May 8, 2023 Yellowknife, NWT – It was the end of an era at Canadian North as we bid farewell to the iconic “Spirit of Yellowknife” 737-200 Combi aircraft. The ‘Spirit’ had served Northern communities faithfully and without missing a beat for five decades. The journey began in 1980 when Captain Cecil Hansen first received the aircraft from Boeing Field in Seattle.
On Saturday, May 6th, after carrying thousands of passengers and millions of kilos of cargo, the 737-200 completed its final flight from Yellowknife to Cambridge Bay. At the helm was Captain Hansen’s daughter, Captain Dawn MacFarlane. This full circle moment celebrating the “Spirit of Yellowknife” encapsulates the integral role this aircraft had in the Canadian North family.
As part of our final farewell to the “Spirit of Yellowknife”, we also celebrate the accomplishments of Dawn MacFarlane, the first female Inuk jet captain. Growing up with her father, Cecil, who was himself the first Inuk jet captain, Dawn was inspired to pursue aviation and later joined Canadian North.
Dawn is proud to be a positive example and role model in our Northern Inuit communities and to girl across Canada. “With hard work and determination, you can become whatever you want to be. Never be afraid to fly!”
Joining Capt. MacFarlane was Capt. Scott McClements, son of retired Capt. Cal McClements. Both Captains had their fathers on board for the flight, as they both have a history of flying this aircraft.
The aircraft landed in Yellowknife being welcomed back one last time with a water cannon salute from the Yellowknife Firefighter Department fit for any retiring crew member.
Interview with Capt. Dawn Macfarlane, plus images and videos of final flight available here
The 737-200 “Spirit of Yellowknife” has had a long, glorious career flying in the Arctic. Pilots will miss flying it; passengers will miss using this aircraft to see their families and friends. Join us in thanking this aircraft for its long-standing service in Arctic Aviation.
With the end of an era, we welcome a new beginning by serving our communities with more fuel-efficient ATR 300s. Canadian North will be able to offer a more efficient and reliable service with the newer aircraft, increasing the schedule to serve this community.
For more information or media requests, please contact:
Annie Thomlinson, Manager, Communications
(343) 551-0294 firstname.lastname@example.org