DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 271

C-FMPW some assembly required.
Photo: Unknown photographer © date unknown - Karl E. Hayes Collection

c/n 271




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

20-Nov-1958 application for Certificate of Registration by Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Air Division, Ottawa, ON.

16-Jan-1959 Test flown for factory Aircraft Inspection Release Certificate by A. Saunders.

20-Jan-1959 DHC advise Department of Transport that DHC-3 msn 271 CF-MPW owned by RCMP.

23-Jan-1959 Certificate of Airworthiness #6990 issued.

23-Jan-1959 Certificate of Registration #20739 issued to Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Air Division, Ottawa, ON.

• CF-MPW Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Air Division, Ottawa. Delivered and regd 23-Jan-1959. For base stations see history below.

• C-FMPW Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Air Division, Ottawa, ON.  Re painted and registered Feb-1976.

Accident: 18-Aug-1976 north of Ile-a-la-Crosse, SK. An engine failure caused a force landed in bush. The pilot, Bill Stewart and passenger uninjured. The aircraft was written off.

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

13-Jun-1960 - 756 hours

09-Jan-1961 - 1,358 hours

03-Jan-1962 - 2,047 hours

25-Feb-1963 - 2,824 hours

09-Feb-1964 - 3,402 hours

20-Dec-1964 - 4,091 hours

24-Nov-1965 - 4,798 hours

21-Nov-1966 - 5,404 hours

27-Nov-1967 - 6,091 hours

0-5-Dec-1968 - 6,801 hours

25-Nov-1969 - 7,530 hours

27-Oct-1970 - 8,191 hours

31-Oct-1971 - 9,025 hours

10-Oct-1972 - 9,896 hours

13-Oct-1973 - 11,017 hours

19-Sep-1975 - 13,080 hours

06-Nov-1975 - 13,187 hours

25-Mar-1976 - 13,435 hours

• C-FMPW Cancelled from Canadian Civil Aircraft Register 10-Feb-1977.

Written off

Note: Cockpit section in Museum. See details below.


Otter 271 was delivered to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Air Division on 23rd January 1959, registered CF-MPW. Its initial posting was to Churchill, Manitoba although, as with all the RCMP Otters, it moved from base to base during its police service. It was still based at Churchill in May 1960 when it had to undergo an unscheduled engine change on the sea ice at Eskimo Point, Northwest Territories after large pieces of steel were found in the sump. By December 1961 it was based at Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. During the early to mid 1960s, MPW was based at Whitehorse in the Yukon on amphibious floats.

It featured in a search-and-rescue mission on 9th August 1962 flying from Inuvik searching for a missing boat. On 24th September 1964 it was flying from Fort Good Hope to Norman Wells when on landing, the landing gear on the port float collapsed on touch down and the Otter skidded to a stop on the left side of runway 26. The damage was repaired. By January 1965 the Otter was based at Inuvik with Detachment 15. On 8th January it took off from Hay River en route to Fort Simpson. The engine had been pre-heated for an hour before take-off by Herman Nelson heater. Over Great Slave Lake, the engine quit abruptly causing a forced landing on the iced-over lake, which was achieved without any damage to the Otter. The pilot put out a mayday call, and a Pacific Western Airways DC- 3 diverted from its flight to Resolution and flew over the downed Otter to pinpoint its position. The crew of the Otter were recovered by snow-mobile and after repairs to the engine, the Otter was flown back to Hay River on 12th January 1965.

In November 1969 the Otter, by then registered C-FMPW, moved base to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. It was rebuilt during major maintenance at Ottawa in July 1972, by which time it had 9,832 hours on the airframe. It returned to Prince Albert and remained based there until it crashed and was written off in an accident on 18th August 1976 near Ile La Crosse, Saskatchewan. The Otter had taken off that day from Prince Albert on a flight to Buffalo Narrows. Six miles north of Ile La Crosse, following engine failure, MPW force landed in the bush and was damaged beyond economic repair. As the accident report described: “The flight had proceeded for one hour forty minutes without incident when there was a loud bang from the engine, followed by a complete power loss.  Smoke was emitted into the cockpit and the pilot commenced a forced landing. Attempts to regain power were to no avail and the pilot transmitted a mayday, which was acknowledged by another aircraft. The Otter touched down in a semi-clear area in bush country in a nose high, full flap configuration. The pilot and passenger evacuated the Otter fearing a post crash fire, however none followed. They were located by a rescue party a short time after the crash. The power loss was the result of failure of the master rod and link rods”.

MPW had been damaged beyond economic repair and was salvaged. The cockpit section was taken to the RCMP's Centennial Museum at Regina, Saskatchewan and put on display. The wrecked fuselage was sold, and in October 1999 was noted at the premises of James B. Hayton / North Sound Aviation Inc., at Sedro Woolley, north of Seattle in Washington State, alongside many other wrecked Otters. He had bought it from a gentleman in The Pas, Manitoba. MPW was replaced in RCMP service by a DHC-6 Twin Otter.

The Centennial Museum closed in October 2006 and its collection, including the cockpit section of Otter MPW, transferred to the RCMP Heritage Centre at Regina, which opened in May 2007 and where the Otter cockpit is still on display.

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