Arctic Foxtrot. And more...

Aviation brings people together. In 2017, when Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday, aviation unites the country by bringing the technology and inspiration of airshows to the most remote areas of the country - where people have never seen anything like this in their lives. With 97 airshows North of the 60th parallel, EVERYBODY will have a chance to celebrate Canada's 150. Official website: This is a blog of Anna Serbinenko, the only Canadian female aerobatic performer, embarking on this once-in-a-lifetime journey.
Three years later. I have travelled, explored, discovered, dared, fell down, got up, did it again, achieved, conquered, enjoyed, loved, remembered, lived... So many experiences are just too grand to keep them to yourself. So i decided to revive and keep up this blog with sporadic postings. Subscribe to get notified about the new articles!

Day 05 and 06. Whitehorse and Dawson City, YT

That DC-3 put on a pole is actually rotating and turning into wind!


 Whitehorse airshow day started as usual, incl. the weather briefing that did not include anything special – blue skies and winds below 10 kts. Just the way we want it for an airshow! While waiting for my turn to fuel, I spent some time in my “office”. 

  The attendance was good and people were excited. I think at this airshow we’ll get most of the population of Yukon Territory: out of 40 thousand people living in Yukon, 37 thousand are in Whitehorse.  

  Unfortunately, the day did not continue as planned. Brent had an oil leak and had to abort the take off on his performance. My decathlon went mechanical after the show was completed. My first thought was that my Tour was over, and I will never swim in the Arctic ocean. But that have a chance to experience the true support of the team, Northern hospitality and the people who are in it with you together. The local AME Justin came right away see me, and took my blue baby in his hangar. After having done research, we now estimate the decathlon back online in a couple of weeks. I couple of local people supporting the Tour offered me to drive, eat or stay with them if I had to stay longer.  

  The entire Arctic Tour team was extremely helpful and proactive. With citabria as a backup plane, all paperwork for it was done quickly. Our home mechanics worked until 11pm on Sunday to get it ready, and the pilot was airborne Whitehorse-bound with the sunrise on Monday morning (which is around 5am these days). Interesting fact is that despite the decathlon cruising faster, citabria can actually travel about 100nm further without having to refuel. Anyway, twenty-four hours later I was back in the Tour with a faithful 125 horsepower little red citabria.    

  A quick visit to the Nav Canada tower for weather briefing (that guitar is there literally “under the radar”)  

 and two hours later, I reunited with the CAAT team in Dawson City, YT.   

  Dawson today is a small town, very old fashioned. After dinner, we took a long walk through the streets that took us about a century back in time.   

  Wooden sidewalks and antique bakeries and barber shops.   

  Yukon Hotel and Tanya in front of the Commissioner’s house: 

  If you were a property owner in Dawson City, and wanted to build a new house, you must get an approval of your design which has to match the existing architectural style.   

  Local saloon was a good dinner place with buffalo lasagna:  

  And the river banks were quietly resting after the excitement of the airshow just a few hours ago:   

  By the way, all these pictures were taken about 11 o’clock at night – can’t you tell?

 It had only about 1400 people living here year-round, more in summer. But it has seen its – literally! – golden days during the gold rush. About 45 thousand people lived there 100 years ago. Gold was abundant and readily available. Mining was happening at all seasons, and in winter to be able to dig the next foot or so, miners were burning trees to melt the frozen ground. Pieces of potential gold smaller than an inch in diameter were simply thrown away! But it did not last. Price of gold dropped, and the down went in decay. 

But still today, anyone who wants to put a claim for a piece of land they believe has value, can do that. To do that, they need to go to the first nations office and check the existing claims. Then put theirs, and pay $10 per year for it. You will get something like a 1000 yards by 500 yards piece of land in your care. From now on, you must do at least $200 worth of work on it every year. This work can be banked. So if you invested about $1000 worth of work in the first year, you don’t need to do any in the next four. You also have the right to hunt and fish on your claim, even without fishing or hunting license. You can even build a cabin on it. After you completed the work, you must “reclaim” – put the gravel back in the ground, level the surface. Basically clean up after yourself. 

Seems too good to be true? Location, location, location! Getting a claim is easy. The trick is getting there! Often enough these parcels of land are very remote and inaccessible. Sometimes require building a road there or getting other creative ways of reaching it (like a float plane?). 

There is still a large number of existing active claims, and active mining happening on them. Unlike in Southern BC where gold mining is associated with lots of chemicals, incl. acids and arsenic, gold mining in Dawson is done with simple water. Not only it’s ecologically clean, it has a very unexpected environmental effect. During the gold mining, there’s a number of plant seeds that come from the permafrost to the surface. Many of them are seeds of plants that were extinct! So if you get to remote mines, watch for plants that you have never seen in your life.  

  We went to sleep under the midnight sun, around midnight, in bright daylight. 

The Arctic Tour so far: 

Distance flown: 1445 nm 

Shows flown: 16  

Day 07. Dawson City, Old Crow, Fort McPherson
Day 04. Watson Lake to Whitehorse, YT