DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 113

55-3267 with 55-3272 in de Havilland Canada publicity shot.
Photo: DHC © May 1956 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GPHD at Bradley Air Service, at Carp - CYRP, Ontario.
Photo: Sheldon D. Benner © May 1979 - Michael J. Ody Collection
C-GPHD having some wing tip work done at Bradley's Carp base.
Photos: Ron Kosys © 01 September 1976
C-GPHD awaiting her load.
Photo: Erik Johannesson © July 1988 - Michael J. Ody Collection
C-GPHD at Sabourin's Cochenour base.
Photos: Neil Aird © 14 July 1995
C-GPHD enjoys the sunshine.
Photo: Rich Hulina © Date unknown - Michael J. Ody Collection
C-GPHD on straight skis. "WHAT'S up DOC"
Photos: Peter Wollenberg © 13 March 2010 - Aird Archives
C-GPHD at Otter Lake - changeover time.
Photo: Dale Tiedeman © 20 May 2022

c/n 113




55-3267 United States Army. Delivered on 15th May 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 Mar-1961.

Transferred to 2nd Missile Command, Fort Carson, CO. Mar-1961 until Apr-1962.

It joined the 17th Aviation Company at Fort Ord, CA. Apr-1962.

55-3267 United States Air Force. Transferred Sep-1963.

Assigned to the 4082nd Strategic Wing, Goose Bay Air Base, NL.,  Oct-1962 and later the 95th Strategic Wing in Aug 1966.

Accident: Goose Bay, NL. 22nd May 1974. During a series of touch-and-go landings at Goose, the aircraft veered off the runway. It dug into the ground, nosed-up and returned to the 3-point position   with considerable force, during which the rear fuselage and tail wheel assembly received extensive compression damage.

Total time: 6,005 hours at May-1974.

C-GPHD Bradley Air Services Ltd., Carp, ON. Regd Aug-1976 after rebuild by Bradley.

Accident Shepherd Bay, NT, 14-Sep-1977. The pilot attempted to lift off before safe flying speed was reached, swung to the left and ran off the 4,500 foot runway. The aircraft was repaired.

C-GPHD Air Ranger Ltd., Winnipeg, MB. Dates unknown.

C-GPHD Sabourin Lake Airways Ltd., Cochenour, ON, Regd 20-May-1980. Ceased operations Canx 31-Jul-1996.

C-GPHD Wildcountry Airways Ltd., Red Lake, ON. Based, Cochenour ON. Regd 16-May-1997. Canx 03-Jun-1997. Re regd 07-Aug-1997.

For Sale at $475,000CDN at end of 2001 flying season.

Total time . 16,864 hours.

C-GPHD Reported as sold to TC Aviation, Saskatoon, SK. Dec-2001 but not on CCAR.

C-GPHD Leased to Wildcountry Airways Ltd, Red Lake, ON. Regd & Canx 29-May-2002. Based Points North Landing SK. Canx & re regd 30-May-2002. Address at La Ronge, SK Still based at Points North Landing. (Assumed admin error with these multiple dates). Canx 06-Nov-2003.

Note: Converted to Vazar turbine power by TC Aviation at their facilities at Saskatoon, SK. (Note: CCAR still shows as piston powered Nov-2015).

C-GPHD T.C. Leasing Ltd., La Ronge, SK. Regd 06-Nov-2003.

C-GPHD Osprey Wings, La Ronge, SK. Based Otter Lake, SK. Regd 07-Jun-2004.



Otter 113 was delivered to the United States Army on 15 May 1956 with serial 55-3267 (tail number 53267). It was allocated to the 14th Army Aviation Company at Fort Riley, Kansas. In August 1956 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-1A Otters to other units. 53267 was then transferred to the 2nd Missile Command at Fort Carson, Colorado until April 1962, when it joined the 17th Aviation Company at Fort Ord, California.

53267 was one of three 17th Aviation Company Otters transferred to the United States Air Force. In September 1963 the three Otters (53266, 53267 and 81696) went to the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, California where they were prepared for their new role and painted in USAF colours. In October 1963 they were delivered from Stockton to Goose Air Base, Labrador where they were assigned to the 4082nd Strategic Wing, and later the 95th Strategic Wing. The Otters were used to transport personnel and supplies from Goose to Air Defence Command radar sites at Melville, Cartwright, Hopedale and Saglek, support of survival camps and outlying sites and general liaison work. They also flew personnel on R&R flights to fishing camps around Labrador.

One other use was to transport the Catholic chaplain to the radar sites. His “parish” comprised these radar sites spread over thousands of square miles of wild, primitive country so he had to use the Otter. He would leave Goose with his “mass kit” – vestments, chalice, altar wine and bread etc to celebrate mass at the radar sites for the based personnel. On one occasion, while returning from one of the sites, the Otter was forced by a sudden snowstorm to land on a frozen lake, forcing the chaplain and other passengers to spend the night in the sub-zero temperatures at the lake. They chopped down trees for fire wood, melted snow to brew coffee, fried spam on a shovel and waited out the weather until they could return to Goose the next day. In winter 1968 53267 flew from Goose back to Stockton for overhaul and repaint, returning to Goose in spring 1969.

53267 served at Goose Air Base for eleven years, until it met with an accident on 22 May 1974, ending its military career in a somewhat undignified fashion. The Otter was on a pilot proficiency training flight in the local area. During a series of touch-and-go landings at Goose the aircraft veered off the runway. It dug into the ground, nosed-up and returned to the three point position with considerable force, during which the rear fuselage and tail wheel assembly received extensive compression damage. That was it as far as the Air Force was concerned, and the “wreckage” was put up for sale. Total time on the airframe at that stage was 6,005 hours. The damaged Otter was purchased by Bradley Air Services Ltd., of Carp, Ontario and rebuilt at Carp, using parts of their own Otter CF-OTX (432) which had crashed on 24 September 1974. After a lengthy rebuild Otter # 113 was registered C-GPHD and joined the Bradley fleet in August 1976, being registered to Bradley Air Services Ltd., that month. It was painted into the full white and green Bradley colour scheme. As with the other Bradley Otters, it went to work in the High Arctic.

C-GPHD was involved in an incident on 14 September 1977 at Shepherd Bay, Northwest Territories, a cold, overcast day with a temperature of minus five. The pilot attempted to lift off before safe flying speed had been reached, swung to the left and ran off the 4,500 foot runway. The accident report blamed inadequate pre-flight preparation or planning, specifically ice on the airframe. The damage was repaired. During summer 1978 the Otter was flying out of Devon Island in Baffin Bay. After nearly three years of service with Bradley, the Otter was sold.

The buyer of the Otter was Air Ranger Ltd., of Winnipeg, for whom the Otter flew for summer 1979, still painted in the basic green and white Bradley colour scheme. It was then sold on to Sabourin Lake Airways Ltd., of Cochenour, Ontario to whom it was registered in May 1980. It was painted into their colour scheme of white overall with a red and black cheatline and tail stripe and company titles on the fuselage. It flew alongside the company’s other Otter C-FVQD (466). Other aircraft in the fleet included Cessna 185s, Beavers, Aztec, Norsemen and some Beech 18s.  Sabourin Lake Airways (Sabair) was a native owned airline based at the Cochenour Airport, near to Red Lake, and serving northern Ontario. The Otters were used to service native settlements and for tourists, hunters and fishermen.

Otter PHD flew for Sabair for sixteen years, until the company closed down in 1996. The registration of the Otter to Sabair was cancelled on 31 July 1996 and the Otter was sold to Wildcountry Airways of Red Lake / Cochenour, to whom the Otter was registered in May 1997 in time for the summer season. It was acquired by Wildcountry Airways to replace its Otter C-FMEL (222) which had been destroyed in June 1996 and as PHD was sitting at Cochenour following the collapse of Sabair, Wildcountry Airways decided to buy it and it entered service alongside Wildcountry’s other Otter C-FITF. Other aircraft in the Wildcountry fleet were Cessna 185/206s, Beech 18s and a Navajo. Otter PHD continued to fly for the company until the end of the summer 2001 season and it was then advertised for sale, with a total time of 16,864 hours on the airframe and an asking price of CAD$475,000. It was replaced in service with Wildcountry by a Cessna Grand Caravan.

PHD was sold in December 2001 to T.C.Aviation of Saskatoon and was registered to Points North Air Services Inc., Points North Landing, Saskatchewan on 30 May 2002, on lease from T.C.Aviation. It flew for Points North Landing for the remainder of that year and until the end of the summer season of 2003. It was used with the other aircraft in the Points North fleet to distribute supplies and materials to outlying communities such as Stony Rapids, Fond du Lac, Wollaston Lake and Uranium City. There were also many fishing lodges and mining camps that relied on Points North Air for delivery of their supplies. In October 2003 PHD returned off lease to T.C. Aviation as Points North Air had ceased trading. On 6 November 2003 it was registered to T.C.Leasing Ltd., La Ronge, Sasketchewan and over that winter it was converted to a Vazar DHC-3T turbine Otter at T.C. Aviation’s facility at Saskatoon. It was painted all white.

Following completion of the conversion, it joined the fleet of Osprey Wings Ltd., La Ronge, Saskatchewan to whom it was registered on 7 June 2004. It was based at Missinipe, north of La Ronge, alongside the company’s Beavers, other turbine Otters and Twin Otters, serving the bush country of northern Saskatchewan and is still engaged on this work.

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.