Buffalo Airways Curtiss Commando's at work
Buffalo's hard working cargo haulers C-FAVO and C-GTPO at the soaked company ramp. Yellowknife, June 5, 2023.
On the drizzly morning of June 5, 2023, C-FAVO went into action at Yellowknife, NWT. for a flight down the MacKenzie Valley.
Fortunately the next day the weather improved considerably!
A bit of an emergency shot of a DC-4, over the fence, at Yellowknife and with a lot of "stuff" blocking a clear view.
Yellowknife is situated on the north shore of Great Slave Lake.
C-FBAA, a C-54 had been delivered in 1945 to the USAAF. After her military career she was sold in the early 70's to Sacramento Aero Union. The DC-4 became part of the Buffalo fleet in May 2002.
C-FBAA warms its natural metal finish in the North West Territorial sunshine.
The area is littered with aeronautical trash; - I love such places!
C-FBAA ended its career in the salvage yard.
Arctic Expeditor is seen sitting in the graveyard.
The C-46's huge cargo volume (twice that of the C-47), three times the weight of the C-47, large cargo doors, powerful engines and long range capability is legendary.
This Cessna 185 is also part of the Buffalo Airways inventory.
This frame flew for the USAAF during the war. After the war, C-GTPO changed hands numerous times. Her first civil owner was Flying Tiger Line. In 1957 she was sold to Wien Alaska Airlines. During the 70's she was operated by Detroit Willow Run based Trans Continental. In the mid 80’s she was exported to Canada and started flying for Air Manitoba. In August 1993 she was acquired by Buffalo Airways. Ten years later she was leased to FNT – First Nations Transportation before returning to Buffalo in November 2010.
Following her Flying Tiger Line service, C-GTPO had flown for Wien Air Alaska.
C-GPTO also flew with Air Manitoba.
C-GPTO at Yellowknife, ready for action.
The C-46 continues to operate as a rugged cargo transport for arctic and remote locations.
C-GPTO is one of two Commando’s in service with Buffalo in 2023.
C-FBAA in what's left of her glory.
Her aluminum looks shiny.
C-FBAA formerly flew with the United States Air Force as 42-72548.
Artic Expeditor is going nowhere anymore!
An everyday scene at Yellowknife.
C-FBAA is in use as an aircraft parts store.
This machine was a bare bones workhorse.
Her carcass was used to supply spares for the survivors.
It is sad to see her this way.
This DC-4 is stored outside for over years. Dirt has gathered everywhere.
Even wingless, even sitting, with faded, chipping paint, this DC-4 is also still beautiful.
Found this piece of history in a corner of Yellowknife Airport.
Face to face picture.
Classic lines of the big "Dougs" are so evident in this full frontal.
The DC-4 has been the workhorse in the Canadian North for several decades.
C-GPTO, a rough looking but good performing Curtiss Commando.
The 185 Skywagon is maybe the best bush-plane of the North.
The sun is starting to erase her registration.
Another shot of 'Uniform Pappa Tango'.
Seen resting, in the crisp June air, is this Buffalo Airways C-46 Commando Freighter, C-GTPO, awaiting its next mission.
C-46’s continues to operate in remote locations and could be seen in service from Canada and Alaska.
C-GPTO sits outside the corporate headquarters of Buffalo Airways.
Lets go inside!
The carvernous cabin of the Curtiss.
The cavernous cabin of C-GTXThe cavernous cabin of C-GTXWW
The cavernous cabin of C-GTXThe cavernous cabin of C-GTXWW
The good looking C-46 flightdeck.
Her switches and controls, worn smooth by the touch of a thousand hands.
The front office of C-GTPO, but can a photograph communicate the feel of this wonderful machine?
Capt's instrument panel.
Working office of a C-46.
Part of the Commando’s ‘stone-age’ flight deck.
F/O's instrument panel.
Room with a view!
C-FBWZ is a Lake LA-4-200 Buccaneer.
1973 built C-GXRN gleaming on Yellowknife’s apron in June 6, 2023.
C-GWKR is a Cessna A185E on floats.
C-GWKR enjoying sunrise, on Yellowknife.
C-FWKR tied-up for the moment.
C-FVZR is a Cessna 185E Skywagon.
C-FVZR minus motive power at Yellowknife, NWT.
A classic, early Cessna is this privately owned model 170B, C-FFBK. I photographed her at the general aviation ramp on June 8, 2023.
C-FFBK getting attention.... and a fresh paint-job wouldn't hurt!
Parked-up, C-FTQH, is 1962 built Cessna 185.
Very old Cessna 120/140, C-FXVY, on the grass with colleagues.
C-GXRN is a Cessna 180J.
Canso Tanker Birddog 141 is a 1966 built Cessna A185E.
C-FUPT on amphibs.
Buffalo's DC-3 C-FLFR looking a little weary-worn.
C-FUPT with C-GPTO at Buffalo's gravel ramp.
Look up to the C-46!
The cockpit in a streamlined glazed "dome".
Buffalo Air freight warehouse is just across the road.
Yellowknife's general aviation corner is situated opposite Buffalo's cargo ramp.
On the grass with colleagues.
CF-MUK is a Cessna 210A "Centurion".
Both Buffalo Commando's are still earning their keep.
They called it the Curtiss Calamity, Ol’ Dumbo, the Flying Whale and, more recently, Miss Piggy.
Patched up, paint-faded fuselage, with antiquated oil-dripping engines and its obtuse way of resting on a tailwheel.
The vertical stabilizer of crashed DC-4 C-GQIC.
A timeless view across the Buffalo Airways freight ramp at Yellowknife.
C-FAVO. This airframe left the factory at Buffalo, New York in February 1945. After retirement from the military, she was sold on the civilian market. The Curtiss passed through a succession of owners, including Capitol Air, Lufthansa, Trans Continental Airlines, Air Manitoba, before ending up with Buffalo Airways in February 1994.
Broadshouldered C-FAVO takes a breather between operations.
Pictured in the twilight of its career, Buffalo Curtiss Commando C-GTPO stands idle on the ramp at Yellowknife with its engine covers on.
One of the C-46's failings was the prodigious fuel consumption of its powerful 2.000 hp engines.
C-FAVO was trundling back across the airport to her base, yet another mission completed.
The Curtiss just arrived from Tulita, with stops at Déline, Fort Good Hope and Norman Wells
C-FAVO is just back from the daily MacKenzie Valley 'milk-run'.
Captain Jeff Schroeder.
This 1940 vetereran is still doing good service in Canada and is one of two of the type active with Buffalo Airways.
A paint job would not hurt!
Both Commando's enjoying spring in NWT.
Buffalo's hard working cargo hauler C-FAVO at the company's ramp. Yellowknife, June 10, 2023.
C-FAVO getting fuel at Yellowknife.
C-FAVO was once part of the Lufthansa Airlines fleet.
Doors agape and awaiting her load.
C-FAVO still going strong at Yellowknife.
C-FAVO in the spring-time sunshine glow.
C-FAVO at her Buffalo base Yellowknife, where fuel was uplifted.
Curtiss Commando's at Yellowknife, waiting for their next load of groceries.
Buffalo Airways hard working Commando's.
Two parked-up Curtiss Commando's. What a privilege!
Buffalo Airways C-46 loads late in the afternoon.
Fatigue and corrosion problems are constant enemies of classic propliners.
I would say, she is not old, she is ancient.
This view also accentuates the ruggedness of the Curtiss Commando.
C-FAVO framed by two powerful Pratt & Whithney R-2600's on a sunny late spring afternoon in 2023 at Yellowknife.
Getting loaded for a trip over the lake.
Curtiss C-46 C-FAVO, being oiled prior to its last departure of the day.
C-FAVO R-2600 radial gleaming in the sun today.
The mighty Curtiss Commando, which is a common sight at Yellowknife, dominated the ramp.
Buffalo Airways C-46 C-FAVO at Yellowknife, prepping for another cargo run to the MacKenzie Valley.
Buffalo's Curtiss Commando C-FAVO seen prior of running-up her Pratt & Whitneys at Yellowknife.
During the mid-1950's, Lufthansa crew occupied these seats.
Buffalo Curtiss Commando, C-FAVO. Despite her age, this plane continue to soldier on day after day.
Laden with general cargo for Hay River, the C-46 is about to depart for the second time in a busy day.
Jeff Schroeder; - A veteran Curtiss Commando driver.
Let’s start No. 1. Crack the throttle, squeeze the starter switches, wait for one-two-three-four-five-six blades, switch ignition to ‘both’ and depress the primer switch-there, she’s caught. That big round R-2800 really is a wonderful engine.
Synchronicity: C-FAVO R-2800's ping into life and start to hit that perfect beat.
C-FAVO in action at Yellowknife, NWT.
With 2000 hp of tired iron turning on either side, C-FAVO is held against the brakes.
The three bladed prop is whining away.
C-FAVO leaving Yellowknife for Hay River under command of Capt. Jeff Schroeder.
A well-tuned rumble!
The perfect blend of beguiling beauty and brutal shattering power.
OK. Yours thruly takes a rest after an hectic day. Time for a cool Canadian Molson!
- The End -