A big thank you to Ken Snider, of Dawson City, for information about the famous antique plane, the Queen of the Yukon.
His letter follows:
Andrew Cruikshank left Dawson on April 5, 1927, to travel to San Diego, California, to pick up the plane, an MZ model he had ordered for the Yukon Airways and Aviation Company.
Finnigan was president, Clyde Wann was vice-president and Cruikshank was general manager.
When he arrived at Ryan Air, he was greeted with a proposition to allow Charles Lindbergh the plane, and Ryan Air would make him an upgrade of this one.
The plane made for Cruikshank was registered G-CAHR, and was received on July 9, 1927. He began his flight north, earning his way to Vancouver where he married Esme.
They put the plane on the deck of a steamer to Skagway, where he was met by his two partners. They flew into Whitehorse on October 25.
He carried an American dollar bill, which Cpt. Martell carried on his many flights to Central America, which he’d autographed and given to Lindbergh who, in turn, had given it to Cruikshank.
He did a lot of work making modifications to enable operation in a colder climate. His first official landing was November 11, when mail was dropped into an RCMP compound.
Laurent Cyr once told me his dad had a contract to supply aviation fuel for the Queen of the Yukon.
Laurent said that the plane was landing in wind and it bounced and came towards them.
“My dad was a big man and he said, ‘Run,’” said Laurent. “He ran faster than me.”
I am not sure of the date, nor whether Cruikshank was still here. In Spirit of the Yukon, a book by June Lunny, there’s a photo on page 108, and on page 110 he outlines that he resigned due to risks he wouldn’t take.
I understand the second plane crashed in Mayo on the waterfront. It was called Queen of the Yukon II. It was flown by a guy called Patterson, who is buried in the Public Cemetery in the pioneers’ section.
I think Lunny’s book was using photographs that are publicly available.
On a poster in Horwood’s Store was an artist’s concept with the quip, “The only plane in the Yukon hit the only truck in the Yukon.” Neither are true, but it made for a good story.
The two men in the foreground might be Wann and Finnigan. I think the Queen was finished in this accident.
They bought another called Queen II.
Lunny said they crashed three planes and had to give up the enterprise. This tally included her dad’s grounding between Stewart and Carmacks.
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.