North America / Pic of the Week / Western Canada / Yukon

“Pic of the Week”, April 10, 2020: Airplane Weathervane, Whitehorse

03 Airplane Weathervane Yukon Transporation Museum (95)

The world’s largest weathervane, an actual Douglas DC-3 aircraft, sits on a pedestal in front of the Yukon Transportation Museum.  It’s an interesting sight made more impressive by the fact that the plane slowly and quietly moves, always with her nose pointed into the wind.  The plane is so finely balanced that even a 5 knot wind will turn her.  I made a point of watching over a period of several days and she always seemed pointed in a slightly different direction.  

The idea for this weathervane belongs to the The Yukon Flying Club (which morphed into the the Yukon Transporation Museum).  In 1977, members of the Club started a multiyear project to create what was to become one of Whitehorse’s most recognizable landmarks.  A local welder conceived the idea to have plane mounted on a pedestal that would pivot, moving with the Whitehorse wind. 

This plane was built in 1942 and, painted in camouflage, served as a military cargo plane flying between China and India during World War II.  It was purchased by Canadian Pacific Airlines in 1946 and converted into a passenger aircraft.  The plane provided many years in service with CP Air, mostly in the north, before being sold and converted into a “bush plane” that was outfitted with wheels in the summer and skis in the winter.  After having logged 31,851 hours of flight, the DC-3 was retired in 1970 and was donated to the Flying Club, which restored her to her original 1950s Canadian Pacific Airlines colors. 

In 2009 the plane was moved yet again (because of an airport expansion) this time to its current location outside the Yukon Transportation Museum.   It has a spot of prominence, right beside the Alaska Highway, and has can easily approached for up close study and photography.

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