DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX   click on arrows to navigate page by page

c/n 280

CF-MPX at Ottawa / Uplands - CYOW, Ontario.
Photo: Ben J. Ullings © June 1981 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
CF-MPX still winterized, at Edmonton, Alberta.
Photo: John Kimberley © April 1982 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
CF-MPX serving with COVAL AIR, at Campbell River's Tyee Spit.
Photo: John Kimberley © June 1984 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
CF-MPX high and dry, at Vancouver - CYVR.
Photo: John Kimberley © June 1985 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
CF-MPX on the Fraser at Vancouver South seaplane dock, British Columbia.
Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © July 1986
C-FMPX at Air Saguenay base.
Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © 01 May 2001 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N93PC at Nikiski.
Photo: Ken Stoltzfus © 2011
N93PC - The tragic end at Soldotna - SXQ, Alaska.
Photo: NTSB © July 2013

c/n 280

CF-MPX • C-FMPX

N93PC

x

• CF-MPX Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Air Division. Delivered 25-Feb-1959.

Incident: Norman Wells, NT. 12-May-1961. Incident on landing with wheel/ski configuration. The aircraft had taken off and was landing on wheels. The parking brake had remained locked on. This caused the tail to tip up on landing with the propeller striking runway.

• C-FMPX Laurentian Air Services Ltd., Ottawa. ON. Regd circa 1979.

• C-FMPX Hyack Air Ltd., New Westminster, BC. Canx 07-Jun-1983.

• C-FMPX Commercial Credit, Burnaby, BC. Regd date unknown. Canx 16-May-1984.

• C-FMPX Coval Air Ltd., Campbell River, BC. Regd date unknown. Canx 20-Jun-1985.

• C-FMPX Harbour Air Ltd., Richmond, BC. Regd date unknown. Canx 04-Jun-1986.

• C-FMPX Nahanni Air Services Ltd., Norman Wells, NT. Regd 16-Mar-1987. Canx 05-Sep-1989

• C-FMPX North-Wright Air Ltd., Norman Wells, NT. Regd 05-Sep-1989. Canx 27-Apr-1990.

Note: The previous entries are all shown as CF-MPX on the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register.

• C-FMPX Air Inuit (1985) Ltd., Dorval, QC. Regd 26-Aug-1993. Canx 18-Feb-1994

• C-FMPX Johnny May’s Air Charter Ltd., Dorval, QC. Based Kuujjuaq QC. Regd 18-Feb-1994 & 12-Aug-1998. Canx 16-Jan-2001.

Accident: Diana Lake in northern Quebec, 23-Sep-2000. Just after take off from the lake, severe turbulence was encountered. The pilot was unable to control the aircraft, which lost altitude. One of the floats struck an obstacle and the Otter crashed to the ground. No injuries to pilot and two passengers.

• C-FMPX Air Saguenay (1980) Inc., Jonquière, QC. Regd 16-Jan-2001. Canx 23-May-2003. Re regd 02-Sep-2003. Canx 09-Jul-2010.

• N93PC JB Leasing, Bethel, AK. Regd 09-Jul-2010.

Airworthiness date: 09-Jul-2010.

Power plant: Garrett TPE-33-10R.  powered. Date unknown.

• N93PC Rediske Air, Rediske Family Ltd., Partnership, Nikiski, AK. Regd 01-Dec-2010. Expired 31-Dec-2013. Canx 08-Sep-2017.

Stalled and crashed shortly after take off near Soldotna Airport, at 11:20 ADT 07-Jul-2013. Pilot and nine passengers killed.

Destroyed

Otter 280 was delivered to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Air Division on 25 February 1959 with registration CF-MPX. It was to faithfully serve the RCMP for twenty years. It was painted in the RCMP’s then colour scheme of blue overall with yellow trim and yellow wings. Immediately after delivery it was sent to the far North and in late April 1959 it was engaged on flying RCMP personnel from Sachs Harbour to Aklavik. It spent much of its police career in the Northwest Territories.

An incident occurred while landing at Norman Wells, NWT on 12 May 1961. The Otter was equipped with wheel-skis. The take off prior to the accident was made on skis. On arrival at Norman Wells the skis were selected up for the landing on the runway at the airport. After touch down the pilot felt a dragging sensation. As the speed decreased the tail wheel left the ground and the propeller came into contact with the airstrip. The tail section then fell heavily backwards, causing substantial damage. After the accident the pilot stated that the parking brakes had been in the locked “on” position throughout the landing.

The following is taken from an article in the CAHS journal: “Ski-wheel undercarriages can have their peculiarities, particularly when on snow. The wheel being jacked up above the ski will rotate freely, so when jumping down from the cockpit onto the tire, it will turn and throw one off. Leaving the parking brake on solves the problem, until a runway with no snow occurs. Otter CF-MPX, whose pilot forgot to take the parking brake off when selecting ‘ski-up, wheels down’ landed on the snowless gravel runway at Norman Wells with locked wheels. The aircraft promptly turned over and broke its back. Two RCMP engineers arrived before too long and dismantled the Otter, packing it inside an RCAF C-119 Flying Boxcar for transport to Ottawa and subsequent repair”.

Restored to service, MPX continued to serve the Northwest Territories. It was noted at Port Radium in March 1967 but was based at Edmonton, Alberta by January 1971. It was repainted into the new RCMP colour scheme of white fuselage with blue trim. It sustained minor damage in four separate incidents – at Calling Lake, Alberta in March 1971; at Slave Lake, Alberta in August 1972; at Edmonton in March 1973 and at Winnipeg in February 1975. It was noted at Winnipeg on amphibious floats in July 1975. It was re-registered C-FMPX and continued in RCMP service until 1979, when it was sold to Laurentian Air Services Ltd., of Ottawa. It was noted at Laurentian’s Ottawa base in June 1981, tied down in outside storage.

In April 1982 MPX was sold to Hyack Air Ltd., of New Westminster, BC and crossed the country to be based on the Pacific Coast. New Westminster was a float base on the Fraser River near Vancouver where Hyack Air had a dock. The company’s aircraft were also to be seen at the Pitt Meadows airfield ten miles away. The Otter flew alongside two Beavers and some single Cessnas and was used for charter work along the Pacific Coast. MPX continued to fly for Hyack Air until May 1984, when  it was sold to CoVal Air and joined that company’s Otter fleet, based at Campbell River on Vancouver Island. It was still painted in the basic RCMP white and blue scheme but acquired CoVal Air titles. It arrived in Vancouver on 8 June 1985 on delivery to Harbour Air Ltd who would operate the aircraft until June 1986. It remained in the RCMP scheme with Harbour Air titles, and continued to serve the Pacific Coast on floats, as it had with CoVal Air and Hyack Air.

Its next operator was Nahanni Air Services Ltd., of Norman Wells, NWT to whom it was registered on 16 March 1987. It returned to be based at Norman Wells, the scene of its bad accident while in RCMP service. In April 1989 it was re-registered to North Wright Air Ltd., which was the new name of Nahanni Air Services, which was owned by Perry Linton, a well-known NWT aviator. It was the only Single Otter in the company’s fleet at the time, but there was also a Twin Otter, two BN Islanders, Turbo Porters, Helio Couriers and single Cessnas. The Otter remained based at Norman Wells serving the needs of hunters and fishermen and supporting mining exploration in this remote part of the Northwest Territories.

For its next operator MPX headed back east, being registered to Johnny May’s Air Charter Ltd., of Kuujjuaq (Fort Chimo) in northern Quebec in April 1990. At long last it lost its RCMP scheme and was painted into Johnny May colours, which was the basic Air Inuit scheme of white fuselage with red/orange cheatline and no titles. Johnny May’s Air Charter was a subsidiary of Air Inuit. It flew for this operator throughout the 1990s, serving the very remote northern regions of Quebec. It was registered to Air Inuit from 26 August 1993 to 18 February 1994, and then reverted to Johnny May’s Air Charter. During 1999 it went to Montreal for a major overhaul, which took the best part of a year, before it returned to service out of its Kuujjuaq base in May 2000. On 18 August 2000 MPX was on a VFR flight in the vicinity of Puvirnituq. An oil leak due to the cracking of a cylinder caused the pilot to shut down the engine and glide to a lake 25 miles south-east of Puvirnituq, where he set down without damage. The pilot, the only occupant, reported his distress to Air Inuit flight AIE 583 which relayed the message to the Kuujjuaq FSS. The pilot was rescued by Canadian Helicopters Bell Jet Ranger C-GNLE. The Otter’s engine was repaired and it returned to service.

Alas, after only a hundred hours flying since its major overhaul, MPX was badly damaged in an accident on 23 September 2000 at Diana Lake, 27 miles west of Kuujjuaq. Just after take off from the lake, in the initial right turn, strong turbulence obliged the pilot to continue to fly into wind, to gain altitude and stabilize the aircraft. On the second attempted right turn, the Otter began to lose altitude and stall. The flight controls were no longer responding. The pilot applied full power but the left float struck the water and the Otter flipped over onto its back. There were no injuries to the three on board, who were subsequently rescued by helicopter. The pilot’s distress call was relayed to Kuujjuaq FSS by Air Inuit flight AIE 601.  MPX had sustained serious structural damage in the crash, which ended its career with Johnny May’s Air Charter.

The wrecked Otter was brought back to Kuujjuaq and then taken by ship to Montreal and then by truck to a shed at Iberville, beside the Richelieu River, where Jean Pierre Latour rebuilt and repaired the aircraft. The Otter was then trucked to its new owners, Air Saguenay (1980) Inc., at Lac St.Sebastien, Quebec who fitted the wings and engine and repainted MPX in their most attractive red and white scheme. It was re-registered to Air Saguenay on 16 January 2001 and joined their large fleet of Otters, serving the Quebec bush country.

C-FMPX continued in service with Air Saguenay until the end of the summer season in 2007 and was put into store over the winter at the company’s base at Lac St.Sebastien. In April 2008 it was advertised for sale, with 22,299 hours on the airframe and an asking price of Canadian $750,000. It did not sell at that stage and resumed service with Air Saguenay for summer 2008. It was noted on wheels at Rouyn-Noranda during January 2009, still flying for Air Saguenay. In September 2009 it was sold to Mike Schilling of Kenai, Alaska. It was flown however from Lac St.Sebastien to Geraldton, Ontario where Recon Air commenced work on the Otter for its new owner, a major overhaul and conversion of the aircraft to a Texas Turbine with the Garrett TPE-331 engine. This work was completed in July 2010, being conversion number 38. The Otter at that stage had total time of 22,536 hours.

On 9 July 2010 the Otter was registered N93PC to J B Leasing Company Ltd, Nikiski, Alaska before commencing the long delivery flight from Geraldton to Kenai, Alaska which was its new base. It had arrived at Kenai by 20 July, painted in a white colour scheme with a maroon cheatline. No sooner had it arrived in Kenai than it was advertised for sale in early August 2010, with 29 hours on the airframe since conversion with the Garrett -10 engine, most of which comprised its delivery flight to Alaska. The sale proceeded being completed in October and on 1 December 2010 the Otter was registered as N93PC to Rediske Family Limited Partnership of Nikiski, for operation by Rediske Air. This was an air taxi company based at Nikiski on the Kenai Peninsula, operating a fleet of three Cessna 207s, one Cessna 206 and an Islander on general charter work, including the usual tourists, hunters and fishermen and oil industry support and crew changes, hauling groceries and drilling tools and such like. By mid June 2013 the Otter’s total time had increased to 22,831 hours.

N93PC continued in operation with Rediske Air until it was destroyed in a tragic accident on Sunday 7 July 2013. Rediske Air had a contract to fly guests to the Bear Mountain Lodge at Lake Clark on Chinitna Bay, at the southern end of Lake Clark National Park. That morning the Otter had been scheduled to fly a different trip and the guests travelling to the Lodge were to go on two of the company’s Cessna 207s. However, when the Otter’s intended trip was cancelled, it was decided to use the Otter to fly to the Lodge. At Nikiski, some groceries and supplies for the Lodge were loaded. N93PC then positioned to Soldotna to pick up the passengers, two families who were vacationing in Alaska (from their home in Greenville, South Carolina) and who were going to the Lodge for bear viewing. The families comprised two parents and two children, and two parents and three children, nine passengers in total, and the pilot that morning was Walter Rediske, the owner of the company. The flight would be 75 miles across Cook Inlet to Chinitna Bay, landing either on the beach or an airstrip at the Lodge.

The Otter took off from the Soldotna Airport’s five thousand foot runway at 11:20 that morning but something catastrophic occurred  during the climb out and the Otter fell out of the sky 2,300 feet from the departure end of the runway and crashed into the ground 88 feet off the right side of the runway. The right wing and engine struck the ground first and on impact the Otter burst into flames, killing all ten souls on board. It was the worst aviation accident in Alaska in more than a decade. It was on a par with the previous worst Otter crash, that of US Army U-1A Otter tail number 76115 (235), which had crashed into the Gulf of Sirte off the coast of Libya in January 1960 and which had also killed its pilot and the nine passengers on board.

The NTSB immediately sent a team to investigate the crash. An interim report was published in September 2014, suggesting that the Otter may have been loaded tail heavy, causing it to stall. In July 2015 Lyla Rediske, widow of Walter Rediske, the pilot of the Otter who had been killed in the crash, commenced court proceedings for damages against pretty much everybody who had been involved with this Otter in recent times. Her court action named as defendants Bear Mountain Lodge (claiming they had provided wrong information as to the weight of their cargo which the Otter was carrying), Texas Turbine Conversions Inc, Honeywell International Inc (makers of the engine), Viking Air and Recon Air (all of whom had been involved in the modification of the Otter to a turbine) and Rediske Family LLP., and J. B. Leasing Company LLC., as owners or former owners of the Otter. The families of the passengers who had died also sued.

On 20 October 2015 the NTSB published their final report, finding that mis-loading of the Otter had caused the crash. The cargo was not weighed and the pilot did not document any weight and balance calculations. The cargo weight was 418 pounds higher than the weight stated on the manifest, resulting in the Centre of Gravity being aft of the limit for the aircraft. The report gives as the probable cause of the accident the operator’s failure to determine the actual cargo weight, leading to the loading and operation of the Otter outside the weight and Centre of Gravity limits contained in the flight manual, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

Registration N93PC was formally cancelled on 8 September 2017.

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.