DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 164

CF-RNP
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c/n 164

55-3505 • 301 • N127F

CF-RNP

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• 55-3305 United States Army. Delivered 24-Oct-1956. Designated U-1A.

Initially served with the 3rd Aviation Company, Fort Riley, KS.

Jul-1957. Moved with the unit when it deployed to Illesheim, Germany. Disbanded Nov-1969 but aircraft remained in Europe.

Jul-1960. Deployed using a Douglas C-124 Globemaster to the former Belgian Congo, to join an Army Task Force which was hurriedly formed to rescue US citizens, mostly missionaries, who were caught up in the fighting in the Congo

• 301 United Nations Support Wing Air Squadron, Leopoldville, Sep-1960 painted all white and given UN markings, and was named the “Silver Trumpeter”.

Served with the UN in the Congo, and subsequently in the Yemen, attached to 134 Air Transport Unit, manned by Royal Canadian Air Force personnel.

Jan-1964. Flown to the UN base at El Arish, Egypt where they were put into storage awaiting disposal.

• No regn G. Rae MacLeod, dba Aero Leasing, Montréal, QC. Purchased 26th May 1964.

• N127F Ferrer Aviation Inc., Miami, FL. Registered for ferry trip to Canada.

Entries preceded by dates are extracts from the Canadian Department of Transport archives.

24-Nov-1964 Application for Certificate of Registration by G. Rae MacLeod (Aero Leasing Registered), Montréal, QC.

24-Nov-1964 Temporary Certificate of Registration & Flight Permit to ferry Montreal to Lac-à-la-Tortue QC and return, valid to 24-Dec-1964, to G. Rae Macleod (Aero Leasing Registered), Montréal, QC.

24-Feb-1965 Temporary Certificate of Registration & Flight Permit to ferry Lac-à-la-Tortue QC to Sept-Iles QC, valid 24-Mar-1965.

23-Jun-1965 Certificate of Airworthiness #10479 issued.

23-Jun-1965 Certificate of Registration #33132 issued to G. Rae MacLeod (Aero Leasing Registered)

• CF-RNP G. Rae MacLeod, dba Aero Leasing, Montréal, QC. Regd 23- Jun-19645.

23-Jun-1965 Amendment to Certificate of Registration #33132 to permit Commercial operation during lease to Northern Wings Ltd.

23-Jun-1965 Temporary Certificate of Airworthiness & Temporary Registration (Commercial) during lease to Northern Wings Ltd., valid to 22-Jul-1965.

• CF-RNP Leased to Northern Wings Ltd (Les Ailes du Nord), at Sept Iles, QC. Regd Regd 23-Jun-1965.

20-Jul-1967 Application Certificate of Registration Northern Wings Ltd.

21-Jul-1967 Temporary Certificate of Registration & Certificate of Airworthiness issued Northern Wings Ltd., Sept-Iles, QC., valid to 20-AUG-1967.

21-Jul-1967 Certificate of Registration #42145 issued Northern Wings Ltd., Sept-Iles, QC.

• CF-RNP Northern Wings Ltd (Les Ailes du Nord), at Sept Iles, QC. Regd 21-Jul-1967.

Undated. Application for Certificate of Registration by A. Fecteau Transport Aerien Ltée.

09-Apr-1968 Certificate of Registration #42379 issued A. Fecteau Transport Aerien Ltée, Senneterre, QC.

• CF-RNP A. Fecteau Transport Aerien Ltée, Senneterre, QC. Regd 09-Apr-1968.

Accident: Bradore Bay, QC. 51.29N/57.15W. 06-Sep-1968. On a flight from St. Pauls (Also quoted as St, Augustine, QC) to Blanc-Sablon QC. the aircraft was returning to the point of departure due to unfavourable weather conditions ahead, when persons on shore heard a change of engine noise followed by an explosion. The aircraft had struck the water at Bradore Lake slightly short of its final destination after the pilot had flown fog conditions.  Pilot Lester Best, crewman Sam Foreman and six passengers were killed. The aircraft sank and was not recovered. Three bodies only and a seat cushion were all that was recovered..See extended report below.

Crash report in newspaper

;https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1946&dat=19680909&id=7KUtAAAAIBAJ&sjid=5J8FAAAAIBAJ&pg=2860,1683983&hl=en

• CF-RNP Cancelled from Canadian Civil Aircraft Register 12-May-1969

Total time since new as recorded in Canadian Department of Transport archives.

07-Jun-1966 - 3,403 hours

18-May-1967 - 4,083 hours

04-Jun-1968 - 4,840 hours

At time of accident -.5,088 hours

Destroyed

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Otter 164 was delivered to the United States Army on 24th October 1956 with serial 55-3305 (tail number 53305). It first served with the 3rd Aviation Company, Fort Riley, Kansas and moved with the unit when it deployed to Illesheim, Germany in July 1957. The Otter was noted visiting Blackbushe airfield, near London, on 21st September 1958. The 3rd Aviation Company disbanded in November 1959 but 53305 remained based in Europe.

In July 1960 53305 was one of two US Army Otters, the other being 53302 (159), selected to join an Army Task Force which was rushed to the former Belgian Congo to rescue US citizens caught up in the fighting there, and was flown from Rhein-Main Air Base, Frankfurt, Germany to the Congo on board a USAF C-124 Globemaster, as was 53302. When that task was finished, both Otters remained in the Congo and were transferred to the United Nations Support Wing Air Squadron, as explained in relation to Otter 159. The Otters were painted all white and given UN markings, and 53305 took UN serial 301 and was named the “Silver Trumpeter”. These two Otters were joined by two Otters transferred from the Royal Norwegian Air Force, all four aircraft being flown and maintained by Swedish personnel attached to the United Nations. The UN subsequently purchased another four Otters from DHC.

301 served with the UN in the Congo, and subsequently in the Yemen, attached to 134 Air Transport Unit, manned by Royal Canadian Air Force personnel. In January 1964, on the conclusion of the Yemen campaign, 301 and the other five Otters operating in the Yemen were flown to the UN base at El Arish, Egypt where they were put into storage awaiting disposal. Two of these Otters, 301 and 304 (manufacturer's serial 21, one of the former Royal Norwegian Air Force aircraft) were sold to Mr. G. Rae MacLeod, trading as Aero Leasing of Montréal, on 26th May 1964. They were however registered as N127F (301) and N128F (304) to Frank Ferrer's company, Ferrer Aviation Inc., of Miami, who was undertaking the ferry of the two Otters back to Canada. These two Otters, still in their all white UN paint scheme, passed through Manchester, England and Prestwick, Scotland on 21/22 June 1964 en route via Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland to Montréal's Dorval Airport. On arrival they were registered to Mr MacLeod, N127F becoming CF-RNP and N128F becoming CF-RNO.

After overhaul at Dorval, CF-RNP went out on lease. A ferry permit was issued on 24th November '64 from Dorval to Lac-à-la-Tortue, Quebec and then on 24th February 1965 from there to Sept Îles, Québec, where the Otter was leased to Northern Wings Ltd (Les Ailes du Nord), a company based at Sept Îles. In September 1968, the Otter was operating from the Northern Wing's seaplane base at Blanc Sablon, in a very remote part of Québec, near to its border with Labrador, on the coast of the North Shore of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. On 6th September '68, CF-RNP took off from Blanc Sablon at 15:30 hours for a destination at St. Augustin, 69 miles distant. The aircraft then departed St. Augustin for Old Fort, a distance of 42 miles, before continuing on to St. Paul's River, six miles away. At St. Paul's River, seven passengers joined the flight, which then took off for Blanc Sablon, a distance of 21 miles. The Otter also had on board an assistant as well as the pilot, nine souls in all. These were scheduled services for Northern Wings Ltd., which served the North Shore of the St. Lawrence.

A variable fog condition existed along the shore line of the Straits of Belle Isles that day. En route to Blanc Sablon, the pilot contacted base and was advised that the weather at his destination was 200 feet obscured and a quarter of a mile in fog. The pilot then advised that he was going to return to St. Paul's River. The Otter crashed in Bradore Bay, near to the south-west end of the Island of Ledges, a mile south-west of the destination lake. This area abounds in reefs and rocks, with numerous crevices below water level. A number of witnesses located at Bradore Bay heard the aircraft. One witness actually saw the Otter at a low level in the fog for a few seconds, after which it disappeared. Two witnesses report having heard the sound of the crash as the aircraft impacted the water. An extensive search followed, which continued for eight days, and involved the entire local community. Heavy fog persisted in the Straits of Belle Isles for three days after the accident, and prevented any aircraft search operations. Floatable items such as floor boards, cabin insulation, part of the left main float and three bodies were found along the shore line of the Island of Ledges. None of the other persons on board, nor the aircraft itself, were ever found.

Due to the remoteness of the location and the fog conditions which persisted for some days, the accident investigators had considerable difficulty getting to the scene. Two Department of Transport investigators flew from Montréal to Sept Iles by Air Canada scheduled flight. A Provincial Government group also flew to Sept Iles aboard the government de Havilland 125 executive jet. The investigators eventually departed Sept Iles on the morning of 9th September aboard a Northern Wings DC-3, which made two unsuccessful landing attempts at Blanc Sablon, before diverting to St. Anthony, Newfoundland due to the continuing fog. A pick-up truck was then hired to drive the group eight miles to the coast, where a ferry boat was located. Having crossed the Straits of Belle-Isles, the investigators eventually arrived at Blanc Sablon early on the morning of 10th September, four days after the crash.

By this stage, the fog had cleared, and a Northern Wings Otter was used to search the area, as well as an RCAF Rescue helicopter from Halifax and two boats. These joined the many private boats which were independently carrying out search operations. The search continued until 15th September but nothing further was found. From an examination of the few pieces of wreckage that were recovered, particularly the float, the investigators concluded that the Otter had struck the water in a steep, nose-down attitude, most probably in a bank to the right. They gave as the cause of the accident the fact that the pilot had continued flight into known fog conditions, which resulted in a loss of control at low level. Otter CF-RNP had 5,088 total airframe hours at the time of its loss.

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