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NNSL Photo

This vintage 1949 Piper is currently up for sale. - photo courtesy of Samo Cebul

Pretty Piper

Old plane still going strong

Amy Collins
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 22/03) - A 1949 Piper PA-16 Clipper is for sale in Yellowknife.

"I'm not flying enough to justify having a plane," pilot Samo Cebul said.

He bought the four-seater aircraft five years ago when he lived in British Columbia.

Cebul used to fly the Clipper at least 50 hours a year but is down to 10 hours.

He's flown it around the Langley area, Okanagan, northeast British Columbia and Trout Lake.

The plane uses both wheels and floats.

Built in the United States in 1949, the Clipper was imported to Canada in 1976.

It has a wing span just shy of 30 feet and is 20 feet long. The plane can carry up to 850 pounds and can reach a maximum speed of 125 kilometres per hour.

The Clipper has had three Canadian owners and has flown a total of 2,800 hours.

Cebul, a pilot for First Air, has been flying since 1978 when he took out gliders.

He graduated to powered planes in 1981 and owns a collector plane in Europe.

Cebul has spent a lot of time moose hunting with it.

"I fly over the river banks and if it looks like a good spot, I'll land," he said.

For the past three years, Cebul has shot a moose on his annual hunts.

"It's very maneuverable," he said of the craft.

"It gives you the freedom to go where ever you want to go and do whatever you want to do."

He said that in the Clipper he can do another circuit and nobody will care, compared to the big planes he flies for work.

He adds that since the plane has been in Canada, it has been in good condition.

"My first flight of 2002, the air speed wasn't working because the bugs filled the pitot tube," he said. "I did a few circles and landed."