Otter 129 was delivered on 6th June 1956 to V.C. Simmonds of Edmonton, Alberta registered CF- JAO. Referring back to Otter number 80, it had been ordered by Associated Airways Ltd of Edmonton but just as it was delivered as CF-IKK in January 1956, Associated Airways Ltd was taken over by Pacific Western Airlines. IKK flew for a time in the colours of Associated Airways and later as part of the Pacific Western fleet. V.C. Simmonds had been the Operations Manager of Associated Airways and it was not long before Otter CF-JAO was transferred to Western Aero Renters Ltd and then leased to Pacific Western Airlines (Alberta) Ltd, the same company to which CF-IKK was registered. JAO flew as part of the Pacific Western fleet. As with IKK, the files of the Western Area SAR Co- Ordinator provide interesting data on the comings and goings of JAO during 1957 and '58 in the remote reaches of the Northwest Territories.
It was particularly active flying between Coppermine, Bathurst Inlet, Cambridge Bay and Contwoyto Lake and Yellowknife during the latter part of 1957, servicing mining and exploration camps. Routings during 1958 included Yellowknife-Hotta Lake-Port Radium (25th January); Norman Wells-Good Hope-Aklavik (25th April); Norman Wells-East Three-Hay River-Fort Providence-Hay River (17th to 20th May) and Coppermine-Fort Radium-Sawmill Bay-Yellowknife (14th September 1958). CF-JAO took part in a few SAR operations while flying for PWA. During August 1961 it participated in the search for Cessna 180 CF-ICR, missing on a flight from Yellowknife to Coppermine. It flew two hours on the search, covering 400 square miles. Also involved in this operation (code name “SAR Herriman”) were RCAF Otters 3694 and 3743 of 111 C&R Flight. CF- JAO was also involved in August 1962 in the search for a missing boat in the vicinity of Tuk Tuk. Also involved in this search were RCAF Otter 3743 and RCMP Otter CF-MPW. CF-JAO continued to fly for PWA until 1965 when it joined the fleet of Northward Aviation Ltd, a company created by the amalgamation of the charter divisions of Pacific Western Airlines, Bow Valley Industries and Northward Air Services. Northward Aviation went on to become one of the biggest bush operators in Canada, based at Edmonton but with aircraft operating all over the Canadian North. Unfortunately, JAO's service with Northward Aviation was not all that long, as it was completely destroyed in a hangar fire at Edmonton on 26th February 1967. Also destroyed in the same fire was Beechcraft C-45 Expediter CF-MPA of the RCMP.
Full history courtesy of Karl E. Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter: A History (2005).