Photos © Ruud Leeuw

My visit to Yellowknife,NWT
Friday June 30th, 2006
-Day 1-

After trekking through parts of Alaska and Western Canada I arrived at Yellowknife on June 29th.
->MAP<-
I had brilliant sunshine at Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton but here I found the weather upon arrival dismal: rain, low ceiling... and so I went straight to my bed & breakfast adress in the Old Town, with Mary & Wayne "Bayside" Bryant. They are located right across the floatplane base of Air Tindi.

In the evening the weather suddenly cleared and so these photos are a fitting start to this account. With the sun out, my mood improved considerably.

C-GATY is a Cessna 208, registered to Air Tindi 12Jul05.

C-GMAS Now these I like better than the Cessna: the deHavilland Twin Otter DHC-6-300 C-GMAS (c/n 438) because it is such a well-proportioned, powerfull bushplane !
This Turbo Prop was registered to Air Tindi on 22sep05; it was manufactured in 1974.

In the top right corner one can see another aircraft approaching, coming in to land.

Map Yellowknife (external link, in Acrobat Reader format)

C-FGOG DHC-6
C-FGOG; DHC-6-300 c/n 348,
reg'd Air Tindi 02Apr06.
C-GMAS in take off
Oh, what a nice take off !!
DHC-6 C-GMAS

CF-SAN I was on a tight schedule here, with only the friday, saturday and sunday to roam around for Classic Air Transports. So imagine my dismay when, all through the night, I heard the rain drumming its staccato rhythm on my window again...
And indeed, the morning broke with rain and many shades of grey... So I first watched the World Champion soccer match Germany to Argentina and made my way to Buffalo Airways at Yellowknife's airport around lunchtime.

After I introduced myself, I decided to explore the hangar first and so I found Joe McBryan's Noorduyn Norseman Mk.V CF-SAN (c/n N2929, manufactured in 1947, owned by Buffalo Airways since 1995).
Why it wasn't in the water I cannot tell.

C-FUPT/141 I had been looking forward to meeting this icon of Arctic North Aviation, since his reputation for aviation history and love for vintage planes (and automobiles!) is well-known; his company had been around for so long (founded 1970), a commendable achievement in itself.
So now I was here, had paid a small fortune to get here (a ticket from Calgary/Edmonton to Yellowknife will cost as much as flying from Amsterdam to New York), only to find that Buffalo Joe was in.. Europe! AAarrrggghh!!!
So looking at the clouds and the rain, I could not help but feel pretty miserable!

C-GWCB/140 is Beech B95 c/n TD369, registered 08Dec94, manufactured 1960.
And C-FUPT/141 is a Cessna A185E (c/n 185-1075), Buffalo registered 06Jul95 (manufactured 1966).

c-GPNR I stood and waited in the open hangar until the rain subsided a little.

It had become clear to me that since Joe and his son weren't around, and with only 3 days of stay for me here in Yellowknife, there wouldn't be much of a chance to join a flight (which I had been secretly hoping for).
But there were of course some very interesting planes to explore here. So let's get on with it!

Looking at the gloomy, cheerless clouds here is C-GPNR, C-47A c/n 13333.

C-GPNR Let's do some aviation history on this airframe:
C/n 13333 started with USAAF serial 42-93423 upon its delivery on 17May44; as KG602 it was transferred to RAF Montreal 25May44 and it crossed the Atlantic to the UK on 30May44.
Some units it served with: 575 Sq 05Jul44 - 512 Sq M East 11Oct45 and 437 Sq 04Apr46.
The Canadian Government received ownership on 16Jun46 and it served the RCAF with 9 Transport Gp at Rockcliffe (designated a Dakota 3N); some service details: CAC Summerside 12Aug48 – T 2 ANS Winnipeg 19Feb54 - 2 AOS Winnipeg 21Jul58– CEPE Uplands 08Nov61 - ANS Winnipeg 09Apr62 - 402 TSD Sasakatoon 22May70.
it was registered as 12932 with Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) during Jun70; its continued service details: 429 Sqdn Winnipeg 03Oct73 and AUDU Saskatoon 08Oct74.
It was bought by a Mr Wilson of Calgary on 24Oct75.

As C-GPNR it was bought by Buffalo Air Ltd. and named "Murray Crosby" during Oct80, registered in Apr81; the registry was amended to Buffalo Airways (1986) Ltd on 12Jan95 and continues to serve Buffalo Airways.

C-GWIR Also on the ramp is C-GWIR, Douglas C-47A c/n 9371. While many Buffalo aircraft were resprayed at some point in this new colourscheme, C-GWIR was the only DC-3 to get this new livery (applied in 1996 if I am not mistaken). Looks great!

Here is Buffalo Airways' website, check it out!

First identity was 42-23509 upon delivery on 13apr43 to the USAAF and it certainly went places... Such as Oran,Algeria for the 12th AF. After WW2 it obtained the Czech nationality and became OK-VAV for Ministry Dopravny (Ministry of Transport, delivered 14sep46), later reregistered as D-05 for the Czech Airforce (02dec50).
Ten years later this episode ended and as of 01Mar60 it joined the French AF as 23509; tailnumber F-WSGY was reserved during 1972/3 and it may or may not have flown with Rousseau Aviation.
N18262 became its new identity for E St Strul (?) of Tucson,AZ on 13apr74. Maybe this was a broker because soon, on 03Apr75, it became registered as C-GWIR for R. Carruthers Calgary,ALB. In 1975 it became registered for Aero Trades Western Ltd (Winnipeg), but in 1976 it was registered again for R.E.Carruthers. Lambair of Winnipeg operated C-GWIR in 1977 and maybe this was a lease too as that same its registration again returned to Mr Carruthers!
Then Alberta Northern Airlines operated it in 1978, later changing to Northwest Territorial Airways and further down the road, in Dec81, it joined Buffalo Airways Ltd.

The perfect beast..: Curtiss C-46A Commando.
Mind, I speak from a photographer's point of few, not a pilot! If you get an engine failure with a full load in the back, the ground will come at you real quick...
It does haul a lot more than the DC-3 and performed even better than the Douglas C-54 (DC-4) when flying supplies over the Himalayas ("the Hump") during WW2!

C-GTXW
C-GTXW
Curtiss C-46A Commando C-GTXW has construction number 30386.
Here is some history about it-
It joined WW2 as 42-96724 in August 1944 and flew in the CBI (China-Birma-India) theatre.
It was sold to the Government of India on 10Apr46. At some point it got the US tailnumber N78458 for unknown party.
Perhaps for the ferry across continents, into Venezuela, for RANSA. It became registered as YV-T-JTC (1957?), reregistered as YV-C-ARM on 18Oct57.
It was reported at Miami on 21May64 and described as in 'derelict condition'.
But 2 years later it was rebuilt by F A Conner and leased out as HP-424 (1966 - 26May67) for Aerovias Panama.
HI-145 became its next identity (for whom?) and around 1970 it became HI-171 for Aeromar. But it was stored again in Miami, in 1973, with F A Conner.
All this from the Curtiss C-46 Commando publications by Air-Britain (1978) and Lundqvist Aviation Research (1981).
On the ramp
Hq Buffalo Aws at Yellowknife

Piston Engine Airliner Production List (TAHS, 2002) adds the following to its aviation history:
FA Conner registered this C-46A again, as N4803J, upon a purchase in Mar84. Southern Air Transport (of CIA fame...) bought it in May 1984, a few months later changing it to Atorie Air Inc, in September.
Northland Air Manitoba bought it in Jan87 and registering it as C-GTXW; the company changed its name to simply Air Manitoba in Dec.1990. This C-46 worked in Kenya as 5Y-TXW for Relief Air Transport in 1994 but returned to Canada (C-GTXW) in Mar96.
"From 1998 to 2001 it was operated by Commando Air Transport of Winnipeg and then Gimli, MB. In September 2000, it suffered an engine failure on takeoff in Red Lake,ONT and ran off the runway resulting in damage to the left wing and belly. Buffalo purchased the wreck, repaired it to ferry condition abd flew it to Yellowknife a year or two later..." is what Garth wrote me, in Aug07.
Again this mighty warhorse survived this crisis and when Buffalo Airways bought it (on 14Nov01), they made it operational again in 2002, but then it got damaged again late Dec.2003 and was put up for sale in 2004. But late 2006 C-GTXW survived another restoration and is fully operational again with Buffalo Airways. Long may she continue to fly!

C-GTXW on Airliners.net

The cavernous cabin of C-46
The cavernous cabin of C-GTXW
Cockpit C-46
The cockpit of C-GTXW
Cockpit detail
Cockpit Curtiss C-46
C-46, lefthand seat

Two DC-3 cargo flights were scheduled that day, both were on hold due to the weather on their destinations. One was to go to the Echo Bay Mine, at Port Radium,NWT.
Later, when I went for a late lunch, I saw a crewmember I'd seen in the crewroom being called to the phone in the cafetaria; he left in a hurry. So I did too!
But he'd been driving a car and I was walking... I was only just in time to poke my lens through the gate to record C-GJKM taxiing out. Less that 5 mins after that phonecall "Kilo Mike" was off chocks.
I did wait at the hangar to see it go airborne but after 20 minutes I gave up. Another 15 minutes later it went airborne... missed it ! Why it waited so long, I don't know.
The other flight was cancelled that day.
Douglas C-47A C-GJKM is c/n 13580 and its aviation history reads as follows-
Delivered as 42-93645 on 11Jun44 to the USAAF, transferred as KG713 to RAF Montreal on 08Jul44. It made its way to the UK but returned to Canada in 1946.
Some RCAF service details: 2 AC Winnipeg 02jul46 – 1 ANS Summerside 28sep51 – 2 AOS Winnipeg 13mar56 – [Dak 3N 29jan62] – ANS Winnipeg 26apr62 – [Dak 3NRO 29may70] - CAF 12946 Jun70 - FTSU Winnipeg 01jul71 – 429 C Sq Winipeg 02mar72 – AMDU Saskatoon 13may75.
On 30Jul76 it was assigned to one G.Wilson of Calgary.
Four years later it became C-GJKM for Buffalo Air, during Oct80. It also served with Northwestern Air, but this is/was a subsidairy of Buffalo Airways.

Since 1994 it has continuously been in service with Buffalo Aws, apparently at some time it was also decorated with a '6' on its tailfin.

C-GJKM on Airliners.net

C-GWZSC-47A C-GWZS has c/n 12327.
Its USAAF serial was 42-92518 when it was delivered on 14Jan44, but it soon went as KG330 to RAF Montreal (05Feb44).
The Canadian Government obtained ownership on 22Apr46 and it was designated a Dakota IIIN.
it continued to serve faithfully until 1975, when it was registered as
C-GWZS for Can-Air Services Ltd of Edmonton (bought 23Oct75, registered 07May76).
Contact Airways leased it in 1979, but Buffalo Airways started its long line of ownership in Dec79. It seems to await its next load: a trustworthy moneymaker!
C-GWZS

The backyard...

C-GWZS on Airliners.net

Arctic DistributorC-GPSHDouglas C-54A C-GPSH has c/n 7458 and started its career as 42-107439 with the USAAF upon its delivery on 06Jan44.
When WW2 ended it was handed over as N90414 to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) on 13Nov45.
American AL bought it on 08Apr46 and named it "Flagship America”. But such a typical military transport could not last long and it went to Aircaft Sales Ltd on 02Apr49.

It found new purpose in Australia, as VH-EBN operating for QANTAS (named "New Guinea Trader"), on 09Jul49. After a considerable career it was leased as VR-SEA to Malayan Airways (renamed “ Albatross”), which started on 10Sep58. During April 1960 it was returned, reregistered as VH-EDN for QANTAS (also renamed "Pacific Trader"), which was soon revised again to VH-EBD (again for QANTAS, in July 1961, renamed "Norfolk Trader" in 1961).
Ron Cuskelly wrote me the following correction: "there was no DC-4 registered EBD or EDN, the TAHS book is incorrect! It should be VH-EBN, then VH-EDB."(VH-E Register in .pdf)
See also Ron's page: www.adastron.com/aviation/definitive/def-his-006.htm

It ended its career here in Feb77 when it was stored at Sydney.

The Air Express bought it on 22Aug77 and renamed it the 'Tasmanian Tiger'. This did not last long and as N5581T it went to Basler Flight Service, who bought it on 21Jan80.
C-GPSH was assigned for the first time for Calm Air Int'l in March 1982. It returned to the US Register as N7171H for Ernst & Young Inc on 10Aug90, soon finding a new owner with Int'l Airline Support Group (Dec90).
And during Jan91 it finally became C-GPSH for Buffalo Airways (1968) Ltd.
C-GPSH on Airliners.net
C-GPSH
C-GPSH Buffalo Freightliner.
DC-4 Freightliner
Named "Arctic Distributor"

Ooopsss...
C-GPSH bad landing at Carat Lake Mr B. (as I will call him, but you can also call him Mr X...) sent me these photos.
C-GPSH ran off the runway at Carat Lake on 29Dec06 and as one can see, the damage is considerable!


Carat Lake is in Nunavut Territory. Here is more about the mine here-

August 18, 2006 - CARAT LAKE, Nunavut -- With a lone caribou on site bearing witness, Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially opened Nunavut's first diamond mine Thursday.
Harper said Tahera Diamond Corp.'s $120-million Jericho mine will help bolster the northern economy by creating jobs and attracting investment. "Mines like Jericho are making Canada one of the largest and most important diamond producers in the world," Harper said outside the mine's processing plant, which towers over the tundra.
The facility crushes and sifts through 2,000 tonnes of kimberlite per day to yield about 2,000 carats of diamonds. The stones are then purchased and marketed by New-York-based jewelry giant Tiffany & Co. The open-pit mine, about 400 kilometres north of Yellowknife, has been operating since January and began commercial production last month.
In June, miners found a marble-sized 59-carat diamond worth about $400,000. They hope to find more. Premier Paul Okalik said the Jericho mine will draw international attention to Nunavut and lead to more investment and development of the territory's mineral riches. "Hopefully in the long run we will see more mining activity that will reduce our dependence on the national government. It creates opportunities for our young people."
Tahera's Jericho operation is Canada's third diamond mine. The Ekati and Diavik diamond mines are located just over the Nunavut boundary in the Northwest Territories. Together those two mines produced more than $1.7 billion worth of diamonds last year.
There are at least three more diamond mines being planned in Canada.
They include the Snap Lake and Gahcho Kue mines in the Northwest Territories and the Victor mine in Ontario.
Canada is now the world's third-largest producer of diamonds by value.
Source: www.uofaweb.ualberta.ca/govrel/news.cfm?story=49285

There is a June 2009 photo of C-GPSH by 'Jason' on my page Photos by Friends & Others, page 20.

A 2017 update by Dirk Septer on his gallery, on my website

Occurrence No. : A06W0250
Date: 29-12-2006 Time: 12:15 MST
Location : CYWO LUPIN, 26NM N, NUNAVUT
Registration : C-GPSH
Model : C-54
Injuries- Fatal:0 Serious:0 Minor:2
Occurrence Summary:
A Buffalo Airways C-54 aircraft, registration C-GPSH, over-ran the runway during the landing roll at Carat Lake, NU. The nose wheel collapsed and the aircraft's nose dropped over an embankment off the end of the runway.
The aircraft was carrying 9000 litres of Arctic Diesel to the mine. The fuel cells, which where bolted to the aircraft's floor, broke loose and resulted in an unknown quantity of fuel spilling. An environmental clean up response had been initiated.
C-GPSH damaged at Carat Lake


These sturdy propliners seem (almost) industructable and one should not be surprised if GPSH is seen flying again at some point!
Apparently the DC-4's cockpit is bolted on at the production bulkhead and can be replaced. GPSH could be good for another 30,000 hrs...

The Runway at Carat is located at N6601 W11127. The (gravel)strip was 3100' long, but was lengthened to around 4000' before this incident occurred. The winter ice road will connect the mine with Yellowknife some time in January. The mine will receive its yearly supply of fuel and other operating materials through this road for approximately six weeks. Location, courtesy Google Earth

Photos of its resurrection can be seen on my webpage Photos by Friends & Others, page 8.

Arctic Expeditor

C-FBAA C-FBAA is a Douglas C-54D with construction number 10653.
It was delivered as 42-72548 to the USAAF on 03Apr45; the US Army Air Force was renamed US Air Force (USAF) and its registry was revised acordingly on 18Sep47.
It was stored in the desert of Arizona, on Davis Monthan AFB during Oct71.
On 18Oct78 it was registered as N4994H for Aero Union Corporation and converted for use in a new role: that of aerial firefighting. And so it became 'Tanker 12'.
I saw it at Chico,CA in 1996, when it was for sale by Aero Union.
It became CF-BAA for Buffalo Airways in April 2002 (my own records record a purchase and ferry flight in 2001) and in spite of this recent purchase it has been stored here at Yellowknife, after spending a period at Red Deer,ALB.

Douglas C-54D C-GBPA / 16 has c/n 10673.
It too started its career in World War 2: as 42-72568 it was delivered to the USAAF on 16Apr45, but transferred that same date to the US Navy, registration 56506; during 1962 it was modified to C-54Q. Its military career was terminated in Nov.1970, when it was parked and stored in the Military Storage and Disposition Center (MASDC, later AMARC) of Davis Monthan AFB in Arizona.
N87591 was its first civil identity, being registered for Westair Int'l upon it spurchase on 26Dec74.
Hillcrest Aircraft Company obtained it on 09Jan76 and a few years later, on 23Mar81, it was bought by Conifair Aviation; thus it became C-GBPA and was converted for the use as tanker/sprayer, receiving the large '16' on its tailfin.
During Oct96 it was reported to be stored at Quebec City; Conifair had ceased operating in Oct94.
C-GBPA was bought by Buffalo Airways on 30May02, but it doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot here either. My Yellowknife Day2 page has photos of the interior, which shows 'Papa Alpha' still has the tanks installed.

C-GBPA on Airliners.net

According to
BuffaloAirways.com
these DC-4's can
haul up to
20.000 lbs
(9.000+ kgs)
of cargo.

Things were worryingly quiet with Buffalo Airways during my visit, but others did seem to be doing brisk business, such as this DHC-5 Buffalo (what's in a name..!) of Arctic Sunwest.
This is C-FASY, DHC-5A c/n 107.
Its aviation history is well documented on the Buffalo Roster, on that useful website www.dhc4and5.org/BuffaloRev3.pdf (Note that this is an Acrobat Reader file).
Update 2015: in 2013 Arctic Sunwest Charters of Yellowknife was incorporated into Summit Air; both C-FASY & C-FASV made the moved to Summit Air.

deHavilland DHC-5D 1980 C-GDAU Re-registered
Royal Oman Police Air Wing DHC-5D 01Jun81 A4O-CI Delivered
Aero Support Inc DHC-5A 18Jun94 C-FSKM Retrofit to DHC-5A (civil) standards
Shuttle Air Cargo DHC-5A Dec95 5Y-GAA  
Arctic Sunwest Charters DHC-5A 18Feb04 C-FASY  
Aero Support Canada, Inc. DHC-5A 20Feb04 C-FASY  
Aero Support Canada, Inc. DHC-5A 01Mar04 C-FASY Arrived Rotterdan, Netherlands from Nairobi, Kenya
Aero Support Canada, Inc. DHC-5A 02mar04 C-FASY Departed for Wick, Scotland then to Toronto, Canada
Arctic Sunwest Charters DHC-5A 22mar04 C-FASY Based in Yellowknife, NT - Canada
 
C-FASY
DHC-5A C-FASY on finals...
C-FASY
Note the cargoramp is already lowered.

Now, what is this, sticking out of a.... tent?
It does seem to be a makeshift hangar.... These guys certainly have a way with creative solutions!
I bet it is cold to work here in winters, though.

This is C-FAVO, a Curtiss C-46D Commando (c/n 33242).
You'll find the history information on my Yellowknife Day 2 page.
This C-46 suffered a broken back.. This happened about 3 years ago when it slipped off the runway and in the manouvre of applying power to get the tailwheel back on the runway, the sideway movement (it had a full load in the cabin) caused this 'hernia'..
A photo on Airliners.net by Ralph Pettersen clearly shows the damage.
Martin A.Cooper seems to have found the date of this event, he wrote: "I found a local newspaper report for Yellowknife/NWT that said C-FAVO was involved in an incident at Yellowknife on the 19th May 2004 when the tail wheel left the runway whilst the Commando was being taxied into position for take off."
Normally this would have been fatal for such an old airframe, but that is clearly not an attitude that sits easily with Joe McBryan! So, fortunately, we see a slow but steady progress in its repairs.

Nov.2009 update provided by Jerry Vernon (C-FAVO had been returned to operational service): N4860V is a stripped ex-Nordair derelict hulk at Fairbanks,AK (owned by Everts Air Cargo). In 2005 it had wings but no fin, rudder, tailplane or elevators. Jerry found 2 photos on the internet, one dated May 2009, of a chunk of damaged C-46 rear fuselage, painted as N4860V, in the Buffalo Airways scrapyard at Hay River, while a 2007 photo of N4860V at Fairbanks showed the entire rear fuselage, aft of the cargo door, had been cut off and removed! See N4860V on my Fairbanks 2003 page.

Here are more photos of C-FAVO on Airliners.net
And seen back in action, at Norman Wells (Feb08) on Flickr.com
Inside the paintshop
Parts removed
Tank data

The avgas bowser A vintage fuelbowser perhaps, sure does look nice!

Lack of sufficient supply or distribution of Avgas fuel is one of the threats to the economic use of the vintage propliners.

Here is info about Avgas on Wikipedia.org


C-GPNR c/n 13333.
A few more photos of this classic airliner.
I like the insignia 'Summer Wages': no doubt a source of some cynical remarks here...
"Summer wages"

In April 2007 Howard Thomson sent me following recollections:
"As a young man in my twenties (1990 or so), I was priveleged enough to get a job in the Fort Simpson region with the North West Company (northern Canadian retailers).
My trip to Fort Simpson was highlited by my first trip on a Buffalo Airways DC-3. The flight from Yellowknife to Fort Simpson was about 1 1/2 hours long. It was sheer joy!
From the rumble of the engines, to the feeling in my stomach from the bouncing and rolling on the takeoff...
My first thing to attend to when I arrived in Fort Simpson was to phone my parents back home and let them know I arrived safely. And to let my dad know about my wonderful flight. I think he was even more excited than I was, as he told me about the planes history!
I flew those beasts every chance I could get (even though the competitors airline was only about 45 minutes compared to my 1 1/2 hours). I think I made at least 8 flights on Buffalo DC-3's and it is one of my fondest memories of my time in the North.
Thanks for your report as it brought back a flood of happy feelings. I'm getting the itch to go for a DC-3 ride again ..... maybe if im lucky?!"
Howard

When Transport Canada reinstated Buffalo's 'Operating Permit' in Jan.2016, the cargo flights were started immediately but passenger flights needed preparation and training (e.g. cabin staff) and Buffalo postponed it until march.
I am not sure if passenger flights were taken up during 2016 (I could only find below reference and inquiries thru email & facebook went unreplied (Buffalo tightlipped as usual).
In march 2017 I came across "Canada's Buffalo Airways ends regular DC3 pax ops" (dated 15Mar2017) on www.ch-aviation.com/ but I could not read the news item dua lack of 'pro account'.
The Buffalo Airways website stated at this date (15/3/17) "All Passenger service has been temporarily postponed, sorry for any inconvenience." A rather terse quote from Mikey McBryan was relayed to me: "For the moment there are no passenger DC-3 flights planned and not for the foreseeable future. The current business model does not allow it. Buffalo Aws has currently (March 2017) three cargo DC-3s online for the daily freight schedule."

From: www.myyellowknifenow.com/10898/10898/# article Mike Gibbins (staff) - Thursday, Jan.14th, 2016
quote:
Buffalo Airways is hoping to resume passenger flights in March, after Transport Canada reinstated the airline’s licence this week.
The Hay River-based airline received the all-clear from the federal agency on Tuesday. Its licence had been suspended since the end of November over a number of concerns surrounding safety and documentation.
Buffalo Airways general manager Mikey McBryan says cargo flights will resume immediately, followed by scheduled passenger service in the weeks to come.
“We’re looking at passenger flights sometime in March and that’s because we have to retrain our flight attendants and all that stuff,” he told Moose FM.
“But we’re immediately going back to hauling freight. We’re ready to go.”
Buffalo’s air operator certificate was reinstated Tuesday after Transport Canada approved the company’s “corrective action plans”.
The federal agency says it will monitor Buffalo to verify that its corrective action is implemented and sustained.
McBryan says the airline worked hard to get its air operator certificate back.
“It was a great feeling after not being able to get our airplanes in the air for about six weeks. Honestly, it’s a move to a modernization type of thing,” he said.
“Buffalo Airways is a family airline and we’re super transparent but now we’re moving more towards that sterile airline industry stuff which is the way everything has to go now.”
In late December, Buffalo said the suspension had already cost the airline a million dollars.
./unquote

 


Don McDonald flew C-GPNR "Summer Wages" for Buffalo Airways many moons ago; see this photo taken at Hay River around 1981.

Sky - Dash - Medic - Transfer Another automobile classic..
Sky - Dash - Medic - Transfer... can be read on this van.

The following was published on Northern News Services- Yellowknife (28Jun06) - The last NWT charter airline using space at the Yellowknife International Airport has opted to set up its own terminal for passengers.
Buffalo Airways made the move at the start of this month to what was the old Echo Bay mine terminal, said company president Joe McBryan.
With airport service fees skyrocketing this year and increased security measures that weren't exactly passenger-friendly, he said the company had little choice but to relocate. "The airport's mind-set is on jets to Edmonton," he said.
The jump in airport user fees for Buffalo doubled to $60,000 in one year and would have resulted in increased prices for travellers if the company didn't make a move, added McBryan. "We would have had to pass on increased prices of $25 to $30 per flight to our customers," said McBryan.
The new airport security regimen implemented by Transport Canada caused problems for miners and tradespeople who often carry their tools with them, he said. "Tools weren't always clearing security," said McBryan, who added that some workers had tools temporarily misplaced or lost completely as a result of the security checks.
McBryan said passengers in wheelchairs or walkers faced some of the biggest problems at the airport. "The security department shows no respect or dignity to the ill," said McBryan.

I found C-GCTF temporarily out of service due to an unwilling engine no.2.

C-GCTF/58This fine looking Douglas C-54E has c/n 27281.
Its first tailnumber was 44-9055 for the USAAF upon its delivery on 07Mar45 (the USAAF was renamed USAF on 18Sep47). Its lengthy military career ended with storage at Davis Monthan AFB in March 1973.
A few years later a new career got under way, as N51819 for Aero Union Corporation who converted it to airtanker ("17") after its purchase on 17Jan78. Chatham Properties Inc bought on 13Nov78, but Aero Union repossessed it soon after, on 23Apr79.
Joe Cooper was registered as owner on 17Jul79 and the following year August B.Doppes (a broker?) did the same on 12Apr80; this quickly changed to the Hill Air Company (on 23Jul80).
Then it crossed the border into Canada, as C-GCTF when it was acquired by Transport Aerien Sept-Iles in Sep82; this company changed their name to Transfair in Sep83.
And then Buffalo Airways obtained it during Sep95.

C-GCTF on Airliners.net
c-GCTF forward fuselage in close up
Cockpit (large)
Cockpit detail (large)
I was allowed to climb on board and have a look inside, in the cockpit and on the spacious maindeck.

I did regret it that most Buffalo planes were down and out upon my visit... Only on the monday, when I sat in the terminal's cafetaria waiting for my flight, I saw a Buffalo DC-4 depart.

C-FBAJ C-FBAJ is an early Douglas C-54A; it has c/n 3088.
It sat in the back of the hangar, but I did not see any work done; perhaps C-GCTF had been given priority.
I forgot to ask what maintenance it was undergoing.

 

This C-54A started too as a "warhorse": 41-37297 for the USAAF and delivered on 13Jul43.
It was entered in the US Civil register as early as 1946, as N150 for the Civil Aviation Administration (later this name changed to Federal Aviation Adminstration).
It continued its Civil Service career until 1962, when it was bought as N11712 by Airplanes Inc.
This may have been a broker and in 1963 ownership was transferred to C B McNeill.
During the 1960s it rapidly changed owners: American Aviation Suppliers bought it on 07Mar64, then it went to Surplus Sales Inc (a lease starting 07Mar64 until 17Jun64), returning to American Aviation Suppliers, then obtained by PASCO Aviation (24Jun64) and Allied leasing Corporation (11Jan65) with a lease by that same date to Passaat Airlines and in Jan66 it was purchased by Cryderman Air Service.
It even went abroad: as HP-434 it was acquired by Aerovias Panama Airways in 1966, but in Oct67 it was registered as N11712 for Pinellas Central Bank.
Cryderman Air Service reacquired it in Sep68 and some continuity finally set in...
In 1975 we see a familiar name reappear: Aero Union Corp bought it and converted it into a fire bomber and so it became Tanker '02'.
Buffalo Airways has good relations with Aero Union and bought this airframe too, in March 2000, registering it as C-FBAJ (initially storing it at Red Deer,ALB where it was sighted in Oct01).
C-FBAJ/02 C-FBAJ in hangar

C-FBAJ on Airliners.net

Dirk Septer came across C-FBAJ in July 2009, seemingly stored, at Hay River

Birddog 7
C-GIWJ/7 "Canso Airtanker Borddog"
c-GIWJ out for a spin...
Beech 95
(c/n TD32), mfr 1958, registered 06Jan99

Tanker 58 out for engine run
It was time to testrun no.2: the radial thunder was impressive, so was Rod's commentary when the repairs did not bring the required result...
Ignition..
Rodney pleased with result...

For the Teccies: here is something written on Wikipedia.org about Piston Engines

Here are some photos on Airliners.net of C-GCTF in an awkward position :
www.airliners.net/open.file/0214515/M/
www.airliners.net/open.file/0214514/M/
These pictures were taken at Diavik Diamond Mine Airport in 2001; the incident was caused by a brake failure, there was minor damage to a prop and no one got hurt.

C-GPNR was assigned to do the daily run to Hay River,NWT (across the Great Slave Lake).
== Passenger flights were ceased, see item further up this page ==
Awaiting start up
Canadian North is a scheduled carrier here; no doubt the passengers of this 737 have no eye or thought about the uniqueness of this Douglas DC-3 still involved in scheduled passenger service !
I had a look inside C-GPNR before it boarded the passengers.
Let's board...
Cabin
The office up front..
Construction no. plate
Cockpit (large)
Ready for passengers

C-GPNR departured a little after 5pm because a party of passengers arrived with some delay; a number of employees also boarded 'November Romeo'.
During weekdays it leaves at around 5 pm and the following morning it will operate the route in reverse, bringing in people on time for work here.
See BuffaloAirways.com passenger schedules.

Engine startup proceeded with surprisingly little smoke.

The bad weather took away all the light quite early in the afternoon and so I decided not to try to board this flight as I would have no photo opportunity at Hay River.
And no photo opportunity is simply "no go" for me !

Off blocks..
On its way..
Take off !
This concluded my visit here for this friday and I took a cab back to my pleasant B&B in the Old Town.
There were still 2 days of my visit remaining and I was hoping for better weather.

Continue to ... Day 2 at Yellowknife !

Back to CANADA -2006-

 


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