10/31/2007. This aircraft was first flown on May 17, 1967, registered
as CF-LAQ and subsequently delivered to the RCAF Aerospace Egineering
and Test Establishment as a CC-115, s/n 9451, re-serialed as 115451
with the CAF on May 27, 1970. It was leased back to the manufacturer
on July 15, 1970, again registered as CF-LAQ. Returned to the CAF it
was loaned to the USAF Flight Dynamics Laboratory (FDL) as test
vehicle for the ACLS (Air Cushion Landing System) program.
The ACLS concept was invented by T. Desmond Earl and Wilfred J.
Eggington of Bell Aerospace at Buffalo, New York, USA, and a
company-funded effort was initiated on December 1, 1963, soon joined
by the Flight Dynamics Laboratory. The ACLS was first demonstrated on
the Lake LA-4 Buccaneer amphibian, flown from Niagara Falls
International Airport, New York, in 1967. The LA-4 performed take-offs
and landings on water, ice, snow, grass and conventional runways.
In 1970 the USAF and the Canadian Department of Industry, Trade and
Commerce jointly issued a contract for Bell Aerospace to design,
install and flight test an ACLS on the CC-115, redesignated XC-8A, and
115451 was delivered for conversion to Bell Aerospace on November 15,
1971. The first flight in the ACLS configuration was made from Buffalo
in early April, 1975, the first landing was made on April 11. Flight
testing was done by the 4950th Test Wing, Aeronautical System Division,
USAF, at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
The aircraft returned to the CAF on April 30, 1979 and was converted
back to a CC-115 and used for SAR operations and is currently
operational with 442 (T & R) Squadron, CFB Comox, British Columbia.