World's Largest Windvane: CPY - Historic Places Days

World’s Largest Windvane: CPY

Whitehorse, Yukon
30 Electra Crescent, Whitehorse, YT, Canada
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Built in August of 1942, Douglas serial No. 4665 spent the first three years of her life in the camouflage colours of the United States Army Air Force (USAAF), flying transport missions in India and China.

In April 1946, she was among the C-47s bought by Grant McConachie’s newly-formed Canadian Pacific Airlines, to replace the Lockheed Lodestars then on mainline service. Converted to civilian DC-3 configuration with seating for 28 passengers, she was issued the Canadian registration CF-CPY and began a fifteen-year career with CPA. She flew the company’s scheduled routes throughout Canada during the mid-1950s, but as CPA upgraded their mainline fleet to Convairs and DC-6Bs, CF-CPY found herself on less glamorous domestic routes such as the run between Whitehorse, the silver-mining town of Mayo and the legendary gold-mining centre, Dawson City.

In April 1960, CF-CPY was sold to Connelly-Dawson Airways of Dawson City. For the next six years she worked as a bush plane, operating on wheels or skis, hauling supplies into remote places such as Old Crow and the oil exploration camps in the Eagle Plains area.

From 1966 until her last flight in November 1970, CF-CPY was again based in Whitehorse, serving the scheduled and charter routes of Great Northern Airways. When GNA declared bankruptcy, she passed into the hands of Northward Airlines, but never flew again. Used for parts for a while, she was finally donated to the Yukon Flying Club in 1977.

Although her total flying time of 31,851 hours is not unusually high for a DC-3, most of that time has been logged either in the Yukon or on connecting routes to the Outside.


The Yukon Flying Club was the precursor to the Yukon Transportation Museum. In 1977, these dedicated individuals with a passion for Yukon aviation embarked on a four-year volunteer project to create one of Whitehorse’s most recognizable landmarks.

In 1981, CF-CPY was mounted on her pedestal in front of the Whitehorse Airport. Here she greeted locals, visitors and curious passers-by, her nose always pointing into the wind with the slightest of breezes.

As an outdoor monument, CPY faced the harsh extremes of Yukon weather on a daily basis. Her age started to show with faded colours and peeling paint. In 1998, CPY was removed from her pedestal for some restoration work. Once again, a dedicated volunteer labour force banded together to return her to her true glory. In September 2001, CPY was remounted onto her pedestal, showing off her new paint job and hand-polished exterior to the admiring public.

With expansions planned for the newly named Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport, CF-CPY was again removed from her pedestal in July 2009. Gingerly placed on the ground and her pedestal dismantled and reassembled in front of the Yukon Transportation Museum, she was once more hoisted in the air to pivot in the wind.

The club devised a plan to restore a DC-3 aircraft, CF-CPY, to her original 1950s vintage Canadian Pacific Airlines colours. They also had to figure out how to safely mount her to a base. A local welder conceived the idea to have CPY pivot on her pedestal, working with the inevitable Whitehorse wind rather than against it.


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Fun Facts

CPY is moved by only a six knot wind…


30 Electra Crescent, Whitehorse, YT, Canada
Get directions

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