DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX   click on arrows to navigate page by page

c/n 275

57-6130 at an Open House, Fairchild AFB., Washington.
Photo: Dennis Peltier © May 1961 - Jay Sherlock Collection

c/n 275



• 57-6130 United States Army. Delivered 02-Jul-1958. Designated U-1A.

Allocated to 12th Aviation Company, Fort Sill, OK.

Aug-1961. Assigned to Yukon Command, based at Fort Wainwright, Fairbanks, AK. But with a platoon at Bryant AAF., Fort Richardson, Anchorage, AK.

Accident: Chugach Mountains  NE of Anchorage. 10-Dec-1965. Aircraft destroyed after the pilot suffered a coronary attack and was considered dear prior to the aircraft hitting the side of the remote mountain. The aircraft was considered un recoverable. A fuller report of the incident is included in the history below.


Otter 275 was delivered to the United States Army on 2nd July 1958 with serial 57-6130 (tail number 76130). It was allocated to the 12th Aviation Company, Fort Sill, Oklahoma and in August 1961 it flew north to Alaska when the Company was re-assigned there to join the Yukon Command. The 12th Aviation Company was based at Fort Wainwright, Fairbanks but maintained a platoon, known as the First Platoon, based at Bryant AAF., Fort Richardson, near Anchorage. The 4th Missile Battalion had missile launch sites dotted around the Chugach Mountains, and it was one of the functions of the Platoon's Otters to support and re-supply these sites.

76130 was serving with the First Platoon at Fort Richardson when it was destroyed in an accident on 10th December 1965 in the Chugach Mountains, thirteen miles north east of Anchorage.  The Otter had taken off from Bryant AAF., for a maintenance test flight, required due to the change of an engine cylinder, with only the pilot on board. Some time later, personnel of the Missile Battalion at Site Summit saw the Otter dive steeply into a valley and fail to emerge. They raised the alarm. A massive search operation was initiated, organised by the Rescue Co-Ordination Centre at Elmendorf AFB., Anchorage. Eleven Army aircraft were involved in the search, three Air Force aircraft and four from the Civil Air Patrol. The crash site was discovered that afternoon. The Otter had impacted the side of a mountain in an extremely remote area, miles from any road. The wreckage was on a steep slope, highly susceptible to snow avalanches. Conditions were treacherous, with winds gusting to sixty knots.

Paramedics were dropped in by Air Force CH-21C Shawnee helicopter, but could not immediately find the pilot and had to withdraw due to worsening conditions. As it was thought the pilot may have parachuted out, an OV-1 Mohawk from Fort Richardson made several high altitude runs over the area that night, looking for camp fires or signal fires, but none were seen. The next day, search parties were again flown to the scene by Shawnee helicopter and located the pilot's body.  An autopsy revealed that, although only 37 years old, he had suffered a heart attack and was already dead prior to the impact. On 21st December a UH-1B Huey helicopter of the Arctic Test Board at Fort Greely was dispatched to the scene to lift the engine, but its very experienced pilot, after an aerial reconnaissance of the site, judged that the proposed lift was so hazardous as to pose unwarranted risks to the UH-1, its crew and the ground party, and the effort was abandoned. Pieces of wreckage remain at the scene to this day.

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