DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 197

CF-PMQ at Downsview - CYZD, Ontario.
Photo: DHC © Circa late 1956 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FPMQ ending another winter of storage.
Photo: Rich Hulina © March 1995 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N197TT at Lake Hood - Anchorage, Alaska.
Photo: Courtesy of dhc-3otter.com

c/n 197




• CF-PMQ Perini McNamara Quemont, Montréal, QC. Delivered. 08-Jan-1957.

• CF-PMQ Timmins Aviation, Timmins, ON. Dates unknown.

• CF-PMQ Eastern Provincial Airways Ltd (EPA), Gander, NL. Regd 15-Jan-1959,

• CF-PMQ Re-registered to Eastern Provincial Airways (1963) Ltd., Gander, NL. Sep-1963 when the company was re-structured, following its merger with Maritime Central Airways. Based Goose Bay, NL.

• CF-PMQ Labrador Airways, Goose Bay, NL Regd 14th January 1971.

Accident: Forteau Pond, NL. 26-Feb-1974. Overload failure; selected unsuitable terrain; rough/uneven terrain; collided with snowbank; substantial damage”. The Otter was repaired and continued in service with Labrador Airways.

• C-FPMQ Rog-Air Ltd., Port Loring, ON, Regd 17-Sep-1981. Canx 07-Oct-1985.

• C-FPMQ Lindbergh's Hunting & Fishing Air Service Ltd., Cochrane - Lillabelle Lake, ON, Regd 21-Jan-1986. Canx 06-Oct-1986.

Accident: Vicinity of Sangster Lake, ON. 23-Aug-1986. A mis judged landing on floats after dark causing the floats to separate from the aircraft which then sank. Occupants recovered to shore un injured. (See more complete report below).

Note: After recovery from the lake, a slow rebuild by Kuby’s Aircraft at Kenora, ON.

• C-FPMQ Knee Lake Air Service Ltd., Winnipeg, MB. Regd 29th July 1994. Canx 27-Apr-1999. Deleted from CCAR.

• N197TT R & J Aircraft Leasing Corporation, Anchorage, AK Regd 14-Jul-1999.

Airworthiness date: 16-Jul-1999.

• N197TT Leased to Talon Air Service Inc., West Mackey Lake, Soldotna, AK. Circa summer 2000.

• N197TT Other summer leases to unknown operators.

• N197TT Leased to Alaska Air Taxi Inc., Anchorage, AK. Circa 2004.

• N197TT Leased to Mavrik Aire, Kotzebue, AK. Aug-2004.

Accident: 56 km (35 mls) W of McGrath, AK. 27-Aug-2004. The aircraft was one of two aircraft that departed McGrath for Unalakleet and Kotzebue to transport hunting camp supplies. IMC consisting of mist, fog, and smoke, prevailed in the area of the accident. Because of this, the Otter flew about 500 to 1,000 feet above the ground. Suddenly a mountain ridge appeared in front of the airplane. The pilot Ronald Kakeldy, the owner of R&J Aircraft Leasing, banked the airplane to the left, and added engine power. A few seconds later the airplane touched trees and descended into the ground, coming to rest upright. The survivors spent two nights at the wreckage under heavy forest fire smoke and severe weather before they were spotted by rescue crews. Three occupants with one fatality, one with serious injuries and one with minor injuries, Kotzebue, AK.

Written off

Otter 197 was delivered to Perini McNamara Quemont, a construction company based in Montréal on 8th January 1957 with 'fixed' registration CF-PMQ. The three constituents of the firm were Perini Quebec Inc., McNamara (Québec) Inc., and Quemont Construction Inc., all of Montréal. The companies used the Otter, which was on amphibious floats, to fly construction crews to locations in the bush.

The Otter, still on amphibious floats, was sold to Timmins Aviation, who subsequently sold it on for $90,000 to Eastern Provincial Airways Ltd (EPA) Gander and it was registered to them on 15th January 1959, being re-registered to Eastern Provincial Airways (1963) Ltd., when the company was re-structured, following its merger with Maritime Central Airways in September 1963. Although based at Gander, the EPA Otters performed much of their flying in Labrador, based out of Goose Bay.

In 1970 Eastern Provincial Airways divested themselves of their bush operation, which was sold to senior company employees in a management buy-out, and re-named Labrador Airways, and based at Goose Bay, Labrador. PMQ was part of the deal, along with the company's other Otters, and was registered to Labrador Airways on 14th January 1971. It flew on the scheduled services of Labrador Airways from Goose Bay to the coastal communities of Labrador, and also on charter work. One incident was recorded, at Forteau Pond, Newfoundland on 26th February 1974. As the accident report states: “Overload failure; selected unsuitable terrain; rough/uneven terrain; collided with snowbank; substantial damage”. The Otter was repaired and continued in service with Labrador Airways until sold to Rog-Air Ltd., of Port Loring, Ontario, to whom it was registered as C-FPMQ on 17th September 1981. After a few years flying for Rog-Air, it was sold to Lindbergh's Hunting & Fishing Air Service Ltd., of Cochrane-Lillabelle Lake, Ontario, to whom it was registered on 21st January 1986.

C-FPMQ met with an accident at Sangster Lake, Ontario on 23rd August 1986. The Otter had departed from its base at 1905 hours to transport two passengers to a camp 65 miles to the north- east and return with four passengers from the same camp. While en route to the camp, the pilot was in radio communication with another pilot, who advised him of shallow water and rocks at the camp dock. Upon arriving at the camp, the pilot landed and taxied to a bay near the dock. The two passengers on board and their equipment were taken ashore and four passengers with their equipment were brought out from shore by boat. Several trips between the aircraft and the dock were required to transport the equipment. It was accordingly after sunset before the aircraft was ready for departure. While en route, twenty miles short of his destination and in the vicinity of Sangster Lake, the pilot observed lights on the shore of the lake and decided to land and remain overnight.  During the landing, the pilot mis-judged the aircraft's height above the water and the aircraft struck the water in a nose-down attitude, causing the floats to separate from the aircraft which then sank. The occupants all evacuated the Otter and were rescued from the water by campers, who came out from the shore by boat.

The wrecked Otter was fished out of the lake and trucked to Kuby's Aircraft at Kenora, Ontario where over the following years it underwent a slow rebuild. When this was complete, the Otter was sold to Knee Lake Air Service Ltd., of Knee Lake, Manitoba to whom it was registered on 29th July 1994. After five years’ operation with this company, the Otter was sold to R & J Aircraft Leasing Corporation of Anchorage, Alaska to whom it was registered N197TT on 14th July 1999. For a time, the Otter was leased to Talon Air Service Inc., who flew it from their base at West Mackey Lake, Soldotna, Alaska. The following year, the Otter was joined by two more, N362TT, also registered to R&J Aircraft Leasing Corp and N361TT, registered to Kakeldey Leasing Corp, an associated company. The three Otters were based at Anchorage, but leased out during the summer months to outfitters, hunting and fishing companies who use the Otters to fly their customers throughout Alaska. Up to June 2004, N197TT was flying for Alaska Air Taxi, based at Anchorage, on lease from R & J Aircraft Leasing.

In August '04 the Otter was chartered by Mavrik Aire of Kenai, Alaska, an outfitting company which flies its own Otter, a Walter Turbine conversion N103SY (296) as well as a Beaver and some single Cessnas. During the fall hunting season, Mavrik Aire operates out of Kotzebue and needed some extra capacity, so it chartered N197TT which was flown on the charter by Ronald Kakeldey, the owner of R & J Aircraft Leasing Corp and of Kakeldey Leasing Corp. Sadly, in the course of this charter, the Otter crashed on 27th August 2004 and was destroyed.

To summarise the NTSB accident report: “On Friday, 27th August 2004 about 16:30 hours Alaska daylight time, a tundra tire equipped DHC-3 airplane N197TT was destroyed by impact and post- impact fire when it collided with trees and mountainous terrain about 35 miles west of McGrath, Alaska. The airplane was on a VFR cross country flight when the accident occurred. No flight plan was filed nor was one required. The Otter was one of a flight of two airplanes, transporting hunting camp supplies from Kenai to Kotzebue. The airline transport certificated pilot (Ron Kakeldey) seated in the left front seat, received serious injuries. A pilot-rated passenger seated in the right front seat received fatal injuries and a passenger in the cabin received minor injuries.  Instrument meteorological conditions consisting of mist, fog and smoke from forest fires prevailed in the area of the accident. The flight originated at the McGrath Airport about 16:00 hours”.

“When the Otter did not arrive at Kotzebue, the pilot of the second plane reported it overdue to the FAA around 23:00 hours that Friday night. The intended route of flight was from Kenai to Port Alsworth to McGrath, and then to Unalakleet and Buckland and on to Kotzebue. Search and rescue personnel were notified but due to an extensive area of low visibility along the route of flight, an active search did not begin until the Sunday morning, 29th August. The rear seat passenger reported that the Otter departed McGrath headed for Unalakleet and was flying about 500 to 1,000 feet above the ground because of smoke and fog. He estimated the visibility at take-off was about one mile.

About thirty minutes after departure, the airplane was flying over mountainous terrain and appeared to be following a canyon. Visibility decreased due to fog”.

“The throw-over control yoke was positioned in front of the right seat passenger. Suddenly a mountain ridge appeared in front of the airplane. The pilot re-positioned the control yoke in front of the left seat, banked the airplane to the left and added engine power. Within a few seconds the Otter collided with several trees and descended to the ground. It came to rest upright with extensive wing and fuselage damage. The passenger said he then observed a fire near the front of the airplane. He and the pilot exited the airplane but he returned to pull the right seat passenger out of the airplane. The fire then consumed the wreckage”.

Sadly, the right seat passenger died of his injuries. Rescuers were hampered by heavy forest fire smoke and thunderstorms around McGrath all day Saturday, so that the two survivors had to spend two nights at the accident scene. The Rescue Co-Ordination Centre requested the Alaska National Guard to join the search on the Sunday morning. The Guard's 210th Rescue Squadron, based at Kulis ANGB at the Anchorage International Airport, launched a HH-60 Pavehawk helicopter and a HC-130 Hercules. The Otter's ELT had not activated, but at least they knew the route of flight. At about 14:30 hours on the Sunday afternoon, the Hercules crew spotted the wreckage and two para- rescuers parachuted to the scene. The two survivors were then taken to McGrath aboard the HH-60 helicopter, and then flown to hospital in Anchorage aboard the Hercules. The remains of the victim were later recovered by State troopers using a civilian helicopter.

Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005