanted to take advantage of the growing North American market in utility aircraft. In the middle of 1967, Northwest Industries purchased the (North American?) sales and production rights for the AL-60. You will remember that the Italian aircraft manufacturer Aeronautica Macchi Società per Azioni (Aermacchi), a firm mentioned in the first part of this article, had held worldwide production rights for this aircraft since 1961, except for the United States. Yours truly actually wonders if Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, another firm mentioned in the first part of this article, was involved in these discussions.

Maybe encouraged by the Alberta government, Northwest Industries hoped to start production of the Ranger, the name chosen for the Canadian version of the AL-60, as early as 1968, once its workshops were enlarged. Demonstration flights carried out from 1969 with an aircraft delivered by Aermacchi aroused some interest. The Italian firm delivered at least 3 other AL-60s to Northwest Industries from 1969-70 onward. Yours truly does not know how many of them took to the sky in North America. This being said (typed?), the AL-60 did not arouse the enthusiasm of pilots. Indeed, the aircraft was slightly underpowered. Due to a lack of customers, Northwest Industries abandoned its production project around 1972 without having produced anything.

If I may be permitted a brief, yes, yes, brief, digression, Aermacchi later delivered 3 or 4 of the AL-60s supplied to Northwest Industries to the Force aérienne of the Central African Republic. This small country ultimately received 7 AL-60s in the early 1970s.

Northwest Industries, now CAE Aviation Limited, a subsidiary of CAE Incorporated, a world leader in flight simulators, would not embark on other complete aircraft production programs.

This being said (typed?), the firm worked around 1969-70 on a project to produce elements of the Handley Page H.P.137 Jetstream, a small twin-engine turboprop commuter airliner and business aircraft nicknamed “Jetscream” by some, and why am I shouting actually, which had flown for the first time in August 1967. Said project went up in smoke, however. Indeed, the British aircraft manufacturer Handley Page Aircraft Limited declared bankruptcy in February 1970.

Interestingly, Northwest Industries was not the only Canadian firm interested in the Jetstream.

Over the years, aircraft manufacturer Canadair Limited of Cartierville, Québec, then a subsidiary of the American defence industry giant General Dynamics Corporation, studied the possibility of producing various types of aircraft designed abroad. One of these projects originated from the bankruptcy of Handley Page Aircraft. One of the British aircraft manufacturer’s main customers, the American firm Airspur Corporation, apparently approached Canadair to discuss the manufacture of the Jetstream. This production project fell through.

Canadair was obviously mentioned many times in issues of our you know what, and this since November 2017. General Dynamics was mentioned a bit less often, and this since March 2018.

One of the main subcontractors of the Jetstream, Scottish Aviation Limited, a member of the Laird Group Public Limited Company, relaunched the production of the Jetstream in 1980. Said production took place in the workshops of a new firm created for this purpose, Jetstream Aircraft Limited. Scottish Aviation joined British Aerospace Public Limited Company in 1977 when this giant was formed. The last Jetstream took to the air in 1993. About 450 had been built over the years.

Yours truly dares to hope that this article is so soporific that it will help you fall asleep.

Ta ta for now.

Take care of yourself, my reading friend.

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Rénald Fortier