Fans of Ice Pilots NWT can look forward to a sequel of sorts. A dramatic spinoff of Ice Pilots, called Arctic Air, is now in production in Vancouver by OMNI Film and will air on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation starting in January. Ice Pilots NWT, which is airing on the National Geographic Channel in the U.S. and was shown on the History Channel in Canada, followed the real-life exploits of Buffalo Joe MacBryan and his Yellowknife-based Buffalo Airways. The airline operates the last scheduled passenger service with a DC-3 and also flies C-46 Commandos and DC-4s. Arctic Air will mirror the reality show and the star of the program is a former Canadian-registered DC-3 that flew for Whitehorse-based Air North before being retired 17 years ago. Getting the plane ready for prime time was an adventure in itself and DC-3 buff Dan Gryder played a starring role.
The plane was parked in Colorado and hadn’t been flown for 17 years. Gryder and some friends got it in flying shape and ferried it to his hangar in Griffin, Ga. There, the wings and horizontal stab were removed and the aircraft fuselage readied for a flatbed truck ride to Vancouver. The fuselage, which is still decked out in its Air North passenger format, is now on the set and being used to film 30 episodes. The CBC has purchased the program but there’s no immediate word on whether it will be aired on a U.S. channel.