I really appreciate the following information about the first commercial airplane to operate in the Yukon, which was the Queen of the Yukon.
Thank you to Casey McLaughlin, executive director/curator of the Yukon Transportation Museum.
The letter follows:
The first commercial airplane to operate in the Yukon was the Ryan B-1 Brougham, Queen of the Yukon. It was purchased new by Yukon Airways and Exploration Company Ltd., owners Andy Cruickshank and Clyde Wann, at the factory in San Diego in 1927.
Purchase price was $10,260. A stock version of Charles Lindbergh’s highly modified Ryan, she was touted as the sister ship to the famous Spirit of St. Louis, in which he made his famous transatlantic flight.
After only seven months in service, including two forced landings and less than two dozen revenue flights logged, on May 5th, 1928, pilot Tommy Stephens encountered a gusty crosswind while attempting to land in Whitehorse, and crashed the Queen into the company agent’s Model T-Ford, ending her Yukon service career.
Stephens and two passengers survived with minor injuries.
The Queen of the Yukon II, a Ryan B-5 Brougham, was purchased in August 1929 to replace the original Queen, but she was to have a short-lived career as well.
On November 2, 1929, an engine failure after takeoff and an attempt to turn back to the landing strip forced pilot Pat Patterson to crash into the ice-covered Stewart River and become the first aviation fatality in the Yukon.
He was only 22 years old.
To see a life-sized replica of the Queen of the Yukon and much, much more, stop by the Yukon Transportation Museum in Whitehorse Yukon.
Casey McLaughlin, executive director/curator
Yukon Transportation Museum, Whitehorse
Anyone with information about this subject, please write Jim Robb: The Colourful Five Per Cent Scrapbook—Can You Identify? c/o the Yukon News, 211 Wood Street, Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 2E4, or e-mail through the News website, www.yukon-news.com.