Mystery Airplane: September 2015
Lockheed CP-140 Aurora
Designed to replace the Wright R-3350 Turbo-Compound powered Canadair CP-107 Argus (remember the May 2003 Mystery Plane?), which had replaced the wartime Avro Lancaster 10, the Lockheed CP-140 Aurora was ordered in July 1976. Wearing serials 140101 to 140118, the Aurora combined elements of the P-3C airframe with S-3A Viking electronics and search gear. With a crew of 11, the CP-140 was powered by four 4910 hp Allison T-56 turboprops. It is fitted out to handle antisubmarine, pollution patrol, shipping and fishing surveillance, Arctic patrol, and search and rescue missions.
The first flight of a CP-140 occurred at Burbank on 22 March 1979, with deliveries beginning in May 1980. The last aircraft was handed over in July 1981. Three CP-140A Arcturus crew trainers, with fewer electronics and no ASW gear, also used for environmental patrol, were ordered in 1989. The CP-140 is currently assigned to No. 14 Wing comprising the 404 and 405 Squadrons based at Greenwood, Nova Scotia, and No. 19 Wing with the 407 Squadron at Comox, British Columbia.
I photographed CP-140 #140103 at Mt. Hope Airport, Ontario, in June 1987, when it was serving with No. 415 Squadron. It had been flight tested by Lockheed as N64854 and delivered on 14 July 1980. It was originally based at Greenwood, Nova Scotia before a complete overhaul and reassignment to No. 407 Squadron at Comox, British Columbia in November 2006.
I didn't fool anyone with the Aurora. Burt Lade of Bemidji is this month's winner. Others who recognized the CP-140 were Graydon Carlson, Mel Henschel, Ed Wells, Joe Connell, and Don Keepers, a retired Minnesota State Patrol pilot.
Thanks to everyone who stopped at the announcer's stand at Flying Cloud during Air-Expo and the many Minnesotans who visited Golden Wings' Stinson 6000B at Oshkosh. It's great to swap stories and memories. Blue skies to you all!