"The team who went up to Yellowknife to load the semi's returned full of stories about a very unique operation."
Actually, it was Red Deer, Alberta, halfway between Calgary and Edmonton. Joe told us he had always wanted to fly/own a B17 and it was the only heavy taildragger still flying that he'd never flown, so when the parts came up for sale, he bought them incase he ever actually got a B17.
There were 5 PBY Catalinas on his ramp, assorted C46s and about 12 A26s left over from firefighting duties. I don''t think he owned the A26s, but he owned all the other stuff, and kept trying to persuade us we needed to buy something - PBY or C46 off him. I think we would have done so happily if we'd had the money! The hangars were lined from floor to roof, wall to wall with shelving full of aeroplane parts. The guys were sent into one of the old mess buildings (its an ex-military base) with directions to help themselves to any tools they thought might be useful. They came back laden, like kids coming out of a candy store. They said it was the same in the mess building - floor to ceiling, wall to wall shelving filled with old instruments & tools.
Joe ate with us one night, and was fascinating to listen to. I wish he would come to AV, and do a "Freight-bird in review" version of the "Warbird in review". His stories just for that evening were amazing. He certainly has lived a very full life. The rest of the time we worked with his brother, another older gentleman, and a cat that was about the size of a large wolf. He was very protective of the morning donuts....and quite partial to them....woe betide anyone who got between him & his donut...
I'm really looking forward to seeing this program - I hope the makers of it do Joe, Buffalo Airways and all the team justice.