DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 111

C-FODQ over wintering at Red Lake, Ontario.
Photo: Rich Hulina © March 2000 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FODQ basking in the evening light.
Photo: Fred Barnes © 17 September 2009
C-FODQ still with Chimo Air, at Red Lake.
Photo: András Mihalik © 28 August 2015

c/n 111

CF-ODQ

C-FODQ

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• CF-ODQ Department of Lands & Forests, Ontario Provincial Air Service (OPAS), Sault St. Marie, ON. Delivered 20-Jun-1956.

Note: Used to trial a new system of fighting forest fires in 1957. New 35 gallon tanks made of lightweight material were fitted on top of the floats, filled by two scoops. These tanks, having an operational capacity of 80 imperial gallons, were six feet long and 22 inches in diameter and were filled in ten seconds at 40 mph while taxying on the step.   Once airborne, the pilot cascaded the water by rotating the tanks upside down.

• C-FODQ Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Sault St. Marie, ON. Regd 6th September 1972. Canx 05-Dec-1984.

• C-FODQ Ellair Ltd., Thompson, MB. Regd Dec-1984. Canx 20-Mar-1985.

• C-FODQ Leased to Northwinds Northern Inc., Thompson, MB Regd Mar-1985. Regd 30-Nov-1990. Canx 15-Aug-1995

• C-FODQ Parry Sound Air Services Ltd., Fort McKellar, ON. Regd 01-Aug-1986. Canx 03-Jun-1997.

• C-FODQ Peter Hagedorn Investments Ltd., Red Lake, ON. dba Chimo Air Service. Regd 22-Jul-1997.

Current

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Otter 111, registered CF-ODQ to the Department of Lands & Forests, was delivered to the Ontario Provincial Air Service (OPAS) on 20 June 1956, painted in their trademark all-yellow colour scheme. It was their fifth Otter, and was delivered on the same day as their fourth, CF-ODP (103).   Otter ODQ pioneered a new system of fighting forest fires in 1957. New 35 gallon tanks made of lightweight material were fitted on top of the floats, filled by two scoops. These tanks, having an operational capacity of 80 imperial gallons, were six feet long and 22 inches in diameter and were filled in ten seconds at 40 mph while taxying on the step. Once airborne the pilot cascaded the water by rotating the tanks upside down. The original flight tests were carried out on ODQ, which was also used on real fires during 1957, this being the pioneer prototype for this system.

ODQ, with tail number 63, went on to serve the Province for the next 28 years without any recorded incidents, a remarkable record. It provided the full range of bush services throughout Ontario for government personnel. As with the other OPAS Otters, it was re-registered on 6 September 1972 to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources as C-FODQ and continued to serve the bush country. As the Ministry disposed of its large Otter fleet during the mid 1980s, ODQ was sold. Its registration to the Ministry was cancelled on 5 December 1984 and it was registered to a company called Ellair Ltd of Thompson, Manitoba. This was in connection with its acquisition by its next operator, Northwinds Northern Inc, also of Thompson, to whom it was registered in March 1985. It retained the yellow colour scheme, but acquired a red cheatline and rudder and Northwinds fuselage titles. This company operated a fleet of Navajos and islanders for air taxi work, and had just the one Otter to serve the bush country of northern Manitoba. The following story illustrates the type of work it was involved in:

“Late September 1987. We flew up to South Knife Lake to salvage a Cessna 206 which had crashed. The Cessna was half a mile from the shore on a big hill in the trees. We had to cut a road down to the lake. Then we carried the wings and tail down. With a chain saw winch we pulled the fuselage to the shore of the lake. We took out the engine and loaded it and the floats and some small parts into a Norseman, which was flown back to Thompson. Then we waited for Otter ODQ to show up to fly the fuselage out. The weather was bad, freezing rain, light snow. The Otter was a day late but it finally arrived just before dark. We then took two mattresses and put them on the right float. Six of us carried the fuselage of the Cessna out into the lake where the Otter was heeled into the sandy bottom. We tied it on and waited for the morning to take off for Thompson, 180 miles south. That night it rained and in the morning the Otter (and Cessna fuselage) were covered in a layer of ice. The pilot went inside the Otter and got a tiger torch and melted the ice off all three blades of the propeller. When we went to take off we were stuck on the sand, but with some help we got free. The right float was submerged, but when the pilot ‘opened her up’ the old plane took off in no time. We stayed over the lake as long as we could, as the Otter did not want to climb very well. We could not climb higher than 150 feet for eighty miles or so. The stall light was on and we were only doing 60 mph. As the weather got better and the ice melted off, the Otter gained more speed and climbed higher. The rest of the flight went well and we landed on the Burntwood River with our Cessna cargo”.

Having served at Thompson for ten years, the Otter was next registered to Parry Sound Air Services Inc., of McKellar, Ontario in April 1996. It flew alongside a Beaver and Cessna 185. The company served the Georgian Bay and Muskoka regions, catering largely to the European tourist market. The following year ODQ was sold to Peter Hagedorn Investments Ltd., trading as Chimo Air Service, to whom it was registered on 22 July 1997. With its new operator it was based at Red Lake, Ontario and still sported the all-yellow colour scheme of its days with the Ontario government. It also retained the red cheatline it had with Northwinds Northern. It was kept excellent company by the other members of the Chimo Air Service fleet – two Norsemen and a Beech 18. It was to fly for Chimo Air Service for many years.

A few incidents are reported on CADORS. On 12 June 2000 ODQ was inbound on approach to Howie Bay at Red Lake, VFR. A Wasaya Airways Hawker 748 on flight WSG 805 was inbound IFR from Red Sucker to the Red Lake Airport. On approach to runway 08 at Red Lake the crew of the Hawker reported the Otter over the golf course to the southeast of the airport in the Control Zone, as an item of conflicting traffic. On 9 August 2009 Otter ODQ was on a VFR flight from Red Lake water aerodrome to an outlying lake. The Otter was seven miles west of Red Lake when the pilot reported engine trouble and made a precautionary landing. A boat was sent to tow the Otter back to Red Lake. It was soon repaired and returned to service.

Over the period January to March 2010 C-FODQ was converted to a Vazar Turbine Otter with a PT-6 engine by Lakelands Aviation at Fort Frances, Ontario before returning to Red Lake and continuing in service with Chimo Air, now as a DHC-3T. In August 2012 it was joined by Otter C-GYYS (276) in the fleet. Both Otters are used during the summer months to fly tourists, fishermen and hunters to remote parts of the Ontario bush country. 

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.