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Ice Pilots NWT airs tonight on CanWest's History Television

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Ice Pilots NWT airs tonight on CanWest's History Television

Old 18th Nov 2009, 17:29
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Ice Pilots NWT airs tonight on CanWest's History Television

Hey all,
Thought you might be interested in the following show. Ice Pilots NWT also has a show website (Ice Pilots) with tons of great photos of Buffalo Airways' fleet: DC-3s, DC-4s, C-46s, CL-215s and Electras.

The site also has a storymap that collects and shares people's photos, videos and stories of flying in the North. All content is credited. The show's production team (Omni Film Productions) will be reviewing our favorite storymap submissions received prior to December 10, 2009. Our five favorites will each receive an Ice Pilots NWT leather throw.


Ice Pilots NWT is a 13-episode living history series about the most unorthodox airline in the Canadian North, airing on CanWest’s History Television, beginning Wednesday, November 18 at 10 pm ET/PT.

Arctic airline Buffalo Airways defies the freezing cold and the competition by using resilient WWII-era propeller planes to fly vital fuel, supplies and passengers to remote outposts all over the Canadian North. From landing essential cargo onto airstrips at mine sites to carving out runways on frozen lakes and rocky tundra, the Ice Pilots do it all, despite frequent blizzards and breakdowns.

New recruits come to slog it out on the ramp in -30˚C weather to earn a chance to fly planes that most airlines scrapped long ago. Classics like the Douglas DC-3 and DC-4 and the Curtiss C-46 Commando—the very planes that once ferried troops and supplies in WWII.

This season on Ice Pilots NWT, viewers will follow a treacherous transatlantic journey in the middle of winter as crews attempt to deliver two Canadair CL-215 waterbombers to their new owners in Turkey. The problem? These aircraft are not designed to fly in winter conditions and are not configured for flying over larges bodies of water. Getting there proves to be a daring feat.

Ice Pilots NWT gives viewers a rare look at life “north of 60”. With the economic downturn, a dwindling supply of specialty aviation gas and the high cost of flying vintage aircraft, the very future of Buffalo Airways hangs in the balance.
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 18:10
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I very much enjoyed the first episode as it brought back memories of what that kind of flying was like.

There of course has to be lots of hype put into these stories to entertain the general public and they did a pretty good job in that regard.

Now if they really want to show what flying these airplanes was like in the days of the wooden ships and the iron men they should show some footage of flying the DC3's on wheel / skis and only using airports as a departure and return home landing place. Real pilots don't need runways.

Good stuff though and looking forward to the next show.
Chuck Ellsworth is offline  
Old 20th Nov 2009, 19:15
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I expected to see lots of hokey misinformation or hype but actually found it to be entertaining and true to itself. Brought back some fond memories to the point where I watched the entire hour.
I'm looking forward to the rest of this series and intend to watch each episode as my schedule allows.
(It would be nice if they posted each episode on their website once it's been aired)

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Old 21st Nov 2009, 00:38
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It would be really, really nice if it was on the website afterwards. Then all of us non-Canadian tv receivers could watch it
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Old 22nd Nov 2009, 01:13
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Go to www.history.ca and pull down the video tab and it should be their.
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Old 22nd Nov 2009, 07:44
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Here you go...

Videos - History Television
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Old 24th Nov 2009, 14:49
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Does the programme also feature pilots and companies who defy the freezing cold and the competition by using modern aircraft or is it just an advertorial for one company? If the latter, is the company paying for it at commercial advertising rates? If it is not paying then is the broadcaster going to give equal time/free advertising to other companies? (especially if the broadcaster benefits in any way from taxes)

There should be a level playing field for all of the companies and pilots who are trying to earn a living, whether in the north or elsewhere in Canada.
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Old 24th Nov 2009, 15:01
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I am pretty sure the main point of the show is the challenge of operating WWII era aircraft 70 years later!

Using your anology, and considering Miami Ink, I guess every tattoo artist has a right to their own primetime TV show?
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Old 24th Nov 2009, 15:16
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Quote: ".....the challenge of operating WWII era aircraft 70 years later!"

That's their choice! It should not be used as an excuse to give every other hard working pilot and company trying to earn their crust in the north a slap in the face. This is Canada - we are not supposed to discriminate.
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Old 24th Nov 2009, 15:38
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I don't see how it is a slap in the face for other operators up North. If anything the show draws attention to, and gives viewers a glimpse of the blue collar side of Canadian Aviation. A long ways from Terminal 1 at CYYZ, and the fancy hats/striped sleaves people are used to seeing.

I am almost repeating myself, but would you say that Orange County Choppers is an insult(slap in the face) then too for all other custom motorcylcle shops across North America?
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Old 25th Nov 2009, 21:52
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From the "Edmonton Journal"- 25 November:

Pilots kept Leno under the radar

Pilots kept Leno under the radar

By Alex Strachan, Canwest News ServiceNovember 25, 2009
Some takeoff, eh? Ice Pilots NWT, History Television's bracing docu-reality series about a renegade airline that links remote communities across Canada's north using vintage Second World War-era transport planes, roared to a ratings record last week, with 459,000 viewers.

That was the most viewers to watch a homegrown-series debut in History's history. To put that number in perspective, last week's audience for Ice Pilots NWT topped that of time-slot rival The Jay Leno Show( 306,000), even though Ice Pilots aired on a specialty channel and Leno aired on a conventional broadcast network.

In other words, "Buffalo Joe" McBryan, son Mikey McBryan and the hard-working guys and gals who manhandle DC-3s and DC-4s through some of the world's most frightful flying conditions drew a bigger crowd than Leno's celebrity gossip and chit-chat.

And small wonder. Ice Pilots NWT is a lot of fun to watch, fascinating and entertaining by turns, and a lot easier to watch from the comfort of home than to suffer through in person. As tonight's followup episode shows-- Ice Pilots is scheduled to fly another 12 weeks, right up to the time the Winter Olympics will distract viewers' minds from the weather outside-- the opener was no fluke.

Tonight's episode, Pre-Christmas Rush, finds the mercury dipping below-40, as remote communities in the Mackenzie Valley are running desperately low on supplies. Just as important, families are waiting for their Christmas presents, even as a gruff mechanic and a Curtiss-Wright C-46 flight crew are stranded in a motel room in Norman Wells, with a busted engine outside and a serious case of cabin fever brewing inside.

Ice Pilots NWT is white-knuckle viewing at its best, exciting without being voyeuristic or manipulative. Based on its early ratings, it might also be the biggest homegrown TV success story since Project Runway Canada.

And why not? These runways are real. (History Television--8 &11 p.m.)

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal
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Old 26th Nov 2009, 03:55
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Yups they had some really bad luck this week, Two C46s unserviceable and one engine change outside in minus 40.
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Old 26th Nov 2009, 05:10
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Just take it for what it is

I have to say I think your notion of covering only Buffalo airways is discrimination seems absolutely rediculous. Would you rather they go around and have a quick 10 second interview with every pilot and rampy in Yellowknife? or every pilot in the north? The show is is ultimately for entertainment value ie character development, drama, and the dynamics of the workplace. All this politically correct, everything always equal BS gets a little old. I am no AME, but I imagine a fleet of 70 year old airplanes might have a few more mechanical failures than a fleet of brand new PC-12's. Take it for what it is and enjoy the show!
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Old 26th Nov 2009, 13:17
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Aw, poor Kelly. She needs a really big hump...HUG!

Despite some of the contrived 'crises' between father / son and the dragging-out of the inevitable mechanicals problems, it does make good viewing though.

The dual u/s C-46 'delivery crises' were rather blown out of the water when Joe JUST HAPPENED to wheel out their previously unmentioned Electra to solve everything in one fell swoop. My bet was they'd end up going cap-in-hand to the military for an emergency C-130 air-drop.

Hey - and that food Co-Op should have full stockcount audit; their manager clearly ate all of the last 7,000 lb shipment.

Last edited by er340790; 26th Nov 2009 at 13:28.
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Old 27th Nov 2009, 22:25
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living in the UK the web site won't let me view/tried utube and other and nothing but the trailers/ any ideas/help appreciated
doo is offline  
Old 28th Nov 2009, 04:55
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Sorry mate can't help, maybe lobby BBC or C4 to buy series?

Now you can see how pissed off I get getting Antiques Roadshow one year later.
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Old 28th Nov 2009, 18:59
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Great show!!

Brings back memories of flying in the north.
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Old 28th Dec 2009, 20:07
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I hope some of the kids that get out of flight school with 250 hours and go to the right seat of an A320 in some countries see what it mean to pay your dues in aviation.

I am glad I did it and now look back at it with fond memories.
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Old 28th Dec 2009, 22:57
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Heard from a TC guy that the inspectors are all over their ass.
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Old 29th Dec 2009, 00:34
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You might want to try a proxy server as well to watch the show for all of those outside of Canada. port 3128


Home Page - History Television then the videos tab.

If you search PPRuNe you will find a thread in the Australia/ NZ section with links to a download service that has the first 6 episodes ready for download.
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