March 24, 2012

Planning for Camping in Parent, QC and Casey, QC

(UPDATE: This trip happened)

If you hadn't noticed, my fall trip to Thunder Bay, Ontario (~1450km) fell through, completely.  By buying my Iltis from Renfrew, I missed out on an awesome 2-3 day camping extravaganza, in near freezing temperatures, across northern Ontario.  Yes, I was in fact looking forward to it.  I'll need to do it eventually, but for now the plan is shelved. 
I hope to extend the trip all the way to Sioux Lookout, Ontario (via Armstrong Station, Ontario).

What I do have on the agenda is the original plan to drive to Casey, Quebec and see the abandoned cold war concrete airstrip. 

Looking at the recorded temperature highs, lows, and averages for the area I think late April or early May are the safest ideas; so the camping party can enjoy the time as best as possible, as soon as possible, without many bugs.  The nights will be cold, so that should kill off the bugs/mosquitoes.  I hope.

Library and Archives Canada
Library and Archives Canada
I discovered that Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington Street, Ottawa) has several collections including old military archives containing everything from commanding officer logs, to the layouts of sewer systems, where and how roads were constructed, etc..  From that information I should be able to study up on the facility.  I've looked up online, through their search tools, over a half a dozen different applicable files.  I'm hoping to find enough records about RCAF Station Casey to make a composite map/collage of the area, and know where to look for building foundations or other facilities such as water pump facilities, power facilities, sewage facilities, off-site radio facilities, etc. 
From that information we'll know what we're looking at and where we're going.

The National Air Photo Library
(Natural Resources Canada)
The National Air Photo Library
(Natural Resources Canada)
In order to get a better idea of what buildings have stood on the site of the old military airstrip, it only makes sense to consult old air photos.  I've spoken to the staff at the National Air Photo Library (615 Booth Street #180, Ottawa) and they are very eager to help with this kind of research.  I just need to find a time that works for both their office hours and my schedule that will allow me to work with them and review some of the vintage air photos from the 50's, 60's and 70's of the area.

What route?
This is the part that I'm having difficulty with.

The last trip to Parent, Quebec took the main road from Mont Laurier to Parent, but that's easy, because it's the *only* road to Parent!  The road is dirt, but it is very wide and easy to drive.

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Parent, QC to Casey, QC
Casey, QC
Thanks to some local advice I've recently been given, I can confirm that there is a road from Parent to Casey which is passable by regular vehicles, thanks to the 2011 logging which has been happening East of Casey, QC!  Unfortunately it's not really "on the map" yet, but I expect will turn into a real road eventually and get picked up by Google Maps.  It's plainly visible from Parent to Casey all the same, using Google Satellite view.  Disregard the blue line, the road is sand/dirt and viewable pretty much right down the middle, left to right.

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Then comes the challenging bit... Casey, QC back to Ottawa, ON for some, and Montreal, QC for others.

Casey To...
Casey to Montreal or Ottawa share the 1st leg to the Manawan road. The road from the Manawan reserve to Saint Michel Des Saints was built in the 70's, it is a good road, then it's the 131 all the way in to Montreal - but...

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How to get from Casey to Ottawa?
Well... you know the old ditty... You take the high road and I'll take the low road... there's a road on the map, which doesn't look very big, but goes right where I want it to.  I've been burned by Google Maps before, and I'm intent on having it burn me again, so unless someone can tell me that road is a impassable ATV only hell hole I'm going to do it!

View Larger Map

Not Ottawa?
Oh, so you noticed that is not Ottawa... yes indeed, that's the site of the former CFS La Macaza - home of the Canadian 447 SAM Squadron from 1962-1972 who manned the famous BOMARC nuclear tipped anti-aircraft missiles - that's right, one of two nuclear SAM sites on Canadian Soil!  This is the location of the camping trip "BONUS ROUND" if we've made it this far without killing each other or ourselves we can drive by, wave, and likely not actually stop... because the former base is now a medium security prison for sex offenders and recovering substance abusers! 
Camping with me is never dull!

From there we go on to Ottawa!

There we have it.  To Ottawa, via the 323, then the 315, and the 148.

The name of the game will be fill up at every gas station, and drive like a psychopath.  Hey, when in Rome...


Lockheed L-1049H Super Constellation (N173W)

Lockheed L-1049H Super Constellation (N173W)
Miami International, Florida - June 16, 1972
Almost one year before the fatal crash
Source: Peter de Groot
(reposting - updated)

On June 9th, 1973 Captain Jim Carlin, Flight Engineer Rick Riccatelli, and First Officer A. Condey had completed all but their last spray mission, misting the forests of northern Quebec with insecticide, spraying for the Spruce Budworm.  Reportedly on their final flight there were representatives from the government on hand to see the spraying take place.  They were taking off from an abandoned military airstrip near Casey Quebec, flying a 4 engine Lockheed L-1049H Super Constellation, tail no. N173W.  According to the accident report they raised their flaps too early, causing the aircraft to crash on takeoff at ~1:30 in the afternoon.  All three personnel on board the plane died in the crash.  They were carrying a plane capable of carrying a full load of 4400 gallons of pesticide.  The pesticides they used are almost all banned, globally.  Upon crashing, there was a fire, likely due to the plane being freshly fueled for takeoff.  It was headed in a southerly direction, and crashed into the trees, past a river, leaving a trail of carnage through the forest.

Several questions stick out in my head about this accident, and I'm interested to get the official report explaining what the investigation figured out about the crash. 
  • In 1973, who was maintaining this airstrip? 
  • Did they refuel before takeoff, was fuel available? 
  • Where was the fuel stored, or was it in tanker trucks?
  • Did they fill up completely with pesticide, and what kind?
  • Where can I find the full accident report of this incident?
  • Where exactly did the plane crash?
I have not yet gone to Library and Archives Canada to find out what I can, but so far no online searches in their databases have turned anything up.

Below is what I have been able to find, through cited open-source sources.

 FILE    DATE          LOCATION          AIRCRAFT DATA       INJURIES       FLIGHT                        PILOT DATA
                                                               F  S M/N     PURPOSE
6-0019   73/6/9    CASEY,QUEBEC,CAN    LOCKHEED 1049G      CR-  3  0  0  COMMERCIAL                AIRLINE TRANSPORT, AGE
        TIME - 1330                    N173W               PX-  0  0  0  AERIAL APPLICATION        51, 6050 TOTAL HOURS,
                                       DAMAGE-DESTROYED    OT-  0  0  0                            UNK/NR IN TYPE,
                                                                                                   INSTRUMENT RATED.
          CASEY,QUEBEC,CAN            LOCAL
        TYPE OF ACCIDENT                                         PHASE OF OPERATION

Date:    09 JUN 1973
Time:    13:30
Type:    Lockheed L-1049H Super Constellation Operator:    Aircraft Specialties Registration:    N173W
C/n / msn:    4674
First flight:    1957
Crew:    Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3 Passengers:    Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0 Total:    Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3 Airplane damage:    Written off Airplane fate:    Written off (damaged beyond repair) Location:    Casey, QC (Canada) Phase:    Initial climb (ICL) Nature:    Agricultural
Departure airport:    Casey, QC (), Canada Destination airport:    Casey, QC, Canada Narrative:
The Constellation crashed shortly after takeoff.

"Captain Jim Carlin and (it is believed) Flight Engineer Rick Riccatelli lost their lives in the crash of another Connie ... On 9 June 1973, Lockheed L-1049H Super Constellation N173W (c/n 4674) was taking-off from Casey, Quebec in Canada when it crashed into trees soon after take-off and was destroyed by explosion and fire. The third crew member, First Officer A. Condey, was also killed in the crash. The aircraft had been modified for spraying pesticides on forests and it was engaged in these operations on the day of the crash. The investigation revealed that the flaps had been retracted prematurely after take-off. N173W was previously owned by Lance Dreyer's Unum Inc."

Looking deeper into what pesticides were in use in Northern Quebec, that I was previously completely unaware of, I found a report from 1975 covering the pesticide applications in Northern Quebec, and the airfields they were flying out of (including the airstrip at the former Casey airstrip)

The area around Casey, Quebec was infested with the Spruce Budworm, and was sprayed, several times a year with a variety of pesticides. There were, of course, health concerns and concerns about wildlife death - but no accusations ever stuck (at the time).

From ~1970 onward the government performed massive spraying operations, spraying millions of acres, to try and kill off the bug.

In 1974 6,350,000 acres of Quebec wilderness were sprayed with:

Fenitrothion 4,140,000 acres
"Fenitrothion has been shown to have high acute toxicity to birds. Its use was banned in Canada in 1997 after it was linked to significant increased mortality of forest songbirds (Mineau, 1999). Fenitrothion is known to have harmful effects on terrestrial invertebrates including honeybees, ants and springtails."
-Environment Protection Agency of Australia "Assessment of the impact of insecticide spraying of Australian plague locusts" July 2001 

Matacil 1,200,000 acres
Spruce Budworm
"Matacil 1.8D, sprayed in Atlantic Canada from 1975 to 1985, contains high concentrations of a compound called 4-nonylphenol, an “endocrine disrupting substance” that is toxic to invertebrates and fish. A Department of Fisheries and Oceans study indicated that anti-budworm Matacil spraying might have harmed Atlantic wild salmon populations."
-CBC Radio "Poison Mists" May 14, 1976 "Poison mists affect more than just budworms."The CBC Digital Archives Website.Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Zectran (Mexacarbate) 1,000,000 acres
Also known as Mexacarbate, which has been banned for use in Belize and listed as "Extremely toxic" per "Consolidated list of products whose consumption and/or sale have been banned, withdrawn, severely restricted or not approved by governments, Issue 7" United Nations, 2002 

Mexacarbate is so toxic, they don't even make it anymore.  Little information is available regarding it's effect on humans.  Here's some, and it should make you queezy just reading it.  Especially the all caps "HIGHLY TOXIC".

Bacillus Thuringiensir 10,000 acres
This is still used today, and is supposed to be "safe".

I'm unsure which pesticide went down with the Lockheed L-1049H Super Constellation (N173W) that crashed at Casey in 1973, or what was being sprayed most around Casey, Quebec - but in short, some seriously bad shit.  I would assume, since the plane crashed, that it would have been fully laden, it would have had 4400 Gallons of the pesticide when it crashed and burned.  How much pesticide spilled with the plane when it crashed in 1973, all in one spot?  Did it all pour into the river?  I don't know. What's especially concerning is the toxicity in lab experiments is measured in milligrams per kilogram of the test subject, and we're dealing in thousands of gallons.

In an recent email exchange with a gentleman who was there during the spraying, he saw first hand Northern Pike belly up after the low-level flying spraying (before the crash happened).  It wasn't some hippie environmental zealots that thought it *might* have an impact - it was clearly, immediately, killing wildlife.  I don't know the long term effects of Mexacarbate, Matacil, or Fenitrothion; but I hope it has disappeared and no longer lingers in the environment.

Thoughts of 2012 camping in Casey, Quebec

(UPDATE: This Trip to Parent and Casey happened)

Do you ever get that crazy "smoking man" conspiracy feeling?  Well, I don't often... but once and a while it's kinda fun to think that you might become the man who knew too much.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, there is an airstrip, a 2.5Km / 8250ft concrete airstrip, in the middle of rural back country Quebec, near a rail line, by a mostly-if-not-completely-abandoned town.  

I now believe this was not officially an RCAF "Station", but an emergency airstrip, forward operating base in-waiting, or some other stand-by air strip facility.  From the information I have been able to gather from historical narrative reports, I do not think it was manned at all most of the time, but there were significant numbers of buildings that could "spring" into action if war was declared or an emergency presented itself.  I have only found two government mentions of Casey; one called it "the Casey airstrip" and the other "Station Casey".  I do also know it went by the name McCarthy before 1951, when the RCAF changed the name.

From what I have been able to figure out from the few scraps of information others have published online, I now believe it was the Canadian military who built the strip, but I'm not sure of that.  At the time the strip would have been built, the American military would have been building radar installations in Canada, so it's not far fetched that they would have built an emergency landing strip for their bombers in the area over Quebec where they would have been re-fueling, or over-flying.  From further reading about how long the USAF made runways during that time period, when this airstrip was built or upgraded in the early 1950s, the Americans were just starting to extend their 4000ft-6500ft runways to 10,000-15,000ft to accommodate fully laden B-47 and B-52 bombers.  Researching further, I found a B-52, only "half full", could take off from a shorter runway - maybe a 8000ft one.  The key is to take off with enough fuel to get aloft and get to a KC-135 in-air refueling plane.  If a B-52 had to make an emergency landing at a 8000ft airstrip, it could deploy a drag chute, and come to a stop within 8000ft.  It could also unload any ordinance, if it was too heavy to take off again, partially refuel, and still take off from a "shorter" 8000ft runway.  I had previously thought this could have been routinely used to refuel, but from what I'm reading about USAF practice, I no longer think that is the case due to the relatively short runway.

RCAF Station Casey (aka McCarthy) ICAO Code: CA-0084 near Casey, Quebec

From my limited research, it seems there were several USAF projects during the 1950's which overflew Canadian airspace and kept nuclear armed bombers in the air over Canada and Greenland "just in case" they had to divert and bomb the living daylights out of the Soviet Union.  

Project Headstart was one such project, and it kicked off in the late 1950s.
We're lucky enough to have a previously classified 15 minute video (10 minute part 1, 5 minute part 2) for you to watch. 
It includes "that guy" who does all the 1950's and 1960's voice overs.  (Who IS that guy??)

Air Force Film Report 33, "Operation Headstart - Airborne Alert" (1959)
Source: National Archives Motion Pictures Unit, Record Group 342

It's important to note that the Canadian government was fully on board with this, as long as the US Military and Canadian Military talked daily and confirmed they were still cool with it.
"The Canadian government gave permission for four overflights daily, including refueling, as long as there was daily service-to-service clearance by the RCAF.  See memo from Philip Farley, Special Assistant for Atomic Energy, to Acting Secretary of State, "Strategic Air Command Exercise 'Headstart,'"13 September 1958, DNSA." source:
Could American bombers have fully re-armed at Casey?
Maybe, but doubtful.  A fully fueled and armed B-52 requires ~12,000-14,00ft of runway to take off safely.  Could they have cut the fuel as previously mentioned?  Maybe, but it carries a lot of ordinance, I think it's unlikely, but open for speculation.  There was and still is an active rail line that fuel and ordinance could have been delivered with, so transportation would not have been a significant problem.

What about fighter jets?
Canadian CF-101 Voodoo
from 416 (Lynx) Squadron, CFB Cold Lake
(Source: Royal Canadian Air Force)
I don't see why not.  Canadian fighter jets of the time (the CF-100 Canuck and CF-101 Voodoo) would have been able to land and take off from that strip, given it's length.
I have found no mention of it yet...

Unlike RCAF Station Parent, which is less than 30Km to the West, I have no descriptions of the buildings, commanding officer's logs, or any details about the base other than what I can gleam from passing mentions, vague stories, or Google satellite imagery.  I really need to hit the books National Archives and see what they will let me see.  Interestingly, some of the documents which I want access to are still marked "restricted by law" even 50 years since the base was decommissioned. ...restricted by law?  Which law, I wonder.

Am I the only person who knows about this place?
Sometimes, because of the lack of info about it, I think so - then I'm reminded by a letter like this that I'm not, and there are others who are just as crazy as I am.
The runway is still in good condition and the foundations of the various buildings are visible, here and there.
For my own pleasure and for cyriosity purposes, I am planning on enjoying a new hobby…. «self-taught» archaeology.  I have located  the foundations of what appears to be  the main gate guard house and I plan to work my way from that point all the way along the runway where numerous other buildings were located.

Credit: Johanne Hurtubise, 2007
Here are some guys who took the initiative and went off-roading and camping up there - hat's off to you boys, nice job - wish the pictures were bigger tho!

Thanks to the limited pictures I've found from people who have visited the site, and the vagueness of all the information, the airstrip at Casey will be my next camping trip, with a stop at Parent to see what I missed last year.

As I find out more information, I'll be sure to share it - and if you have more info or sources I'm missing, please comment and point me in the right direction!

The Nicolet Proof and Experimental Test Establishment on Lake Saint-Pierre, Quebec

There are a lot of things that have gone on, and do go on, militarily in Canada that nobody seems to know about. I certainly didn't know where we had any munitions testing facilities, or where we rented out space to friendly nations to test their munitions in our facilities.  A lot of testing and cooperation, to levels that Canadians have no idea about, has gone on over the years. I saw a passing mention of the "Proof and Experimental Test Establishment" while looking for something completely different the other day, and made a note to get back to it later.

This facility has gone by many names...
  • The Nicolet Proof and Experimental Test Establishment (PETE) in Quebec
  • The Nicolet Proof and Experimental Test Establishment on Lake Saint-Pierre
  • The National Defense Proof and Experimental Test Establishment
From my understanding, the range is used to test ammunition; artillery, bombs, any munitions. The site was chosen in part due to its proximity to several military ammunition manufacturers. Having the test range close to the manufacturing facility meant the ammunition didn't need to be transported across the country in a truck or by train, potentially getting into an accident or falling victim to crime.
As it turns out, that facility has been in use since the 1950s, and is still in use today, in a reduced capacity.

While reportedly no artillery is being fired into the lake anymore, the area is still restricted airspace, to a height of 17,000 feet - so you won't be flying over it unless you're way up there.  Taking the coordinates documented in the Canadian Designated Airspace Handbook (226th edition, October 2011) I put the coordinates into a Google Map so you can visualize the area

The base itself is at the East edge of the no-fly zone. (Google Street View - So Handy!)

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The Canadian Department of National Defence has been working on cleaning up Lac St. Pierre, since there is an estimated 10,000 unexploded shells at the bottom...

The following news article was published back in 2006, going over the use of the base to test US nuclear-capable artillery.
Canada Tested US Neutron Bomb Artillery Shells in Quebec

John Clearwater - November 6, 2006
During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s Ottawa allowed the US Army to test
artillery shells - some of them nuclear delivery vehicles - at the
Nicolet Proof and Experimental Test Establishment (PETE) in Quebec.
Declassified documents reveal that two different nuclear weapon
artillery shells, both with neutron bomb features, were definitely
tested in Canada.
The US Army regularly tested its experimental and operational
artillery shells in the cold, dense airspace above the range at PETE.
The Army had recognized that Nicolet, Quebec, offered a unique
combination of Arctic temperatures and high air density which cannot
be found anywhere in the USA. According to the US Army, these unique
conditions did "commonly occur in potential operational areas"(1), by
which they mean the Soviet Union.
The information was discovered in documents released in response to an
access to information act request to the department of national
defence. The declassified documents form part of the newly-released
book "Just Dummies: Cruise Missile Testing in Canada" by nuclear
weapons specialist John Clearwater.
Testing, which usually took place during January and February of most
years, was done with the permission of the Department of National
Defence. Each series of tests required the US Army and DND sign a new
While the majority of the artillery shells fired at PETE are
non-nuclear, and most are inert, a DND contract and other documents
reveal that there were nuclear-capable shells tested. Former Associate
Minister of National Defence, Harvey Andre, said "it is technically
feasible for projectiles of the size tested to have either a
conventional or nuclear explosive capability", but went on to say that
no nuclear munitions had ever been tested in Canada. Spokesmen for DND
have repeated this assertion.
In private Ottawa told the US Army that the rate charged by Canada for
US Army tests of nuclear artillery shells was $88.95 per hour of
person/range time plus a 3% service charge and a 10% administrative
fee, payable in either Canadian or US dollars.(2)
The only known public reference by the Government to the testing at
PETE came in 1982 when the then Minister of National Defence Gilles
Lamontagne told the House of Commons that the Canadian Forces had
conducted high air density tests on 155mm artillery shells on behalf
of the USA in the winter of 1977-78.(3) Lamontagne provided no other
details, thus leaving the public in the dark about other tests between
1977 and 1982. As PETE provided almost no annual reports, there is
little official record, and almost no list of nuclear weapons system
The US Army first deployed functional nuclear artilery shells in 1957.
The Mk-33/-422 shell was joined by Mk-48/-454 nuclear shell, the first
to use plutonium, in 1963. These two systems would remain the backbone
of US Army nuclear artillery until the W-79 and W-82 programmes came
along in 1975 and 1977. The new shells would have the Enhanced
Radiation Weapon (ERW) features, also known as the neutron bomb.
The Enhanced Radiation Weapon, or neutron bomb, known as the bomb
which kills people but does little physical damage to buildings, was
becoming a prominent weapon in the Reagan armament scheme in the early
1980s. It was to become the pre-eminent weapon as older shells were
The ERW was once called the ultimate capitalist weapon because it
killed while leaving property relatively unharmed. US military studies
showed that while there is substantially more radiation produced by
the ERW, the amount of blast is only reduced by about 20% over similar
non-ERW nuclear weapons.
The Pentagon had promoted the ERW as a way of lowering the yield of
the weapon without diminishing its effectiveness. It would be used
against armoured attack, and would not encourage the Soviets to
escalate to higher nuclear yields. However, tank crews would be able
to operate for at least a day after being irradiated, and NATO troops
would then have had to attack the tanks conventionally.(4)
Neutron bomb system testing at PETE goes back to 1976-77 when DND
allowed firing of the XM753, a 203mm artillery shell for the W79
warhead. The ERW version was first deployed to operational units in
1981. At least 340 nuclear warheads were built, but political problems
limited the ERW version to less than 40 warheads. These few warheads
were later converted back to standard nuclear weapons, with the ERW
components removed.
The letter of agreement for these cold weather trials of the shells
was signed on 27 September 1976, and the contract was authorized by
the Director General of Quality Assurance at National Defence (DGQA)
on 22 October 1976.(5)
On 15 October 1982, the Canadian Commercial Corporation signed an
agreement to allow the US Army to conduct flight and structural tests
of their new delivery vehicle for the 155mm XM785/W82 standard and
Enhanced Radiation Weapon: the neutron bomb.(6) Testing in Canada
followed a series of tests of the M549A1 artillery shell,
ballistically similar to the M785, at the Yuma Proving Grounds in the
United States. With a planned deployment date of 1989, the cold
weather trials in Canada were an important part of the early stages of
engineering and prototype work.
The contract for the use of PETE during the winter of 1982-83 shows
that the US Army paid DND $150 000.00 ($US) for the use of the
artillery testing range. DND supplied the manpower and range
instrumentation that was needed to conduct the tests.
Tests to determine how the nuclear artillery shell would perform in
the cold Arctic air which could be expected in and around the USSR,
took place in January and February 1983. The XW785 is the testing
model of the operational M785. This shell was to carry the W82 ERW
warhead, and was intended to replace the M753. The standard nuclear
explosive was used when Congress cancelled the ERW funding for this
shell in October 1983.
During the January 1983 firing test of the PXR6285, PXR6286, PXR6292,
and the PXR6296 were carried out at PETE. All of these test vehicles
were used exclusively to test the behaviour of the shell which carries
the W82 ERW warhead. Specifically, tests were conducted to determine
the flight pattern of the shell in Arctic cold temperatures; the
flight pattern in very dense air; and the survivability of the
delivery vehicle during launch acceleration.
The M549A1 has the mass properties of the XM785 and was tested for
transonic muzzle velocity at the Yuma Proving Ground in the USA and
then at PETE. The PXR6292 and PXR6296, both having similar mass
properties to the XM785, were given transonic range precision tests at
The PXR6285 and PXR6286, both having similar mass properties to the
XM785, were given transonic stability tests at 20 degree yaw angles at
PETE. The PXR tests took place at PETE in January and February 1983.
None of these tests show up on the PETE annual list of projects for
1982, 1983 or 1984.(7)
The government has never publicly confirmed that these tests took
place. DND has refused further comment, and the Department of Foreign
Affairs denies that any such tests had ever taken place.(8) It remains
unclear whether they are aware of their own declassified
W-79 Nuclear Artillery Shell
Name: M753 (203mm)
weight: 97.5 kg
diameter: 203 mm
length 1.09 m
range: 18 km (29 km with rocket assist projectile)
Security lock: 6 digit combination lock with limited try and lockout
fuze: target sensor and timer
Yield: 1-10 kt (selectable)
Nuclear type: standard and enhanced radiation warhead (ERW)
Deployed: 1981-1991
W-82 Nuclear Artillery Shell
Name: XM785 (155mm)
weight: 43 kg
diameter: 155 mm
length 0.87 m
range: 30 km
Security lock: 6 digit combination lock
fuze: radar airburst
Nuclear type: standard and enhanced radiation warhead (ERW)
Deployed: 1986-1991
The Difference Between a regular nuclear weapon and a neutron bomb.
Standard nuclear weapons release 50% of their energy in blast, while
the similar figure for the ERW is 40%. Prompt radiation from a
standard device is about 5%, but up to 30% for the ERW. Thermal
energy is 35% and 25% respectively, and residual radiation is 10% and
5 %
(1) US Army, DAAK10-82-R-0302 Scope of Work, p.7. unclassified.
(2) 11 January 1988, Letter to Director FSAC Armament Research
Development and Engineering, US Army Armament Munitions and Chemical
Command, Dover, New Jersey, from R.S. Arbukle, Director Quality
Assurance Support, DND. Re: Approval Given for US Army Tests of
Ammunition at PETE. 10081-2683.
(3) 08 November 1982, HANSARD. P.20486.
(4) Scoville, H., A Comparison of the Effects of Neutron and Standard
Fission Weapons", Centre for Defense Information, Washington DC. 12
August 1981.
(5) 27 September 1976, Letter of Agreement between the United States
Army and the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) for
1976/1977 Winter High Air Density Tests of 8-Inch Projectiles at
Nicolet, Quebec, Canada. Signed by USA 27 Sept 76, and by Canada 22
Oct 76.
(6) 15 October 1982, Award/Contract, Between the Canadian Commercial
Corporation and Department of National Defence for Canada, and the US
Army Armament R&D Command. Re: Use of facility PETE, Nicolet, Canada,
per scope of work. DAAK10-83-0- 0004.
(7) Tests of artillery/artillery shells by US Army at PETE. 1974-75:
M483 & M509; 1975- 76: 155mm (type unknown), 203mm (type unknown);
1976- 77: 203mm, M106, XM650E4, EBVP; 1977-78155mm (type unknown);
1982-83: 155mm (M785 ERW family), PXR6285, PXR6286, PXR6292, PXR6296,
M549A1, M483A1, M107; 1987-88: 155mm, XM915.
(8) 26 May 2000, letter to author from G.A. Calkin, Director North
American & Euro- Atlantic Security & Defence Relations, re: defence
activities and policies. (and) 3 January 2001 letter to author from N.
Etheridge, Director North-American & Euro- Atlantic Security & Defence
Relations, re: various aspects of defence related activities and
"Just Dummies: Cruise Missile Testing in Canada"
By John Clearwater
University of Calgary Press
$34.95 sc
November 2006
ISBN 1-55238-211-7
EAN 978-1-55238-211-0
283 pages
15 x 23 cm
Index, Notes, Bibliography
Political Science / History / Military
Cited from:

Yet another location to add to my bucket list of significant military sites in Canada to visit!

Four Pinetree Line Stations, in Four Days?

To everyone who said "why don't you wait until after the spring camping trip before you plan the next one?!" - yeah, I know, that would make a lot of sense wouldn't it ;)


The word conjures memories of growing up in Montreal watching the local CBC evening news and weather.  Chibougamau had it's own mention because it was pretty damn far from everything, and presumably it's own climate!  I don't know much about Chibougamau, but it's a town of under 10,000 people, it has some serious mining and nearby I would expect lumber.  However, it's pretty far north, so I expect the trees are scrawny and thinning out.  I now know it also had an RCAF Pinetree Line Station!  Coupled with the awesome name (I love saying Chibougamau!) I have a reason to visit!

There are not a lot of choices when it comes to roads that far north, so the shortest route takes me from Ottawa, North toward Val D'Or, then hooks NE to Chibougamau.  But wait, that takes me past Senneterre!

Senneterre is also on my list of sunny Quebec destination spots, as it also had an RCAF Station, a major one in the grand scheme of things.  Senneterre, for a while, was the back-up site to North Bay, which was the command and control headquarters for defending against those pesky Soviet bombers.  It was active until the 80s.

North East to Chibougamau, then do I take the route back?  Hell no!  From Chibougamau I'd go South East to Mont Apica, another Pintree Line station set high in the Quebec hills.

From there, the route takes me through Quebec City, Montreal, and on to Ottawa... but there's St Sylvestre along the way - another Pinetree Line station!  It also makes a convenient stop in the middle to take a break.

View Larger Map

That's about 1900 Km, or 28hrs of driving.  Can the Iltis take it?  Can I?  I'm really not sure.  The shakedown will be this spring's trip to Parent QC and Casey QC.  The northernmost roads are heavy with logging trucks and major transport trucks; I need to make sure the Iltis can keep up and not slow traffic down or I'll become a momentary obstacle, and then a speed bump.

I can get the Iltis to 80km/h, at 100km/h she's screaming, and I haven't been able to do more than 110 km/h since I changed the plugs, wires, etc.. that's probably best!

No idea.  Let's get Parent and Casey under my best first, then we'll see.

Bombardier Iltis Fluids

It seems when you start searching for "what is the best oil for..." you get as many answers as there are brands or types of automotive oils...

What's my goal?
I'm trying to build up my Iltis and ensure it has the best chance of survival for a ~1000Km drive that will take me North from Ottawa, to and around Parent Quebec, Casey Quebec, and back again - possibly by a different route than I traveled there on.  This means bringing parts that I expect to damage (tires) already mounted and ready to use, as well as extra gas.

What about fluids?
One of the main things I don't want to deal with on the drive is changing or losing any fluids.  I also don't want to break anything because fluids are worn out or contaminated.  So my question to the "Internets" has been, what's the best Oil I can put in the Iltis to give me the best changes of survival?

What kind of fluids does the Iltis take?
According to the manual  ( which you really should have found on the internet in PDF by now, in at least two places... ) the crank case oil should be 15W40 (unless you're in -20C or below cold) and the gear oil should be 80W90 (unless you're in -20C or below cold).  The debate could go on regarding conventional or synthetic, or what additives to put in, etc... but I'm going to skip that part.

Generic Oil
Element 15W40
Originally, I was going to go with Lucas Oil... Then it was suggested to me to look at Shell Rotella (good suggestion, thx!) Then I got impatient, and just went to my local mechanic and he changed the oil for peanuts.  He used locally available, made in Canada, ElementX (made for Benson Auto Parts).  It conforms to all the standards, and it's now happily moving around my engine.  I checked on it a week after it went in to see if any crap had started to pollute it, and it's still crystal clear.  More importantly, the black-as-soot oil that was in there, is now outa-there! 
The Iltis is happy about the change.
What about the oil filter?
Oh I haven't forgotten, and have already purchased a case of 6 Fram PH2870A filters.  They have that nice anti-slip-grip texture on the end :)

Differential Fluids
The differential and transaxle fluid did not get changed this time because we couldn't get them open within the time we had.  It'll be changed before going camping in the spring, that's for sure!

March 12, 2012

Iltis Fuel Tank Strap Replacement - Take 1

I thought I was ahead of the game.  I ordered a set of Iltis gas tank straps as my old set on the vehicle had rusted, one was hanging in the breeze.  Much to mu surprise, I found I had 6 straps, and no hardware (bolts, pins, etc) when I unpacked the package.  The Iltis needs 4 pieces of strap, two bolts, and a bunch of other hardware.  Oh well - Time to source the right bits and finish the project later this week..

The vent hose is loose and leaks gas when I fill it to the top... it seems it needs a hose clamp, and I have a replacement hose as well.

The back floor boards, the square holes are where the rear seats lock into place.
Out with the floor boards, and there are the rails they sit on

Out go the rails!
Removed a panel - and voila!  Jackpot!

Busted gas tank strap and a loose vent hose.

March 11, 2012

Rebuilt - The Iltis' Pierburg Solex 36 Model 1B1

You did what?I'm not a "car guy", or at least I haven't ever been, but I'm learning with every new thing that goes wrong, or I want to improve, on my Iltis.  I purchased a "lot" of Iltis parts in various conditions from someone in Quebec off of eBay - included was a carb.  Since I didn't want to wreck my own on my first attempt ever, I figured I'd cut my teeth on this "spare" one first.  It comes apart in two main pieces, I took out most of the rubber and plastic bits, and replaced several after soaking and scrubbing it in acetone.  I let it take a cool acetone bath for about 6 hours before scrubbing it with a toothbrush.  

Here are the results:

Pierburg Solex 36 Model 1B1 - Rebuild (Before)

Pierburg Solex 36 Model 1B1 - Rebuild (After)

How well does it perform?

Pierburg 1B1 Rebuild Kit from
(Not exactly as shown)
Well, I don't know yet... I have another three carb kits in the mail from and I have to rebuild the carb installed on the Iltis too. 

I wouldn't mind figuring out where the other O rings that I can find are to boot... but it seems difficult to find manuals for the Pierburg carb in English.  Russian?  German?  Spanish?  No problem!