Flare pots used to light Pangnirtung, Nunavut runway after electrical outage
Rain 3 weeks ago played havoc on electrical system
The airport in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, had to revert to an old-time solution to a uniquely northern situation last weekend when its lighting system went down.
Flying into Pangnirtung can be a challenge at the best of times. The community of 1,500 people lies on a strip of land at the edge of a fiord; its runway cuts through the middle of town. On top of that, the community currently gets about three hours of daylight, with the sun setting before 1 p.m.
So when an electrical problem plunged the runway's lighting system into darkness last weekend, it created a big problem for planes trying to land in the community.
Keewatin Air Captain Joel Pensivy piloted his King Air 200 into Pangnirtung on Saturday for a medevac.
"For us to be able to conduct that medevac that night they had revert to an emergency procedure — they put a flare pot candle burner at each runway light."
Flare pots are a throwback to the pioneering days of bush pilots, when they were often used to light remote landing strips. But they aren't so common these days.
McKay said the pots came in handy, but they require a lot of time and attention.
"There's a little bit more work involved, but it did maintain flights and that's what kept the community going for the weekend."
McKay suspects ground water from rain several weeks ago affected the wiring of the lighting system. Electricians were flown in and dug into the frozen gravel runway to fix the system.
By Tuesday the runway's lights were fully operational again.