DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 278

57-6132 of 12th Aviation Company in Alaska.
Photo:Parnell Ferhuson © 1964 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
57-6132 at Lake Hood, Anchorage.
Photo: Dave Stern © Date unknown - Karl E. Hayes Collection

c/n 278

57-6132

N48064

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• 57-6132 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.

Jun-1971 Passed to Air National Guard, Nome, AK.

Dec-1971 Air National Guard, Bethel, AK.

Accident: Fort Richardson, AK. 05-Sep-1973. While the Otter was taxying on floats in a river channel with a strong current, while turning it was swept into a parked barge and damaged.

• N48064 Harold J. Hansen. (General Aircraft Supplies), Boeing Field, Seattle, WA. Regd May-1975.

Airworthiness Date: 19-Jul-1975.

Total time: 4,132hrs.

• N48064 Warren W. Woods (Woods Air Service), Palmer, AK., Purchased 04-Sep-1975.

Accident: Alatna River, AK. 4th August 1977. It was taking off from a gravel bar on the river en route to Bettles. Visibility at the site was two miles or less in smoke. Take off was towards a steep bend in the river, with a tree- lined bank. The Otter stalled on take-off, sadly killing the pilot who was the only occupant.  The aircraft was destroyed by a post-impact fire.

• Destroyed by fire •

Otter 278 was delivered to the United States Army on 17th July 1958 with serial 57-6132 (tail number 76132). It was allocated to the 12th Aviation Company, Fort Sill, Oklahoma and in August 1961 flew north to Alaska when the Company was re-assigned there to join the Yukon Command. 76132 served with the 12th Aviation Company based at Fort Wainwright until June 1971, when it was transferred to the Alaska National Guard, based at Nome. It remained there until December 1971 when it moved to Bethel, operating on floats during the summer months. Unusually for an Army Otter in Alaska, most of which carried the high visibility white/red colour scheme, 0-76132 was in the olive drab overall colour, with AK-NG on the tail. It met with an accident at Fort Richardson on 5th September 1973. While the Otter was taxying on floats in a river channel with a strong current, while turning it was swept into a parked barge and damaged.

That accident ended its military career. It was put up for disposal, and sold to that well known rebuilder of Otters, Harold J. Hansen. He collected it in Anchorage and drove it south to his base at Boeing Field, Seattle. He had a trailer specially modified on which to transport Otters. He applied to the FAA on 5th May 1975 for a civil registration for the aircraft and was allocated N48064. He explained that this was a former military aircraft “acquired as aircraft salvage and parts” and was then at Boeing Field undergoing rebuild by his company, General Aircraft Supplies. The Otter had 4,132 hours total time.

The rebuild continued during that summer, including repairs of the upper fuselage where the Otter had been damaged. By July the work had been completed and a Certificate of Airworthiness was granted on 19th July 1975. N48064 was then sold by Bill of Sale dated 4th September 1975 to Warren W. Woods of Palmer, Alaska, for operation by his fuel hauling company, Woods Air Service. This was to replace Otter N90574 (174) which Woods Air Service had leased from Harold Hansen and which had crashed at Anchorage on 21st May 1975. Mr Woods had immediately after that crash started negotiations with Harold Hansen for a replacement Otter.

N48064 joined the Woods Air Service fleet, carrying drums of fuel to remote locations throughout Alaska from its base at Palmer. This continued until the Otter was destroyed in an accident on 4th August 1977. It was taking off from a gravel bar on the Alatna River en route to Bettles. Visibility at the site was two miles or less in smoke. Take off was towards a steep bend in the river, with a tree- lined bank. The Otter stalled on take-off, sadly killing the pilot who was the only occupant.  The aircraft was destroyed by a post-impact fire. Probable causes listed in the accident report were: “Misuse or failure to use flaps; failed to obtain/maintain flying speed; mis-judged distance, speed and altitude and failed to abort take-off”. Factors included loose gravel, high obstructions, downdrafts and updrifts and obstruction to vision.

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