Saturday, June 9, 2012

Airports north of seventy

Photo: Floatplane at Sachs Harbour Airport, by Jim Bob Malone

"'Possible presence of large animals within airport perimeter,'" warns the Canada Flight Supplement, as quoted on the Polar Pilots website. Polar bears, perhaps, or caribou? Muskoxen, maybe.

YIO Pond Inlet Airport lies at 72 degrees North latitude, near the magnetic pole. It is located on Baffin Island in northern Nunavut. Baffin is the largest island in Canada's Arctic archapelago, and the fifth largest in the world. In area, it outranks Sumatra in Indonesia. It is more than double the size of Japan's largest island of Honshu.

Also located at 72 degrees North is YSY Sachs Harbour (David Nasogaluak Jr. Saaryuaq) Airport on Banks Island. Here, pilots are expected in some circumstances to provide their own pumps for fuel.

In 2010, Banks Island was the site of an interesting marine archeological find. A few months after the the publication of a book by Vancouver author Brian Payton about the voyage of the HMS Investigator, The Ice Passage (Doubleday 2009), Parks Canada archeologists launched a search for the wrecked ship. They found it in shallow waters close to the island.

The Royal Navy ship Investigator was one of several ships that sailed out in search of the Franklin expedition, which had vanished earlier while seeking the mythical Northwest Passage, a navigable sea trade route to the Orient through the Arctic.

YRB Resolute Airport (Qausuittuq) is located at Resolute Bay, 74 degrees North latitude, on the south side of Cornwallis Island, north of the Barrow Strait. Although Cornwallis is relatively small compared to other Arctic Islands, it still covers about a quarter of the area covered by either Cuba or Iceland, which are of similar size.

Considering the size of the northern islands as well as the vast tracts of mainland, it is clear that air travel is essential to Arctic life. Thus many Canadian airports are located in the Far North.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Carol - this was a very helpful and succinct post that assisted my research nicely.