At the end of World War 1 Sherman Fairchild designed a high-wing aircraft, the Fairchild FC-1, for his aerial surveying company. This was followed by the FC-2 with a more powerful 200 horsepower Wright J-4 Whirlwind engine, folding wings, enclosed heated cockpit and easy conversion from wheels to floats. In 1927 Canadian Vickers obtained the Canadian manufacturing rights and Fairchild Aircraft Limited was later established in Longueuil, Quebec< to handle Canadian manufacturing of the aircraft.
The Model 71, with a larger 520 horsepower Pratt & Whitney Wasp 9 cylinder radial piston engine, bigger wingspan and greater carrying capacity evolved from the FC-2 and first flew in 1930. It had a fabric-covered welded-steel tubing fuselage, strut-braced wooden-structure fabric-covered wings, a vertical photography camera bay, low-cut aft windows for oblique aerial photography and could carry up to eight persons, It was delivered to the RCAF who used it for transport, photographic, anti-smuggling and illegal immigration patrols from 1930 until 1946.