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United Air Transport, a Yukon Pioneer

Arctic & Northern Aviation

    United Air Transport was formed in 1933 by George W. ("Grant") McConachie and R.B. Phillips. Phillips was the son of the owner of the Two Brothers gold mine in British Columbia, which McConachie had been flying freight and supplies to as Independent Airways, a company he had formed in 1931.

    UAT service was brought to the Yukon on July 5, 1937, when Grant McConachie landed a float-equipped Ford Tri-Motor on the Yukon River at Whitehorse to inaugurate a new mail contract route. In August, service to Dawson City was added.

    On January 16, 1938, the name of United Air Transport changed to Yukon Southern Air Transport.

Air Mail in the Yukon: First Flight Covers

Click on each image to enlarge and see both sides of each cover.

First official air mail flight, Edmonton to Whitehorse

Edmonton - Whitehorse: July 5, 1937

This flight was conducted by United Air Transport. The company had been awarded the mail contract under questionable circumstances, as no tenders had been called. The airline, owned by George W. ("Grant") McConachie, used a Ford Tri-Motor on floats to service the contract. The aircraft, s# 1077, had been registered as G-CARC, but was now CF-BEP.

First official air mail flight, Whitehorse to Edmonton

Whitehorse - Edmonton: July 8, 1937

The following year, United Air Transport became Yukon Southern Air Transport (January 16, 1938). The story (including details of these flights) is well told in Ronald Keith's Bush Pilot With a Briefcase.