Photos © Ruud Leeuw
The saturday here gave much the same weather: rain (at first). So instead of going to the airport I talked with the other B&B guests (most seem to stay here as a stepping stone for further travel up north, some on very adventurous trips) and I watched the tv at my cozy accommodation for another World Championship Soccer match: Portugal against England (Portugal -with that Figo creep- won by penalties, much to my dismay).
The weather was warm, humid and cloudy; in the afternoon I walked around part of Frame Lake (got eaten by the bugs...) and saw a Buffalo DC-3 passing overhead... maybe that cancelled flight yesterday delivered its cargo after all.
More of my stay here can be read on my travel account. Sunday morning brought the sunshine I had been hoping for and my camera sprung back in action!
I was told the photo shows a Cessna Caravan (should be C-FATY, but you cannot see that from the photo) and I photographed it because it has a canoo fitted to the side; probably some of my fellow guests at the B&B on their adventurous trip, going north.
In Apr07 Air Viking of Canada announced they were going to resume production of the DHC-6.
Between 1965 and 1988 over 800 had been built by De Havilland Canada. The new model would be the DHC-6-400 and orders had been booked.
The approaching C-GARW is a DeHavilland DHC-6-300 c/n 367, manufactured in 1973 and operated by Arctic Sunwest Charters (registered since 27Jun01).
The Seaplanebase here in the Old Town is called the Yellowknife Water Aerodrome
|The following news was released in April 2007: |
By Ed Phillips / AviationWeek.com
""Viking Air Limited is proceeding with plans to restart production of the de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter and is scheduled to deliver the first Series 400 airplane within the next 24 months.
The British Columbia-based company has received orders for at least 30 airplanes. According to Viking Air, lead customers for the twin-engine, turboprop-powered STOL transport include Trans Maldavian Airlines (5 on order); Loch Ard Otters, in Palm Beach,FL. (6 plus options for another 6). Loch Ard Otters would lease the aircraft to operators worldwide. Others customers include Air Seychelles, Air Moorea, and Zimex Aviation in Switzerland, which currently operate a total of 25 Twin Otters in regional airline service.
Viking Air President and CEO David Curtis says production airplanes will be built under the initial Type Certificate. De-ice capability, floats, amphibious landing gear, and skis will be offered as aftermarket options. Davis says the "new" DHC-6 will sell for $3.2 million and be equipped with a standard 19-seat cabin and basic instrumentation. Major airframe assemblies will be manufactured in Victoria, British Columbia with final assembly delivery performed in Calgary, Alberta. The Twin Otter Series 400 will be powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 engines instead of the -27 version installed on the Series 300, originally built by de Havilland Canada. In addition, PT6A-35 engines equipped with four-blade propellers will be optional.
The DHC-6 was among the earliest aircraft to equip the world's regional airlines, entering service in the mid-1960s. More than 800 were built from 1965 to 1988 and at least 600 remain in service, according to Viking Air. The company acquired the Type Certificate and production rights from Bombardier Aerospace early in 2006 and owns certificates for seven other de Havilland aircraft, including the DHC-3 Otter and DHC-7 Dash 7.
CF-TFX (cn 13137) is a Bristol Mk.31 Freighter: not many of these around anymore!
Its first registration was supposed to become G-AMRV for the Bristol Aeroplane Company Ltd, but this was not taken up. Instead it became CF-TFX for Trans Canada Air Lines ('501') upon its delivery on 30Sep53.
Two years later it was obtained by Central Northern Airways (23Dec55). By merger it went to Transair Ltd in Jan56 and on 10Mar58 Wardair bought it.
Its active career was terminated in Feb68, when it was stored. It has been preserved here at Yellowknife, to commemmorate Max Ward and Wardair.
Dirk Septer added the date; "TFX was preserved as a monument on June 22nd, 1968".
If you decide to visit CF-TFX: make sure you bring plenty of bug repellent!
YELLOWKNIFER, AUGUST 16, 1996 (pdf format) stating "bought from Wardair in 1970, later hoisted to its current location". I don't see an exact date of month mentioned, though.
The book THE ARCTIC FOX by the man himself, Don C. Braun (co-written by John C.Warren; Back Bay Press, 1994 and a forword by Max Ward) has chapters about this very Bristol Freighter CF-TFX, its use by Wardair in the Arctic North and also a chapter about how CF-TFX became the first wheel-equipped aircraft at the North Pole (in 1967, pilot: Don 'the Fox' Braun himself!).
The first wheel-equipped aircraft to land on Antarctica suffered a much less dignified fate: DC-4 N44915 was scrapped except for the cockpit section.
There is only one other Bristol Freighter in more or less airworthy state and I found photographed it a few days ago at the Reynolds Transportation Museum.
Another Bristol Freighter, C-FWAE, is preserved in Winnipeg's Western Canada Aviation Museum.
|Now that does look much better, doesn't it: GPNR and GWIR basking in the sunshine!
But no one was around, Sunday is no working day here. No 24/7 operation here...
Only Ron McBryan was around, tinkering with that no.2 engine of C-GCTF, a problem to be solved: 24/7 after all !
The histories of these planes have all been written out on my Yellowknife Day 1 account.
|Curtiss C-46 C-GTXW has been out of operation for quite a while but 2006 saw it coming back on the line, unfortunately not during my stay here.
So much love for detail here, look at that lettering of a mere registration number!
For the history details and photos of its interior: see my Yellowknife Day 1 account.
Michael Korolyk wrote me the following in Jan.2009:
"I worked for Air Manitoba and Buffalo Airways in the early 1990's.
A couple of guys and myself were the ones that pulled C-GTPO out of the bush in Pickle Lake,Ontario in the summer of 1993, when Buffalo first bought it.
It had a collapsed left main from going off the runway.It was ferried to Seattle for permanent repairs, then began service in Yellowknife.
C-GTXW was the first airplane I ever flew on: Winnipeg to St.Teresa Point in the winter of 1991. Nothing like looking back from the co-pilots seat on a C-46 during a moonlit night with the rumble from those double row Wasps!!
C-GIBX had a sister ship, C-GIXZ, which crashed in Africa after an engine failure on take off.
AIR MANITOBA had 6 C-46s in total, C-GIBX, C-GTXW, C-GIXZ, C-GTPO, C-FAVO and C-FFNC.
FNC was bought by Everts Air Cargo in Alaska, after it had a left engine boost pump fire during its time with Air Manitoba. It was still hauling fuel today the last I heard.
TXW and FNC were my favorites. They were slightly quicker than the rest due to very little fuselage dents and wing nicks. TXW could maintain 190 knots while fully loaded and TPO and IBX did about 170.
Great airplanes, nothing built today can come close to replacing them."
The identity of C-GTXW, as described above, was in doubt. This led to a comparison of notes and photos on Yahoo's 'Classic-Propliners' forum oct-dec.2013.
We have the following situation before the switch at Miami:
Remarkable for the identification of these Curtiss Commandos were the propellors.
For years and years HI-163 and HI-171 were seen parked at Miami with FA Conner. He also had about 5 C-46 fuselages in his storage yard. Most were probably ex-RANSA, which ceased ops in 1966. Francis Augustis Conner (F.A. Conner) was best known as 'Gus' Conner; his dislike for FAA Inspectors was legendary; but as a result he also had a great distrust towards aviation enthusiasts ('picture takers') snooping around.
Theory: HI-163 was a pretty decent airframe (and so it was restored), but it had dodgy records. HI-171 had the undesireable Curtiss-Electric, but good records.
Aviation historian Peter J. Marson confirmed he has a photo of YV-C-ARV dating from 1964, and that it had the 3-bladed 'Ham Standard' props at the time.
C-GWZS is parked on the ramp at the back of the hangar.
I found a profile of Buffalo Airways on Wikipedia.org !
Parked next to C-GWZS is C-GJKM.
C-GJKM is c/n 13580 and it was delivered to the USAAF as 42-93645 on 11Jun44, soon transferred as KG713 to RAF Montreal on 08Jul44. It made its way to the UK but returned to Canada in 1946.
On 30Jul76 it was registered to 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. Yellowknife article on Wikipedia.org; it also has a map and information on mines and mining in the Northwest Territories.
Let's have a look inside C-GJKM...
Here is a 'regional anecdote, Ken Lubinski wrote me:
Not long after that, I heard the government allowed mining companys to stake claims by dropping stakes out of a helicopter instead of on foot and blazing trails with an axe...
I do not know if Jim is remembered by anyone in Yellowknife, but he really was a legend among mining circles at that time. So that is another of my little stories of the North.
Hope you enjoyed it."
Sure did, Ken! (See also Ken's photos on Abandoned Plane Wrecks of the North and Photos by Friends & Others).
Jim MacAvoy passed away on 21Nov2009.
|I love snooping around...! They should give guided tours here: what is that wreck there, another Beech Baron? (Little did I know that the popular tv series Ice Pilots would lead to just that at Yellowknife: guided tours!)|
|C-FBAA / 12
Douglas C-54D C-FBAA has c/n 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.
C-GBPA / 16 has been stored, but could be made to work probably.
C-GBPA was reported in August 2010 as having beentaken out of the storage area, into the hangar, and work was being done on it!
Let's have a look inside C-GBPA...
After a few hours of sunshine the clouds started to roll in again. But I just kept on looking, nothing nicer than unhurriedly stroll among these planes and work that shutter...
So here I was and I had another good look at C-FAVO...
|This C-46 was delivered as 44-77846 to the USAAF during Feb45 (USAAF becoming USAF on 18sep47). It was probably stored somewhere for a number of years as I doubt whether the USAF continued to fly it until 1961.
N9891Z was its first civil tailnumber, Capitol Airways obtained it on 08feb61.
Lufthansa of Germany leased it in March 1964 and Capitol Aws had it returned in Nov69. So that is when it had the insignia applied!
Shamrock Airlines purchased it on 12jan73 and at first I assumed this meant it continued to operate in Europe, from Ireland. But Fred Austin (retired captain, formerly flying for/on Intermountain/C46, Rosenbaum/C46 and Zantop/DC6) corrected me: "Shamrock Airlines, was a US commercial operator base in Atlanta,GA in the early 1970's. Around 1974 they moved their operation up to Detroit's Willow Run Airport. Joining Zantop, Ortner, Intermountain, Mannion, ONA, Century, and another half dozen DC-3,DC-6,C-46, the occasional Connie, operators they hauled auto parts around the country all night long!"
Let us continue down that crooked path of history...
Plymouth Leasing Company bought it 05apr74 and on that date Ortner Air Service started a lease.
Trans Continental Airlines leased N9891Z in 1976 and the Detroit Institute of Aeronautics bought it on 31mar78.
Owners continued to change rapidly: on 04May79 we see Landy Taylor Aircraft Sales making the investment of ownership, quite successfully as on 11May79 Evans Aviation Inc made the purchase.
Northland Air Manitoba registered it C-FAVO on Dec87, changing their name to Air Manitoba in Dec90.
And Buffalo Airways bought it in June 1994.
Let's check the innards of this beast...
|In June 2007 Jürgen Scherbarth wrote me:
"Last month a friend of mine and myself made a tour to Western Canada and the Northern Territories (Yellowknife and Hay River). As a result of this trip I've generated a small list on Buffalo Joe's fleet (in ms excel) of aircraft over the last couple of years. There may be still some gaps, especially on smaller aircrafts pre 1976/77. Maybe someone can help with the missing ones in future...?
Please feel free to use this information to update your Buffalo Airways page of your visit in 2006.
The only question we could not solve, was the source (donor) of the new tail section for C-46 C-FAVO after the taxiway accident at YZF, maybe one of the Fairbanks wrecks?
Btw, former Aero Union tanker 13 DC-4 C-FBAK is definitely at Hay River, but without engines an avoid of any registration, just the 13 on the tail..."
N404LC is Lockheed L-100-382G with c/n 4763.
I saw N404LC also make numerous flights but had no way of checking their destination. As I had no car at my disposal, I did not venture to the ramp near threshold of rwy 09, where the Herc and the An-12 were handled. Next time I will get a car!
This link will also provide much information on Yellowknife Airport
With great interest I read Allan MacNutt's book "Canada's Arctic Sovereignty" (available from Mac's Aviation Books, Abbotsford,BC; fax +1 604 859-3218), describing in detail about Canada's wealth of buried resources, the bloated bureaucracy of the Territories and the culture of the northern aboriginals but also about their deplorable lifestyle.
While the airtanker base seemed deserted as anything else here, I stumbled into a group who were being shown around by Gary (Law? Lord?). I was allowed to join the guided tour of friends/relatives and considered myself lucky.
The first 2 Canadair CL-215's arrived in April 2004, bought and flown over from Croatia.
The Transport Canada online database provided the following information on these CL-215s:
The Birddog C-FCGE is a Beech 95-A90 (c/n LJ-118, manufactured 1966, registered to Buffalo Aws 10Apr03.
|UK-12002 is an Antonov An-12V with c/n 402002. Besides the large SRX titles (if it is an abbreviation I don't know the meaning) it has subtitles www.srx.aero operated by Aeroleasing (which has aircraft based in Florida).
In May 2007 I was able to put good use to knowledge of availability for charters by this An-12...
I was quite surprised to see this Antonov An-12 here and it flew from dawn to dusk!
Apparently the snowroads had thawed soon in the season and a backlog of supplies required the additional airlift capacity. But why Buffalo Airways had so little part in this I do not know. I heard about a rumor that some clients demanded more modern (turbine engines) equipment and Buffalo Lost out on contracts...
May have been the reason that Buffalo Joe was over in Europe during my visit, in Austria to be exact, buying the two Lockheed L.188 Electra's of Amerer Air (these were ferried autumn 2006).
|AmeriJet International (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Miami) announced in 2009 its acquisition of SRX Transcontinental (Opa-locka), a Florida based company specializing in ground handling operations throughout Central Asia, and owner of Avialeasing Aviation Company (Tashkent), an Uzbekistan certificated airline with US DOT Part 129 authority.
SRX and Avialeasing market the sales, charter operations, and contract maintenance of Antonov An-12 and An-26 aircraft based in both Uzbekistan and Opa-locka (near Miami,FL).
Meanwhile, back in the hangar... another look at C-FBAJ.
Ron McBryan suffered in patience many a foolish question by me and of course at the end of the day I did remember all the newsbits...
One of the replies, on flighthours on these Skytrucks, I think FBAJ was considered to be at a lowly 17.000 flighthours, while GPSH (the "Freightliner") had some 70.000 hrs on the airframe.
I hope these figures are correct, will try to verify them.
Buffalo's Approved Maintenance Organization
Unfortunately the result was, again, not to Ron's satisfaction.
While C-GCTF was towed back in the hangar, the sun appeared briefly and I decided to call it a day too. |
I considered my disappointment two days ago when I faced the absence of 'Buffalo Joe', the lousy weather at first, the lack of operations versus the bounty of photographs, my clambering up and down these aeroplanes, the hospitality here... and I found the sun warming my mood and satisfaction too!
This brought my travels through Alaska and Canada almost to an end...
As per 01Jan07 the Transport Canada online database (broken link, may 2014) gave 45 records of Buffalo Airways aircraft currently on the Canadian Register; mind, some aircraft may still be owned by Buffalo Aws but due inactivity taken off the Register: e.g. C-54 C-FBAK was reported at Hay River during May06, but is not on the Register.
|1||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FAVO||Curtiss-Wright||C46D||1995-02-14||33242|
|2||Buffalo Airways Ltd||CF-BAA||Douglas||C54D-DC||2002-05-03||10653|
|3||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FBAJ||Douglas||C54A-DC||2004-04-08||3088|
|4||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FBAM||Douglas||C54G-DC||2006-03-01||36009|
|5||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FBAP||Douglas||C54G-DC||2005-12-15||36089|
|6||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FCGE||Beech||65-A90||2003-04-10||LJ-118|
|7||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FCGH||Beech||65-A90||2000-04-20||LJ-203|
|8||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FCUE||Douglas||C-47A||1995-02-03||12983|
|9||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FDTB||Douglas||DC3C-S1C3G||1995-02-09||12597|
|10||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FDTH||Douglas||DC3C||1998-05-12||12591|
|11||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FFAY||Douglas||DC3C-S1C3G||1995-02-09||4785|
|12||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FIQM||Douglas||C54G-DC||1994-12-08||36088|
|13||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FLFR||Douglas||DC3C-S1C3G||1995-02-09||13155|
|14||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FNJE||Consolidated Vultee||PBY-5A||1996-06-04||CV437|
|15||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FOFI||Consolidated Vultee||PBY-5A||1996-06-04||CV 343|
|16||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FPQM||Consolidated Vultee||PBY-5A||1996-06-20||CV-425|
|17||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FROD||Douglas||C-47A||1995-09-15||13028|
|18||Buffalo Airways Ltd||CF-SAN||Noorduyn||NORSEMAN MK. V||1995-04-03||N2929|
|19||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FTXB||Canadair||CL215 1A10||2004-06-07||1007|
|20||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FUAW||Consolidated Vultee||PBY-5A||1997-05-13||CV 201|
|21||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FULX||Beech||95-C55||2000-11-02||TE 147|
|22||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-FUPT||Cessna||A185E||1995-07-06||185-1075|
|23||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GBAJ||Douglas||C54E-DC||2005-12-14||27328|
|24||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GBAU||Beech||D55||2000-04-10||TE701|
|25||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GBNV||Douglas||C54G-DC||1996-05-12||35988|
|26||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GBPA||Douglas||C54D-DC||2003-03-04||10673|
|27||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GBPD||Canadair||CL215 1A10||2000-04-11||1084|
|28||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GBSK||Douglas||C54G-DC||2002-05-30||36049|
|29||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GBYU||Canadair||CL215 1A10||2000-04-11||1083|
|30||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GCSX||Canadair||CL215 1A10||2000-04-11||1088|
|31||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GCTF||Douglas||C54E-DC||1995-09-15||27281|
|32||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GDHN||Canadair||CL215 1A10||2000-04-11||1089|
|33||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GFNF||Canadair||CL215 1A10||2004-04-16||1027|
|34||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GIWJ||Beech||95||1999-01-06||TD32|
|35||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GJKM||Douglas||DC3C-S1C3G||2006-07-28||13580|
|36||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GPNR||Douglas||DC3C-S1C3G||1994-12-08||13333|
|37||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GPSH||Douglas||C54A-DC||1994-12-08||7458|
|38||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GQIC||Douglas||C54E-DC||2000-11-07||27343|
|39||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GTFC||Consolidated Vultee||240-27||2005-12-09||279|
|40||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GTXW||Curtiss-Wright||C46A-45CU||2001-11-14||30386|
|41||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GWCB||Beech||B95||1994-12-08||TD 369|
|42||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GWIR||Douglas||DC3C||1994-12-08||9371|
|43||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GWZS||Douglas||DC3C-S1C3G||1995-01-16||12327|
|44||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GXKN||Douglas||C54G-DC||2003-03-04||36090|
|45||Buffalo Airways Ltd||C-GYFM||Beech||95||1999-01-06||TD 202|
I am indebted to the unlimited hospitality displayed by the staff of Buffalo Airways and my heartfelt thanks go to Ron McBryan and Mike Handley for their time, patience and generosity !
Besides at Red Deer and Yellowknife, Buffalo Aws also has a base at Hay River,NWT with aeroplanes located there as well. But DC-4 C-GXKN was absent from all three... GXKN (c/n 36090) had an 'extended stay' at Norman Wells, where it crashlanded on 05Jan06:
Registration : C-GXKN Operator : BUFFALO AIRWAYS LTD.
| Buffalo Airways C-46 made a hard landing near Deline, N.W.T. (from CBC News North website)
From www.hayriverhub.com/2016/01/buffalo-airways-cleared-to-resume-flights/ (part):
The company also hired Sol Taboada with DTI Training as a consultant to help address issues raised by Transport Canada.
I am not sure if passenger flights were taken up during 2016 (Inquiries thru email & facebook went unreplied (Buffalo being tightlipped as usual).
To email me, click on the image and write the correct adress as given below
(replace -AT- by the @ symbol).
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