Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings,” wrote Gordon Lightfoot in his wrenching ballad about the sinking of the ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975, “in the rooms of her ice-water mansions.” And on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, near Georgian Bay and about 150 miles north of Ontario, Canada, Expedition Aircraft quietly goes about the business of making some of the toughest aircraft on earth. Born of the legendary gales and fierce storms that batter this part of Canada, Expedition introduces a new contender in the heavyweight bush arena: Bigfoot.
If Expedition Aircraft doesn’t ring a bell, its parent company might: Found Aircraft. Bud Found started the company in 1946 to design and build ultratough airplanes for the backcountry market. Not just any backcountry, but the rugged northern Canadian wilderness, from the Mackenzie River to the Arctic coast. The first Found aircraft was certified in the U.S. and Canada in 1964 as the FBA-2C, and could operate on floats, skis and tires while delivering impressive payloads to the far-flung bush country. Somewhat odd-looking, the FBA-2C became popular with bush pilots operating out of the remote northern territories, and gained a reputation for being safe, tough and reliable—a reputation that continued for 40 years.