Aircraft Type
Military Aircraft


At the start of the Second World War, the RCAF began looking for a newer twin-engine flying trainer for its training programs. They decided on the Cessna T-50, a commercial five seat aircraft built in the Wichita, Kansas by Cessna. The US Airforce also began using the T-50 for pilot training and light communication missions. When the RCAF received their first T-50s in 1941, they decided that the aircraft would be known as the Crane in the RCAF.

The Crane was remarkably similar to the civilian aircraft, identical in every way to the American AT-17 model, other than the addition of cabin-top windows, and various radio and instrument improvements. Crane aircraft were built of mostly wood and steel frames and were fabric covered. They were powered by two Jacobs 7 cylinder fixed prop engines.

As with many aircraft used by the BCATP, there was a large surplus of Crane aircraft following war’s end and many were struck off as Crown Assets. They were often sold for as little as $25 to famers who would park them in fields, to be used as chicken coops or sold off as scrap. This is an important part of Western Canadian aviation history that is often overlooked.


Our Crane currently sits disassembled in the Tent Hangar behind the DC-3. According to collections records, the body and wings of one Crane, two Jacobs engines, along with numerous pieces from another plane were salvaged form Bow Island, Alberta in 1982. The wings have been stored offsite for a number of years, however they have recently returned to the Museum. Plans are underway to clean up the wings, fuselage and other components by the volunteers of The Hangar Flight Museum.


  • Our Crane sits disassembled in the Tent Hangar – you may use it as an education prop, explaining that this is what the “skeleton” of an aircraft looks like.
  • Cranes were known as “Bamboo Bombers” because of their wooden construction. They were never used to drop ordinance by the RCAF.
  • Cranes had room for a crew of 5 individuals.
  • Cranes featured a continuous cantilevered wind design made of spruce and covered in fabric. Cessna claimed this allowed easy maintenance and repair.


  • Wingspan of 12.78 metres (41ft 9in)
  • Height of 3.02 metres (9ft 11in)
  • Length of 9.98 metres (38ft 9in)
  • Maximum speed of 314 km/h (195 mph)

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