DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 156

55-3300
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c/n 156

55-3300

53300 (Assumed serial no.)

X

 55-3300 United States Army. Delivered 21-Sep-1956. Designated as U-1A.

Initially assigned to the 2nd Aviation Company, Fort Riley, KS.

Aug/Sep 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 later in 1957.

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

July 1963 it joined the 2nd Aviation Company in France It is understood this aircraft was based at Orléans until disbanded.

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

In October 1967 the Otter was transported from Coleman Barracks to the United States.

Mar-1968. 54th Aviation Company, at Long Thanh North Vietnam. It was to serve with this unit for the next three years until stood down in Jan-1071

Jan-1971. To the 56th Transportation Company, for disposal.

Feb-1971. To the 388th Transportation Company, Vung Tau, responsible for the storage and disposal of all US Army Otters in Vietnam

 53300 (Assumed serial) Government of Cambodia during 1971 for the Khmer Air Force.

Reported as a combat loss on 13-Nov-1971 and not flyable in Jul-1973. Probably withdrawn from use and ultimately presumed as scrapped.

Scrapped

Otter 156 was delivered to the United States Army on 21st September 1956 with serial 55-3300 (tail number 53300). 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). During 1965, 53300 was based at Orleans and Steve Buck, crew chief on the Otter at the time, recalls a flight from Germany to Naples, Italy: “We stopped in Lyon, France for fuel. We knew we had on a pretty good load because we had trouble getting airborne leaving Germany. We did a little better at Lyon. We circled for an hour trying to get enough altitude to get over the Alps. They wanted us at about 10,500 feet. We couldn't get there so we got close to the mountains and the updraft would pick us up and over the top. As we were getting close to Italy, the propeller started going from high pitch to low, back and forth. The pilot asked me what was going on. When he turned and looked at me I was getting my parachute ready. I told him we must be running out of oil since the engine oil is also used for changing the prop pitch. Then he put on his parachute. We made a run for Genoa, Italy and made it. I told him to check the gas and fill up the oil tank. As I recall it held ten and half gallons and we pumped in eight gallons. We were lucky we didn't lose the engine. There was oil dripping from every nut and seal on that plane. I guess we did over-load it a little”.

The Otter continued in service with the 2nd Aviation Company until that unit disbanded in March 1967, when it joined the 56th Aviation Detachment, based at Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany, which took over the duties which the 2nd Aviation Company had performed. In October 1967 the Otter was transported from Coleman Barracks to the United States and onwards to Vietnam where in March 1968 it joined the 54th Aviation Company. It was to serve with this unit for the next three years, based at long Thanh North. Ron Chan was with the 54th Aviation Company from January 1970 to January 1971 and he recalls “I logged 566 hours as crew chief on 53300, which was the only Otter in the Company at that stage set up as a photo ship, with a big camera set up in the back of the ship”. The Otter was named 'Cambodia Refugee' and was one of sixteen Otters still in use with the 54th Aviation Company when it stood down in January 1971

In January 1971 the Otter went first to the 56th Transportation Company, for disposal and the following month to the 388th Transportation Company, Vung Tau, responsible for the storage and disposal of all US Army Otters in Vietnam. It was deleted from the inventory in August 1971. 53300 was one of 18 Army Otters handed over to the Government of Cambodia during 1971. Their operation was short-lived and the fate of this Otter can only be described as “withdrawn from use and scrapped”.

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