DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 150

C-GLJI at Baie Comeau - CYBC, Québec.
Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © 18 November 1992 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GLJI at Geraldton - CYGQ, Ontario.
Photo: Rich Hulina © 03 November 2016

c/n 150

55-3296

C-GLJI

x

 55-3297 United States Army. Delivered 07-Sep-1956.

• 55-3297 Loaned to United States Navy, VX-6 Sqd, Quonset Point, RI., for crew training prior to them deploying to Antarctica.

Returned to US Army at Fort Riley, KS., and joined the 2nd Aviation Company.

Late-1956. 2nd Aviation Company Illesheim, Germany.

Jan-1962 Southern European Task Force, (SETAF), based at Verona in Italy.

Oct/Nov 1967. Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany for shipment back to the USA.

Mar-1968. 54th Aviation Company, Vung Tau, Vietnam.

Accident: Rach Gia, Vietnam. 11-Nov-1968. The crew dropped '297 in from about thirty feet at Rach Gia, then made a successful go-around and landing. The landing gear, engine, propeller and fuselage were all damaged badly. Four inches were taken off each prop blade on the first contact with the ground. Fortunately, neither passengers nor crew were injured. Because the aircraft stalled and hit 800 feet short of the runway, it was suspected that the flaps may have been bled up on final approach. The Otter was carried back to Vung Tau by a Chinook helicopter

Circa Nov-1968. 388th Transportation Company, Vung Tau, Vietnam prior to shipment back to the USA.

Mar-1969. Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, CA where it was stored.

Sep-1969 Forest Park Army Depot, Atlanta, GA where it was put into storage until May 1972.

• CF-BEQ Air Craftsmen Ltd., St. John, NB.  Reserved Oct-1972. Canx 23-May-1975.

Note: Converted to civilian configuration by St. Louis Aviation at St. Jean Airport, near Montréal. QC., by May-1975.

• C-GLJI Labrador Air Safari Inc., Baie Comeau, QC. Regd 23-May-1975.

• C-GLJI Labrador Air Safari (1984) Inc. Jonquière, QC. Regd 28-Aug-1987, Canx 06-Jun-1994 & re regd 06-Jun-1994, Regd 23-Apr-1999 Regd 02-Sep-2003 All based Baie Comeau, QC. Canx 09-Mar-2010.

• C-GLJI Air Saguenay (1980) Inc., Jonquière, QC. Baie Comeau, QC.

Current

Otter 150 was delivered to the United States Army on 7th September 1956 with serial 55-3297 (tail number 53297). Like Otter 149, its first posting was to VX-6 Squadron of the United States Navy, to whom it was lent for crew training purposes. It was collected at Downsview by a Navy pilot on 24th September '56 and flown to the VX-6 base at NAS Quonsett Point, Rhode Island where it was used for pilot training. When this task was complete, the Otter was flown to Fort Riley, Kansas and joined the 2nd Aviation Company with whom it deployed to Illesheim, Germany.

By January 1962, 53297 was serving with SETAF in Italy and it continued in service with that organisation until October 1967. It was one of two Army Otters serving in Italy in the mid-1960s, the other being 53280, and both went to the depot at Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany during October/November 1967 from where they were shipped to the United States and then onwards to Vietnam. 53297 joined the 54th Aviation Company in Vietnam in March 1968. An incident is recorded in the unit history of the 54th Aviation Company for 11th November '68 when 53297 was being flown by a US Army pilot in the left seat, with a Royal Australian Army officer as co-pilot: “The crew dropped '297 in from about thirty feet at Rach Gia, then made a successful go-around and landing.

The landing gear, engine, propeller and fuselage were all damaged badly. Four inches were taken off each prop blade on the first contact with the ground. Fortunately, neither passengers nor crew were injured. Because the aircraft stalled and hit 800 feet short of the runway, it was suspected that the flaps may have been bled up on final approach. The Otter was carried back to Vung Tau by a Chinook helicopter”.

That incident ended the Otter's military career. At Vung Tau it was entrusted to the 388th Transportation Company who arranged for 53297 to be shipped home. It arrived at the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, California in March 1969, where it was held for a time, and it was then sent to the Forest Park Army Depot, Atlanta, Georgia where it arrived in September 1969 and where it was put into storage alongside several other Otters which had been returned from Vietnam. It remained in storage at the Depot until May 1972 when it was deleted from the inventory and put up for disposal as military surplus. 53297 was one of six Army Otters purchased by Air Craftsmen Ltd of St. John, New Brunswick, a company which traded in Otters, buying military surplus aircraft, restoring them as civilian aircraft and selling them on. All six were located at the Atlanta Depot and following temporary repairs there, were flown to St. John during October/November 1972. The six were reserved as CF- BEO/BEP/BEQ/BER/BEU and BEW. Otter 150 was reserved as CF-BEQ in October 1972, which were the ferry marks it used for the flight to St. John.

A ferry permit was issued for a flight from the Forest Park Army Depot, Atlanta, Georgia to St. John Airport on 11th October '72 for both CF-BEQ and CF-BEW. After arrival at St. John, it was a time before BEQ was worked on and it would not fly again for three years. By February 1975 it had been taken to St. Louis Aviation at St. Jean Airport, Montreal where it was converted to civilian configuration. The allocation CF-BEQ was cancelled on 23rd May '75 when the Otter was registered C-GLJI to its new owners, Labrador Air Safari Inc. of Baie Comeau, Quebec. It went on to serve   that company for many years, being registered to Labrador Air Safari (1984) Inc. in January 1987. It is one of a fleet of Otters of Labrador Air Safari, which fly hunters, tourists and fishermen to wilderness areas of Quebec during the summer months.

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