DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 144

N80940 at Shannon - EINN, Ireland.
Photo: Unknown photographer © 04 March 1972 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
CF-AON at Lac Mance, Québec.
Photo: William Haines © 28 October 1973 - Michael J. Ody Collection
C-FAON of Propair.
Photo: Anthony J. Hickey © April 1993 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N62KA at Ketchikan - PAKT, Alaska.
Photo: Karl E. Hayes © September 1994
N93356 at Juneau - PAJN, Alaska.
Photos: Neil Aird © 14 September 2004

c/n 144

55-3292 • N80940 • CF-AON • C-FAON • N62KA

N93356

X

 55-3292 United States Army. Delivered 25-Jul-1956. Designated as U-1A.

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

Jul/Aug to Brookley AFB, Mobile, AL. Here the aircraft was loaded on board a ship serving with the Military Sea Transportation Service, which set sail for Bremerhaven, Germany arriving in Aug-1956.

Aug-1956. 2nd Aviation Company based at Illesheim, Germany until Jul-1959 when the unit moved to France.

Jul-1959. 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.

Known to have been based at Orléans during 1965 until Mar-1967

Mar-1967. Assigned to the 56th Aviation Detachment at Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany which took over the duties which the 2nd Aviation Company had performed.

Aug-1971. Into storage at Coleman Barracks Depot , Mannheim, Germany.

• N80940 Ferrer Aviation Inc., Miami, Florida. 02-Feb-1972

Total time, 4,454hrs

• CF-AON St.Louis Aviation Inc., St.Jean Airport, QC. Dates unknown.

• CF-AON La Sarre Air Service Ltd., La Sarre, QC.

• C-FAON La Sarre Air Service Ltd. Re regd circa-1981

• C-FAON Propair Inc., Rouyn Noranda, QC. Based La Sarre, QC. Regd 13-Sep-1989. Canx 20-Apr-1994.

Incident: Chevery Airport, QC. 02-Jan-1984. Made a landing with iced up brakes and ski/wheel combo . On landing the wheels and brakes failed to stop the aircraft and it skidded to a halt almost tipping over.

• N62KA Ketchikan Air Service Inc., Ketchikan, AK. Regd Apr-1994. Canx May-1994.

Airworthiness date: 10-Sep-1994. Category – Normal.

 • N62KA Taquan Air Inc., Ketchikan, AK. Regd May-1997.

Total time: 18,745 hours at May-2000.

• N62KA Scudero Inc., Ketchikan. AK Regd & Canx date unknown.

• N62KA Kenmore Air, Seattle, WA. Regd & Canx date unknown.

• N62KA Leased to Sol Guthrie, dba Sol Air, Ketchikan, AK. Summer 2000.

• N62KA Carmacks Commercial Corporation, Anchorage, AK. Regd 25-Oct-2000.

• N93356 Red Leasing LLC., Juneau, AK. Regd 04-Mar-2003.

• N93356 Leased to Ward Air, Juneau, AK.

Power-plant: Converted to Texas Turbine  Garrett TPE331-10JR-511C by Kal Air  at Vernon, BC.

Accident: Slate Cove, Alaska, 31-Jul-2006 Whilst flying for Ward Air, the aircraft took off from Juneau flying workers to the Kenington gold mine. It was foggy as the floatplane attempted to land in Slate Cove, Berners Bay. The aircraft struck the water hard on landing. The fuselage filled with water from the front, and passengers had to scramble over cargo piled at the aft doorway to escape. PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's failure to maintain altitude / clearance during approach, which resulted in the airplane impacting the surface of the water. Factors associated with the accident were the flat-light and glassy water conditions, which affected the pilot's ability to see the surface of the water”. The aircraft was shipped south to Kal-Air at Vernon, BC., for repair. The rebuilding of the Otter took most of a year it took off from Vernon on 25th August 2007 returning to Juneau to resume service with Ward Air.

Current

Otter 144 was delivered to the United States Army on 25th July 1956 with serial 55-3292 (tail number 53292). It was assigned to the 2nd Aviation Company, Fort Riley, Kansas which later deployed to Germany, then France (as described in relation to Otter 124). It was noted visiting London's Croydon Airport on 6th November 1957. It continued in service with the 2nd Aviation Company, being based at Orleans during 1965, until the unit disbanded in March 1967, and was the assigned to the 56th Aviation Detachment at Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany which took over the duties which the 2nd Aviation Company had performed. It continued flying for the 56th Aviation Detachment until August 1971, and was then put into storage at Coleman Barracks pending disposal. It was one of eight US Army Otters at Coleman Barracks put up for sale by tender in December 1971.

As explained in relation to Otter 137, all eight aircraft were purchased by Ferrer Aviation Inc of Miami, Florida. At the time of the sale, 53292's total airframe time was 4,454 hours and its sale price was $33,800. On 2nd February 1972 civilian registrations were applied for from the FAA and 53292 was allocated marks N80940. The Otters were flown, two at a time, from Coleman Barracks via Saarbrucken, Germany to Ashford in Kent and on to Shannon in Ireland. The first two Otters to arrive at Shannon on 23rd February '72 were N80938 (formerly 53287) and N80940 (formerly 53292). At Shannon, ferry tanks were installed by SRS Aviation and both Otters continued on their trans-Atlantic delivery flight.

N80938 and N80940 had been sold by Ferrer Aviation to St. Louis Aviation Inc., of Hangar 2, St. Jean Airport near Montréal. On arrival at St. Jean, both Otters were re-furbished and re-registered, N80938 becoming CF-AOO and N80940 becoming CF-AON. Both were sold to La Sarre Air Service Ltd., of La Sarre, Quebec. CF-AOO did not last too long, and was lost in an accident in July 1974, but CF-AON went on to serve La Sarre Air Service for many years, and was still part of the fleet when La Sarre became part of Propair Inc., in 1981, by which stage the Otter was registered C-FAON. La Sarre merged with Air Fecteau Ltée., in 1981 to form Propair, which had a massive fleet of 14 Otters, as well as 14 Beavers, all operating from different bases around Quebec. While flying for Propair C-FAON was involved in an incident at Chevery Airport, Quebec on 2nd January 1984. The night before, the pilot had parked the aircraft and placed poles under the skis to prevent them from freezing to the snow. He then raised the wheels to the stowed position and set the parking brake. The next morning he took off from the snow-covered surface using the skis and he did not lower the wheels and release the parking brake until just prior to landing on a hard surface runway. On touchdown, the Otter skidded for fifty feet on the bare, dry runway, almost nosed   over and then fell back heavily on its tail. The investigation revealed that the brakes were frozen. Because the wheels were not used for the take-off, the brakes did not release fully when the pilot released the parking brake. On touchdown, the partially locked brakes caused the wheels to skid and the aircraft to almost nose over. The damage was repaired.

On 15th June 1989, still operated by Propair, while making a pass at low altitude into the sun at Lac Mishisu, Québec the Otter struck the stump of a tree, which caused some damage. It must indeed have been a low pass. Again it was repaired and 'AON continued to fly for Propair until sold to Ketchikan Air Service Inc., of Ketchikan, Alaska in April 1994. It arrived at Vancouver on 14th April 1994 carrying 'Aero Accessories' titles, the same day as the Bill of Sale from Propair to Ketchikan Air Service. Taped registration N62KA had been applied by 6th May and the Otter on floats departed from Vancouver the following day, headed north to Ketchikan. It was registered to its new owners the following month as N62KA. It flew for Ketchikan Air Service for three years until the company was closed down. Another Ketchikan-based operator, Taquan Air, took over most of the Ketchikan Air Service assets, including Otter N62KA. The Otter was registered to Taquan Air Service Inc., in May 1997 and flew for this company until it too encountered financial difficulties towards the end of 1999 and was also closed down.

A sale of the assets of Taquan Air Service Inc took place at Ketchikan in mid May 2000. Included in the sale was Otter N62KA, still painted in the overall yellow scheme with blue cheatline which it had carried while operated by Propair in Quebec. It was on EDO 7170 floats and at the time of the auction had 18,745 hours on the airframe. It was out of hours to an annual inspection and was with “logbooks missing prior to 1972”. The Otter was sold to Kenmore Air of Seattle and then sold on to Scudero Inc, the former owner of Taquan Air, but went on lease to Sol Guthrie, trading as Sol  Air, who continued to fly out of Ketchikan for the summer of 2000. It was then sold on to Carmacks Commercial Corporation of Anchorage, to whom it was registered on 25th October 2000. It was flown down to Seattle for maintenance and then placed into storage. It was put up for sale, with an asking price of US$325,000. In September 2002 it arrived at Vernon, BC landing on Lake Okanagan on floats. The floats were taken off and it was put on wheels and taken to the nearby facility of Kal Air at the Vernon Airport. It had been purchased by Red Leasing LLC., of Juneau, Alaska for lease to Ward Air of Juneau.

Over the winter of 2002/2003 the Otter was converted to a Texas Turbine conversion by Kal Air and painted in Ward Air's blue and red colour scheme. By March 2003 the work had been completed. On 31st March 2003 the Otter was registered to Red Leasing LLC., as N93356 and set off on delivery to Juneau. It flies alongside Ward Air's piston Otter N63354 (30) and fleet of Beavers. It is used to service many lodges and resorts, as well as for hunters, fishermen, tourists, bear viewers and general charter work.  N93356 was involved in an interesting experiment at Juneau on 17th May 2003. The City of Juneau was conducting noise tests in the downtown harbour, to determine if there was a significant reduction in noise by using turbine powered Otters instead of standard Otters.

Based on the results, the local government was to consider an incentive program with low interest loans to encourage the conversion of engines as part of a noise reduction program. Three Otters were involved, one of the locally-based Wings of Alaska standard Otters, a Pro Mech Air turbine Otter with the 750 hp PT-6 engine, which flew in from Ketchikan, and N93356 as the Texas Turbine 900 hp conversion.

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