Battle of Britain ceremony will feature Yellowknife flyby

A Twin Otter will carry out a low-level Yellowknife flyby on Sunday during a ceremony remembering the Battle of Britain and a separate fatal air crash in the NWT.

The event, to be streamed on the Joint Task Force North Facebook page from 12:45pm, will see the Twin Otter pass around 500 feet above Gitzel Street and Dakota Court.

The flyby is scheduled for shortly before 1:45pm.


The Battle of Britain, a months-long defence of the United Kingdom against Nazi air attacks in 1940, is considered the first major military campaign fought entirely in the air. The Royal Air Force roll of honour for the Battle of Britain includes the names of 112 Canadian pilots.

Sunday’s Twin Otter flight will also mark the 50th anniversary of an air crash near Paulatuk in which eight people lost their lives.

A Douglas C-47 or Dakota, a military version of the civilian DC-3, was taking part in a search-and-rescue mission on the night of November 2, 1971, attempting to rescue the pilot of another plane that had come down two days earlier.

As the Dakota opened its cargo doors and prepared to drop supplies to the stranded pilot, the aircraft went into a flat spin and hit the ground. There were no survivors.

Yellowknife’s Dakota Court bears the plane’s designation. Gitzel Street was named for Cpt Stan Gitzel, the aircraft’s 28-year-old pilot.