DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 281

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c/n 281



• 57-6133 United States Army. Delivered 31-Jul-1958. Designated U-1A.

Initial allocation to 2nd Missile Command, Fort Hood. TX.

Jan-1992. 57th Aviation Company at Fort Sill, OK.

Oct-1963. re-assigned to the Aviation Section, Fort Ord, CA.

Nov-1963. 17th Aviation Company at Fort Ord, CA.

Jun-1964. Otter Transition School, Fort Ord. CA.

Accident Fort Ord, CA. May 1967 On take off, an elevator lock had been overlooked. Three occupants escaped before the aircraft was destroyed by fire. A more fulsome report is shown in the history below.

Destroyed by fire

Otter 281 was delivered to the United States Army on 31st July 1958 with serial 57-6133 (tail number 76133). It was delivered from Downsview to Fort Hood, Texas, one of four Otters delivered at this time to the 2nd Missile Command. By January 1962 it was serving with the 57th Aviation Company at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and in October 1963 was re-assigned to the Aviation Section, Fort Ord, California. The following month it joined the 17th Aviation Company at Fort Ord and when that Company became a Caribou unit and moved to Fort Benning in June 1964, 76133 was re-assigned to the Otter Transition School, remaining at Fort Ord with the School.

76133 continued to fly for the Otter Transition School until it was destroyed in an accident taking off from Fort Ord in May 1967. On board were an Instructor Pilot (IP), student pilot and crew chief. The student needed one hour of night dual instruction before being assigned to Vietnam, and accordingly the training detail was scheduled for very early in the morning, before sun-up. The departure of the flight was delayed for various reasons, and in the rush to eventually get going, it was unfortunately overlooked to remove an external elevator lock. The IP takes up the story:

“On take-off all felt normal. The Otter broke ground and immediately nosed-up. I delayed grabbing the yoke for a moment to ask the student pilot to lower the nose. As I watched the city lights disappear under the cowling, I grabbed the yoke to try to get us back in shape. It was a rock! The nose still climbed. Out of the side window, I saw that we were close to vertical. One more  second and we would loop at 500 feet over the runway. As I closed the throttle, I remember thinking that it sure was quiet. As the nose came down and through the horizon, I came back with full throttle but a second later we were vertical, racing toward the runway at max power. Again I closed the throttle and the nose came up to 22 degrees below the horizon. At least, that's what the accident investigators later told me”.

“We struck the ground near the runway at 22 degrees. The engine tore off and folded under the cockpit. The landing gear on my side came up through the floor, shoved my seat up and jammed my head against the cockpit roof. I saw the propeller blade sticking through the window, the tip six inches from my head. The only light came from flames that danced above where the windshield should have been”. The three on board got clear of the Otter before it erupted into flames and was completely destroyed, apart from the tail and the wings. 76133 was officially deleted from the Army inventory in September 1967.

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