Friday, August 20, 2004

Future assured for last airworthy Bristol Freighter

Although it has not flown since 1999, it is hoped that Bristol 170 Freighter C-GYQS will fly to its new home later this month. The Freighter has been in storage at Terrace, British Columbia, since its owners, Hawkair, ceased mine work in the remote locations of Western Canada. It has now been donated to the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, at Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada. In early August, the fuel tank bags were replaced, and maintenance was performed on the engine blower shafts. Both Bristol Hercules engines were started for the first time in 2 years without a hitch.

The starboard Bristol Hercules starting for the first time in 2 years
The starboard Bristol Hercules starting for the first time in 2 years - photo courtesy of Sean Keating

Update 27th Aug: The aircraft made a successful 38 minute test flight on 27th August. The Captain was Scott Swanson, co-pilot was Lori Skinner and
engineer was Paul Hawkins - one of the founders of Hawkair. Delivery to Wetaskiwin is planned for 31st August, depending on weather.

Update 29th Aug: The Bristol Freighter took off from Terrace at 10.30am Local time on 29th August, and after a low pass over the airfield, it left on delivery to Wetaskiwin. The Weather over the Rockies closed in, and after about 200 miles and two hours the crew landed at Fort St. James to await better weather.

Update 30th Aug: On Monday 30th August, Quebec Sierra left Fort St. James, but this time landed at Prince George, only 80 miles further on, due to weather. The aircraft can only fly under Visual Flight Rules, and the crew have found many of the valley to be 'blocked' by cloud. The Freighter will now have to wait for a week before another attempt is made to fly her to her new home.

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