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Discussion Starter #1
New show starting November 18 about flying in the NWT . Show features the daily operation of Buffalo Airways in 13 episodes.

Looks interesting for aviation buffs (like me..) .

www.icepilots.com
 

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Discussion Starter #2
First two episodes have been interesting.Perhaps the drama is a tad over the top,but the show does give a good insight to the running of a regional airline operating in the North.I worked for an airline in Iqaluit for a short time in the
'80's. There's definately a more "family feel" than airlines operating in the South.It doesn't matter what your job title is.You end helping wherever you can..or you hate it and quit ! I enjoyed it,but after six months of living in poverty,got a better paying job in Toronto.
 

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This is one of the best reality shows I've seen for a long time. I wonder if it would be feasible for Buffalo Airways to switch to turboprops (probably less maintenance, much younger aircraft, maybe cheaper fuel, carry bigger payloads etc.) They said that they could only make money on the Electra if it was fully loaded but what about flying smaller turbos such as the Twin Otter (I know deHavilland quit building them a few years back but Viking Air is producing them again in their plant near Sidney BC) www.vikingair.com

Edit:They also mentioned, in the show, that it's getting harder and harder to find spare parts to keep these old war birds in the air. However, I do get a kick out of seeing these old piston engined planes in operation and the effort it takes to keep them flying in brutal weather conditions.
 

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They said that they could only make money on the Electra if it was fully loaded
I think the key difference with the Electra over new aircraft is that it likely doesn't lose any money sitting in the hangar since it was probably paid for long ago. You just pull it out when you have the load to warrant it.

One thing about the show is that they make it look like an airline struggling along with 3-4 planes, but they actually have quite a few. According to wikipedia:

As of August 2009 the Buffalo Airways fleet numbers 49, consisting of the following aircraft[1][2]:

* 1 Beechcraft 95-C55 Baron
* 1 Beechcraft D55 Baron
* 2 Beechcraft 95 Travel Air
* 1 Beechcraft B95 Travel Air
* 3 Beechcraft 65-A90 King Air
* 7 Canadair CL-215 (water bombers)
* 1 Cessna A185E Skywagon
* 3 Consolidated Vultee PBY-5A Canso (Water Bombers)
* 1 Consolidated Vultee 240-27
* 2 Curtiss C-46 Commando
* 2 Douglas C-47 Dakota
* 8 Douglas DC-3C
* 14 Douglas C-54 Skymaster
* 2 Lockheed L-188 Electra
* 1 Noorduyn Norseman
 

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I know a few of the guys on the show. Joe is a real hard @ss to work for. I remember my first flight in a dc3 from Yellowknife to Hay River. I noticed oil pouring out of the engine and down the wing. The guy next to me said thats a good thing. lol
Some of those dc3's listed are down in Alberta in an air museum.
 

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He seems like a crusty curmudgeon and is kind of hard on his son. He reminds me of the muscular guy with the handlebar mustache in the custom motorcycle show on Speed TV who has the same type of personality and is always criticizing his boy. It could be that they put this on for the show and when the camera is not rolling, they are really nice guys.
Why would oil pouring down the wing from the engine be a good sign? Wouldn't the engine seize up if it lost too much oil?
 

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Why would oil pouring down the wing from the engine be a good sign? Wouldn't the engine seize up if it lost too much oil?
That means there is some in it in the first place. :eek:
 

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I'm really enjoying this show. Much more interesting than Ice Road Truckers. I, too, am a sucker for the old tin. Amazing that they still fly those. I honestly don't think I have ever seen a C-46 in person...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
DC3 engine = Oil-fired,gas cooled ;)

The owner is typical for a old-school,family run business.
Sadly, a dying breed though..as are crusty old mechanics who
are willing to do an engine change outside in -40C weather
by themselves.That WAS impressive ! :eek:
 

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The mechanic not only had to cope with the bitter cold and a frozen engine, he did it mostly in the dark using only hand tools! They better not p--- him off as he's a real asset to the company.
 

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I'm really enjoying this show. Much more interesting than Ice Road Truckers. I, too, am a sucker for the old tin. Amazing that they still fly those. I honestly don't think I have ever seen a C-46 in person...
I'd beg to differ. So far after two episodes only I'd say I like Truckers better. That's not say that Pilots is bad. It's actually quite good and interesting. The thing I like about these reality documentaries is that unlike the stuff on the networks they showcase the lives of some extraordinary "ordinary" non-white collar people who up to now rarely if ever got any notice on TV. Seeing them doing their jobs gives me a new appreciation of how hard these people work and how little credit they receive for what they do from the media and the public in general.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Did anyone else lose sound on yesterday's episode ?? I PVR'd the early show , and the last 30 minutes were without any sound except at the commercial breaks and the final 3-4 minutes. I'm very disappointed.
I guess I'll watch it on line at a later date , or keep an eye out for a repeat.:(
 

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Did anyone else lose sound on yesterday's episode ?? I PVR'd the early show , and the last 30 minutes were without any sound except at the commercial breaks and the final 3-4 minutes.
I recorded the 7pm EST one in HD last night and had that problem. I gave up after the first soundless segment, and set it to record at 10pm. I don't know how the 10pm episode turned out as I haven't watched it yet.
 

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I have found this series Ice Pilots very entertaining, much better than the Ice Road Truckers series. To fly two water bombers over the Atlantic would be no easy task plus the perils of northern winters. My son is stuck at Ekati NWT tonight due to poor weather. Where's Buffalo Airways when you need them?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Training the Turkish pilots was very entertaining :D .

Selling aircaft to Turkey : $7 million

Engine repair enroute : expensive

Seeing chief pilots face as trainee pilot lands gear-up,
drags airplane down the whole runway and then takes off
again as camera man dives out of the way : PRICELESS ! :p
 

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Final Episode Next Week

This series ends next week. Hope it comes back for a season 2. It has been very interesting and maybe by then Bell will have History Television in HD!
 

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This series ends next week. Hope it comes back for a season 2. It has been very interesting and maybe by then Bell will have History Television in HD!
They are filming parts of season 2 now. But you didn't hear that from me.
 
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