An Ode to the Beaver, the Best Bush Airplane Ever Constructed

The sound of a Beaver flying away after you’ve been dropped within the bush has been known as the loneliest sound on the planet. “There’s no sound prefer it,” says pilot Ian Shipmaker. “It means, ‘Now I’m actually alone.’ ” However it can be one of the crucial liberating, particularly should you’re embarking on considered one of these distant journeys.



From the cockpit of the Beaver operated by Tweedsmuir Air Providers out of Nimpo Lake, British Columbia, Shipmaker has on condition that anxious thrill to numerous adventurers. Based in 1953 by bush pilot Bob Stewart, Stewart’s Lodge and adjunct Tweedsmuir Air function what proprietor Duncan Stewart (Bob’s son) believes stands out as the oldest Beaver in common service and the one with essentially the most flight hours. In-built 1949, and with greater than 41,000 hours of service, its serial quantity is 55, which means it was the fifty fifth ever constructed.

Between 1947 and ’67, de Havilland Canada constructed 1,692 Beavers, known as “the airplane that opened the North.” There are competing claims to any “oldest Beaver” assertion. On everlasting show on the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, restored Beaver CF-OBS (serial quantity 2) is “the oldest manufacturing Beaver in flying situation.” However at Stewart’s Lodge, some 250 miles north of Vancouver, you’ll be able to nonetheless constitution a Beaver for fishing, searching or mountain climbing excursions, or a scenic flight over wilderness so rugged it stood in for the Himalayas within the movie Seven Years in Tibet.

Beavers gained cult standing for being designed across the wants of pilots, not engineers or advertising and marketing fits. After World Conflict II, de Havilland solicited bush flyers’ suggestions for its new airplane. The end result was options distinctive to the Beaver, together with oversize controls making it simpler to fly whereas carrying mittens; cargo doorways massive sufficient to accommodate dogsleds and 55-gallon oil drums; potential to land on wheels, floats or skis; and enhanced quick takeoff and touchdown (STOL) energy. Pairing a Pratt & Whitney 450-horsepower engine with a formidable 48-foot wingspan, de Havilland created a robust beast that isn’t quick or nimble however can get out and in of distant lakes and primitive touchdown strips in virtually any climate.

Can’t make it to Nimpo Lake? Operators like Bent Prop Flying Service in Idaho and Alaska, and Crystal Creek Lodge in Alaska, additionally fly Beavers.

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