Abandoned Plane Wrecks of the North

The Arctic North (northern parts of Canada and Alaska) is a cruel environment for men and machine; for planes it is no different. The weather creates all sorts of hazards, the terrain offers its own variety of opportinuties for disaster.
Men are prone to make mistakes and machines are bound to fail at some point. Here are some of the results. I hope we can establish the identities and the locations of these planes, help will be welcomed.

DC-3 at Reindeer Lake, July 2006

DC-3 at Reindeer Lake In July 2006 a very unteresting thread was started by the King of Obsolete on www.avcanada.ca/forums. He published these 2 photos, with a link to the story on his website: http://kingofobsolete.ca/discovery_of_the_dc3_airplane_webpage.htm
The DC-3 crashed when take off failed; it flew for a lodge situated here. The King's website offers the link to the report on Aviation-Safety Network: it concerns here DC-3B-202A N139D (c/n 2027). Photos on the King's report shows Ozark- titles.
Found this website with a map of Reindeer Lake's location, assuming there is only one, in Saskatchewan.

Dirk Septer added to this (Oct.2006):
"The DC-3 at Reindeer Lake: damaged beyond repair July 10, 1969 at Malcolm Island, Saskatchewan.
This must be one of the hundreds of islands in this huge Reindeer Lake in northern Sask. I worked one winter north of there on Walleston Lake. We were flying out every morning on a Beaver on skis. In one of the doors was a metal tag from the Dutch firm of Aviolanda.
Most of the time we had a hard time finding a spot to land: thousands of migrating cariboo everywhere and where there weren't any of them the rough ice surface was often covered with windblown ice ridges, making landing very risky. A couple of mornings we went out on a Cessna 185 on skis: it's amazing how much abuse those landing gears can take!"

DC-3 crash This photo was published on that same forum and thread.
I have a feeling this concerns a DC-3/C-47 I paid a visit, see: C-47 in the Ruby Mountains.

I would welcome the photographer's name for a proper credit.

click here

Again on that same forum / thread, another contribution by the King of Obsolete:
"This Curtiss C-46 Commando in Churchill,Manitoba is set up with a picnic table and everything. Here is the picture thanks to "Google Earth. it is painted to look good and you walk inside on the plywood floor and sit in the seat for a picture; it is even on the Churchill tourist map."
Must admit I couldn't find it on Google Earth.
Aad van de Voet (Old Wings) identified it as Curtiss Commando C-46 C-GYHT c/n 22375.

This website www.churchillmb.net/~cccomm/pintrest.htm has the following:
"Miss Piggy - this is a crashed C46 aircraft that was operated by Lamb Air. She is found on the scenic route road along Hudson Bay shortly before it ends, close to the Institute of Arctic Ecophysiology. She is called Miss Piggy because she was able to hold so much freight and once did have pigs on board. On Nov 13 (19), 1979 she was flying a cargo of 1 skidoo and many cases of pop for the Arctic Co-op from Churchill to Chesterfield inlet. She lost oil pressure in her left engine shortly after departing Churchill. The crew of 3 tried to return the aircraft to the Churchill airport. They clipped hydro poles with one wing just before the IAEP lab and crash landed on the rocks there. 2 of the 3 crew were seriously injured. Investigation of the failed engine only revealed small metal chips through out. Her oringal paint of white and red with the Lamb Air markings has been painted over with gray for a movie."

Aviation-safety Network report on this C-46 crash.


The King sent me this picture, which kinda makes me want to put on my boots, grab the camera and go there...
Lambair C-46 at Churchill

Here is Jack Lamb's book, the story of flying in the great white north:

My Life In The North is a story of Jack Lamb, his father Tom, and his five brothers. They owned and operated Lambair Limited from bases at The Pas, Thompson, and Churchill, Manitoba during the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s. They lived all their lives flying as bush pilots in Northern Manitoba and the Canadian Arctic. This book highlights some of their adventures while operating scheduled and charter flights. The company motto was "Do Not Ask Us Where We Fly - Tell Us Where You Want To Go"
The famous Miss Piggy C46 plane crash site: www.tc.gc.ca/PrairieAndNorthern/churchillairport/menu.htm
See also my Page 7 of Photos by Friends and Guests, for 2 more photos of C-GYHT.

Ray Stickel sent me this image in July 2007: C-46 crashsite in Manitoba

Ray wrote me:
" I snapped a picture of this Curtiss C-46 Commando in 1993. It lies between Thompson and Pikwitonei in Manitoba Province.
Story was that it went down ca. 1979 (?) due to fuel starvation after takeoff."

Alexandre Avrane (of AeroTransport Data Bank) suggested the following:
"Should be Super C-46C C-GIXZ msn 22453 lost 31oct82 near Shamattawa, Manitoba and operated by Ilford Riverton. Photo of the nose at the bottom of http://members.shaw.ca/navion/cgixz.htm
Not to be confused with the latter C-GIXZ msn 22495 destroyed in Kenya!"
See also Aircraft Crashes Record Office.

Joe Baugher describes an interesting history:
44-78630 (c/n 22453) to XT-526 Central Air Transport Corp., to N8311C.
To Flying Tiger Line Jan 1953 as N4879V.
To Cubana March 1954 as CU-T558, and to Ultramar April 1955 as N94593.
To Canadian Pacific May 1955 as CF-CZM and to Fairbanks Air Service in May 1974 as N802FA.
And subsequently back to Canadian ownership as C-GIXZ.

Beaver Creek This wreckage lies at Beaver Creek, though I have no specifics of where this is nor the date of the photo.
It seems this is Douglas C-54D 42-72469 (c/n 10574).

I would welcome the name of the photographer for a proper credit.
Type in "beaver creek, yukon" in Google Earth and it'll get you there, but I couldn't find the wreckage. Where is this wreckage in relation to the airport?

Sheldon Rose wrote me in June 2007:
"The DC-3 near Beaver Creek was actually destined for the airport (military) at Snag, in the 1950s I believe.
Snag no longer exists as a town; but it is still famous for the lowest recorded temperature in North America, -83.5F or something like that!
You can still see the outline of old airstrip in Snag in Google Earth. Beaver Creek is to the west of it.
I flew over the wreck a couple of years ago, but cannot recall exactly where it was."

Sheldon found more details on www.planecrashinfo.com/1950/1950-6.htm, which offers the following information:
January 26, 1950 (Time: ?), near Snag, Yukon Territory
Operator: Military - U.S. Air Force, flight: ?. Route: Elmendorf - Great Falls, MT
AC Type: Douglas C-54D-DC (DC-4), registration: 42-72469 (c/n 10574)
Aboard: 44 (passengers:36 crew:8). Fatalities: 44 (passengers: 36 & crew: 8)
Summary: Disappeared while en route.
This wreckage seem to be related to the DC-3 accident described on Mystery DC-3 in the Yukon, which was described to me as crashed during a search for DC-4, which to this day was never found. Both crashed in the same area on 26Jan50...

Location of Snag, according to Google Maps I used Google Maps to search for Snag (right) and Beaver Creek (below).

Beaver Creek, Google Maps

That same thread provided also these 2 photos of a Bristol Freighter... A sad sight!
Klimman123 provided these photos and also this clarification:
The Bristol Freighter is laying on the shore of Beaver Lodge Lake in NWT; about 150nm northwest of Yellowknife.
From what I could find out, it seems it went through the ice one year while servicing a uranium mine in the 1960s. It was hauled on shore and salvaged.

Heard it belonged to Max Ward back in the ol'days. I didn't get a chance to poke around her or find out it's registration. Found it just 3 weeks (July 2006) ago."

I would welcome the name of the photographer for a proper credit.

Aad van de Voet provided the following details: "This is Bristol 170 Freighter Mk.31 CF-TFZ, c/n 13139, which was flying for Pacific Western Airlines at the time. It crashed there on 30 May 1956, only two months after PWA had acquired it..."
Thanks Aad!

Dirk Septer added the following:
"It was one of the three originally purchased by Trans Canada Airlines (later Air Canada). These aircraft were totally unsuited for this airline's requirements and were soon sold off to smaller Canadian operators.
CF-TFZ crashed on May 30, 1956 after only flying with Pacific Western Airlines for 2 months. It was damaged beyond repair after the undercarriage sank through the ice. Upon landing the port landing gear broke through the ice and the aircraft fell on its wing, bending the spars and crushing the sides of the fuselage....
The remains were later hauled onto the shore and stripped for parts. It was then left there on the shore.
Many off these Bristols had short careers with Canadian operators, mostly lost during landing accidents. Lambair, for example, lost two (of all the four they owned!) like this. One was in service with them for only two months too, while the second was lost after flying only 35 hours for them!"
Dirk Septer

Sean Barry zoomed past and sent me these photos, which I believe were taken in Feb.2007

CF-TFZ taking a gulp
CF-TFZ holding out

C-GFFJ at Sioux Lookout This is a Canso, about 25 mile NE of Sioux Lookout.
Mark Stachowiak had seen and photographed it while flying by, he returned for a closer look and better pictures...
Mark wrote: "the lake is called Jackson Lake, it's about 6 miles S of Adamhay Lake (Top NE corner of the Large Lac Seul); I took these pictures in Oct.2006."

C-GFFJ is a Canso PBY-6A, it has c/n 2066.

Its aviation history is like this:
Operated by Sonora Flying Service, Columbia,CA 1962-1966 with tailnumber N6456C, airtanker no.38.
Jack R. Ulrich of Chiloquin,OR bought it in 1969.
With Hemet Valley Flying Service (Hemet,CA) during 1972-1978.
It flew as tanker E84 (later simply 84).
It was damaged by fire while on the ground at Stockton,CA in 1977.

C-GFFJ N6456C was obtained by Flying Fireman Ltd of Sidney,BC in June 1980; registered as C-GFFJ and flown as tanker 9.

It crashed and was destroyed during water pick-up at Sioux Lookout, Ontario on 12Jul81.
Source: www.warbirdregistry.org

N103 at Venetie,AK Sean Keating made me aware of this wreck, he wrote:
"I found this on Google Images…. by typing in “dc-4” it was on the first page… (property of www.warbelows.com, image direct link www.warbelows.com/images/Village Pictures/Venetie/VEE DC4 Wreck.jpg )
This may be good to display on your "abandoned plane wrecks of the north".
I have no idea if the Carvair picture is recent or not, maybe they can tell you."

The story of the crash of N103 (ATL-98 conversion no.7, ex DC-4 cn10273) can be found on Aviation-Safety Network :
(28Jun97) The Carvair took off from Venetie for a VFR positioning flight to Fairbanks. The aircraft was climbing when the number two engine on the left wing began to run rough. Soon thereafter, a fire warning light for the same engine illuminated in the cockpit. Fire was visually confirmed, the engine was shut down, and both banks of fire bottles were discharged. The fire continued to burn, and the number two engine fell off the wing. The captain was forced to carry out an emergency landing on a sand and gravel bar in the Chandalar River.

Andreas forwarded me this link: www.dced.state.ak.us/dca/commdb/images/Venetie_planecrash.jpg which shows the following image:

N103 Carvair

If the photographer makes himself known I would be happy to include proper credit to the photopher here.

Rob Tracz sent me photos of N103 in better days, click here

B-36Dirk Septer provided the text and photo:
In 1953 two Convair B-36 Peacemakers went down on Canadian soil. On February 12, 1953, B-36H Serial 51-5729 from the 7th Bomb Wing crashed on a hill near Goose Bay, Labrador. The bomber ran out of fuel while holding for traffic at the SAC base in Goose Bay. Two crewmembers in the rear compartment were killed in the mishap.
Blair Rendall visited the wreck in 1978. "It is in two pieces but you could spend a week there going through the wreckage. At that time there was 5,000 rounds of ammo still on it! I crawled in the tail and there were two boxes there on the fuselage, either side, with printing: 600 rounds 20-mm each. The ammo was still neatly stacked in the boxes as it was 20 years before."
A month later on March 18, RB-36H-25, Serial 51-13721 got off course in bad weather and crashed on Random Island, Newfoundland. This was the B-36 in which Brig. Gen. Richard Ellsworth and a number of others were killed. The aircraft had very nearly cleared the top of the 600-foot hill overlooking Smith Sound. In honour of Gen. Weaver Ellsworth AFB near Rapid City was later renamed Ellsworth AFB.
Today, a surprising amount of wreckage is still visible. The crash site remained virtually undisturbed since the U.S. Air Force salvaged it in 1953. A well-groomed trail, about one kilometre from the road, leads to the wreck.
Sean O’Brien, who visited the site in 2000, gives the following description. "It isn’t quite as remote as it may have been in the '50s. The tail section is intact and perfectly upright. I counted seven engines in the area. There are large sections of wing scattered everywhere. Oddly, there was remarkably little fuselage evident. But maybe local people salvaged some of that. Certainly, most of the armament was. I saw an electrically operated cannon mounted on a workshop wall of a local youth, who had only dragged the gun from the scene years ago. And locals tell me that there are truckloads of bits and pieces sitting in cellars in all nearby towns. "
A few years earlier, on February 13, 1950, U.S. Air Force B-36B strategic bomber 44-92075 ('075) the crashed in northwestern British Columbia. The giant aircraft belonging to 436 Squadron, 8th Air Force, 7th Bomb Wing, 7th Bomb Group (H) of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) was en route from Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) near Fairbanks, Alaska to its home base at Carswell AFB at Forth Worth, Tex.
Besides carrying 252 pounds of 20-mm aircraft cannon ammunition, the aircraft had an 11,000-pound Mk. IV atomic fission bomb on board, similar to the one dropped on Nagasaki, Japan in August 1945. "Lost Nuke", a Discovery Channel production, follows three Canadians, Dirk Septer, Jim Laird and John Clearwater to the crashsite in their attempt to unravel this mystery of the U.S. military’s very first "Broken Arrow" or loss of a nuclear bomb.

Tina Chadwell Weiss wrote me in feb.2007-
"My father, Col. George T. Chadwell, was one of the survivors of the B-36 crash in 1953 near Goose Bay, Labrador, to which you refer to as occurring on Feb 12 of that year. My father had assumed command of the 7th Bomb Wing just weeks before on 3 Jan. 1953 and was the Wing Commander until June 4 1954.
I was only 5 1/2 yrs. old at the time (I actually do remember the days surrounding the crash) and my Dad died on active duty when I was in my teens, so I never discussed the crash with him more than briefly.
The 7th Bomb Wing website confirms my father's information I mentioned above. Photos which I found clearly show, as you mention, that the plane was in 2 pieces. After viewing all the close up photos, it is hard to imagine how anyone survived the impact.
I hope this email reaches someone who can explain further how people get to these crash sites. It had never occurred to me that these planes still were at their crash scenes."

Michael Prophet (propliner enthusiast) noted this wreckage on
the website www.walter-steinberg.de/Koyukuk/Koyukuk.htm
C-119 on Koyukuk River Click the above link or the thumbnail to the webpage, for a larger image.
Michael suggested: "...it is the Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar, survivor N8682 of Hawkins & Powers (Tanker 138)

Location would be some 30 miles south of Bettles Field and near the Koyukuk River, close to the village of Allakaket; about 200 miles northwest of Fairbanks.
Accident details on Aviation-Safety.Net
This would be the C-119 Flying Boxcar, described in the Legend of Dead Dugan.

Back to In Search For...

Reactions and information will be welcomed: