Aircraft History

Lockheed Ventura

The Lockheed Ventura was designed to replace the Lockheed Hudson which had well served the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as a maritime patrol bomber during the early stages of WW II. In total the RCAF took delivery of 286 Venturas of all marks. The first Venturas, delivered to the RCAF in 1942, were 129 Mark I & II's, basically the bomber version, with a glazed nose and a Boulton-Paul dorsal turret. Most of these Venturas were assigned to No. 34 Operational Training Unit at Pennfield Ridge N.B. where RCAF instructors trained crews from all the Commonwealth countries until the end of WW II. With the pressing German U-boat threat to North America, Lockheed developed the main operational version, the Ventura Mark V, a specialized anti-submarine version with a different turret, solid nose and radar among other refinements. No. 113 BR Squadron, at Yarmouth NS, took delivery of the first RCAF Ventura Mark. V in April 1943. No. 145 BR was the second East Coast squadron to convert from Hudsons to the Ventura Mark V in May 1943 at Torbay Nfld. In Oct 1943, 145 BR Squadron moved to RCAF Station Dartmouth where it flew anti-submarine and convoy escort patrols. Venturas from 145 BR Squadron also flew Harbour Entrance Patrols off the Halifax harbour approaches to search for German U-boats that were lying in wait for convoys to enter or depart Halifax's strategic harbour, the principal western terminus for merchant convoys supplying England during WW II. No. 145 Squadron disbanded in June 1945 at RCAF Station Dartmouth.

RCAF Venturas made a number of attacks on enemy submarine sightings, but never achieved a confirmed kill. This is attributable to the fact that RCAF Venturas arrived in the middle of the war when the opportunity for Canadian based, medium range BR aircraft to encounter enemy submarines was rapidly diminishing.

The Venturas' various paint schemes were enlivened through the artistry of Walt Disney artists who worked in the animation studio beside the Vega Plant in California. After Pearl Harbour, they wanted to contribute to the war effort and got permission to do the cartoons on the Venturas just going into production. Although using predominately the Disney style there were also some cartoons featuring other cartoon characters such as Warner Brothers' Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig. Over 1200 of the 2600 Venturas built received these cartoons.

Type: Medium range maritime reconnaissance and patrol bomber

Wing Span: 19.96 m (65 ft 6 in)

Length: 15.77 m (51 ft 9 in)

Height: 3.63 m (11 ft 11 in)

Max. Speed: 518 kph (322 mph)

Service Ceiling: 8015 m (26,30 ft)

Range: 2189 km (1360 miles)

Max. Weight: 14,096 kg (31,077 lb)

Empty Weight: 9161 kg (20,197 lb)

Power Plant: Two 1491 kW (2000 hp) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-31 radial piston engines

Armament: Two 12.7 mm (0.5 in) forward firing machine guns in nose, two 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine guns in dorsal turret and two 7.72 mm (0.303 in) machine guns in ventral position; plus up to1361 kg (3000 lb) of bombs or six 147 kg (325 lb) depth charges or one torpedo.