DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 276

NlUW at Oshkosh - KOSH, Wisconsin.
Photo: Peter Kirkup © August 1977 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GYYS in action.
Photo: Rich Hulina © August 1994
C-GYYS awaiting spring.
Photo: Rich Hulina © March 2000 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GYYS at Red Lake.
Photos: Marc Bourdon © 12 June 2013
C-GYYS parked for the winter at Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba
Photo: Kurt Ariano © 20 November 2017

c/n 276

57-6131 • N1UW

C-GYYS

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• 57-6131 United States Army. Delivered 17-Jul-1958. Designated U-1A.

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

Aug-1961 Unit assigned to Yukon Command based at Fort Wainwright, Fairbanks, AK., with a platoon at Fort Richardson, Anchorage. The aircraft alternated between the two locations.

Jun-1971 Assigned to the Air National Guard at Bethel, AK., until Oct 1971.

Oct-1971 Davis- Monthan AFB., Tucson, AZ., where it was put into storage. PCN (Product Control Number) UA003.

• N1UW University of Wisconsin, and based at Oshkosh, WI. Regd Sep-1972. Canx early 1979.

• C-GYYS Art Gaffray, Silver Falls, MB. Canx 16-May-1979.

• C-GYYS Northwestern Flying Services Ltd., Nestor Falls, ON. Regd 16 May 1979. Canx Dec-1987.

• C-GYYS Change of title to Northwest Flying Inc., 18-Dec-1987. Canx 15-Aug-2015.

Accident: Sabaskong Bay, Nestor Falls, ON; 03-Jun-1998. Badly damaged when hit power lines on approach. Details shown in history below. Repaired at Recon, Geraldton, ON.

• C-GYYS Peter Hagedorn Investments Ltd., Operating as Chimo Air Service. Regd 15-Aug-2012.

• C-GYYS Superior Airways Limited, Red Lake, ON. Regd 16-Apr-2018.

Current

Otter 276 was delivered to the United States Army on 17 July 1958 with serial 57-6131 (tail number 76131). It was allocated to the 12th Aviation Company at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and in July 1961 it flew north to Alaska when the 12th was re-assigned there to join the Yukon Command. The 12th was based at Fort Wainright, Fairbanks but maintained a platoon at Fort Richardson, Anchorage and 76131 alternated between the two bases while it flew for the 12th Aviation Company throughout the 1960s.

In June 1971 the Otter was re-assigned to the Alaska Army National Guard, based at Bethel, and served there until October 1971 when its military career came to an end. It was ferried south to Davis-Monthan AFB., Tucson, Arizona where it was put into storage in the Sonora Desert ‘boneyard’, one of five US Army Otters to be stored there. It had flown south alongside 81685 (291), also retired from the National Guard at Bethel at the same time and also put into storage in the boneyard. Inventory code of 81685 was UA002 and for 76131 was UA003.

None of the five US Army Otters remained in storage for long. The following year 76131 was allocated to the University of Wisconsin, registered N1UW in September 1972 and based at Oshkosh. It was painted white with a yellow cheatline and tail band. The registration N1UW was on the tail band and it carried University of Wisconsin Oshkosh fuselage titles. It remained in use with the University, based at Oshkosh on wheels, until 1979 when it was sold to Art Gaffray of Silver Falls, Manitoba, owner of Blue Water Aviation Services. He arranged for it to be flown to the Silver Falls base where it was overhauled and registered C-GYYS in May 1979 to Northwestern Flying Services Ltd., to whom he had sold the Otter.

C-GYYS was then delivered to its new base at Nestor Falls, Ontario. It still carried the white / yellow colour scheme from its days with the University. In December 1987 there was a change of title to Northwest Flying Inc and the Otter was re-painted into a new colour scheme, featuring a brown/blue cheatline and tail colours. It flew alongside the company’s Beaver C-GEBL and Beech 18 C-FNKL, operating during the summer months only, flying fishermen and tourists. An incident occurred on 15 August 1989 while the Otter was shuttling between its base at Nestor Falls and Arrow Lake, returning fishermen from the lake. A lady fishing with her family on a boat on Miles Bay complained that she saw Otter YYS flying straight towards her boat at very low altitude – twenty feet she said, while flying regulations required a minimum of 500 feet. The Otter passed very close to the boat, circled, made another low pass and flew off. A while later the Otter “came over an island, dropped down very low and flew at us again”. The Otter was “very noisy and large” as it flew low over the boat. As a result of the complaint the pilot was fined $400 for breach of the regulations.

C-GYYS continued in operation with Northwest Flying Inc until damaged in an accident while landing at Sabaskong Bay at Nestor Falls on 3 June 1998. As the accident report stated: “The pilot did not see the hydro power lines that were strung between the mainland and a group of islands. The pilot knew the power lines were there and had flown in and out of the same bay many times in the past. He believed that he had flown past the wires, which did not have any markers. The Otter hit a power line, which folded the aircraft’s right wing back against the fuselage and tore off the rudder. The Otter struck the water upright and the pilot taxied the aircraft to the shore”. YYS was trucked to Recon Air at Geraldton, Ontario for repair, after which it re-entered service with Northwest Flying Inc.

C-GYYS continued flying for Northwest Flying Inc until the end of the summer 2011 season. In September 2011 it was advertised for sale by brokers Lauriault Aviation. It was on EDO 7170 floats, with a total time of 15,288 hours, with a timed-out engine. The asking price was CAD$625,000. It was still advertised for sale in May 2012. The Otter was sold to Peter Hagedorn Investments Ltd, trading as Chimo Air Service of Red Lake, Ontario to whom it was registered on 15 August 2012, joining their existing Otter C-FODQ (111), a Vazar turbine.

YYS was operated by Chimo Air Service for the remainder of summer 2012 and in the years that followed. It retained its former colour scheme but had Chimo Air Service titles and was still in service for summer 2017, one of the dwindling number of Otters still with their original piston engines. It was noted in winter storage at Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba in November 2017.

Chimo Air Service provided general charter work out of Red Lake as well as flying the fishing lodge guests of Chimo Lodge and Outposts, also owned by Peter Hagedorn. The main lodge was at Roderick Lake and there were numerous outpost camps, all located in the Ontario bush country to the north of Red Lake.

After many years of carrying on this business, Peter Hagedorn retired in the spring of 2018 and sold both Chimo Air Service and Chimo Lodge and Outposts to Superior Airways Ltd., an established charter operator also based at Red Lake. At that time Superior Airways operated a fleet of Cessna Caravans and Piper Navajos. From then on Superior Airways owned the fishing lodge business, as well as Chimo Air Service, which it closed down. Henceforth the fishing lodge business would be serviced by a fleet of two turbine Otters, one piston Otter, a Beaver and two Cessna Caravans, all operated by Superior Airways. On 16 April 2018 the three former Chimo Air Service Otters, turbines C-FODQ (111) and C-GRRJ (296) and piston Otter C-GYYS (276) were all registered to Superior Airways Ltd., and for summer 2018 were flying out of Red Lake for their new owner.

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.