For the last six seasons, viewers have been able to experience what it’s like–visually at least–to climb aboard a DC-3 and jet around Canada’s north. Now it all comes to an end as Ice Pilots NWT takes off for the final time.
Airing Wednesday night on History, the series-ender “D-Day” is unlike most episodes of Ice Pilots in that it was recorded in June–the polar opposite to the sub-zero filming in Yellowknife’s winter months–and the only cargo are human beings. But what a group of human beings. Mikey McBryan’s two-year dream of celebrating the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Europe has finally arrived. He’s got 12 Canadian troops and 12 American Green Berets flying up to Yellowknife to participate in the event, a commemorative jump into Alberta’s Abraham Lake from just 1,200 feet off the ground. Not only that, but Mikey and long-time Buffalo Airways employee Corey are jumping too, in a separate exit from the DC-3 at 12,000 feet.
But, like the D-Day jump that was postponed due to weather, all of the planning and plotting Mikey had done seems for naught when Hurricane “Buffalo” Joe McBryan arrives on the scene and unhappy about the landing zone. Add to that a wall of bad weather and the entire project is set to be scrubbed.
I won’t ruin what happens next.
I was lucky enough to fly up to Yellowknife during a press junket for Ice Pilots NWT. The highlight, of course, was climbing into the back of the DC-3 and flying to and from Hay River with Joe in the cockpit. Bundled up in layers of clothing and packed into that fuselage, I realized I was one of a small group who’d had the opportunity to do it in real life. It was an experience I’ll never forget. Thanks, guys, for six great years on the air, and for welcoming a TV critic from the south into your lives for a day or two.
The Ice Pilots NWT series finale airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on History.