The memory of the Great Blizzard at Dorval (YUL) in NetLetter #1445 sent in by Marty Vanstone prompted Lorne Paterson to share this memory -
Reference the story from Marty Vanstone re that period of the great blizzard, there is a lot more to that story than what the crew recalls. Firstly a little earlier history re the Maintenance crew in YUL. Our boss at the time will go by the initials of DJH which almost all maintenance people of the time will recognize. Nothing was impossible to him.
Thus, the reason all this occurred as it did. He decided that we had to have a plow for our new T300 tractor but it could not be just any plow. He had us measure the width of the DC-8 main landing gear and had a plow made that was one foot wider on each side. This plow was enormous and I guess we figured we would never use it. How wrong we were.
This plow became our saving grace in many storms, certainly not only this one. Our parking gates were always clear when nobody else could access theirs and many a towing operation occurred because we cleared our own way. In this case that is exactly what we did. The aircraft got onto the gate because the old plow cleared the way. It got to the hangar only because we plowed the way for it to get there. Getting to the runway the only way the aircraft was able to make it was the maintenance fellows cleared a path down the hangar line to allow the aircraft to taxi. In actual fact we had to plow twice the width so that the engines would not swallow all the snow. We actually got a visit later in the day by the DOT crew asking us to stop plowing because they could not move the piles we created. I remember this well as the duty crew, which was the PM shift worked basically round the clock for 2 days before we got sufficient replacement people to allow us to try and get home.
DJH showed up in the first morning on a skidoo he had gotten from a long-time friend of the maintenance people in YUL.
And I can still remember one of our very best engineers calling into the office. DJH answered the phone and the individual advised that he just could not get to work. He lived a couple of miles from the airport but all the roads were blocked. Being typical DJH the reply was “Can’t you just walk”. The YUL Maintenance crew were an amazing bunch of dedicated workers and I am proud to have been one of them. There are many offshore aircraft recovery stories one could tell. NO, was never a acceptable answer for DJH. When they wanted him to move to YYZ he refused and one day left his company and MOT identification on his desk and disappeared, never to return again to the hangar
Editors' note: Pity there is no photo of this monster.
Vic Bentley sends us this information -
I am retired from the airlines and volunteer at the Canadian Museum of Flight in Langley, BC. We come across lots of amazing stuff hidden away in corners of the library. So your 'NetLetter' got me looking up some of the files on aircraft.
This ‘mystery’ aircraft is a Fairchild 82. The registration under the wing is CF-AXC. It was registered to the British Yukon Navigation on 28 Sep 1935.
The file comments, 'Overran airport boundary in heavy snow Dawson, Yukon YT, 15 -11-36. Rebuilt as CF-AXK'
Below is a sister ship, CF-AXL of Canadian Pacific.
This is from the files at the Canadian Museum of Flight in Langley, BC.
Regarding this photo in NetLetter #1447, Vic asks -
He is shown with the pilot. Who was the pilot? Any historians out there?
Mae Wilson, after reading NetLetter #1448, sends this memory -
This is a great issue. I read it “cover to cover” and so much interesting stuff. I worked for Nordair Administration in the In-Flight and the Financial Departments until we became part of the ‘new’ Canadian Airlines International.
I was there as Supervisor of Office Services (across Eastern Canada) until I retired in 1990.
I really enjoy reading the Newsletter. Keep up the good work...and stay safe!
Jack Miles referring to the information from Mike Nash in "Subscriber Feedback" in NetLetter #1448 sends this information -
This may be of interest to the readers regarding the "DC-3" weathervane in Whitehorse.
Technically, it is not a DC-3, that was the commercial version. CF-CPY was built for the U.S. Army Air Force, as it was then known, and delivered as a military C-47 DL "Skytrain" type on August 28 1942. Canadian Pacific took possession of it on December 11, 1945.
I quickly add that I was not there for either of those dates.
Regards, Jack M. Miles.
Editors' note: Construction number 4665, U.S. Army assigned 41-18540, CPA acquired the aircraft from C.H. Babb Inc., Glendale, California and assigned fin # 275 during April 1946.
The aircraft was sold to Connelly-Dawson Airways, Whitehorse on April 28, 1960.