Yukon pilot aims for authenticity in bush plane restoration
Bob Cameron restoring a 1937 WACO biplane and a 1928 Fairchild
A Yukon pilot is painstakingly working his way through the restoration of two classic bush planes that will eventually find a home at the Yukon Transportation Museum in Whitehorse.
Bob Cameron, who has been flying planes in Yukon for 54 years, has been working on a WACO biplane and a 1928 Fairchild for about a decade and still has years to go before he's finished.
Cameron says he wants the planes to be correct in every detail.
"There's friction tape," he says, pointing to the inner cables of the 1937 WACO CF-BDZ. "There's hockey tape holding these fairleads, it's authentic."
Cameron found the rusted pieces of the Custom WACO in the bush near Carcross, Yukon.
"It had ended up there after a disastrous fire in 1949. It caught fire on the dock during startup and then the wooden wings burnt and reduced it to just the steel frame. The owner, heartbroken, just threw a cat line around it, and dragged it into the bush and left it there," he says.
The other plane, the 1928 Fairchild, was found abandoned "in a manure pile" in Surrey, B.C., Cameron says.
"It was rusted in half."
Both planes have been sanded and repainted, they have landing gear and Cameron is replacing the controls as well as wood and fabric.
"I've had the help of friends," Cameron says about the project.
He says the aircraft will never fly again. They'll become exhibits at the Transportation Museum where Cameron, who's a published author on aviation history, answers questions from the public and talks about the history of the bush planes that opened Canada's North.