Sunday, December 31, 2006



Steve's Otter Of The Week! Karl E. Hayes

When I started "Blogging" in December of 2004, I was unsure of what I was doing (probably still am), and since then it has been a great learning experience for me regarding the "Internet World". One of the "tremendous unplanned bonuses" my Blog has enabled me to receive is contact with people I otherwise would never have had contact with. My "new friends" are "passionate" aviation people, whether they are pilots, engineers, "onlooking enthusiasts", researchers, photographers, or historians. One of these "passionate" people has done tremendous (unbelievably) research and work regarding an aspect of aviation very "dear" to my heart, and I would like to profile this gentleman and his work, as "it needs sharing". The passionate person to "whom" I refer is a fellow by the name of Karl Hayes. Karl has produced a CD entitled;

De Havilland Canada

It is a "Masterpiece", with histories of all 466 Otters produced, and numerous outstanding photos. It is an enthralling "Otter family history". Karl had sent me the CD this summer, and had allowed me to reproduce some of the CD on my Blog. Due to the busy float, and then freeze-up seasons, I didn't have a lot of extra time to introduce his work to my "readers", but now I "have the time". I will profile 1 Otter every week, with history and photos if possible. I will start today with the initial portion of the Preface from the CD, profile an Otter, and at the end of the "Post" I will give some info on how to contact Karl and "acquire" one of these brilliant CDs. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. So, here is a portion of the Preface from the CD, and the very first Otter we will profile, C-FUKN, S/N 456, the first Otter I flew years ago, and the Otter I flew this summer from Pine Dock. I have about 4000 hrs. on this machine, having flown it on wheels, skis, and floats. Enjoy!


If ever there was an aircraft of immense interest whose exploits have gone, for the most part, unrecorded and unnoticed, it must surely be the Otter. The DHC-3 Otter first flew in December 1951 and ever since it has faithfully served its operators, both civil and military, mostly in remote parts of the world. Despite its many achievements and the great amount of important work it has performed over the years, and continues to perform, only a very limited amount has been written about it. The Otter was heavily involved in the Antarctic exploration programme of the late 1950s and early 1960s, but writings on this topic usually concentrate on other types of aircraft that were involved. It made a huge contribution in many outback parts of the world to their development. In US Army service it was instrumental in mapping and survey work in the Americas, from Alaska all the way south to Chile, and also in northern Africa and yet these roles are largely unknown. In Vietnam it saw ten years of combat service and yet books on the South East Asian conflict either ignore the Otter completely or mention it only in passing. In its home country of Canada, as in Alaska, it must surely be the ultimate bush aircraft and yet it is usually mentioned, if at all, as being a “big Beaver”, which it is, but it still merits discussion of its own achievements. It is hoped that this CD addresses these shortcomings, and pays adequate regard to the history and work of the Otter, recording it for posterity. It is an attempt to gather together all information that could be ascertained on the DHC-3 Otter. There is undoubtedly much more information “out there somewhere”. There must be many persons who were involved with Otters over the years, as pilots, maintainers, operators, members of military units etc. who have their stories and history on Otter aircraft. It is also to be hoped that this CD will bring together all those persons interested in the Otter, and foster a community of interest in this fine old bushplane. It is requested that anyone with any additional information, or corrections, would send in their data so that a future edition of this CD could include this information. Information on developments on the Otters still flying would also be appreciated. It is also hoped to issue periodic updates, and anyone sending in any information, either current or historic, will be sent copies of such updates. Any such information can be sent to the following postal address or by e-mail:

Karl Hayes,
Killiney Hill Road,
County Dublin, Ireland


Otter 456

Otter 456 was delivered to Sherritt Gordon Air Transport Ltd of Lynn Lake, Manitoba on 4th March 1965, registered CF-UKN. This was the air transport division of Sherritt Gordon Mines. The nickel mine at Lynn Lake was located in a very remote part of Manitoba, over one thousand kilometres north of Winnipeg, and air transport was required to connect the mine with Winnipeg and other parts of Manitoba. The Otter was to serve the mine for twenty years, with only one accident recorded, at Lynn Lake on 3rd October 1970, which the accident report summarised as: “Descending turn, dragged wing tip, failed to see/avoid objects, exercised poor judgement, glassy water, unwarranted low flying, substantial damage”. The Otter was repaired and resumed service. It continued flying for Sherritt Gordon Air Transport until sold to Northway Aviation Ltd of Arnes, Manitoba in April 1985, which it has served ever since, part of the company's fleet based at Arnes on the shore of Lake Winnipeg and serving central and northern areas of Manitoba.

-by Karl E. Hayes

Yes, quite the "bird". When Jim and Geiri Johnson of Northway bought the aircraft, they also received a spare engine, a set of de Havilland wheel-skis, water bombing tanks, and numerous extra parts. UKN also had a full IFR panel, as Sherritt Gordon had actually flown it IFR when it was configured on wheels. If only aircraft could speak! Great job, Karl! Here is Karl's "contact info". This CD is a "must have", and I think would be an outstanding gift for someone, as well as being an invaluable reference compilation.

CONTACT INFO - De Havilland DHC-3 OTTER - A HISTORY by Karl E. Hayes

 CF-UKN, when she was a "young lass", loaded, still working for Sherritt Gordon. Notice the "rack" on the side.

 Me, holding in my "gut", and UKN, still in her Sherritt Gordon colours, at Paint Point Lake, early 1990s.

 UKN, myself, and Jim Johnson displaying "moose racks" I had just hauled from the Berens River, along with the meat. Early 1990s, on the Icelandic River, Riverton.

 UKN "swaps" her floats for wheel-skis!

 UKN "at work" this past September, in her "new livery"!

 ....and the last word of my "Post" goes to UKN, in her Sherritt Gordon colours from years back, as "her and I" demonstrate the "one float" takeoff technique...... "Fantastic research and devotion, Karl! Adios"! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Keep That Runway "Clear"!

The sun was shining, the wind was light, the air was crisp, and visibility was "forever". Keystone Air Service's Piper Navajo taxied for the "backtrack" Runway 18, Little Grand Rapids...........

 "Blazing sun"!

 Props spinning, and the gear kicking up fine snow, C-FXLO prepares to "rotate".......

 ....and is "airborne"!

There are 22 airports that the Province of Manitoba operates under it's Northern Airports & Marine Operations, a division of Manitoba Transportation and Government Services. All the airports service remote communities, and the runways are gravel. Being remote and air-accessible only makes the Airport and runway the "lifeline" to emergency medical services for these communities, the famous "Medevac" flights. There are 2 months during the winter these communities will have a "winter road" linking them to the "southern infrastructure", but for the rest of the year, the "airplane rules". Therefore, every Airport has equipment and operators to maintain the runway year-round. In the previous pictures, you can see the runway is clear of snow. "What kind of equipment do they use?", you say? Well, to keep the runways clear of snow and ice, you need a ............

 "Grader and snowblower"!

 A Champion Series VI, 730A grader, to be exact........

 You can move lots of earth, gravel, and snow, with "one of these babies".

 You also should have an SMI 5500 MP "snowblower", "piggy-backing" an extra diesel engine to run the "blower attachment"!

 Quite the machine!

 You could "chop" Volkswagens with this blower.....

 This machine would be a "blast" to operate.

 Owned by the "Province"......, and these pieces of equipment keep the "runways clear"!

One other item. On Dec. 17 I made a "Post" entitled Royal Canadian "Mounted" Police! that details how the RCMP are still "mounted", but their "mount of choice" today is a Pilastus PC-12! Well, the Mounties also used to travel by "dog sled", but that has changed also. Today the Mounties patrol remote northern communities by...........


 Yup, RCMP. A snowmobile is much more convenient, having only to fill it with "gas", instead of feeding it "frozen fish"! Ha! Anyways, the last word of my "Post" today, goes to old friend John Gibson, who I happened to "run into" (not literally) in Little Grand. John owns Provincial Helicopters, and he had one of his Bell 206s with him that day, and he was making numerous trips to Pauingassi, another community 9 miles north.

 John "loads up"....

 .....and departs! "Adios"! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Castor Canadensis" Takeoff!

I know, I know, "Float Season" is over in Manitoba, but I love the sound and the visual treat of a Beaver (latin: Castor canadensis) and her Pratt and Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior "throbbing" in perfect harmony, and "defying" gravity!


"Castor Canadensis" Takeoff!


Christmas in "The Maldives"

I checked out my friend Rob McIntyre's "Blog" today, knowing he had spent Christmas in The Maldives, away from friends and family. That would be tough, no doubt. Life is how you perceive it, though. I always loved the scene at the end of the Monty Python movie "The Life Of Brian", where the three men being crucified are whistling and singing "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life"! So, always "count your blessings", Afghanistan would be a far less hospitable place to be, and some of our men and women are there. "Remember Them"! Rob has posted new pictures and videos on his Blog, and it is worth a look at. His training has been going well, and he recently sent me a picture of his "Training Captain". He is apparently a "local", with a wealth of knowledge regarding the local people, geography, and climate, and is quite the trend-setting "fashion plate". Check him out!

  Posted by Picasa
"Yup, he is a knowledgeable-looking fellow"! Check out.......

ROB'S BLOG - Barefoot Pilot

I have also been introduced to another Blog in it's "infancy", but if the original pictures and information continue as such, it will be quite an informative site. It was created by North West Pilot, but the name his "Mom" gave him, I don't know. If you like Turbine Otters having wings installed, float repairs, storm "aftermaths", converted to turbine Grumman "Gooses", PBYs, radial engines, and DHC-2 Beavers, you might enjoy this site. Check it out........

GOOD BLOG - AIR HARBOR - Seaplanes in the Great Northwest

.....and the last word of my "Post" goes to Uncle Corey, once again, over-imbibing at Christmas time.......

  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Steve's Video Of The Day: A "Crosswind", and an "Airbus"!

I can't get over how big the Airbus A380 is. Massive, but it seems to handle the "crosswinds" just fine. "Hey, how is your Icelandic"?

A "Crosswind", and an "Airbus"!


"Merry Christmas", from "Our Home to Yours"!

I hope "all" had a Merry Christmas, and no one suffered loss or tragedy at this time of the year. The weather here has been beautiful, -5*C and sunny. We keep getting the "tail-ends" of the Pacific storms that have been "hammering" the "Coast", but by the time the air masses arrive on the "Prairies", they are quite "placid". Anyways, enjoy friends and family, and "Remember The Troops"!



(Youngest daughter Kiena ("The Munch"), thoroughly enjoyed Christmas, as shown by her "radiant" smiles!)







  Posted by Picasa"The Munch" says; "Merry Christmas" everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2006


"Politically Correct" 12 Days of Christmas!

Canada and the U.S.A, with all of our problems, are countries like none other. Founded on Judeo-Christian principles, they are very tolerant, welcoming countries, "embracing" peoples of all faiths, colours, and creeds, and rightly so. Sometimes, though, I think we "trip over our own feet", trying not to offend anyone. I mean, you can't even call anybody a "Hillbilly" anymore. You have to call him "Appalachian-American". Weird. Therefore, never try to offend someone, but remember the "principles" that founded these countries. I watched ESPN Classic the other day, and the Gold Medal Game from the 1991 IIHF Junior World Championship was on. What a lineup on both sides. Russia vs. Canada. Eric Lindros vs. Pavel Bure on "the draw" routinely. Anyways, Canada scored the "game winner" in the 3rd, after being outshot. At the end Lindros stated in his interview that he was sure glad there were "Newfies" on the team, as they had scored two "game winners" during the Championship. "Tut tut", Eric, you should have said "Rock-bound Canadians"! Anyways, here is a good one I came across recently!

Politically Correct Twelve Days of Christmas

On the 12th day of the Eurocentrically imposed midwinter festival, my potential-acquaintance-abuse-survivor gave to me,

TWELVE males reclaiming their inner warrior through ritual drumming

ELEVEN pipers piping (plus the 18-member pit orchestra made up of members in good standing of the Musicians Equity Union as called for in their union contract even though they will not be asked to play a note...)

TEN melanin-deprived testosterone-poisoned scions of the patriarchal ruling class system leaping,

NINE persons engaged in rhythmic self-expression,

EIGHT economically disadvantaged female persons stealing milk-products from enslaved bovine-Americans,

SEVEN endangered swans swimming on federally protected wetlands,

SIX enslaved fowl-Americans producing stolen nonhuman animal products,

FIVE golden symbols of culturally sanctioned enforced domestic incarceration, (NOTE: after a member of the Animal Liberation Front threatened to throw red paint at my computer, the calling birds, French hens, and partridge have been reintroduced to their native habitat. To avoid further animal-American enslavement, the remaining gift package has been revised.)

FOUR hours of recorded whale songs,

THREE deconstructionist poets,

TWO Sierra Club calendars printed on recycled processed tree carcasses.

And a Spotted Owl activist chained to an old-growth pear tree.

Submitted by Diane K.

"Good one" Diane! "Merry Christmas"!

Friday, December 22, 2006


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Heavies" Departing!

No, no, I don't mean "large" people leaving an "all-you-can-eat" buffet, I mean aircraft departing Fairford RAF Station!

VIDEO - "Heavies" Departing!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Moose "Haunting"!

From reading my "Blog" everyone knows I love the "moose hunt" from the middle of September to the middle of October. I like flying the guys out, and giving them "the gears" in regards to all the equipment they bring, which is always "way too much". Anyhow, they really enjoy their time in the bush, with buddies, sleeping in tents, fishing, enduring snowstorms and freezing temps., and cooking over an open fire, and consuming large quantities of "giggle-juice". All this is done in their "quest" to get a shot at "Alces Alces" (moose in Latin), and return home with "meat for the winter". What happens though, when you can't get "rid" of a moose? Check out this story, apparently taking place in (where else?) Alaska!


When this little guy was "littler", he lost his mother. So the Alaska Department of Fish and Game brought him to Wendall and Debbie. They asked them to get the "little moose" raised to a safe age to turn him loose again. They took care of him and bottle-fed him, and after a while they fed him with their cows. Last spring he was a year old and it was time to turn him back into the wild. They opened the gate and off he went. He stayed gone all summer; then this fall he was back with the cows! He really thinks he is a cow! For now all were happy to see him . . . he is a pretty friendly fella! He loves honey buns and will eat them right out of your mouth! Wendall and Debbie live up in the mountains and so it came time to bring their cows down. Well . . . the moose was lonely all by himself so he headed down to find another herd of cows to hang with. The neighbors called about a week later and asked Wendall to please come and get his "Moose". So Wendall headed out with a honey bun, bucket of grain and the horse trailer and brought the moose back home. The moose is free to go anytime he wants but is choosing to stay put for now. Surely, come spring he will start to feel a bit like a boy Moose and take off . . . but, for now he seems happy!

 Meet "the family", and "the moose"!

 Wendall, and his "partner"! "Hey, where's my hat"?

 "OK, OK".

 "Pucker up, buddy"!

 "Hey Wendall, try some Clorets"!

"Absolutely amazing"! Unbelievable? Not by "any stretch". A number of years back, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation filmed a program that detailed a "trek" that Dr. Vince Crichton made into Riding Mountain National Park in western Manitoba. Vince is the senior Wildlife Biologist for the Manitoba Government, and a good personal friend of mine. I have flown him "out to the bush" for numerous years, and this fall, I flew him to an area near the Sasaginnigak River, and his party harvested one moose. He had a reporter along by the name of Sandy Coleman, during the "aforementioned program", a very "bubbly" local personality. As they made their way along a trail, a moose "charged" out of the bush straight for them. Sandy screamed, and grabbed Vince, and hid behind him. The moose ran closer, stopped, Sandy was "hollering", and then the moose started "sniffing" Vince's pockets. Vince reached into his pockets, pulled out some bananas, and fed them to the moose. Apparently it was a similar situation as the "one above", as the mother of the moose had been "poached" in a previous season, and Manitoba Natural Resources had fed the moose, hoping it would stay alive and wild. Vince had been involved, had monitored the situation, and whenever he came to check on the progress with the moose, had brought it bananas. It was quite a "video moment"! Anyways, congratulations to Debbie and Wendall for their "selfless act", hopefully this moose doesn't end up in "someone's freezer"........ A moose truly is "a majestic animal"...........

(Vince is also the Canadian President of the North American Moose Foundation. Check out some info and pics!)

LINK - North American Moose Foundation (NAMF)

 "From My Past"; 15 years ago, pilot Chris "Bogan" Bridge, and Dr. Vince Crichton, rear, untie one of Vince's canoes from "stalwart" Beaver CF-QQG, S/N 1675. This was on the Bloodvein River. Photo by "Me"!

.....and the "last" word of my "Post" goes to the moose.........

  Posted by Picasa "Merry Christmas"!


Steve's Video Of The Day: A "Viking", and a "Flat-Top"!

Watch "the boys" "plant" a Lockheed S3-B "Viking" on the "carrier deck"!

VIDEO - A "Viking", and a "Flat-Top"!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


A Salute to a Brave and Modest Nation

Friends Jerry Helgason and Rob McIntyre, old Northway Aviation "Alumni" from the 90's, sent me this article, and I thought I would pass it on. "Canadians" always answer the "call of duty"..................

(Reprinted here is a remarkable tribute written by Irishman Kevin Myers about Canada's record of quiet valour in wartime. This article appeared in the April 21, 2002 edition of the Sunday Telegraph, one of Britain's largest circulation newspapers and in Canada's National Post on April 26, 2002.)

A Salute to a Brave and Modest Nation

LONDON - Until the deaths last week of four Canadian soldiers accidentally killed by a U.S. warplane in Afghanistan, probably almost no one outside their home country had been aware that Canadian troops were deployed in the region. And as always, Canada will now bury its dead, just as the rest of the world as always will forget its sacrifice, just as it always forgets nearly everything Canada ever does.

It seems that Canada's historic mission is to come to the selfless aid both of its friends and of complete strangers, and then, once the crisis is over, to be well and truly ignored. Canada is the perpetual wallflower that stands on the edge of the hall, waiting for someone to come and ask her for a dance. A fire breaks out, she risks life and limb to rescue her fellow dance-goers, and suffers serious injuries. But when the hall is repaired and the dancing resumes, there is Canada, the wallflower still, while those she once helped glamorously cavort across the floor, blithely neglecting her yet again.

That is the price Canada pays for sharing the North American continent with the United States, and for being a selfless friend of Britain in two global conflicts. For much of the 20th century, Canada was torn in two different directions: It seemed to be a part of the old world, yet had an address in the new one, and that divided identity ensured that it never fully got the gratitude it deserved.

Yet its purely voluntary contribution to the cause of freedom in two world wars was perhaps the greatest of any democracy. Almost 10% of Canada's entire population of seven million people served in the armed forces during the First World War, and nearly 60,000 died. The great Allied victories of 1918 were spearheaded by Canadian troops, perhaps the most capable soldiers in the entire British order of battle.

Canada was repaid for its enormous sacrifice by downright neglect, its unique contribution to victory being absorbed into the popular memory as somehow or other the work of the "British." The Second World War provided a re-run. The Canadian navy began the war with a half dozen vessels, and ended up policing nearly half of the Atlantic against U-boat attack.

More than 120 Canadian warships participated in the Normandy landings, during which 15,000 Canadian soldiers went ashore on D-Day alone. Canada finished the war with the third-largest navy and the fourth-largest air force in the world.

The world thanked Canada with the same sublime indifference as it had the previous time. Canadian participation in the war was acknowledged in film only if it was necessary to give an American actor a part in a campaign in which the United States had clearly not participated -- a touching scrupulousness which, of course, Hollywood has since abandoned, as it has any notion of a separate Canadian identity.

So it is a general rule that actors and filmmakers arriving in Hollywood keep their nationality -- unless, that is, they are Canadian. Thus Mary Pickford, Walter Huston, Donald Sutherland, Michael J. Fox, William Shatner, Norman Jewison, David Cronenberg and Dan Aykroyd have in the popular perception become American, and Christopher Plummer, British. It is as if, in the very act of becoming famous, a Canadian ceases to be Canadian, unless she is Margaret Atwood, who is as unshakably Canadian as a moose, or Celine Dion, for whom Canada has proved quite unable to find any takers.

Moreover, Canada is every bit as querulously alert to the achievements of its sons and daughters as the rest of the world is completely unaware of them. The Canadians proudly say of themselves -- and are unheard by anyone else -- that 1% of the world's population has provided 10% of the world's peacekeeping forces. Canadian soldiers in the past half century have been the greatest peacekeepers on Earth -- in 39 missions on UN mandates, and six on non-UN peacekeeping duties, from Vietnam to East Timor, from Sinai to Bosnia.

Yet the only foreign engagement that has entered the popular non-Canadian imagination was the sorry affair in Somalia, in which out-of-control paratroopers murdered two Somali infiltrators. Their regiment was then disbanded in disgrace -- a uniquely Canadian act of self-abasement for which, naturally, the Canadians received no international credit.

So who today in the United States knows about the stoic and selfless friendship its northern neighbour has given it in Afghanistan?

Rather like Cyrano de Bergerac, Canada repeatedly does honourable things for honourable motives, but instead of being thanked for it, it remains something of a figure of fun.

It is the Canadian way, for which Canadians should be proud, yet such honour comes at a high cost.

This week, four more grieving Canadian families knew that cost all too tragically well.

(Kevin Myers is an Irish journalist and commentator, who currently writes for the Irish Independent. He is a former contributor to The Irish Times newspaper, where he wrote the An Irishman's Diary column several times weekly. Until 2005, he also wrote for the Sunday Telegraph in the UK.)

As I have mentioned in a "Post" before, "Thank God, the bloodlines run deep"..............

Canada's "Unknown Soldier"....

An unknown Canadian soldier, buried in a grave near Vimy, France for more than 80 years, has been brought to Canada. His remains have been entombed near the National War Memorial as a symbol of thousands of Canadians lost in wars of the 20th century.

The Unknown Soldier will represent the 27,500 Canadian service people who have no known grave. During the 20th century, more than two million Canadians served in uniform. Over 116,000 Canadian lost their lives during four wars and dozens of peacekeeping missions. During the Second World War alone, some 17,000 airmen were lost - about one in six among flying personnel. May they all....."Rest In Peace".

Monday, December 18, 2006


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Maintain the Centerline"!

Yes, I can still remember Andre Pepin "yelling" years ago...."Maintain the centerline!".... as I was "wildly departing". Andre was my CPL Instructor. OK, today I have finally "mastered" maintaining the centerline on takeoff, but it took 25 years. "Oh yeah... what about landing?" Obviously the "centerline" should still be "maintained". Well, I am still working on that, so give me at least, say....."another decade"! Anyways, here is a pilot that can "maintain the centerline" even in an "emergency situation". Watch! (The aircraft damage must have been "minimal" compared to what it could have been, as he "kills" the engines and "feathers the props". Also notice the flaps were left "up", or at least "minimal", so as not to "mangle" them and possibly damage the wing. Gotta' love "long runways"!)

VIDEO - "Maintain the Centerline"!

Beech "King Air"! One tough machine!

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Royal Canadian "Mounted" Police!

The "Mounties" are world-famous, and held in "high regard", and have a "storied" history. I love the stories of "Sam Steele", the third officer sworn in to the newly formed North West Mounted Police (NWMP), entering as a Staff Constable. He was one of the officers to lead the new recruits of the NWMP on the 1874 March West, when he returned to Fort Garry, present-day Winnipeg, Manitoba. To him fell the rank of Staff Sergeant Major and the responsibility-- as an accomplished horseman and man-at-arms--, of drilling the new recruits. In 1878, Steele was given his own command at Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan.

In 1877, he was assigned to meet with Sitting Bull, who, having defeated General Custer at Little Bighorn, had moved with his people into Canada to escape American vengeance. Steele along with U.S. Army General Alfred Howe Terry attempted unsuccessfully to persuade Sitting Bull to return to the U.S. (The Sioux did return a few years later.)

During the North-West Rebellion Steele was dispatched with a small force. Missing the Battle of Batoche the Mounties were sent to move against the last rebel force led by Big Bear. He was present at the Battle of Frenchman's Butte, where Big Bear's warriors defeated the Canadian forces under General Thomas Strange. Two weeks later, Steele and his two dozen Mounties defeated Big Bear's force at Loon Lake in the last battle ever fought on Canadian territory. The contributions of the NWMP in putting down the rebellion went largely ignored and unrewarded, to Steele's great annoyance. By 1885, Steele held the rank of Superintendent. He established Fort Steele in 1887 before moving on to Fort Macleod in 1888. He married Marie Harwood at Vaudreuil, Quebec in 1890 (they had met at Fort Macleod the previous year). They had three children, including Harwood Steele, who would fictionalize episodes from his father's life in novels such as Spirit-of-Iron (1929).

The discovery of gold in the Klondike, Yukon in the late 1890s presented Steele with a new challenge. Although he campaigned unsuccessfully for the position of assistant commissioner in 1892, in January of 1898, he was sent to succeed Charles Constantine as commissioner and to establish customs posts at the head of the White and Chilkoot Passes, and at Lake Bennett. He was noted for his hard line with the hundreds of unruly and independent-minded prospectors, many of them American. To help control the situation, he established the rule that no one would be allowed to enter the Yukon without a ton of goods to support themselves, thus preventing the entry of desperate and potentially unruly speculators and adventurers.

Steele and his force made the Klondike Gold Rush one of the most orderly of its kind in history and made the NWMP famous around the world, which ensured its survival at a critical time when the force's dissolution was being debated in parliament. By July of 1898, Steele commanded all the NWMP in the Yukon area, and was a member of the territorial council. As the force reported directly to Ottawa, Steele had almost free rein to run things as he chose, always with an eye towards maintaining law, order and Canadian sovereignty.

Yes, the "Mounties" sure have a "history", as detailed in the above short history of some of Sam Steele's exploits. My father was actually a "Mountie" in the 1950s, and during training in Regina, I believe he had a horse named "Wag", if my "marginally-coherent cranial mass" remembers correctly. Anyways, I ran into some "Mounties" the other day and their "mount", and the great tradition continues today. The "Mounties" travel to where they are needed, and they get there "post-haste"! Check out the "mounts" the "Mounties" use today!

 What a "horse"!

 "Pilatus PC-12"!

 I introduced myself to the pilot, Peter, and he just loves the airplane. He told me that his "routing" that day had been; "Winnipeg - Berens River - Thompson - Tadoule Lake - Lac Brochet - Thompson - Berens River - ... and he was still going to Poplar River, and then Winnipeg"! He said the "work" you can do, and the speed, is amazing. He loves "the bird". Look on a map, folks, and check his routing. Must be close to a couple thousand miles, with many stops, hauling prisoners, and changing "members" from the Detachments!

 No "reining-in" this horse, she likes "to run"..........

 "Superintendent Sam Steele" would be "proud"!

(PS - Today, Ian Odger, "Sturdy" Dan McBeath, and I, went to Little Grand Rapids in "marginal" weather and runway and ramp conditions on charters. Here are some pics.)


 The snow continues........

 The snow is getting a "little deep" on the ramp.........

 .....and the last word of my "Post" goes to Ian Odger, flying the "Airvan"! We were actually in Little Grand Rapids to pick up the "Hawaiian Tropic Bikini Pageant Finalists", and they were just standing out of the picture, "hence" Odger's "non-chalant, Clark Gable" pose.......... Posted by Picasa