Model 82 and 34-42 Niska
Fairchild 82 float plane at Forty Mile, Yukon, July 1938
Role Civil utility aircraft
Manufacturer Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. (Canada)
First flight 6 July 1935
Number built 24

The Fairchild 82 and the 34-42 Niska were a family of utility aircraft produced in Canada in the mid-1930s, based on designs by Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. (Canada)'s parent company in the United States.

Design and development

Canadian Airways Fairchild 82A CF-AXE on the goldfields in 1938. The skis have been set over some logs to prevent them from freezing to the surface

In 1929-1930, Fairchild (Canada) designed an eight-seat transport known as the Model 81. The single prototype was powered by either a 575 hp (429 kW) Pratt & Whitney Hornet or an Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar. The design was a "one-off" and did not enter production.[1] In 1934, the parent company had also developed the Super 71 but only four were built. Undaunted, the company continued to refine the design and produced the Model 82 the following year. This retained the stretched forward fuselage and separate flight deck that had been a feature of the Super 71, but increased passenger and load capacity.

The resulting aircraft proved a modest success, with three sold to the government of Venezuela, one to the government of Mexico, and another seven going to various Canadian regional airlines. Variants with various powerplant changes followed, three of which went to Argentina.

The final development of this design was the 34-42 Niska, incorporating changes made after N.F. Vanderlipp joined the company from Bellanca (the new model reflecting Bellanca's idiosyncratic model numbering, and taking its name from an indigenous people of Canada). After unsuccessful trials with its 420 hp (310 kW) Ranger powerplant, the aircraft was converted back to a Model 82D standard with a S3H1 Wasp. Only a single example was built, and today it remains as the sole example surviving in Canada.[2]

Operational history

Fairchild 82 CF-AXC of British Yukon Navigation, on the ice at Mayo
Dominion Skyways Fairchild 82

The Fairchild 82 was a rugged aircraft and it found a niche as a freighter especially in northern Canada, although export versions were used for a variety of roles including surveying and light transport. It was operated by numerous Canadian firms including Canadian Pacific Air Lines. While its main competitor, the Noorduyn Norseman was finding success with military orders, Fairchild decided to abandon the bush plane market temporarily in favour of producing the Bristol Bolingbroke bomber for the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force immediately prior to the Second World War.

The company had intended to enter the postwar civilian market with an upgraded Model 82 but the original tooling had been destroyed during the war years. The remaining Fairchild 82s remained in service until the late 1960s.[3]

A 40-year-old mystery of the Arctic was solved when the remains of a Fairchild 82 were found south of Bathurst Inlet. Chuck McAvoy was flying a pair of American geologists on 9 June 1964 when they disappeared. An extensive search ensued at the time but was unsuccessful, and it wasn't until in 2003 when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) finally found the crash site.[4]



Fuerza Aérea Argentina Fairchild 82D

Surviving aircraft

Fairchild 82D on display in Moron, Argentina

Specifications (Fairchild 82A)

General characteristics




  1. ^ Molson and Taylor 1982, p. 320.
  2. ^ Molson and Taylor 1982, p. 321–322.
  3. ^ Molson and Taylor, 1982, p. 323.
  4. ^ Human remains, plane wreckage, may solve 40-year-old northern mystery The Canadian Press, 8 August 2003. Retrieved: 8 March 2008.
  5. ^ "Fairchild 82".
  6. ^ "Fairchild 82".
  7. ^ Air International September 1973, p. 121.