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In NetLetter nr 1365 we had an article on the "Gordon Securities Charter" From the "PWA Speedbird" magazine issue dated October 1980.

This prompted Stuart Russell to send us this information -

Hi guys – thanks for publishing this article from the Pacific Western Airlines Speedbird – some additional info for your file: Romulus Lake ice runway was located on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic at 079.53 North Latitude 084.36 West Longitude.

Adeco Drilling utilized their Rig # 4 to drill an exploration well (Panarctic Romulus C-42) on behalf of Panarctic Oils Ltd to a depth of 14,942 feet.

This drilling rig (complete with all support equipment) was flown into Romulus via Pacific Western Airlines Lockheed Hercules cargo aircraft. The 125 Hercules rig loads were broken down into approx. 45,000 pound pieces and with rig, camp, fuel, supplies, trucks all flown in and out. Romulus C-42 was the 34th of 176 exploration wells drilled (on land and from ice platforms) between 1982 and 1987 in the Canadian High Arctic.

Pacific Western Hercules flew the rigs, fuel and their equipment, while L188 Electras, 737C and 727C combis flew the crew changes to/from Alberta. I have attached a few snaps from that era to show the size of some  of the loads.

tmb pwa cf pwo high arctic

Loading in the high Arctic.

  tmb pwa cf pwo shacks

Loading a workers shack at Yellowknife.

tmb pwa cf pwx at yzfLoading a sub-structure at Yellowknife. 

Romulus was one of many drilling sites at the top of the world that hardly anyone knew about outside the Northern aviation and oil and gas exploration companies, even when it was happening, let alone 40 plus years later. An amazing period of time to have been involved in the High Arctic.

FYI CF-PWE tail 732 was PWA’s first 737-200 Combi and ran like a Swiss watch – day and night. Day trips Edmonton/Yellowknife/Norman Wells/Inuvik return as a 3 pallet / 62 pax combi then convert to a 7 pallet freighter in YEG to fly overnight Edmonton/Norman Wells/ Inuvik return & convert back to a 3 pallet config again in Edmonton for the morning trip north with pax and cargo.

Cheers Stu Russell.


After reading NetLetter nr 1369 and the stories from Lois North, prompted Jim Griffith to recall this memory -

If Lois North was formerly Lois Paul then I think she might have been the F/A on my first flight in 1959. It was all stops in three days to Torbay and back from UL with Captain Ray Lank.

I can remember on one subsequent flight we stopped in JT and QX due to weather and Lois was left to serve a full load of pax breakfast by herself between QY and YT... only one F/A on a North Star ... and in her usual style she just commandeered passengers to help her out. Looking at the rage of passengers today and working alone serving hot meals to over fifty passengers back then was quite a task but Newfie passengers as was their style back in the day ... were always willing to help out.

What has happened to civility in our modern society in the last few years?

Jim Griffith

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