Conifair Aviation
Conifair Aviation Inc. - was founded by two French-Canadian Business men, president/general manager; M. Leblanc,  vice-president, G. Bernier, in 1979 to provide aerial spraying and charter services. Two former Christler Constellations were used for contract work primarily for the Quebec Ministere des Terres et Forets. The company was connected with Beaver Spray in so far that the president of the latter company was one of Conifair shareholders.

C-GXKO still wearing the yellow cheat line of Christler Flying Services during the delivery flight to
Les Arrosages Castor/Beaver Air Spray Inc based at St. Mathias, Quebec, Canada, July 1979, Zoggavia Collection.

The 749A's, which had already been operated successfully as sprayers for nearly a decade, were delivered to Canada and immediately prepared for the 1979 bud worm spraying season. The villainous bud worm spread through forests, eating the buds from trees, and unless action is taken, they will destroy millions of dollars worth of valuable forest.

During January 1980, the two C-121, L-749A were repainted in Conifair livery - Conifair being the synonym for "Conifer Spraying by Air. The Connies were operated from their forward operating base at Riviére du Loupe starting from May 1980.

Base at Rivière du Loup. The cylindrical tanks store insecticide against the budworms,  so the Connies were nicknamed "Budworm Bombers", photo taken June 1981, Chris Mak Collection.

Conifair operated additionally to the Connies three Douglas DC-6, four DC-4 until 1985 when the operations were suspended.

L-749A/VC-121A 2601 C-GXKO
80  84
L-749A/VC-121A 2604 C-GXKR
80  84

Construction number/registration/type

c/n 2601 C-GXKO and c/n 2604 C-GXKR L-749A

c/n 2601 C-GXKO L-749A

c/n 2604 C-GXKR L-749A

c/n 2601 C-GXKO L-749A

c/n 2601 C-GXKO  L-749A

c/n 2604 C-GXKR L-749A


Each of the Connies were equipped with two tanks of approx. 3000 gallons or 11'500 liters, tubes and pumps to feed the two over wing spray bars.

The two Conifair Connies idle at Rivière du Loup in July 1980, Chris Mak Collection.

Based on the experience of more than 10 years at that time (1980), the Constellation has proven to be one of the best spraying platforms when compared with a DC-4, -6, and -7. A Connie spraying at a height of 150 feet (45m) covered an area of 750 feet (230m), in comparison to a 600 feet wide area of the Douglas types, or aircraft like the B-17, PB-4Y Privateer, or DC-3 capable to cover 300 feet.

C-GXKO parked at Rivière du Loup in July 1980, Zoggavia Collection.

C-GXKR parked at Rivière du Loup in July 1980, Zoggavia Collection.

C-GXKR taxiing to the take off position for another sortie. Mornings and evenings with no wind and overcast have proven to be ideal for the spraying process. On a good day up to three flights in the morning with one flight in the evening could be executed.

Photo taken July 1981, Chris Mak Collection.


Sprayer No. 1, G-GXKO seen in action at an altitude of approx. 150 feet (50m) some where in Quebec in July 1980. The insecticide is colored red to aid visibility (particularly for the chase plane). Nearly 150 nozzles leave a wide swath behind the Connie covering a line of 7 miles (11,2 km). Up to five lines could be covered with one load of 6'000 gallons (23 00 liters).

Photo taken June 1980, Steve Piercey Collection.

After last sortie in the evening the Constellations are then serviced in readiness for the following day's operations. This daily routine lasted from six to eight weeks, with the weather being the main villain and slowing things down.

Photo taken in summer 1981, Zoggavia Collection.