A motorcycle, history, and airplanes day

Yesterday was a great day for me. I put 240 km on my motorcycle, found a 1941 plane crash site, spent time with old friends and new, and photographed a few airplanes at YXY. I hadn’t been out on the bike since August 2016, so getting it out was a big deal to me. There’s a bit of a back story to that happening.

I very rarely enter photo contests. A few months ago, though, I happened to notice that Yamaha Canada had a “What a View” contest. Hey, I have lots of pics of my Yamaha V-Star in great locations so I sent one in. Last week I got notification that I had won the Grand Prize, $500 to spend on my choice of Yamaha gear or parts. Wow! 🙂

Yamaha Canada 2018 photo contest Grand Prize winner - V-Star in the Yukon
When I went down to Yukon Yamaha to buy something with my prize money, the only thing that got my attention was a very fine leather motorcycle jacket that fit me perfectly. It was on the clearance rack at 20% off, so instead of ringing in at $705, the final bill was $63. Now I needed to go riding!

Murray Lundberg with a new Yamaha motorcycle jacket
My bike has been dead for a while. It seemed to be a fuse, but I couldn’t find it. Finally my Clymer manual led me to a 30-amp main fuse buried under the seats and a couple of layers of electronics and plastic. It was indeed burnt out. A spare fuse was in a slot beside it, and as soon as I changed it, I had power. A half-hour later after I put it all back together, the bike was running. That felt so good!

Working on a V-Star 1100

By the the time I shopped for a better deal on insurance, it took me almost 3 hours on Monday to get the bike insured (now $187 per year) and get a new sticker on the plate. With other things to do, I didn’t get out on Monday, but on Tuesday morning, I headed north, with the main objective being the site of a 1941 plane crash beside what is now the North Klondike Highway.

I hadn’t checked the road reports, but was hoping that there would be no construction on the North Klondike – I wasn’t in the mood to fight my way through gravel. As it turned out, the only work being done was preparations for a new bridge across Fox Creek.

Preparations for a new bridge across Fox Creek on the North Klondike Highway
It was a post on my Yukon History & Abandoned Places page that led me to the plane crash site. I had a couple of photos with me to help find it, but I didn’t need to pull them out. In the grassy area to the left at Km 233.5, I could see the tubular frame wreckage.

1941 plane crash site along the North Klondike Highway
The following article about the crash is from The Chilliwack Progress of July 9, 1941 – the pilot who was killed, Vaughan Woods, was from the nearby community of Hope.

Pilot Vaughan Woods killed in Yukon plane cash - July 3, 1941
The crash on July 3rd destroyed White Pass Airways’ 1939 Travel Air 6-B, CF-BPV, seen at Fort Selkirk in the next photo. White Pass Airways was part of the the British Yukon Navigation Company (BYN).

White Pass Airways' 1939 Travel Air 6-B, CF-BPV
The wreckage is in the red circle in this view from the highway. In 1941, there was no road here but there was an emergency airstrip. None of the online mapping sites show this area in a high enough resolution to see where the airstrip would have been, but it would have been just to the north of the crash site (to the right in the photo).

1941 plane crash site along the North Klondike Highway
In his book “Yukon Wings”, R.B. “Bob” Cameron covers this crash thoroughly, with several photos including the one below that shows an RCMP officer inspecting the wreckage. An inquiry into the crash found that a cotter pin had not been installed on a crucial nut during a recent engine overhaul – when the nut loosened and then fell off, a catastrophic power failure was the result. Three air engineers’ licences were suspended for 6 months and one was cancelled permanently.

White Pass Airways' 1939 Travelair 6000B, CF-BPV
The next photo shows me inspecting the wreckage. The mountains in the background show that the viewing angle is the same as the one in photo from “Yukon Wings”.

1941 plane crash site along the North Klondike Highway
Although there may be more wreckage buried in the mud after 77 years, it’s a fairly safe bet that the site was well cleaned up either by BYN or later scavengers.

1941 plane crash site along the North Klondike Highway
Fox Lake was my planned portrait location, and it worked out great. I got into a long chat there with a Swiss fellow who’s touring in a van he bought. My bike, a 2009 V-Star 1100 Classic that I bought new in 2010, now has just over 29,000 km on it. I’m excited to be back on the road with it, and hope to put a few thousand more on it this year.

Murray Lundberg and his V-Star 1100 Classic at Fox Lake, Yukon

It was time for lunch, so I continued north to Braeburn Lodge, where I had an excellent lunch as well as a good visit with 2 of the people who have been feeding me and hundreds (maybe thousands) of my bus passengers there since 1990.

As I made the turn off the Alaska Highway to go into Whitehorse for fuel, what I thought was a T-33 Shooting Star, a jet trainer that dates back to 1948, was on final approach to the airport. After fueling, the airport was my obvious next stop. The jet turned out to be the Canadian variant – a Canadair CT-133 Silver Star 3. Now registered in the United States as N133HH and named “Ace Maker II”, it’s privately owned, used by Greg Colyer to perform at air shows (there are some incredible photos online). Now there’s a cool “job”! 🙂

N133HH, a Canadair CT-133 Silver Star 3

Just after I arrived, so did Simon Blakesley, who is becoming very well known for the quality of his aircraft images. We had a great chat while we were shooting the various aircraft, and waiting for the vintage jet to take off.

I always enjoy being able to add new aircraft to the database at Airport-Data.com, and C-GEMB, a 2016 Embraer EMB 505 Phenom 300 based at Fort Langley, BC, is now there.

C-GEMB, a 2016 Embraer EMB 505 Phenom 300
The next interesting arrival was N7836W, which I thought was a particularly fine Piper Super Cub. It’s actually a homebuilt, from a kit built by Backcountry Super Cubs of Wyoming. It was built and is now owned by Ted Waltman of Lakewood, Colorado. I was able to add the first photo of it with a new belly cargo pod to its listing at at Airport-Data.com.

N7836W, a homebuilt Backcountry Super Cub
I don’t have many photos of Air North’s new ATR-42s, so was pleased to see C-FVGF on approach. As I was writing this post, I was also pleased to be able to update the database at Airport-Data.com again, as it still showed this plane as C-FTJB, owned by First Air. Bought by Air North in September 2016, C-FVGF is a 1988 ATR 42-300.

Bought by Air North in September 2016, C-FVGF is a 1988 ATR 42-300
Simon and I were both trying to figure out where we might be able to shoot the CT-133 Silver Star taking off, but neither of us guessed correctly. I got it taxiing and roaring down the runway, but it was hidden by buildings when it left the ground.

It’s 9°C (48°F) with a light rain falling as I’m about to post this. I guess it will be a day for inside projects, of which I have many. Summer is forecast to return tomorrow, and I’ll be back outside – I have several possible hikes in mind for the few days.


A motorcycle, history, and airplanes day — 6 Comments

  1. Great picture for a motorcycle photo contest, no wonder you won the prize ! Congratulations.
    Hope you put lots of mileage on your V Star this summer, weather permitting or not.

  2. Sounds like a nice ride indeed.
    Reading your news clipping of the crash, the one name that stood out was the sister living in Petawawa. Definitely close to home for me! Also suggests that her spouse is Army.
    The CT-133 was a nice find. I have seen one fly once when I was younger and always thought they were neat. Closest I have been to one of those was picking weeds and washing the one on display at the Air Force Museum in Trenton in high school when I did my volunteering hours there. Always blows my mind that this was designed and crafted just after WW2 and not later. Those engineers were geniuses!

  3. As always your travelogues and the visual narrative of your adventures seem to usher us right along with you. Thanks again for sharing and bringing us a part of your home we will never experience. Keep up the great work my friend. Oh, and Howdy from Dallas Texas