71. The DHC-2 Beaver (1947)
Canada’s remote areas were dramatically opened to geological fieldwork with the development of bush planes that were capable of short take-off and landing. The most famous was the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, which first flew August 16, 1947, and has since become a symbol of Canada’s North.
Development of internal combustion engines during the First World War and the availability of trained pilots after the war fuelled the use of bush planes. Between 1947 and 1967, 1, 657 Beaver aircraft were produced and used around the world, with many still in service. Capable of carrying about 1,000 kilograms, the Beaver became the new workhorse for transporting and supplying geological fieldwork on a larger scale and further north than previously possible.
Subsequent de Havilland models, with larger capacities, eventually supplanted the venerable Beaver. These included the DHC-2T Turbo Beaver, the DHC-3 Otter (single Otter, and the turbocharged version, DHC-3T), and DHC-6 Twin Otter.
The Royal Canadian Mint issued a special gold coin in 2008 in honour of the Beaver, calling it “the airplane that opened the North.” A quarter with an image of the Beaver had been issued in 1999.
CDN Icons: The Bush Plane. http://www.canadianicons.ca/bush-plane.php
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