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Northern Aviation History

Arctic & Northern Aviation - Photos and History

Airports in the Yukon
Photos and maps of all current airports and several that were abandoned decades ago.

List of Airports and Emergency Landing Fields, Yukon Territory
A list of airports and landing fields, both regular and emergency, compiled by the Government of Yukon Territory. Published July 1st, 1941.

The history of the first Air North - 1951-1984
A detailed history of the Fairbanks-based airline, compiled from articles in Alaska and Yukon newspapers.

Air North - Aircraft Registry
A listing of all of the aircraft that have been operated by Air North since 1982, with photos of some of the paint schemes used.

Air North - the DC-3 / C-47 Era
An illustrated article about DC-3s and C-47s used in the early days of what is now known as "Air North, Yukon's Airline".

CF-CPY, "The World's Largest Weather Vane"
This Douglas C-47 flew the skies over the Yukon from 1946 until 1970, and now serves as a signature attraction at the Yukon Transportation Museum.

Barrels, Floats and Water Bombs
This article by Ed Unrau explores the history of water-bombing forest fires by aircraft in Canada.

Balloons in the Yukon
  *   French Balloonists in the Klondike, 1898
  *   John Leonard, Klondike Balloonist
  *   Balloon Ascension in Dawson City, 1903

Dr. Antoine "Antony" Varicle (1853-1907)
Born in France, M. Varicle's life included a couple of grand expedition plans, to the Klondike gold fields by balloon, and to the North Pole by dogsled.

Dolar De Lagrave, Dawson City Aviator
Dolar De Lagrave was the first person in the Yukon Territory to turn an interest in aviation into an actual flying machine, in 1910.

Seattle Birdmen Anxious to Penetrate Our Azure
This newspaper article describes a proposal by Seattle aviators Frederick J. Wiseman and Charles L. Young to give a flying exhibition in Whitehorse during the summer of 1911.

Royal North-West Mounted Police studying air patrols, 1919
An article from the The Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times (Deadwood, Black Hills, South Dakota) of December 20, 1919.

The Airship 'Norge' - North Pole Flight, 1926
There were 16 men on board the Norge when she left Svalbard on May 11, 1926, and on May 12, the Norwegian, Italian and American flags were dropped on the North Pole.

The Queen of the Yukon: first commercial aircraft in the Yukon Territory, 1927
Photos and newspaper clippings tell her short story, and give a look at her legacy.

Ketchikan's Commercial Aviation History
Ketchikan aviation photojournalist, author, and historian Don 'Bucky' Dawson is profiling the nearly 60 companies that have operated in the community.

Alaska's first passenger fatalities in a commercial air crash
On September 20, 1933, Alaska's first passenger fatalities in a commercial air crash occurred at Livengood.

International Airways crash, White Pass, Alaska, 1935
On January 30, 1935, a Buhl CA-6 Airsedan took off from Skagway, bound for Dawson City, but it crashed a few minutes later, killing its 4 occupants.

Wiley Post & Will Rogers crash at Barrow, Alaska
The men were both killed while attempting to take off from a tidal lagoon near Barrow on August 15, 1935.

Beechcraft D18S CF-MPH
This aircraft logged over two million miles with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, servicing isolated northern detachments and carrying out emergency flights.

Alaska Airways, August 1937 - 9 Lost on Airliner
This dramatic article from the San Francisco Chronicle reports that pilot George "Tony" Schwamm and his 8 passengers were missing on a flight from Seattle to Ketchikan.

The Search for Russia's Lindbergh, Sigismund Levanevsky
Somewhere in the Arctic wastes, probably in the Arctic Ocean, lies the wreckage of an airplane in which, on August 12, 1937, six Russians led by Sigismund Levanevsky set out to fly across the North Pole from Moscow to Fairbanks, Alaska.

United Air Transport, a Yukon Pioneer
A look at Grant McConachie's first airline in the Yukon, with an ad and two special envelopes from the first Yukon flights.

Yukon Southern Air Transport
In 1938, the name of United Air Transport was changed, and they continued to expand.

Alaska Air Transport Wreck, 1938
Shell Simmons, who had opened Alaska Air Transport in 1935, was the pilot when Fairchild 71, registration NC970, went down near Chicagoff on September 25, 1938.

Yukon Aviation to 1938
"Whitehorse Takes the Initiative In Paving the Way for Aviation Entering the Yukon Territory" - a 3-page article in The Whitehorse Star of March 25, 1938.

The crash of Fairchild 82 CF-AXK
An article in The Whitehorse Star of Friday, November 17, 1939, describes the crash of Fairchild 82 CF-AXK, with pilot Jesse Rice.

Fairchild CF-AXJ crash at Dawson Airport, 1941
On January 31, 1941, the B.Y.N. Company's Fairchild CF-AXJ crashed near the Dawson airport, killing pilot Lionel A. Vines and passenger Ernest H. Chapman.

Million Dollar Valley, British Columbia
About 22 air miles NNE of Historic Mile 514 on the Alaska Highway lies a mountain-ringed valley that got its nickname due to a multi-aircraft crash in 1942.

Juneau crash kills pilot Donald Glass, 1943
Articles and a photo from the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Gazette of January 21 and 25, 1943.

B-25 Crash in Greenland, 1943
Press photos from June 28, 1943, showing a B-25 crew which was rescued from the edge of a fjord in Greenland after being there for four days.

J. C. Morrison, PAA Station Manager at Whitehorse
A brief look at the life and death of Pan American Airways' popular Whitehorse agent, from 1945.

Avro Lancaster "Aries" Comes to the Yukon
Whitehorse has been a stopover point for many historic flights, including the 1945 polar air navigation research flights of this famous RAF bomber.

TCA seeks U.S. license to operate Whitehorse-Fairbanks route
In June 1945, Trans-Canada Air Lines applied for permission to operate an air service between Whitehorse and Fairbanks.

Dawson City in a Grumman Widgeon float plane, 1946
The Grumman amphibian plane of the McRae-Patty mining interests returned to Dawson from Coal Creek district and had a busy day before heading for Whitehorse.

Whitehorse Aviation to 1947
Two articles from the 80-page booklet 'All-Year Round Guide to the Yukon' describe the development of the Whitehorse airport, and the city's part in Yukon aviation generally.

Six Killed in Crash of RCAF Beechcraft, 1947
On January 15, 1947, five RCAF members and one civilian were killed when their plane crashed during a short flight between Teslin and Whitehorse.

Glider Rescue on the Stewart River, 1948
Six occupants of a crash-landed C-47 transport were snatched to safety from the frozen crust of the Stewart River by a a Waco CG-15A rescue glider inn December 1948.

Fly from the Yukon Territory on Pan American's Flying Clipper Route
An ad from a March 1949 issue of The Whitehorse Star.

USAF North American F-51H crash in the Yukon, 1949
On August 10, 1949, North American F-51H #44-64261, piloted by 1st Lt. John E. Bylander, suddenly dropped out of a formation of F-51s, and crashed just west of Aishihik Lake.

USAF C-54 missing in the Yukon with 44 people on board
"Aerial Armada Seeks Lost Plane" - an article from The Windsor Daily Star of January 28, 1950.

The Royal Canadian Air Force Photo Survey unit to 1950
An article about the completing the job of covering Canada with aerial photography, from The Ottawa Journal of December 6, 1950.

Alaska Bush Pilot Glen Hudson Killed in Crash
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner of August 20, 1951 reports on the plane crash that killed Hudson, miner Elmer (Red) Wolford, and his teenage sons, Larry Lee and Steven.

U.S.A.F. C-47 Crashes at Eielson AFB
Articles from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner describe the crash on September 7, 1951, that killed 3 men, and the crash of a helicopter involved, that killed two more.

The Crash of TB-29 Superfortress #44-70039
This trainer conversion of a B-29 four-engine bomber crashed southeast of Talkeetna on November 15, 1957, killing 6 of the 10 crew members.

DC-3 crash in the Yukon, 1958
On January 17, 1958, a DC-3 working on a DEW Line site crashed into a mountain just south of Herschel Island, and the wreckage is still there.

Russ Baker - from Bush Pilot to President of Pacific Western Airlines
A lengthy illustrated tribute published in The Vancouver Sun the evening of his death on November 15, 1958.

The Disappearance of Angus Blake MacKenzie
On January 5, 1962, while working on a film about the Nahanni Valley, Edmonton filmmaker Angus MacKenzie left the Smith River Airport, BC, and was never seen again.

RCMP Beaver, CF-MPO, crashes at Carmacks, Yukon
On July 13, 1963, with four RCMP officers and one prisoner on board, a float-equipped de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, CF-MPO, crashed at Carmacks, Yukon, killing all five occupants.

The 1991 crash of Boxtop Flight 22
On October 30, 1991, a CC-130 Hercules crashed at Canadian Forces Station Alert on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut - 5 of the 18 people on board were killed.

B-2 'Spirit of Alaska' unveiled at Eielson
Drawing parallels between Alaska and what was at the time the Air Force's newest stealth bomber, officials christened a B-2 the Spirit of Alaska in a ceremony on July 27, 1996.

Fokker Super Universal CF-AAM
The illustrated story of this historically significant aircraft, including a flight back to the Yukon Territory in June 2001.

Russian Mi-26T Helicopter Visits Whitehorse
On May 5, 2006, Whitehorse received a visitor that brought out plane-watchers by the hundreds.

Gregory Smith Dies after Teslin Lake Crash
A pilot from North Pole, Alaska, was killed when his plane crashed into Teslin Lake in March 2001.

A new look for RCAF aircraft
The Royal Canadian Air Force received new insignia in 2013, and in October 2016, repainting of their aircraft began.

R.C.A.F. Ventura bomber crash near Cowichan Lake, 1944
Two newspaper articles about a crash that killed all 6 airmen aboard - they were buried at the remote site.">