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International Context Winter Flights - Part I

Freight and dogsled near a Fairchild FC-2W-2.
Freight and dogsled near a Fairchild FC-2W-2. Bags from the plane were often taken to the post office by dogsled.
Courtesy of National Aviation Museum, 2706


In 1930, people in some of Canada's northern regions could only communicate with the rest of the world by way of dogsled. Aerial postal service changed their lives drastically. It meant that in places like Fort Providence, Fort Good Hope and Aklavik, they could receive all that they needed: parcels, letters, fruits, vegetables, tools, dynamite, medicine and even doctors. This priceless service became essential.

Airplane skis were lifted up overnight to avoid having to cut them out of the snow and ice should they freeze overnight.
Airplane skis were lifted up overnight to avoid having to cut them out of the snow and ice should they freeze overnight.
Courtesy of National Aviation Museum, Graham Collection


For flying mailmen like Stanley Ransom McMillan and Maxwell William Ward, winter meant trouble. These pilots had to learn to deal with the hazards of the cold and blizzards, as well as fluctuations in temperature from one place to another. Another challenge of the job was to master landing on windy makeshift strips. They also had to be able to free the plane's skis when they sank into a slushy surface.



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 The UPU
The Adventure
The Chronology
Canadian Context
The Beginnings
The Semi-official Flights
The Road
The Bush
Follow the Guide
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Credits
Canadian Postal Museum