Otter 160 was delivered to the United States Navy on 24th October 1956 with BuAer serial 144672. It was one of a batch of six Otters delivered to VX-6 Squadron during September/October 1956 and was flown initially to the Squadron's base at Quonset Point Naval Air Station, Rhode Island. All six Otters were transported to the Antarctic, some by ship and some on board USAF C- 124 Globemasters.
144672 was one of the Otters to make the long journey south by sea. Together with 144671 (158), as already described, it sailed on board the 'USS Wyandot' and was unloaded at the Ellsworth Station in the Weddell Sea area. It took to the air for the first time in Antarctica on 3rd February 1957. On 7th February it logged a two-hour flight over the Weddell Sea and Gould Bay. Having wintered- over at Ellsworth Station, the Otter was in action again for 'Deep Freeze III' - “Between 3rd October '57 and 8th January '58 Lt Jaburg spent thirty hours in the cockpit, transporting cargo and flying in support of scientific parties operating at various points on the ice. His final day flying the aircraft demonstrates the workhorse duties performed by the trust Otters and their pilots in the Antarctic.
That day he made two separate utility support flights in UC-1s, one lasting six hours and the other totalling just under eleven hours. A greater testament to the aircraft would be hard to find”. With VX- 6, Otter 144672 was coded JD-12.
144672 flew the most hours of any Otter with VX-6, a total of 1,696 hours in nearly a decade of Antarctic service, from 1957 to 1966. It was then transported back to the US and after a refurbish at NARF Quonset Point, it spent five years with the Naval Air Test Centre at Patuxent River NAS, Maryland during which its flying hours increased to 2,968. In September 1971 it was transferred to the Naval Air Test Facility at Lakehurst NAS, New Jersey whose activities principally concern the testing, evaluation and development of launch and recovery apparatus on fixed wing and STOL aircraft. It remained at Lakehurst for nearly two years, coded NATF-3. In November 1973 the Otter crossed to the far side of the United States and joined the Naval Aerospace Recovery Facility at El Centro NAS, California. Here it joined 142425 (77), which was also serving with the NARF at that time. In August 1974, 144672 headed east and joined Training Air Wing 6 (TAW-6) at Pensacola NAS Florida until November 1974, before once again crossing the country for a brief tour with the Pacific Missile Range at Point Mugu, California. In April 1975 it returned to TAW-6 at Pensacola before being stricken from the Naval inventory in September 1975, with a total of 3,398 flying hours on the airframe. It remained at Pensacola and joined the Naval Aviation Museum as an exhibit, and has remained on display at the Museum ever since. It is one of the exhibits which is parked outside. The Otter was badly damaged on 16th September 2004 when 'Hurricane Ivan' passed through the Pensacola area, the right wing of the Otter being knocked off.
144672 was repaired and put back on display. After more than 30 years of outside storage, by winter 2010 it had been moved inside and was displayed suspended from the roof of ‘Hangar One’. It is displayed with a white upper fuselage, orange lower fuselage, ‘Navy Pensacola’ titles on the rear fuselage, code 699 on the nose and F on the tail.
Full history courtesy of Karl E. Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter: A History (2005).