After beating Hodgkin’s lymphoma, San Francisco teen Skyler Stoba got to wish for anything in the world.
Naturally, it was a toss up between having lunch with Beyonce or seeing Buffalo Airways Second World War planes.
Stoba, 15, disembarked from Buffalo Airways’ Norseman 5 bush plane on Tuesday after a flight around Yellowknife Bay, organized by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Stoba had never been in a float plane before.
Yellowknife-based Buffalo Airways, which operates World War II-era aircraft, was featured in History Television’s Ice Pilots NWT for several seasons. Stoba and her father, Ian, are fans of the series.
“It means a lot,” said Stoba. “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.”
Stoba 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 Ian Stoba. “It’s all the time before that, where it gave us something to think about, to talk about. It was really rough.”
“I brought my sister because she likes to dabble in some science. She’s a physicist,” said the teenager.
Stoba proclaims she is “not a huge flier” but planes are her passion.
Buffalo Airways president Joe McBryan, also known as “Buffalo Joe,” took Stoba and her family for a spin in the bush plane, before touring the Buffalo hangar and the DC-3 aircraft this week.
“Any DC-3 is really great. I love really any piston-engine plane. There’s a lot of history behind them,” she said.
“They’re big powerful planes and I just love ’em.”
Functional Second World War planes are also tough to find.
“You can really only see them in a museum,” Stoba said.
When the Make-A-Wish Foundation announced the trip, it had Nobel Prize-winning bioengineer Frances Arnold deliver the news. Arnold battled cancer in 2005.
Stoba wants to pursue her own career in science and promote renewable technology in the airline industry, she said.
“I’m really interested in bringing renewable fuels into the plane community, specifically, working with hydrogen and bringing it into the commercial airlines,” she said.
Stoba’s life after cancer is now more typical of a teenager: “finish high school, go to university … then I want to either work at Boeing or become some sort of engineer with planes.”