The hunt for #3430

You might recall from a blog post in Week #3 that I’ve long had an interest in a particular Canadian warplane. I’ve been on the lookout for a Yale Trainer with the identification #3430 ever since 2002 when I came across a photo that my mother took of me in this particular plane in September 1970. The photograph was taken when my parents and I attended a three-day auction sale for the late Ernie Simmons near Tillsonburg, Ontario.

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In July I was driving through Nanton, Alberta when I came across the Bomber Command Museum of Canada. I was aware that this particular museum had a pair of Yales in its collection so I stopped in to check them out. Unfortunately neither was the elusive #3430. I wouldn’t say that I was dejected but I haven’t spent much time searching for ‘ol #3430 since then. Life on the road has simply presented me with a whole range of new preoccupations.

This past week I received an email from a gentleman named Trevor No Se. I’m not sure where Trevor is from but he mentioned that he came across my blog while searching for information about a plane that he photographed last summer in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He sent along this photo:

North American Harvard 3430 - Imgur

It’s obvious that Trevor has tracked down #3430. After receiving Trevor’s note, I did a Google search for “North American NA-64 Yale” and found this Wikipedia entry from March 2014:

“There are many surviving NA-64 Yales today because of Ernie Simmons, a farmer from near Tillsonburg, Ontario. Simmons bought 39 Yales in 1946, along with Fairey Swordfish and Westland Lysanders and kept them on his farm until he died in 1970. Most were auctioned the same year, and many have been restored by museums and warbird enthusiasts. All surviving Yales are from the Simmons collection. Two examples have been subsequently lost: A major hangar fire took the Musée de l’air et de l’espace’s NA-64 3415/64-2224, and 3454/64-2165 was destroyed as the result of a flying accident. Several Yales have been painted or partially modified as BT-14s. Additionally, over a dozen are privately owned in Canada, the US, and Europe or are not accessible, and additional airframes may be held by some museums as a source of spare parts.”

Wikipedia lists the current whereabouts of all known Yales and indeed #3430 is shown as being in ‘static’ condition in the collection of the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg. Had I known that, I would have visited it when I passed through Winnipeg in Week #1. At least I now know where I’ll be heading on a road trip in the spring or summer of 2017.

For more on the Ernie Simmons auction, check out Lance Russwurm’s fascinating article for Spitfire Emporium: http://www.spitcrazy.com/Simmons-2.htm

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