Everything Yellowknife

Ice Pilots NWT – Another Reality Show

We all remember Ice Road Truckers, and probably wont forget it. Every time we run into someone from the south it is always “Do you the Ice Road Truckers, isn’t that show great”. When in actual reality we know that the show was exaggerated because there is no way trucks would be driven on that ice if there was the risk that is portrayed in the show.

Well the History Channel is back at it again, this time with a new industry to exaggerated. Don’t get me wrong though, I do enjoy watching these shows and I’m sure it brings tourism and publicity to the north. But I can’t help pointing out that somethings in these show,like many reality shows, are just not true.

The new show will be spotlighting Buffalo Airways and will be called Ice Pilots NWT. They were filming here in Yellowknife over last winter and is set to premier November 18 at 10pm ET. The show will be focusing on Buffalo Airways operations, personal (including the infamous Buffalo Joe) and of course the retro Douglas DC-3’s. I have included the trailer below.

Now I’m curious to your thoughts on these shows. I think it is clear how I feel about them above, do you agree? Or Disagree? What are some of the benefits of having these shows up here in Yellowknife? and the Cons?  Would you ever sell out for a TV deal?

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About the author

Kyle Thomas

Kyle grew up in Yellowknife and is a local entrepreneur, writer, baker, and Yellowknife Advocate who is addicted to learning as much as he can about the community and sharing it with anyone who'll listen. In 2009 he developed YkOnline.ca. A website all about living, working and thriving in Yellowknife for residents, newcomers, and visitors.

49 Comments

  • “A Recipe for Disaster”… awesome. Well the trailer’s intended audience is clearly not for those who live here. Last time I was in Vegas every American I met (that knew I was from Yellowknife) asked me about the Ice Road truckers and if I drove on the Ice Roads. Some said they wanted to travel here just to see them. I thought it was amusing. Its definitely good for tourism.

  • “A Recipe for Disaster”… awesome. Well the trailer’s intended audience is clearly not for those who live here. Last time I was in Vegas every American I met (that knew I was from Yellowknife) asked me about the Ice Road truckers and if I drove on the Ice Roads. Some said they wanted to travel here just to see them. I thought it was amusing. Its definitely good for tourism.

  • You just KNOW that after the program airs on November 18th, every ‘sure-nuff shooter-dime’ pilot from Gander to Victoria – who still has wet ink on his commercial flying license – will be galloping to Yellowknife, looking for a job!

  • You just KNOW that after the program airs on November 18th, every ‘sure-nuff shooter-dime’ pilot from Gander to Victoria – who still has wet ink on his commercial flying license – will be galloping to Yellowknife, looking for a job!

  • Isn’t everything more interesting after a little exaggeration? Your blog for example. While the computer enactments for IRT is showing what is possible, not the norm, it certainly is possible and it is a dangerous job. I watched the first season because the guys cracked me up and I’m sure it will be similair with IPNWT. I do object however to you saying they are sellouts for doing their job. I seriously doubt all employees there got together and went looking to sell themselves to a film production company. Are you calling them sellouts because you assume they are getting some sort of financial reward for the show other than their regular paycheck? I would double check on that before making assumptions. As for the show itself I think it will definately pull in a lot if interest, those in aviation, those with a large interest in WW2 as well as all the Americans who can’t believe we have snow here.

  • Isn’t everything more interesting after a little exaggeration? Your blog for example. While the computer enactments for IRT is showing what is possible, not the norm, it certainly is possible and it is a dangerous job. I watched the first season because the guys cracked me up and I’m sure it will be similair with IPNWT. I do object however to you saying they are sellouts for doing their job. I seriously doubt all employees there got together and went looking to sell themselves to a film production company. Are you calling them sellouts because you assume they are getting some sort of financial reward for the show other than their regular paycheck? I would double check on that before making assumptions. As for the show itself I think it will definately pull in a lot if interest, those in aviation, those with a large interest in WW2 as well as all the Americans who can’t believe we have snow here.

  • I didn’t call anyone a sellout, and I certainly wouldn’t call a pilot or anyone’s profession a sellout. I only asked a general question because both these industries are pretty normal and yes they do have there challenges but so does every job.
    I guess I should have asked the question more like this: If a Film Production company approached your employer about filming your job, what would you say knowing they may exaggerate or miss lead the way the profession works?

  • I didn’t call anyone a sellout, and I certainly wouldn’t call a pilot or anyone’s profession a sellout. I only asked a general question because both these industries are pretty normal and yes they do have there challenges but so does every job.
    I guess I should have asked the question more like this: If a Film Production company approached your employer about filming your job, what would you say knowing they may exaggerate or miss lead the way the profession works?

  • Got to agree with the comment about every rookie pilot wanting to go north and fly…same as every trucker from the lower forty eight wants to drive the ice roads!Kyle you hit it on the head these jobs are pretty normal,everyone tends to know what there doing and the History channel blew it way out of proportion.I can’t stand that ice road truckers program,cause all its full of is…stupid!

  • Got to agree with the comment about every rookie pilot wanting to go north and fly…same as every trucker from the lower forty eight wants to drive the ice roads!Kyle you hit it on the head these jobs are pretty normal,everyone tends to know what there doing and the History channel blew it way out of proportion.I can’t stand that ice road truckers program,cause all its full of is…stupid!

  • Got to agree with the comment about every rookie pilot wanting to go north and fly…same as every trucker from the lower forty eight wants to drive the ice roads!Kyle you hit it on the head these jobs are pretty normal,everyone tends to know what there doing and the History channel blew it way out of proportion.I can’t stand that ice road truckers program,cause all its full of is…stupid!Now “ice pilots”Should be a good show,gotta love all the vintage aircraft…

  • Got to agree with the comment about every rookie pilot wanting to go north and fly…same as every trucker from the lower forty eight wants to drive the ice roads!Kyle you hit it on the head these jobs are pretty normal,everyone tends to know what there doing and the History channel blew it way out of proportion.I can’t stand that ice road truckers program,cause all its full of is…stupid!Now “ice pilots”Should be a good show,gotta love all the vintage aircraft…

  • When I first head about Americans going crazy for driving semi trucks on ice I thought “My dad lands a four-engine cargo plane (C-130 Hercules) on ice runways and they never got a tv show”

    Too funny.

  • When I first head about Americans going crazy for driving semi trucks on ice I thought “My dad lands a four-engine cargo plane (C-130 Hercules) on ice runways and they never got a tv show”

    Too funny.

  • I don’t have a problem with this series, provided they don’t start to grossly mislead. What I do find fascinating with this program is the way the vintage aircraft are utilized nearly every day. Most aircraft that age are either gently sitting in a museum or are used for casual ‘tourist’ jaunts. I plan to watch the full season (may even get the season DVDs — yes, I’m a vintage aviation nut) to see how they do it.

    Oh yes, I’m originally from northern Canada and have spent my fair share of time flying into ‘remote’ areas in the winter. That is what makes life worth living, right?!

  • I don’t have a problem with this series, provided they don’t start to grossly mislead. What I do find fascinating with this program is the way the vintage aircraft are utilized nearly every day. Most aircraft that age are either gently sitting in a museum or are used for casual ‘tourist’ jaunts. I plan to watch the full season (may even get the season DVDs — yes, I’m a vintage aviation nut) to see how they do it.

    Oh yes, I’m originally from northern Canada and have spent my fair share of time flying into ‘remote’ areas in the winter. That is what makes life worth living, right?!

  • I have to say that I watched both shows (Ice Road Truckers & Ice Pilots) and have to agree at least with the “emphasis” or embellishment aspects on ice road truckerss. Anyone who has driven in Northern Canada can be considered and ice road driver. Its part of the lifestyle! I have seen challenges just as dangerous in the oilfields that truckers have to deal with here and let me tell you, I have a great idea for a show here!

    As far as ice pilots go, here we have a company that fleis WW II vintage planes delivering cargo in the far north with rookie pilots? Yeah Dangerous is a word I would use but on the other hand they provide an essential service that no other company seems to want to jump on, GO HARD AND FLY HIGH, but please, easy on the “Will they make it back” theme. We have boys at war right now and I am sure they don’t have to add the drama to thier jobs.

    Just keep it real!

  • I have to say that I watched both shows (Ice Road Truckers & Ice Pilots) and have to agree at least with the “emphasis” or embellishment aspects on ice road truckerss. Anyone who has driven in Northern Canada can be considered and ice road driver. Its part of the lifestyle! I have seen challenges just as dangerous in the oilfields that truckers have to deal with here and let me tell you, I have a great idea for a show here!

    As far as ice pilots go, here we have a company that fleis WW II vintage planes delivering cargo in the far north with rookie pilots? Yeah Dangerous is a word I would use but on the other hand they provide an essential service that no other company seems to want to jump on, GO HARD AND FLY HIGH, but please, easy on the “Will they make it back” theme. We have boys at war right now and I am sure they don’t have to add the drama to thier jobs.

    Just keep it real!

  • I agree with previous posters assessment of Ice Road truckers and its embellishments. It is a little far-fetched but does make for good TV for southern viewers & yet still entertaining for northern viewers.

    Ice Pilots NWT is nowhere near as embellished, and I’m not even sure if there was any embellishing going on at all. Old planes break, Joe hires young guys, cold weather brings all sorts of challenges to industries relying on mechanical equipment. Nothing about this is anything but factual.

    The first episode was excellent, and provides some of the best footage of our area, highlights a unique company and provides some education about the aircraft. All that – and a few laughs too. What’s not to love?

  • I agree with previous posters assessment of Ice Road truckers and its embellishments. It is a little far-fetched but does make for good TV for southern viewers & yet still entertaining for northern viewers.

    Ice Pilots NWT is nowhere near as embellished, and I’m not even sure if there was any embellishing going on at all. Old planes break, Joe hires young guys, cold weather brings all sorts of challenges to industries relying on mechanical equipment. Nothing about this is anything but factual.

    The first episode was excellent, and provides some of the best footage of our area, highlights a unique company and provides some education about the aircraft. All that – and a few laughs too. What’s not to love?

  • It should sure help get more participants at the Yellowknife Air Show and the Float Plane Fly-in…. and I’ll bet Buffalo Joe will start making more $$$ selling rides to nowhere on his planes next summer! In other words… it should help Yellowknife tourism…. now all we have to do is get ITI and the other tourism orgs in town to get on board and promote the hell out of it.

  • It should sure help get more participants at the Yellowknife Air Show and the Float Plane Fly-in…. and I’ll bet Buffalo Joe will start making more $$$ selling rides to nowhere on his planes next summer! In other words… it should help Yellowknife tourism…. now all we have to do is get ITI and the other tourism orgs in town to get on board and promote the hell out of it.

  • As someone who is an aviation enthusiast, I think this show is great so far. But I’ve been alive long enough to know that when people get themselves in front of a camera they may act 180 degrees out phase from what they are really like.

    Drama is what the show’s producers are after and given the mix of WW2 vintage aircraft and the climate that they are operating in, the show may use artistic license, but may not be too far off course from reality. Ratings are ALWAYS important, otherwise they may as well cancel the series after the first episode. So “chill out” and enjoy it.

  • As someone who is an aviation enthusiast, I think this show is great so far. But I’ve been alive long enough to know that when people get themselves in front of a camera they may act 180 degrees out phase from what they are really like.

    Drama is what the show’s producers are after and given the mix of WW2 vintage aircraft and the climate that they are operating in, the show may use artistic license, but may not be too far off course from reality. Ratings are ALWAYS important, otherwise they may as well cancel the series after the first episode. So “chill out” and enjoy it.

  • episode changing engine out in air strip they do have large parechutes to cover equip ment nowdays aleast that is what we use in bc canada december 2009/ icant believe they do not have them in yellow knife???????

  • episode changing engine out in air strip they do have large parechutes to cover equip ment nowdays aleast that is what we use in bc canada december 2009/ icant believe they do not have them in yellow knife???????

  • I used to do instrumentation repairs for Buffalo and can tell you they are a hard working company in a very unforgiving land.
    I hope this show does for them what American chopper did for OCC.

  • I used to do instrumentation repairs for Buffalo and can tell you they are a hard working company in a very unforgiving land.
    I hope this show does for them what American chopper did for OCC.

  • Hi Joe this is a note from your past. We saw you on the TV and I was so suprised. Havn’t seen you since I left Hay River in 63.. I ran into Mable Clarke down here in Victoria several years ago and asked about you but she couldn’t give me any info. I would love to hear from you call me if you feel so inclined *Number removed*. As Ever Melvina

    *Note: Admin removed phone number, but to being visible to everyone.

  • Hi Joe this is a note from your past. We saw you on the TV and I was so suprised. Havn’t seen you since I left Hay River in 63.. I ran into Mable Clarke down here in Victoria several years ago and asked about you but she couldn’t give me any info. I would love to hear from you call me if you feel so inclined *Number removed*. As Ever Melvina

    *Note: Admin removed phone number, but to being visible to everyone.

  • I, personally know one of the pilots. The show is 100% true. Those guys can fly by the seat of their pants, and sometimes have to. During WW11, the best pilots were Canadian bush pilots, that also could fly by the seat of their pants and thousands of times they had to land, on a wing and a prayer but they did it. There are no better pilots, than the pilots, at Buffalo. To a young pilot just out of flight school, it’s a dream come true for them, to fly a, WW11 plane.

  • I, personally know one of the pilots. The show is 100% true. Those guys can fly by the seat of their pants, and sometimes have to. During WW11, the best pilots were Canadian bush pilots, that also could fly by the seat of their pants and thousands of times they had to land, on a wing and a prayer but they did it. There are no better pilots, than the pilots, at Buffalo. To a young pilot just out of flight school, it’s a dream come true for them, to fly a, WW11 plane.

  • I enjoy watching Ice Pilots NWT. But have one big Issue with It and wondering how everyone else fells about it. Issue is regarding Jeremy the rampie. JEREMY (THE RAMPIE) IS GETTING A REAL RAW DEAL…That guy has sure worked hard to try and move up in the company. Every episode he seems to be gettig screwed around some way or another. Takes his time to train new rampie who then quits, Other rampies with less experience start flight attendant training before him (hes way smarter then most these idiots), gets pulled out of class to work when there short Rampie case he started later, Is expected to catch up to everyone else. I think hes nuts o be putting up with all this. Jeremy works harder then all the other Rampies and in return he continuously gets screwed. What is your feelings abot this???

  • I enjoy watching Ice Pilots NWT. But have one big Issue with It and wondering how everyone else fells about it. Issue is regarding Jeremy the rampie. JEREMY (THE RAMPIE) IS GETTING A REAL RAW DEAL…That guy has sure worked hard to try and move up in the company. Every episode he seems to be gettig screwed around some way or another. Takes his time to train new rampie who then quits, Other rampies with less experience start flight attendant training before him (hes way smarter then most these idiots), gets pulled out of class to work when there short Rampie case he started later, Is expected to catch up to everyone else. I think hes nuts o be putting up with all this. Jeremy works harder then all the other Rampies and in return he continuously gets screwed. What is your feelings abot this???

  • Mandi – it’s a non-union job, someone is guaranteed to get the short end of the stick. I watched the show once, because my roommate was watching it, and yes that same guy was getting shafted on seniority issues. But is he the only one? No. Same stuff goes on at my work and anywhere else I’ve worked. He’ll quit and somebody else will be lucky to get him – until they treat him badly enough that he quits too. That’s life if you’re non-union.

  • Mandi – it’s a non-union job, someone is guaranteed to get the short end of the stick. I watched the show once, because my roommate was watching it, and yes that same guy was getting shafted on seniority issues. But is he the only one? No. Same stuff goes on at my work and anywhere else I’ve worked. He’ll quit and somebody else will be lucky to get him – until they treat him badly enough that he quits too. That’s life if you’re non-union.

  • Hye,

    i’m french private pilot, and i have heard about Ice Pilots NWT by a friend whose living in USA.

    I have seen 09 episods.

    I don’t know where is the bordelrline between real life and fiction.

    American TV reports are often exaggerated in tragedy, with comments too expressive. But it’s just a point of view.

    However, I enjoy watching ICE PILOTS. For us, french airmen, it seems so incredible to fly on old aircraft everydays, and not just for meetings !!

    Whe can’t do that here. Frenchs laws are too restritive.

    Work in this climatic conditions must be rough, Joe seems to be an hard boss, but he, and his staff make me want to work with them.

    If i can, i send him a letter for a job.

    The story makes me want also to visit your area. Maybe someday…

    Know, YellowKnife is known in Europe !!

    Bye

    PS :Excuse me for my english !
    Quentin

  • Hye,

    i’m french private pilot, and i have heard about Ice Pilots NWT by a friend whose living in USA.

    I have seen 09 episods.

    I don’t know where is the bordelrline between real life and fiction.

    American TV reports are often exaggerated in tragedy, with comments too expressive. But it’s just a point of view.

    However, I enjoy watching ICE PILOTS. For us, french airmen, it seems so incredible to fly on old aircraft everydays, and not just for meetings !!

    Whe can’t do that here. Frenchs laws are too restritive.

    Work in this climatic conditions must be rough, Joe seems to be an hard boss, but he, and his staff make me want to work with them.

    If i can, i send him a letter for a job.

    The story makes me want also to visit your area. Maybe someday…

    Know, YellowKnife is known in Europe !!

    Bye

    PS :Excuse me for my english !
    Quentin

  • All thse so-called reality shows are over-dramatised to some extent, but speaking as someone who used to work on a similar kind of operation (out of the same hangar shown on the TV series) I would say that “Ice Pilots” is reasonably true to life, except maybe for the tone of the narrator which tends to be hyped up a bit. I must say the maintenance scenes are dead accurate, and it’s nice to see the maintenance guys get their due for a change. Guess what my job was!

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