DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX   click on arrows to navigate page by page

c/n 11

N87KA at Victoria Inner Harbour, British Columbia.
Photo: Fred Barnes © June 1997 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N87KA back at Kenmore Air Harbor.
Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © 28 August 2007
N87KA returng home after a long day.
Photo: Nigel Hitchman © 26 August 2017

c/n 11

3665 • BM-1003 • N8262V



3665 Delivered to Royal Canadian Air Force on 01-Apr-1953. Initially assigned to 408 Sqd, Rockcliffe.

Accident: Unknown location. 4th April 1954. A minor “C” category incident is recorded during its service with the Flight. On 4th April 1954, with five souls on board, while landing on a snow-covered, unmarked area in the course of a navigation training cross-country flight, the main skis touched just a moment before the tail ski, and some damage occurred in the area of the tail wheel bulkhead. The damage was repaired.

• BM-1003 Indian Air Force Transferred on 24-Apr-1963. 41 Sqd Palam Air Base, New Delhi between 1976 and 1980.

Note: Advertised for sale in April 1993 by the Indian Ministry of Defence.

Note: At the time of sale in 1993, it had 5,882 hours total time.

• No regn. La Ronge Aviation / Mike Hackman Aircraft Sales.

• N8262V Kenmore Air Harbor Inc., Kenmore, WA. Regd May-1995.

Note: Rebuilt by Kenmore and re engine with PT-6 Turbine engine.

• N87KA Kenmore Air Harbor Inc., Kenmore, WA. 23rd July 1996.

Airworthiness date: 25-Oct-1996. Category – Normal.

• N87KA On charter to Island Seaplanes, Nassau, Bahamas for the winter of 2000 / 2001.

• N87KA Kenmore Air Harbor Inc., Kenmore, WA.



Otter number 11 was delivered to the RCAF with serial 3665 on 1st April 1953. Prior to departure from Downsview, it had carried an AB code for DHC publicity photographs, as had Otters 3661, 3662, 3663, 3664 and 3666. Its first posting was to 408 Squadron, Rockcliffe where the unit history records its early days occupied with local area flights, pilot training, cross countries and water training at Golden Lake. In June 1953 3665 flew north and spent that summer based out of Goose Bay, Labrador and Knob Lake, Schefferville, Québec, supporting the squadron's mapping and surveying tasks. In August 1953 the Otter was assigned to duties with the Central Experimental & Proving Establishment (CEPE) at Rockcliffe and then in September 1953 at Namao, Alberta before joining 105 Communications & Rescue Flight at the Namao base in November 1953, where it received its 'Rescue' markings.

3665 was to serve the Flight for nearly three years, serving initially alongside the Flight's other Otter, 3669, three C-47 Dakotas and three Beech Expeditors. The unit was one of the most active rescue units in the RCAF, with responsibility for large tracts of Northern Canada, including Alberta, northern BC, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. As well as rescue work, the Otters were also used on transport tasks, including very extensive inspection tours of northern bases and facilities, for which 3665 was much used. One minor “C” category incident is recorded during its service with the Flight. On 4th April 1954, with five souls on board, while landing on a snow-covered, unmarked area in the course of a navigation training cross-country flight, the main skis touched just a moment before the tail ski, and some damage occurred in the area of the tailwheel bulkhead. The damage was repaired.

On 1st April 1955 the unit history records 3665 positioning from its Namao base to Fort Smith, NWT to commence an inspection tour of the Northwest Territories, extending as far north as the Beaufort Sea. Over the following three weeks it routed Fort Smith-Yellowknife-Parry Point-Shingle- Parry-Aklavik-Shingle-Tuktoyaktuk-Parry-Pearce-Nick Penn-Parry-Clinton-Cat Train-Horton River-

Parry-Norman Wells-Yellowknife-Fort Smith-Namao, where it arrived back on 20th April. This Otter was certainly getting to see the very remote parts of its native land, in the true traditions of a bush aircraft.

On 13th and 14th December 1955 105 Communications & Rescue Flight's two Otters 3665 and 3669 as well as Dakotas FZ695 and KJ956 and Expeditors 114, 948, 1506 and 1561, were involved in an extensive search in northern Alberta for a Fairchild aircraft en route from Peace River to Namur Lake. The Fairchild was eventually found, down on a lake, out of gas. 3665 continued to serve with the Flight until September 1956 when it went to DHC at Downsview for incorporation of All Up Weight modifications and it then continued eastwards to its next posting, with 103 Rescue Unit at Greenwood, Nova Scotia, which it joined in November 1956 and where it was to serve for the next five years. It was a very active member of this busy Rescue unit and features many and often in the unit's history, of which the following are but a few examples.

On 23rd and 24th March 1957 it was involved in the search for a Royal Canadian Navy Grumman Avenger, missing in the sea off Shearwater. That same month, on 5th March, Aero Commander 520 EP-AEA had gone missing on its delivery flight from Idlewild, New York to Iran, routing first to Goose Bay but diverting to Sept Îles, Québec due to the weather at Goose. The search for the missing aircraft was to go on for months, based out of Matane, Québec on the southern shore of the St.Lawrence River. Initially USAF SA-16s and SC-54s flying from Goose and Stephenville were involved, as well as RCAF Cansos and Lancasters, but nothing was found. On 17th May 1957 this search was still going on and 3665 flew to Sept Iles to join the search, code named “SAR Lorenz”, after the name of the pilot of the missing aircraft. The unit's other Otter 3673 was also involved, and both Otters flew from Matane on the search. Otter 3665 went u/s at Matane, C-47 serial FZ694 flying in with personnel and spare parts to fix the aircraft. Unfortunately the Dak went u/s as well, the unit's Canso 9830 having to be dispatched with more repair resources. By 31st May all the unit's aircraft had completed their involvement with the search and returned to base. The search itself was suspended on 17th July 1957, with nothing ever found.

On 12th November 1958 3665 is recorded operating a medical evacuation flight from Grand Manan Island to St.John, New Brunswick with the unit's Canso 11084 flying escort for the Otter over the Bay of Fundy. 3665 continued to serve with 103 Rescue Unit at Greenwood until February 1962 when it was retired from service and entrusted to No.6 Repair Depot, Trenton for storage as a reserve aircraft. It remained in storage for a year, until transported to DHC at Downsview in March 1963. It was one of five Otters, all of which had been in storage with 6RD, which were donated by the Canadian Government to the Government of India, to whom the Otter was formally transferred on 24th April 1963.

The five Otters were shipped to India, where 3665 took Indian Air Force serial BM-1003. For the next 27 years it was to serve in India. It was one of 36 Otters to serve with the Indian Air Force, and it survived its tour of duty. Nothing is known of its Indian Air Force service, other than it was with 41 Squadron based at Palam Air Base, New Delhi between 1976 and 1980. It was one of “8 Otters on the ground since 1990 and 5 Otter airframes without engines” advertised for sale in April 1993 by the Indian Ministry of Defence. The successful purchasers were La Ronge Aviation/Mike Hackman Aircraft Sales. The Otters were located at various bases, BM-1003 being one of three at Kanpur. At the time of sale, it had 5,882 hours on the airframe. These three, and a further five located at Barrackpore, were paint stripped, dismantled and shipped from Calcutta, arriving at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan by 30th April 1994. They were then advertised for sale.

The purchaser of Otter number 11 was Kenmore Air Harbor Inc of Seattle. The Otter was trucked from Saskatoon to the company's base at Kenmore, on the northern end of Lake Washington and was registered to its new owners in May 1995 as N8262V. It was one of three former Indian Air Force Otters acquired by Kenmore, the others being 37 and 221. These three Otters were rebuilt by Kenmore Air and during the re-building converted to turbine power with the installation of PT-6 engines. Thus completed, Otter number 11 was re-registered N87KA on 23rd July 1996, and painted in Kenmore's smart yellow and white trim, joined the company's expanding fleet of turbine Otters, used on scheduled and charter services in the Puget Sound area and also the Inside Passage, the waterway which divides the Canadian mainland from Vancouver Island. Kenmore brought new and hitherto unheard of levels of sophistication to passenger flying in the Otter, establishing a network of scheduled services between the main points in its area of operation, as well as charters. The company even has a frequent flyer programme, probably the only one in the world where passengers can accrue points on the Otter.

By October 1999 Kenmore Air were flying six turbine Otters on their scheduled commuter services out of Seattle. For the winter of 2000/01 two of the Otters N87KA and N50KA (221) went on charter to Island Seaplanes of Nassau in the Bahamas. The two Otters were put on EDO amphibious floats and departed Kenmore in November 2000 for the six month lease, during which they were flown by Kenmore pilots. The ferry flight time was 27 hours with stops at Twin Falls, Idaho-Mesquite, Arizona-El Paso, Texas-Louisiana-Mobile, Alabama-Tallahassee, Florida-Fort Lauderdale-Nassau.

As the Island Seaplanes website proclaimed: “Our seaplanes make getting around the Bahamas a breeze. Equipped with amphibious floats we can pick up and deliver from land and sea. Charter connections between airports, yacht harbours, lodges and pristine beaches are all easily made with our nine passenger turbo Otters, leased from Kenmore Air of Seattle, a respected giant in the seaplane world. Kenmore converted the original lumbering, piston-powered version of the Otter into the more reliable and quieter turbo-prop edition. In Nassau our base of operations is at Million Air, a first class corporate flight centre at Nassau international Airport”. As well as charters, Island Seaplanes also operated scheduled Out Island day excursions to such points as Exumas and Harbour Island.

At the end of the lease the two Otters returned to Seattle in May 2001 and resumed operations with Kenmore Air. In March 2004 two of the Kenmore Otters N87KA and N606KA were advertised for sale.  N87KA was advertised as having 10,795 hours on the airframe. Neither Otter sold however and during the years that followed the Kenmore fleet remained at six units, mostly employed on the scheduled routes to Vancouver Island.

N87KA is mentioned in a CADORS report on 19th September 2006. The float-equipped turbo Otter was inbound to Victoria Harbour from Lake Union, Seattle on a north-west heading at one thousand feet. A West Coast Air DHC-2 Beaver C-FGQZ took off from the harbour southbound, with a left turn to a south-eastern heading, climbing. Traffic was passed to N87KA but not to C-FGQZ. Both pilots saw the other aircraft and initiated right turns. The two aircraft passed at the same altitude within close proximity to each other.  Some further CADORS reports featuring N87KA:

10 July 2013.  N87KA from Victoria Harbour to Kenmore Air Harbour, Seattle, was in position for a westbound departure and had a mechanical issue. The Otter taxied for the boat lane and returned to the dock. Otter C-FLAP (289) of Harbour Air from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria Harbour elected to do a missed approach due to the delay caused by N87KA.

20 September 2014.   N87KA was twelve miles south-east of Victoria Harbour inbound for a landing, on a flight from Kenmore Air Harbour. The Otter declared an emergency due to smoke coming from a generator, but landed safely.

13 May 2018.  N87KA landing Victoria Harbour from Seattle. Executed a missed approach due to a vessel entering the landing area.

As of summer 2018 N87KA continued in service with Kenmore Air as part of its fleet of turbine Otters. Unlike other Kenmore Air Otters it retains its original window configuration and has not received the panoramic window conversion.

Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005), now with added and updated information which Karl has supplied for the benefit of the website.