At the door of the Buffalo Airways DC-3 is Skye Mandigo-Stoba with
her Dad Ian and sister, Morgaine.
After beating Hodgkin's Lymphoma, San
Francisco teenager Skye Mandigo-Stoba got to wish for anything in the
Naturally, it was a toss-up between having
lunch with Beyonce or seeing Buffalo Airways Cargo World War II DC-3 cargo
Yellowknife, Canada-based Buffalo Airways
operates a fleet of World War II-era aircraft that are the aerial lifeline
to a number of northern Canadian villages, carrying cargo shipments under
government contract. Buffalo Airways has been featured on History Television's
Ice Pilots NWT for several seasons.
Skye and her father, Ian are big fans of
that series, so Make-A-Wish and Buffalo Airways delivered something wonderful
to this special teenager big time.
Life Is Not A Hospital Alone
“It means a lot,” Skye said.
“It was so hard just sort of going through the repetitive cycle
of doing nothing, being in the hospital, being home, doing nothing.
“It was fun to plan a wish and have
something to look forward to,” she said simply.
Skye Flying High Due North
Skye flew up to Yellowknife to see the DC-3
aircraft with her dad and sister.
“It's not just the trip or the event,”
said Skye’s dad, Ian Stoba.
“It's all the time before that, where
it gave us something to think about, to talk about.
“It was really rough,” Dad Ian
“I brought my sister because she likes
to dabble in some science. She's a physicist,” Skye revealed.
Skye Mandigo-Stoba, 15, disembarked from Buffalo Airways' Norseman
5 bush plane after a flight around Yellowknife Bay, organized by the
Make-A-Wish Foundation. Skye had never been in a float plane before.
Pictured is Skye Mandigo-Stoba with her sister, Morgaine, far left,
after an aerial tour of Yellowknife with Buffalo's President Joe McBryan
and Buffalo Airways’ Emily Chambers.
Skye Mandigo-Stoba proclaims she is “not
a huge flier” but planes are her passion.
Airways President Joe McBryan, (also known as ‘Buffalo Joe’)
a crusty old- school, ex-bush-pilot who, in his 70s is still very much
a heroic ‘captain of the clouds’.
Joe operates this cargo airline with a faithful
family and an extended team of some top notch, but down on the ground
Here we discover a working fleet of the
aforementioned DC-3s and also an interesting mix of aircraft, including
an ex- Lufthansa C46 double bubble cargo bird built by Curtiss aircraft
in Buffalo, New York, and some L-88 turbo prop Elektras beating their
way skyward daily, delivering the goods, putting out forest fires and
otherwise proving history is alive and well.
Joe, who cannot hide a true hero’s
heart of gold, took the Stoba clan for a spin in a Canadian-built Norseman
5 WW II-era aircraft, before a tour of the Buffalo hangar and delivered
Skye onto a DC-3 aircraft.
“Any DC-3 is really great,”
Ms. Mandigo-Stoba enthused.
“I love really any reciprocating piston-engine
plane,” she said.
“There's a lot of history behind them,”
“They're big powerful planes and I
just love ’em.
“Functioning World War II aircraft
flying around at work every day are also tough to find,” she insists,
in a true understatement.
“You can really only see them in a
museum,” Skye Mandigo-Stoba smiled.
Eyes On The Prize
Looking ahead, Skye wants to pursue her
own career in science and promote renewable technology in the airline
“I'm really interested in bringing
renewable fuels into the aviation community, specifically working with
hydrogen and bringing that technology to the commercial airlines,”
Courage Enough For All Of Us
Skye Mandigo-Stoba’s life as usual
after cancer is now more typical of a teenager, if you can count this
effervescent, brave young lady as anything but unusual.
"I’ll finish high school, go
to university … then I want to either work at Boeing or become some
sort of engineer with planes,” she said.
More power to her.
Emelie Peacock, Cabin Radio. Edited by Geoffrey