Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad

Deline's one-man air force

John Curran
Northern News Services

Fort Franklin (Mar 07/05) - One of Deline's newest arrivals, North-Wright Airways' Capt. Warren Ruiter, can't imagine moving away from the community any time soon.

He first came North in 2000 after chatting with an Air Tindi pilot online about the advantages the region has to offer. He packed up his stuff in his car and left B.C. for Yellowknife almost immediately.

Ruiter spent his first three years with Buffalo Airways, co-piloting DC-3s, but about a year ago he made the switch to North-Wright and has been on the go ever since.

He started running scheduled flights out of Fort Good Hope and moved to Norman Wells in the summer to take hunting charters into the Mackenzie Mountains in search of big game. "That was probably the most challenging and the most fun I've had in my career so far," he said. "That wasn't a strip you could take any old equipment into."

He used a Cessna 206 single engine plane on those runs to mile 222 on the old Canol Trail leading west from Norman Wells.

At the end of October 2004, after a trip to Wichita, Kan., for a flight simulator school, he took over the regular flights between Deline and Yellowknife.

His equipment nowadays is the nine-seat Cessna Caravan and the only thing he loves more than the plane is his fiancee Liz Christensen, a teacher who still lives in Fort Good Hope, and the prospect of playing hockey for his new community.

"Deline is a real hockey town," said Ruiter. "All of their players are strong on the puck, but there's nothing dirty, just good clean hockey."