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Fairview Canso First Flight June 18

Fairview volunteers shortly after they salvaged a Canso.

The remarkable journey of a PBY-5A from the edge of a northern lake to a touchstone for Canadian aviation history will end, and begin, June 18 with the official first flight of C-FNJE at Fairview Airport in northern Alberta.

The Canso, as Canadian versions of the Consolidated Vultee design were known, recently received approval from Transport Canada after an amazing recovery and restoration effort in Fairview, Alberta by the Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society.

The aircraft crash landed and sank in Sitigi Lake, near Inuvik, in 2001. It was being operated by Buffalo Airways as a waterbomber. A Buffalo crew pulled the wreck from the bottom of the lake and took the engines, leaving the distinctive green and orange hulk to overlook the lake for what they assumed would be forever.

Six farmers from Fairview dragged the hulk from the lake to Inuvik where they barged it to Hay River. From there it was trucked to Fairview.

Since 2008, the society has been working on fixing the crash damage and refurbishing all the systems to return the aircraft to the air.

The official first flight will take place at the Fairview Flying Club’s annual Father’s Day fly-in and two pilots who had time on the Canso during the Second World War will be on hand to talk about the aircraft and their experiences.

Buy An Arctic Tour Kilometre

The Canadian Arctic Aviation Tour has begun a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for an ambitious air show tour of dozens of northern communities this summer.

Supporters are invited to “buy a kilometre” of the 31,000 km tour that will take top air show acts to far flung communities that dot the Arctic.

“For only $25 CDN, you can purchase one of the tour’s 31,000 kilometres to have it dedicated in your name and receive an official CAAT 2017 certificate,” the organization said in a news release. “The best part is that 100 percent of your donation will go towards achieving all the goals of this historic event!”

In addition to providing aerial entertainment never seen in some of the tiny communities, the tour promises to inspire and educate northern residents.

“The CAAT Team is delivering an innovative education platform with community and thought leaders across Canada’s North that will complement the air show tour,” the group said. “We plan to educate Canada about the diversity within indigenous cultures while inspiring and empowering the thousands of young people who often live in isolated communities to build opportunities and live their dreams.”

The group is hoping to raise $1 million to help bring air shows to 97 communities north of the 60th parallel over the summer and fill a gap in the lavish cross country celebrations promised in southern Canada.

Contributions are rolling in and can be made here.

Engine Swap At -30

An engine change at -30 in Iqaluit.

Aviation companies in Iqaluit rallied to help a Swiss Air International maintenance crew navigate some unfamiliar territory this week.

On Feb. 1, A SwissAir Boeing 777 on its way to Los Angeles from Zurich had to divert to Iqaluit with an engine failure. Another plane was sent from New York to get the 233 passengers and crew but the 777 wasn’t going anywhere without another engine.

The airline sent a new one via a chartered An-124 and local companies First Air and Touchdown Services helped the Swiss mechanics get the job done.

The big airplane wouldn’t fit any hangars so an insulated tent had to be put up around the engine and heaters put inside to get the workers out of the -30 weather.

The engine is reportedly in and will be tested Thursday with a tentative departure for the aircraft of late in the afternoon.