Canadian Wings :: The History & Heritage of the Royal Canadian Air Force

Northrop DELTA

In 1935, when the RCAF wanted a high performance photographic aircraft, it considered the Northrop Gamma but instead settled on Northrop's transport version of the same aircraft, the Northrop Delta. Canadian Vickers was commissioned to build an initial four aircraft under license and these were the first all-metal stressed-skin aircraft to be built in Canada. The Delta used the same wing as the Gamma, had split flaps and a non-retractable undercarriage like its predecessors. The larger fuselage accommodated up to eight passengers.

For RCAF use, the design was modified to accept three Fairchild A-3 cameras at the rear of the cabin. The cabin floor was strengthened to accept freight loads and a large upward opening freight door was installed on the port side. Two Deltas were armed with a defensive machine gun fitted in an open hatch in the roof. Protection from the slipstream was provided by a plexiglas fairing. This particular installation was not very satisfactory causing buffeting and a marked decrease in performance.

The RCAF Delta's were flown by No. 8, No. 119 and No. 120 Squadrons.

aircraft specifications
CDN Reg:
Manufacturer: Canadian Vickers under license from Northrop
Crew / Passengers: two pilots and up to eight passengers
Power Plant(s): one 775 hp Wright SR-1820 F-52 Cyclone engine
Performance: Max Speed: 205 mph (329.8 km/h) Cruising Speed: 170 mph (273 km/h) Service Ceiling: 22,000 ft (6.705 m)
Weights: Empty: 4,566 lbs (2,073 kg) Gross: 7,350 lbs (3,337 kg)
Dimensions: Span: 48 ft (14.63 m) Length: 33 ft 2 in (10.11 m)
Height: 10 ft 6 in (3.2 m) Wing Area: 363 sq ft (33.72 sq m)
Armament: Provisions for one machine gun in dorsal rear open hatch & up to 250 lb (113.5 kg) in bombs under the wings
The Northrop Delta in RCAF service

Northrop Delta

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