IM-1731 • C-FWYH • N373A • VH-OTV
• IM-1731 Indian Air Force. Delivered 22-Apr-1958.
Assigned to 41 Squadron (Otters) based at Palam, New Delhi, Punjab between 1976 to 1980.
Removed from inventory on 31-Mar-1991.
• Un regd Mike Hackman Aircraft Sales / La Ronge Aviation, Dec-1995.
• Un regd Wipaire Inc., Inver Grove, MN
• C-FWYH Springer Aerospace Ltd., Sault Ste. Marie, ON. Based at Bar River, ON. Regd 27-Nov-1995. Canx 18-Dec-1995 on export to USA.
• N373A Wipaire Inc., Inver Grove, MN
Power plant. Converted to Vazar turbine at Wipaire.
• VH-OTV Broome Aviation, Broome, WA. Regd Nov-1997.
• VH-OTV Vazair Pty., Ltd. , Broome, WA 23-Feb-2006.
• VH-OTV Caneflight Aviation, Derby, WA. Regd 05-Feb-2008.
• N510PR Talkeetna Air Taxi Ltd., Talkeetna, AK. Regd 11-Feb 2008 & 12-Dec-2008. Noted in container at Talkeetna 17-Dec_2008.
Otter 250 was delivered to the Indian Air Force on 22nd April 1958 with serial IM-1731. After test flying at Downsview, it was packed into a crate and shipped to India where it was re-assembled and entered service. All that is known of its Indian service is that it flew with 41 Squadron based at Palam Air Base, New Delhi during the years 1976 to 1980.
The Indian Air Force continued to fly the Otter until the type was formally withdrawn from the inventory on 31st March 1991 and the surviving aircraft offered for sale. The successful bidders for the Otters were Mike Hackman Aircraft Sales / La Ronge Aviation who travelled to India to prepare the aircraft to be shipped back to Canada. IM-1731 was located at Gwuahati Air Base and had 7,576 hours on the airframe. It was one of four Otters shipped from Calcutta on 15th December 1994, via ship to Vancouver and thence overland to Saskatoon, where they arrived late January '95. The Otter was sold to Wipaire Inc and was transported from Saskatoon to the facility of Springer Aerospace Ltd., at Bar River, Ontario who rebuilt the Otter. It was registered C-FWYH to Springer Aerospace Ltd., on 27th November '95 on completion of the rebuild. This registration was brief, for the purposes only of its transfer to the United States. On 18th December '95 the Canadian registration was cancelled and the Otter registered N373A to Wipaire Inc., Inver Grove, Minnesota.
Wipaire Inc are the world's leading manufacturer of aircraft floats. At their hangar number 7, Fleming Field, South St. Paul, Minnesota N373A was converted to a Vazar turbine Otter and was fitted with a set of Wipline 8000 amphibious floats, first certified for use the previous April on the Otter. It also received a state of the art radio package. In October 1997 it emerged from the hangar, ready for its delivery flight to its new owners in Australia, to whom it had been sold by Wipaire Inc., through Scott Aircraft Sales. The mammoth task of delivering the Otter from St. Paul, Minnesota to Darwin, Australia was entrusted to Southern Cross Aviation of Camarillo, California, a specialist aircraft ferrying company, Routing of the flight was from St. Paul-Saginaw in Michigan-Andover (for the installation of the ferry tanks)-Bangor, Maine-Gander in Newfoundland-Santa Maria, Azores- Valencia, Spain-Iraklion, Crete-Luxor, Egypt-Muscat, Oman-Male in the Maldives-Colombo in Sri Lanka- Penang, Malaysia-Bali, Indonesia-Darwin, Australia, all of which took 138 flying hours.
The routing after Muscat would normally have been Madras in India then Penang, Malaysia but the Indian authorities at that time were requiring very complicated and time consuming authorization procedures to land in India, so it was quicker and more practical to route around the southern tip of India. Had it landed in India, it is interesting to speculate if anyone would have recognised this brand new looking turbine Otter with its massive amphibious floats as the humble recip Otter which had served the Indian Air Force for more than thirty years.
At Darwin, N373A was registered VH-OTV on 13th November 1997 to Vazar Pty., Ltd., of Broome, Western Australia, trading as Broome Aviation and made the relatively short flight to its new base at Broome. From here it supports a commercial pearling operation which, apart from tourism, is the biggest industry in this part of Australia. The Otter replaced a Cessna 206 and is flown from Broome Airport on its amphibious floats. The pearl farms are located 126 miles north-east of Broome, around the Buccaneer Archipelago. The Otter flies out to the farms three times a week with replacement crews, who work two weeks on/one week off. On the days it is not engaged on these crew changes, VH-OTV flies tourists out from Broome to see the pearl farms. It averages twenty hours flying a week.
Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005)