And finally, a very rare bird indeed; The Saunders Aircraft ST-27.
"Using 13 surplus de Havilland Herons, Saunders created a conversion with some engineering input from Aviation Traders (Engineering). The remanufactured design was based on a stretched fuselage to accommodate 23 passengers, a lengthened nose to fit a radar, reshaped vertical tail (also increased in size) and two Pratt and Whitney PT6A turboprops replacing the original four Gipsy Queen piston engines, along with other minor changes."
"Originally based in Quebec, the Saunders operation moved to Manitoba in 1971 when substantial government start-up funding was obtained. The Manitoba government eventually invested $52 million (Canadian) until 1976. Only 12 ST-27s were built."
"With only meagre sales success due to the certification issue and with old Herons becoming more expensive, the company decided to manufacture a new version based on the original ST-27, compliant with US Federal Aviation Regulation Part 23 (FAR 23). The first ST-28 was manufactured at the Gimli, Manitoba factory using new jigs and tooling supplied by Hawker Siddeley Aviation. Although superficially similar to the earlier ST-27, the new aircraft benefited from the experiences flying the earlier airliner in regular service. Larger cabin windows, an increased rudder size, four-bladed propellers and a host of other enhancements were incorporated in the ST-28, including a 1,000 lb (450 kg) increase in Maximum take off weight (MTOW) and extra fuel capacity. The first flight of the prototype, C-FYBM-X took place on 18 July 1974."
"While testing was taking place towards an American certification, the Saunders company had plans for series production but no firm orders and a tremendous drain on available funding. The precarious financial situation eventually led to a review by the Manitoba government and the withdrawal of funding in 1976. The company was forced to windup operations and sold all assets and rights to Air Otonobee, one of the primary operators of the earlier ST-27. By the early 1980s, the sturdy airliners began to fade from service with the last ST-27 being retired during this period."
This is an especially interesting bird to me, with its Manitoba Heritage.