Wednesday, November 7, 2012

TONIGHT: Ice Pilots NWT soars into Season 4

My buddies from Yellowknife, the buzz boys of Ice Pilots NWT, take off again tonight at 10 p.m. on History.
The fourth season premiere catches up with the series just as three plane crash tragedies have rocked the Yellowknife community. Buffalo Air has its own scare as a pilot is forced to make an emergency landing of one of the airline's big Electras.
For any series in Canada to last into a fourth season is an achievement, but you could see it happening with this series, a true original. Ice Pilots always had compelling characters in cranky owner Buffalo Joe McBryant and his general manager son Mikey, as well as several of the veteran pilots. Then there are the new recruits, some now flocking to this cold northern town after watching the series the past three seasons.
For many, the real stars are the airplanes, especially the beautiful, overbuilt Douglas DC-3s that pre-date WWII. McBryant and Co. load 'em up with leaded fuel and make passenger runs to Hay River every day. I've been fortunate to fly that Hay River run on a couple of occasions and it is an unforgettable experience.
Episodes to look for this season include next week's show where prime minister Stephen Harper drops by the hanger. One of Mikey's heroes, Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson, pilots a DC-4 in one of the later episodes.
And what's with Mikey? The once doughy doofus is suddenly transformed into a buff buzz boy. Did Joe put him on a diet? Is he trying out next season for the lead on The Bachelor Canada? Fasten your seat belts!
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