DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 128

N5322G awaits a new role at Anchorage, Alaska.
Photo: John Kimberley © June 1979 - Aird Archives
Photo: G.G. © 05 September 1981 - Karl E. Hayes Collection

c/n 128

55-3280

N5322G

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• 55-3280 United States Army Delivered on 20th June 1956.

Assigned to 2nd Aviation Company, Fort Riley, KS.

April/May 1957 to Brookley AFB, Mobile, AL. Here the aircraft were loaded on board the 'USS Tripoli', an aircraft carrier then serving with the Military Sea Transportation Service, which set sail for Bremerhaven, Germany arriving on 16-May-1967.

2nd Aviation Company based at Illesheim, Germany until Jul-1959 when the unit moved to France.

The Company headquarters of the 2nd Aviation Company and one platoon were based at Orléans, a second platoon at Verdun and a third platoon at Poitiers. During its time in France the aircraft was either based at or visited all three locations for different levels of maintenance

Jan-1962. At Coleman Barracks Depot, Mannheim, Germany.

May-1962 Allocated to Southern European Task Force (SETAF) Vicenza, Italy.

Accident: Boscomantico AAF, Spring-1965. Damaged in a hard landing during a “heavy loads landing training detail”. Repaired and returned to service.

Nov-1967 at Coleman Barracks Depot, Mannheim, Germany and from there transported to the USA

May 1968. 388th Transportation Company, Vung Tau, Vietnam.

Oct-1968. To the 244th Aviation Company.

Jan-1969. 388th Transportation Company, Vung Tau, Vietnam awaiting disposition, and was then returned to the United States.

Aug-1969. Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, CA in August 1969 and was placed into storage there

Aug-1971. 12th Aviation Company, Fort Wainright, Fairbanks, AK. The unit was disbanded in Jun-1973 and it was put up for disposal as military surplus.

• N5322G Civil Air Patrol, Alaska Wing, Elmendorf AFB Anchorage, AK. Regd circa 1974.

Airworthiness date 02-Jul-1974 Category Standard – Normal.

• N5322G Robert G. Sholton, Anchorage, AK. (One of Northern Air Caro’s founders).

• N5322G Northern Air Cargo Inc., Anchorage, AK

• N5322G Donald E. Darden, dba Alaska Cargo Service, Dillingham, AK. Regd 24-Jul-1982.

Accident: King Salmon, AK, Regd 22-Sep-1990. During the take-off roll, the pilot lost control of the aircraft which exited the departure end of the runway and ended up in the tundra. Repaired by Harold J. Hansen of Seattle and returned to service.

Current

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Otter 128 was delivered to the United States Army on 20th June 1956 with serial 55-3280 (tail number 53280) and was assigned to the 2nd Aviation Company, Fort Riley, Kansas which later deployed to Germany, then France (as described in relation to Otter 124).53280 continued to fly for the 2nd Aviation Company for some years. By January 1962 it was at the depot at Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany and in May 1962 it was allocated to SETAF in Italy, where it was to serve for the next five years. In the spring of 1965 it was damaged in a hard landing at Boscomantico AAF during a “heavy loads landing training detail” but was repaired and returned to service. It was one of two Otters to continue in service with SETAF until November 1967, the other being 53297. In November '67 both Otters went to the depot at Coleman Barracks, from where they were transported to the United States and then onwards to Vietnam. 53280 arrived with the 388th Transportation Company, Vung Tau in May 1968 and was allocated in October 1968 to the 244th Aviation Company. By January 1969 it was back at Vung Tau with the 388th Transportation Company awaiting disposition, and was then brought back to the United States, where it arrived at the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, California in August 1969 and was placed into storage there.

In August 1971 the Otter was assigned to the 12th Aviation Company, Fort Wainright, Alaska. It was a replacement for 76108 (226) which a crew from the 12th Aviation Company flew down to Stockton, and then picked up 53280 and flew it back to Fort Wainright. 53280 continued flying for the 12th Aviation Company until the unit was disbanded in June 1973 and it was then put up for disposal as military surplus. It was transferred to the Civil Air Patrol in 1974 and registered N5322G, one of three Otters registered to the Alaska Wing of the CAP, the others being N5321G (362) and N5323G (91). It was sold the following year to Robert G. Sholton of Anchorage, Alaska and registered to him still as N5322G. It was to be seen flying from the Anchorage International Airport in October 1978, still painted in its Army olive drab colour scheme. Robert Sholton was one of the founders of that famous Alaskan airline, Northern Air Cargo, with its fleet of C-82s and DC-6s and in July 1981 the Otter was registered to Northern Air Cargo Inc, still based at Anchorage.

The following year, in July 1982, it was sold to Donald E. Darden, trading as Alaska Cargo Service and moved to its new base at Dillingham, Alaska where more than twenty years later it was still in service. Only one incident is recorded, at King Salmon, Alaska on 22nd September 1990. During the take-off roll, the pilot lost control of the airplane. The Otter exited the departure end of the runway and ended up in the tundra. Substantial damage was caused, which was fixed by that master Otter craftsman Harold J. Hansen of Seattle and N5322G returned to service with Alaska Cargo Service.

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

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