DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 145

CF-FVZ at Tukanee Lake, White River, Ontario.
Photo: Unknown photographer © September 1975 - Karl E. Hayes Collection

c/n 145

55-3293 • N80944

C-FFVZ

X

 55-3293 United States Army. Delivered 25-July-1956. Designated U-1A.

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

Jul/Aug 1957 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-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

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

May-1963: Headquarters Company, 3rd Support Command.

Feb-1966. 394th Transportation Battalion.

Aug-1969. Coleman Barracks Depot, Mannheim, Germany for maintenance.

Dec-1969. assigned to the  591st Transportation Company, Illesheim, Germany as a support aircraft.

Sep-1970. Transferred to 7 Corps Support Command, Stuttgart.,

Feb-1971. Returned to Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Ger and was put into storage pending disposal.

Total time 3,714hrs.

• N80944 Ferrer Aviation Inc., Miami, FL.

Note: Delivered to St. Jean Airfield, near Montreal, where it was converted to civilian configuration by St. Louis Aviation Inc.

• CF-FVZ Northland Fisheries Ltd., Winnipeg, MB. Regd May 1973.

• CF-FVZ & C-FFVZ White River Air Services Ltd., Timmins, ON. Also flew in Austin Airways colours, an associate company of White River A/S. Regd circa late 1973.

• C-FFVZ Lindbergh's Hunting & Fishing Air Service Ltd, based at Cochrane-Lillabelle Lake, ON. Regd 08-Aug-1980. Canx 01-Jun-1998.

Accident: Detour Lake, Ontario. 25-May-1994. During the take-off run and as the aircraft was coming up on the step, the left float struck a submerged rock and the Otter immediately stopped. The pilot and passengers donned life vests and were picked up by a helicopter

• C-FFVZ Points North Air Services Inc., La Ronge, SK. Regd 01-Jun-1998. Canx 15-Mar-1999.

• C-FFVZ Jackson Air Services Ltd., Flin Flon. MB. Regd 21-Apr-1999. Canx 28-May-2009.

Accident: Kipahigan Lake, SK. 30-Sep-1999. Just after lift off, the aircraft started to yaw to the left and descend. It had become prematurely airborne and had not attained the required airspeed before it settled into trees. In the crash, the pilot (the only occupant) was uninjured but the wings of the Otter were sheared off and the fuselage badly damaged. After some time it returned to service with Jackson A/S

Power-plant: Converted to turbine power following above mentioned accident.

• C-FFVZ Kississing Lake Lodge Ltd., (Wings over Kississing), Steinbach, MB. Regd 28-May-2009 & 18-Jan-2010.

Current

Otter 145 was delivered to the United States Army on 25th July 1956 with serial 55-3293 (tail number 53293). 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). 53293 went to the Depot at Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany in October 1962 as a maintenance float and in May 1963 was assigned to Headquarters Company, 3rd Support Command. In February 1966 it was transferred to the 394th Transportation Battalion until it was returned to the depot at Coleman Barracks in August 1969 for maintenance. In December 1969 it was assigned to the 591st Transportation Company at Illesheim, Germany as a support aircraft. While with the unit it was named “Big Ugly Mother”, which was painted on the engine cowling. In September 1970 it was transferred to 7 Corps Support Command, Stuttgart, until February 1971 when it was returned to Coleman Barracks and was put into storage pending disposal. It was one of eight US Army Otters in storage at Coleman Barracks which were put up for sale by tender in December 1971.

As explained in relation to Otter 137, all eight were purchased by Ferrer Aviation Inc of Miami, Florida. At the time of the sale, 53293's total time on the airframe was 3,714 hours and its sale price was $39,680. On 2nd February 1972 civilian registrations were applied for from the FAA and 53293 was allocated marks N80944. The Otters were flown from Coleman Barracks via Saarbrucken, Germany to Ashford in Kent and on to Shannon in Ireland. N80944 arrived in Shannon on 29th March 1972, still carrying “Big Ugly Mother” on the engine cowling, and was fitted with ferry tanks for the Atlantic crossing. Together with N80946 (formerly 53324), which had arrived in Shannon on 15th March '72, it set off for Reykjavik, Iceland on 13th April '72, the first leg of the ocean crossing, continuing on via Greenland and Newfoundland. Both Otters were delivered to St. Jean Airfield, Montreal where they were converted to civilian configuration by St. Louis Aviation Inc.

Otter 145 was then sold to Northland Fisheries Ltd to whom it was registered CF-FVZ in May 1973. It was sold on that same year to White River Air Services Ltd of Timmins, Ontario as C-FFVZ, with whom it was to serve for the next seven years. It also flew for associated company Austin Airways Ltd and was in fact painted in Austin's colours. In June 1980 it was sold to Lindbergh's Hunting & Fishing Air Service Ltd, based at Cochrane-Lillabelle Lake, Ontario, an operator it was to serve for the next 18 years. It was noted at Cochrane in July 1984 still painted in Austin Airways colour scheme but with Lindbergh titles. On 1st October 1988 at Attawapiskat River, Ontario while performing a test flight the pilot heard an “unknown clatter”, as the incident report puts it. The Otter landed safely on the river. On 24th January 1989, during a long descent into Cochrane at approximately 130 mph, when fifteen miles west of town, the pilot experienced severe elevator vibration but landed safely.

On 25th May 1994 the Otter was dispatched to Detour Lake, Ontario to pick up six campers. On arrival at the lake, the pilot conducted an aerial inspection of the planned departure route. The water was tea coloured and with the wave action the pilot did not observe any rocks in the landing and take-off area. After loading the passengers, the pilot taxied the aircraft an adequate distance and turned it directly into wind. During the take-off run and as the aircraft was coming up on the step, the left float struck a submerged rock and the Otter immediately stopped. The pilot and passengers donned life vests and were picked up by a helicopter. FVZ was repaired and returned to service with Lindberghs.

In June 1998 the Otter went to Points North Air Services Inc, La Ronge, Saskatchewan but its time with that operator was brief, only the summer of 1998. It was purchased by Jackson Air Services ltd of Flin Flon, Manitoba and over the winter of 1998/1999 was given a full overhaul and painted in Jackson's very attractive colour scheme. It flew for a few months during the spring and summer of 1999, until meeting with a bad accident on 30th September 1999 which substantially damaged the aircraft. The Otter was taking off from Kipahigan Lake, Saskatchewan, some forty miles north of Flin Flon, carrying a load of Walleye pike, which had been caught on the lake. The fish were being flown to a packing plant at Flin Flon, before being transported south to the big cities, where this delicacy is much sought after.

The pilot began his take-off run from the operator's dock, which left a shorter than normal take-off distance. Just after lift off, the aircraft started to yaw to the left and descend. It had become prematurely airborne and had not attained the required airspeed before it settled into trees. In the crash, the pilot (the only occupant) was uninjured but the wings of the Otter were sheared off and the fuselage badly damaged. Jackson Air Services bought the wreck from the insurers. It lay at the crash site until the lake froze over and the following January was towed back to Flin Flon on an ice road.

The Otter was re-built by TC Aviation at Saskatoon, in the course of which it was converted to a turbine Otter and it then re-entered service with Jackson Air Services, based again at Flin Flon.


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