In January 1924 the Ontario Minister of Lands and Forests, James Lyons, recommended to his government that the province purchase 13 class A HS-2L flying boats equipped with Liberty motors and constructed suitable for forest fire patrol duty. The government accepted his proposal and began negotiating with the United States government to purchase war surplus H boats. As the details were being worked out the U.S government passed a law forbidding the sale of its war assets to any foreign government. Ontario then turned to Laurentide Air Service and purchased thirteen planes for $5,500 each. The federal deputy minister of National Defence wrote the Ontario Minister of Lands and Forests pointing out that the H boats "could not be called efficient aircraft as they were now obsolescent and are expensive to maintain and operate". 

Operations began out of Ramsey Lake in Sudbury with G-CAOF and G-CAOH on June 3, 1924. By the end of the year the OPAS had flown 1,325 flights for 2,295 hours and spotted 597 forest fires. As more H Boats came into service the practice of giving them the names of birds began: G-CAOH became Heron, G-CAOF became Falcon and others were christened Buzzard, Jay, Loon, Quail, Snipe, Ibis, Nightingale and Eagle. The OPAS at one time had twenty H-boats making it the largest known civil fleet. The last four H-Boats were taken out of service in 1932.

20 aircraft in OPAS service...

registration acquired disposed comments
G-CAOC 1924 1924 crashed - 1 fatality
G-CAOD 1924 1925 crashed - wrote off
G-CAOE 1924 1926 struck rock - wrote off
G-CAOB 1924 1926 "Buzzard", damaged Whitefish Bay
G-CAOM 1924 1927 engine failure - wrote off
G-CAOL 1924 1927 dismantled - wrote off
G-CAOH 1924 1927 crashed at Soo
G-CAOI 1924 1929 wrote off - wear and tear
G-CAOG 1924 1929 wrote off - wear and tear
G-CAOF 1924 1929 burned
G-CAON 1924 1929 "Nightengale", wrote off - wear and tear
G-CAOJ 1924 1931 damaged in storm
G-CAOK 1924 1932 "Kestral", wrote off - fair wear
G-CAOA 1924 1932 fair wear and tear
G-CAOS 1925 1927 engine failure - wrote off
G-CAOP 1925 1929 damaged - wrote off
G-CAOR 1925 1929 damaged - wrote off
G-CAOQ 1925 1932 wrote off - wear and tear
G-CAPE 1927 1932 crashed - Pays Plat
G-CAPF 1927 1932 punctured hull - wrote off
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