DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 105

C-GVNL during fuel stop at Calgary - CYYC, Alberta.
Photo: Anthony J. Hickey © 14 March 2001
C-GVNL landing at Coal Harbour, Vancouver.
Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © 12 August 2015

c/n 105

55-3261 • N5341G

C-GVNL

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• 55-3261 United States Army. Delivered on 12th April 1956. Designated U-1A.

Allocated to the 14th Army Aviation Company, Fort Riley, KS.

Re-designated the 1st Aviation Company and moved to Fort Benning, GA, Aug-1956 until March 1961.

Assigned to Yuma Proving Ground, AZ., as a test support aircraft.

• N5341G Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Southwest Region, TX. Regd Jun-1976.

• C-GVNL Air Saguenay Inc., Chicoutimi, QC. Regd 16-Mar-1978.

• C-GVNL Leased to Cargair Ltée. St. Michel-des-Saints (Lac Kaiagamac), QC. Regd 19-May-1978.

• C-GVNL Returned to Air Saguenay Inc., Chicoutimi, QC. Sep-1978. Later Air Saguenay (1980) Inc. Canx 05-Dec-1984.

Accident: Lac Sebastien, QC. 13-May-1980. While on final for a simulated engine failure condition with throttle retarded, the pilot rounded out the aircraft too high. The check pilot did not recognise the error in sufficient time to take corrective action. Damage to the aircraft's structure was sustained in the hard landing that followed. The damage was repaired.

• C-GVNL Centre d' Expedition et de Plein Air Laurentien (CEPAL), Jonquiere Based Lac Kenogami, QC. Regd 11-Apr-1985. Re regd 08-Jul-1987. Canx 28-Jul-1998.

• C-GVNL Air Bellevue Inc.,  St. Felician, QC. Regd 28-Jul-1998. Canx 16-Mar-2001.

• C-GVNL Harbour Air Ltd., Richmond, BC. Based Vancouver, BC. Regd 28-Mar-2001. Canx 15-Feb-2008. Re regd 28-Feb-2008.

Note: Converted to turbine power with PT-6 engine (Vazar) by Harbour Air at their home base prior to operating its first service.

f/n 304

Active

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Otter 105 was delivered to the United States Army on 12th April 1956 with serial 55-3261 (tail number 53261). It was allocated to the 14th Army Aviation Company at Fort Riley, Kansas. In August '56 the 14th was re-designated the 1st Aviation Company and moved to Fort Benning, Georgia where it continued to fly the Otter until 1961, when it converted to the Caribou, relinquishing its U-1As to other units.

53261 was then assigned to Yuma, Arizona where it would spend the rest of its military career, as a test support aircraft. It was involved in a minor incident there on 26th February 1974. On take-off with a gusty crosswind the Otter became airborne prematurely and settled, with one tyre touching the runway and the propeller being damaged on contacting the runway. The damage was repaired and 53261 continued in service until April 1976 when it was transferred to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). It was registered to the CAP in June '76 as N5341G and flew for the CAP's Southwest Region - Texas. It was then sold to Air Saguenay Inc., of Chicoutimi, Quebec to whom marks C-GVNL were allocated on 16th March 1978. It went on lease to Cargair Ltée., of St.Michel-des-Saints (Lac Kaiagamac) Quebec to whom it was registered C-GVNL on 19th May '78. It flew for Cargair only that summer, after which it joined the Air Saguenay fleet, subsequently re-registered to Air Saguenay (1980) Inc.

The Otter was involved in an incident on 13th May 1980 at its Lac Sebastien base during a proficiency flight check. While on final for a simulated engine failure condition with throttle retarded, the pilot rounded out the aircraft too high. The check pilot did not recognise the error in sufficient time to take corrective action. Damage to the aircraft's structure was sustained in the hard landing that followed. The damage was repaired. In April 1985 the aircraft was transferred to Centre d'Expedition et de Plein Air Laurentien (CEPAL) of Jonquiere (Lac Kenogami) Quebec. On 10th July 1990 whilst in cruise flight, a cylinder failed and the engine was shut down. VNL made an emergency landing on Lac Manouane. In July 1998 the Otter was transferred to Air Bellevue Inc of St.Felicien, Quebec.

Having served the bush country of Quebec for just short of 23 years, VNL headed west for a new career on the Pacific coast. Air Bellevue's activities were winding down and its two Otters, VNL and C-FIUZ (135) were up for sale. Both were purchased by Harbour Air Ltd., of Vancouver. The two Otters set off together for the long cross-country ferry. They were flown as far as Calgary by Air Bellevue pilots, arriving on 14th March 2001. They overnighted at Calgary and continued on the next day to Vancouver, flown by Harbour Air pilots. Both Otters were registered to Harbour Air on 28th March 2001 and were converted to turbine power with PT-6 engines by Harbour Air in their hangar at Vancouver. They were painted into Harbour Air's colours and entered service on the company's scheduled passenger services between Vancouver and points on Vancouver Island.

Full history courtesy of Karl E. Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter: A History (2005).

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