Spirit of the Yukon

By June Lunny

Categories: BC History
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Hardcover : 9780920576397, January 1992


Charlie [Lindbergh] was working on his plane when I arrived, writes Andrew Cruickshank as he awaits completion of his own duplicate of the Spirit of St. Louis. With this plane, Cruickshank starts the first airline in the Yukon. It was 1927, long before the legendary Grant McConachie's time. Andrew Cruickshank, a dashing and brave young RCMP officer, decides to, leave the force for the skies. Cruickshank exploits include not only bush piloting in the Yukon but stunt-flying in Hollywood, as well as piloting seaplanes out of Vancouver. While a pilot with Western Canada Airways in Winnipeg, he was part of one of the most extensive air searches of all time, the McAlpine Rescue.

Killed by a plane crash early in his career, Cruickshank had been almost forgotten by Canadian aviation history until his youngest daughter, June Cruickshank Lunny, found a treasure trove of his letters while on a family visit to England. From these letters, Lunny has reconstructed her father's adventures as a Mountie and as a bush pilot. "He was one of the top bush pilots of his day," says Peter Corley-Smith, author of Barnstorming to Bush Flying.