Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette – 137 of 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Aircraft

​The Fleet Fort

Built by the Fleet Company in Fort Erie, Ontario, the Fleet Fort was built as an intermediate trainer to be used between the de Havilland Tiger Moth in Elementary Flying Training Schools and the North American Harvard in the Service Flying Training Schools in the British 
Commonwealth Ai r Training Plan.  It was quickly deemed unsuitable for pilot training and the Fleet Fort only had a short career as an aircraft used to train wireless (radio) operators at No. 2 and No. 3 Wireless Schools in Calgary, Alberta and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

In 1940, 200 Fleet Forts were ordered for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Its unusual look was due to its raised rear cockpit. It had a fixed undercarriage with retractable fairings – added to give crew the sense of operating a more advanced aircraft such as the Spitfire with retractable landing gear.

The first Fleet Fort flew in April of 1941. Only 101 of the 200 Fleet Forts were built due to the acquisition of a better intermediate trainer – the Fairchild Cornell – and change in philosophy of pilot training in the BCATP. Due to its mild manner, the Fort was not suitable for training pilots to fly feistier combat aircraft.

The second variant of the Fleet Fort has a 330 hp Jacobs engine. It has a top speed of 193 mph, cruising speed of 163 mph and a range of 610 miles. It has a service 
Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum Fleet Fort - Dave Welch, Air-Britain Photographic Images Collection

ceiling of 15,000 feet. Built for a crew of two, the aircraft was 26 feet long, 36 feet wide and 8 feet high. The last Fleet Forts flew in the BCATP in 1944 and were retired from the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1946.

                                                                                                                                    Fleet Aircraft of Canada Ltd.

Fleet Aircraft of Canada Ltd. was established by Reuben Hollis Fleet in Fort Erie, Ontario in March 1930,  subsidiary of Consolidated Aircraft Ltd. The first aircraft produced was the Fleet Fawn, which became popular with the Royal Canadian Air Force in the 1930s as an elementary trainer. The RCAF carried 43 Fleet Fawns into World War II as trainers in the BCATP and utility aircraft on air force bases.

In addition to the Fawn and the Fort, Fleet produced a number of Fleet Finches which shared duties with the de Havilland Tiger Moth as the aircraft used by the BCATP in the Elementary Flying Training Schools until they were replaced by the Fairchild Cornell.
At times, Fleet was producing 160 aircraft a month for the war effort, the largest aircraft production run in Canada with over 4000 employees, the majority being women. Fleet also produced Cornell aircraft for the Fairchild Company in the United States and provided wings, trailing edges and elevators for the Victory Aircraft Company located in Malton, Ontario.

The company still exists today with a much scaled-down workforce producing parts for the de Havilland Twin Otter, KC-46 Tanker for Boeing and the Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter