DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 273

C-FHPE at Vancouver, British Columbia.
Photo: John Kimberley © May 1990 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FHPE at Stoney Rapids, Saskatchewan
Photo: Larry Milberry © January 1993 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FHPE of TRANSWEST AIR at La Ronge, Saskatchewan.
Photos: Neil Aird © 16 September 2003
C-FHPE ready for switchover to floats, at La Ronge.
Photos: Dale Tiedeman © 15 May 2021 - Aird Archives
C-FHPE at the Tyee Spit, Campbell River, British Columbia.
Photos: Dirk Septer © 13 August 2022
C-FHPE still present at the Tyee Spit, in cold storage!
Photo: Dirk Septer © 07 January 2023
C-FLVJ on ferry flight, delayed due to wildfires smoke, at Candle Lake, Saskatchewan.
Photo: Pete Killin © 13 June 2023.

c/n 273

UB651 • 4651 • C-FHPE



• UB651 Union of Burma Air Force. Delivered 08-Dec-1958.

• 4651 Later re-named Myanmar Air Force. Post Jun-1989.

• Un-regd Trevor Ross, Vancouver. BC. Arrived in Canada Dec-1989.,

• C-FHPE Athabaska Airways Ltd., Prince Albert, SK. Based La Ronge, SK. Regd 04-May-1990. Canx 27-Nov-2000. Regd 18-Dec-2000. Canx 08-Nov-2001.

Power plant. Converted to Vazar turbine power by Aeroflite Industries at Vancouver, BC.

• C-FHPE Transwest Air Limited Partnership, by its General Partners 101008427 Sask & 101004597 Sask., Prince Albert, SK. Based La Ronge, SK. Regd 08-Nov-2001 & 24-May-2002.

Sold in the USA - Sep-2022. Sale cancelled.

• C-FLVJ Wings over Kississing, Flin Flon, MB. Regd 01-May-2023. Delivered by 15-Jun-2023.


Otter 273 was delivered to the Union of Burma Air Force on 8 December 1958 with serial UB651. It was one of three Otters delivered that month (273, 274 and 277), all three being packed into crates and shipped to Burma where they were re-assembled and entered service. A further six Otters were delivered to Burma in 1960 / 1961.

Burma was subsequently re-named Myanmar. Its Air Force aircraft were re-serialled, adopting Burmese numerals, equivalent to the old serial with a ‘4’ prefix and deleting the UB.  Thus UB651 became 4651, depicted on the side of the aircraft in Burmese numerals. In 1989 six of the Burmese Otters were purchased by Mr Trevor Ross of Vancouver. Five were located at Mingaladon Air Base and one at Hmawbi Air Base. All six were shipped to Vancouver, where they were stored in the Aeroflite Industries hangar at the International Airport. They had arrived there by early December 1989 and were then offered for sale.

Otter 273 was sold to Athabaska Airways Ltd., of La Ronge, Saskatchewan. They had arranged with Aeroflite Industries to convert the Otter to a Vazar turbine. It was noted in the hangar at Vancouver on 7 May 1990 after the conversion had been completed and was then registered to Athabaska Airways Ltd., as C-FHPE. It had arrived at Prince Albert, Sask by 13 May 1990. It was still all silver but acquired Athabaska Airways fuselage titles, and was operated like that for the summer of 1990, noted flying out of Stony Rapids. It was painted into Athabaska Airways colour scheme over the winter of 1990 / 1991, white fuselage, blue cheatline, stylised “A” and bird logo on the tail.

HPE flew on general charter work out of the La Ronge base, alongside the company’s piston Otters AZW (451) and ZKW (461). According to the company’s maintenance section, “HPE” stood for “High Priced Engine”! It was subsequently joined by the company’s second turbine Otter C-FSGD (316), replacing the piston Otters. When Athabaska Airways merged with La Ronge Aviation Services to form Transwest Air, with effect from 1 September 2000, both of these turbine Otters became part of the Transwest Air fleet and were re-painted into the Transwest colours. HPE was registered to Transwest Air Limited Partnership, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in November 2001, although it remained based at La Ronge.

HPE went on to fly for Transwest Air for many years, and a number of minor occurrences are recorded on CADORS:

22 April 2003. Immediately after departure from Prince Albert the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit and made an immediate return to the field, landing safely on runway 16.

27 August 2004.   ELT inadvertently activated while parked at La Ronge.

23 November 2004.  The pilot of HPE elected to land on the grass beside runway 08/26 at Prince Albert due to a stuck tail wheel. The Otter landed safely and was able to taxi to the ramp.

23 September 2008.  At 1630 hours the company reported to RCC Trenton and Winnipeg ACC that Otter HPE was overdue on a VFR flight from Lynn Lake to Goldstone Lake Lodge. CC-130H Hercules 130341 was tasked and made ready for departure from Winnipeg. It was stood down when the company advised that it had established contact with HPE which had diverted back into Lynn Lake due weather. HPE was based at Lynn Lake for the summer of 2008.

27 April 2011.  HPE inbound Stony Rapids with radio failure.

5 September 2012.   HPE departed La Ronge waterbase northbound, but returned due radio failure.

For summer 2017 HPE continued in service with Transwest Air, its 27th year since conversion to turbine and still going strong.

To be updated. Note: In service with Wings over Kissinging, Flin Flon, MB. Delivered by 15-Jun-2023.

Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005), now with added and updated information which Karl has supplied for the benefit of the website.