DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 233

N5325G in Bicentennial Colours at Seattle's Boeing Field.
Photo: Unknown photographer © August 1975 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N5325G at Port Clinton, Ohio.
Photo: Unknown photographer © September 1981 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FQND at Geraldton, Ontario.
Photo: Rich Hulina © April 2009 - Karl E. Hayes Collection

c/n 233

57-6114 • N5325G

C-FQND

x

• 57-6114. United States Army. Delivered 12-Feb-1958. Designated U-1A.

Initially to Addison, TX., for installation of radio equipment for the European theatre by the Collins Radio Corporation.

Delivered to Europe. Limited information on unit detail.

Serviced at SABCAO, Gosselies, Charleroi, Brussels, Belgium. Sep-1960

Circa Jan-1962. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), Rome, Italy.

Feb-1966. United States Mapping Mission to Ethiopia, based at Addis Ababa.

Circa June 1969. At Coleman Barracks Depot, Mannheim, Germany.

Aug-1969. Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, CA.

Mar-1970. Aviation Section. Fort Ord, CA, used as a maintenance support aircraft

Jun-1975, Removed from Army inventory.

• N5325G Civil Air Patrol (CAP). North Central Region. Poss. Based Ashland, NE. Circa Jul-1975. Canx Dec 1976.

Airworthiness date: 16-Jul-1975.

• N5325G Island Airlines, Port Clinton, OH. Regd Dec-1976.

• N5325G Griffing Flying Service Inc. Port Clinton,OH. Regd Oct-1992.

• C-FQND Delay River Outfitters Inc., dba Air Schefferville, Schefferville, QC. Regd 23-Aug-1993. Canx 18-Apr-1994.

• C-FQND Waweig Lake Outfitters Ltd., Thunder Bay, ON. Regd. 18-Apr-1994. Canx 17-May-1994.

• C-FQND Wilderness North Air Ltd., Milwaukee, WI. Based Thunder Bay, QC. Regd 18-Apr-1994. & 18-Apr-2000. Canx 06-Jun-2001.

Power Plant: Converted to Vazar turbine by Recon Air, Geraldton, ON.

• C-FQND 1401380 Ontario Ltd., (Wilderness North Air), Armstrong, ON. Operated by Waweig Air, Thunder Bay, ON. Regd 06-Jun-2001. Re regd 19-Sep-2003 & 24-Sep-2003. Canx 07-May-2004 & 07-May-2005. Regd 18-Apr 2006 at Thunder Bay as well as, 28-Sep-2006, 24-Nov-2006 & 14-Aug-2008. Canx 08-May-2010. Regd 18-Aug-2010. Canx 31-Oct-2013.

• C-FQND Vancouver Island Air, Campbell River, BC. Regd 09-Dec-2013.

Current

Otter 233 was delivered to the United States Army on 12th February 1958 with serial 57-6114 (tail number 76114). It was one of sixteen Army Otters delivered from Downsview to Addison, Texas for work to be done on them by Collins Radio Corporation. Most of these Otters were then delivered to Europe, including 76114, which underwent overhaul at the SABCA plant at Gosselies near Brussels, Belgium during September 1960. This company performed maintenance on Army aircraft under contract with the Army. By January 1962 the Otter had joined the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), Rome, Italy based at Rome's Ciampino Airport. It flew alongside a USAF C-47, which was also serving with the MAAG Flight.

Kenneth Ketzler flew the Otter. Apart from trips to Brienne-le-Chateau, France for maintenance, all his flying was within Italy, often visiting Italian military bases where US-supplied helicopters were being introduced and MAAG personnel were working with Italian army aviation units on these helicopters. There were also VIP flights and personnel transportation which took the Otter all over Italy, from the mountains in the north down to the Mediterranean. As he recalls: “Ice seemed to cause me more concern than anything else. I especially remember several times flying IFR between Florence and Bologna at the lowest altitude of 12,000 feet and seeing ice forming on the wings. Flying over large bodies of water on one engine is not exactly my cup of tea. Seemed like the engine always ran rough whenever there was a trip to the islands of Sicily or Sardinia”.

76114 continued in service with MAAG Italy until February 1966 when it headed south to a new posting, with the United States Mapping Mission to Ethiopia, based at the “old airport” at Addis Ababa. For this tasking the Otter was re-painted from the standard olive drab it had flown in while in Italy, to the white/red colour scheme used by Army aircraft on survey work. It joined some Beavers with the Mapping Mission (76143 and 82026), a Douglas C-47 (17203) and UH-1B Huey helicopters, all of which were engaged in a topographic survey of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Army had received some Otters under a Military Aid Program and they were also based at the same airfield, making it quite an important Otter base.

76114 was noted there in June 1969, just prior to its long flight north to Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany from where it was transported back to the United States, to the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, California where it arrived in August 1969. After overhaul at the depot, it was assigned in March 1970 to the Aviation Section at Fort Ord, California, used as a maintenance support aircraft. It remained in service at Fort Ord until June 1975, when its Army career came to an end. The Otter transferred to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). It received its civilian Certificate of Airworthiness on 16th July '75 and was registered N5325G, being assigned to the CAP's North Central Region. It was painted in a garish red, white and blue bicentennial colour scheme.

Its service with the CAP was brief, as in December 1976 it was sold to Island Airlines of Port Clinton, Ohio by an aircraft dealer in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When it arrived at its new base it was re- painted in the house colours of Island Airlines and joined the other members of the fleet, Beaver N62352 and Ford Tri-Motor N7584. The Ford was used for sight-seeing flights but the Beaver and Otter flew Island Airlines scheduled services from Port Clinton, located at the western end of Lake Erie, to islands in the lake, Kelley's Island, Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass and North Bass. This unique operation styled itself “The Shortest Airline in the World”, with some justification. Departing from Carl Keller Field at Port Clinton, the Otter took all of seven minutes to complete the scheduled flight to Put-in-Bay, and a similar time for the return sector. As Edward J. Rusch, the company's Chief Pilot, said “The Otter works the rough sod and stone fields of the islands very efficiently”. By March 1981 the Otter had a total time of 4,833 hours on the airframe.

On the scheduled services to the islands, the Otter (or Beaver, depending on the load) carried the resident population year round; tourists during the summer as well as migrant Mexican labourers for fruit picking; and fishermen during the winter for ice fishing. The Otter also carried mail and freight and performed medevac flights, averaging several each weekend during the summer, as tourists injured themselves. The islands' policeman acted as a paramedic and accompanied the patient.

During the winter months, when the lake froze over and the ferry no longer operated, these Beaver and Otter flights were the only means of access to the islands.

After nearly sixteen years of flying with the Otter, this unique operation came to an end. Island Airlines was taken over by Griffing Flying Service Inc., of Port Clinton, to whom the Otter was registered in October 1992. The scheduled services were terminated and the Otter put up for sale. The buyer was Delay River Outfitters Inc, trading as Air Schefferville, to whom the Otter was registered C-FQND on 23rd August 1993 and it set off for its new base at Schefferville in the remote bush country of Québec. In 1994 the Otter was sold to Waweig Lake Outfitters Ltd., of Thunder Bay, Ontario, to whom it was registered on 18th April 1994. It was converted to a Vazar turbine Otter by Recon Air at Geraldton, Ontario and for the next number of years it would serve at Waweig Lake, Ontario during the summer months, carrying tourists, fishermen and hunters wishing to experience the delights of the Ontario bush country. This business was carried on by Waweig Lake Outfitters in association with Wilderness North Air of Milwaukee. On 6th June 2001 the Otter was registered to 1401380 Ontario Ltd (Waweig Air) and continued in service in the Ontario wilderness.

Early in 2002, Otter QND undertook a unique “Flight of Friendship” tour of 35 US cities, sponsored by Wilderness North Air. As the company's web-site explained: “We wanted to show our friends in the US that they are welcome here in Canada during a period of uncertainty due to the attacks on the World Trade Centre. We share more than a common border and a common language, our values and friendship are well documented. That is why we felt compelled to fly one of our Canadian icons, a turbine Otter, on this Canadian Hospitality tour. At each of the 35 stops, presentations will be made by the Wilderness North Chief Pilot Randy Melnick of items donated by Canadian fire departments to their US counterparts, as a sign of solidarity and friendship. North West Ontario is renowned for its pristine wilderness environment and excellent recreational sports activities, said Alan Cheeseman, President of Wilderness north, who operate one of Canada's finest fly-in fishing and adventure sports facilities. Wilderness North flies its guests into sixteen different lakes and outpost camps from its base camp in Armstrong, Ontario just north of Thunder Bay”.

Otter QND, on wheels, departed Thunder Bay on 8th January 2002 and returned at the end of March. Its routing was Thunder Bay-St. Charles, Illinois-Madison in Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wisconsin- Chicago/Springfield-Indianapolis-Columbus-Cincinnati-Louisville-St.Louis-Springfield,Missouri- Memphis, Tennessee-Little Rock-Oklahoma City-Dallas (Love Field)-Houston-New Orleans- Tallahassee-Tampa-Orlando-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach-Daytona Beach-Jacksonville- Savannah-Atlanta-Columbia-Charlotte-Richmond-Washington-Baltimore (Ocean City)-Philadelphia- New York (Teterboro)-Boston-Albany-Buffalo-Cleveland-Dayton-Detroit-Grand Rapids-Lansing- Kalamazoo-Cedar Rapids-Des Moines-Rochester-La Crosse-Minneapolis-Duluth-Thunder Bay. The tour certainly brought the Otter to many places which usually did not see much Otter activity. On completion of the tour, QND resumed its flying in the Ontario bush country for Waweig Air.

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