The RFC’s great Canadian experiment is whirring into gear. The first three nucleus Flights, bearing the titles 78, 79, and 81 (Canadian) Reserve Squadrons, left England on 15 February and are due to arrive shortly.
Lieutenant-Colonel Hoare has also reported that he has received more than 1,000 applications for cadetships, so it is unlikely there will be a shortage of pupils. He is however having some difficulty in recruiting suitable mechanics.
Meanwhile the newly established Canadian Aeroplanes, Limited has taken over the sheds of the former Curtiss Company at Long Branch, Toronto and has begun to manufacture aeroplanes primarily to serve the training squadrons.
A prototype of a modified Curtiss JN-4 was completed in January 1917 and the first completed example was delivered today and training of pilots will begin in the next few days.
The Canadian-made JN-4 is derived form the JN-3 just like the US built JN-4. However this version has a lighter airframe, ailerons on both wings, a bigger and more rounded rudder, and differently shaped wings, stabilizer, and elevators. Perhaps more importantly, this aircraft also featured a control stick, which was now the standard in most new aircraft, rather than wheel.
The Canadian built JN-4 went on the form the backbone of the training programme in Canada. Along with its American built counterpart, it also was an important aircraft in the establishment of aviation in post war Canada and the United States as war surplus aircraft entered the civilian market. The aircraft was used as a trainer well into the 30s.