Seaplanes – Graceful Workhorses
One of my favourite things to do while I was still living in Richmond, British Columbia (I moved to Surrey after I retired) was to cycle around YVR airport on Sea Island. Although I frequently rode my bike to work, the real pleasure was to spend a day off wandering around Sea Island’s many paths while watching aircraft come and go.
On these excursions, I often stopped at an establishment called “The Flying Beaver” for a burger and beer before heading home. The pub is located inside the Harbour Air terminal on the south side of YVR and I loved to sit on the patio and watch passengers board the seaplanes parked less that a hundred metres away. After boarding, the pilots taxi the aircraft into the middle of the south arm of the Fraser River and then take off. There is something so graceful about watching an aircraft lift out of the water into the sky (particularly on a sunny day).
My initial concept for this article was to chronicle the de Havilland DHC-3 and DHC-6 series aircraft still in service today. However, I soon realized that task could become a whole new career.
I did find one aircraft, a DHC-6-100 registration C-GQKN, that seems to have been in service for almost fifty years. RZJets shows the aircraft was built in 1968 and delivered to Surinam Airways. It was acquired by Pacific Coastal Airlines in 1989 and then Air BC in 1993. Air BC’s seaplane service was spun off to create West Coast Air which was later acquired by Harbour Air in 2010.
Pictured is C-GQKN in Air BC livery in Victoria Harbour in 1998; posted in Flickr by Rob Hodgkins.