DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 288

N3382 at Vancouver - CYVR, British Columbia.
Photo: Ian M. Macdonald © circa 1970's
N3382 at Boeing Field - KBFI, Washington.
Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © 13 March 1975
N3382 the work has begun at Vancouver - CYVR.
Photo: John Kimberley © August 1979 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GXYR at Vancouver, ready for action.
Photo: John Kimberley © 1980 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N68086 change over to floats.
Photo: John Kimberley © December 1980 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N68086 at Vancouver - CYVR.
Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © 10 January 1981
Photo: Unknown photographer © March 1981 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N68086 in service at Ketchikan, Alaska.
Photo: Don Dawson © 15 December 1983 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
Photo: Don Dawson © April 1984 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N68086 gets a colourful make-over.
Photo: Andrew Brakkus © February 1985 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
DQ-GLL at Nadi, Fiji.
Photos: John Bigley © 05 May 2004 - Karl E. Hayes Collection

c/n 288

58-1683 •  N3382 • C-GXYR • N68086 • DQ-GLL



• 58-1683 United States Army. Delivered 03-Oct-1958 with serial 58-1683.  

Initially allocated to the 12th Aviation Company, Fort Sill, OK.

August 1961 The unit was re-assigned to join the Yukon Command at Fort Wainwright, Fairbanks, AK., but maintained a Platoon at Fort Richardson, Anchorage. The aircraft alternated between the two bases.

Accident: In Glenallen area of the Alaskan Range. AK. Mar-1970. Other accident details unknown. A report on the recovery is shown below.

May-1970. Deleted from US Army inventory.

• N3382 Feb-1971. Purchased by Harold J. Hansen Boeing Field, Seattle, WA. Purchased in damaged condition.

• N3382 Terry Wills, dba Coastal Air, Ketchikan, AK.

• N3382 Thomas M. Parker, Cordova, AK. Regd circa 1974.

Accident: Hawk Inlet, AK 31-Jul-1975. The Otter had departed from Juneau on a cargo flight and was landing at Hawk Inlet. Unfortunately the pilot of the aircraft, which was on amphibious floats, forgot to retract the landing gear, and on landing on the water at Hawk Inlet, the Otter nosed over and sank. It was substantially damaged. Recovered and repaired by Harold J. Hansen Boeing Field, Seattle , WA.

• N3382 Channel Flying Inc., Juneau, AK. Dates unknown.

Accident: Crab Bay, AK. 21st November 1978. The amphibious equipped aircraft, on a cargo flight, had departed from Juneau airport and was landing on the water at Crab Bay when it nosed over and sank and came to rest in the water. Once again the pilot had failed to retract the wheels.

Entries preceded by date are extracts from Canadian Department of Transport archives.

16-Aug-1979 Bill of Sale; Channel Flight Inc to York Realty Ltd ., c/o J.C. Howse, Duncan, BC.

21-Jan-1980 allotment C-GXYR to DHC-3 msn 288 for York Realty Ltd.

Unknown date in 1980.  N3382 Imported to Canada in damaged condition following a wheels down amphibian landing on water in Alaska. Rebuilt by AME M.K. Campbell at Vancouver Airport.

23-Jun-1980 Provisional Certificate of Registration and permission to test fly for Certificate of Airworthiness..

27-Jun-1980 Provisional Certificate of Registration issued to York Realty Ltd., c/o J.C.Howse.

27-Jun-1980 Provisional Certificate of Registration and Flight Permit for ferry Vancouver-Duncan, valid to 27-Jul-1980.

08-Jul-1980 Certificate of Airworthiness issued..

08-Jul-1980 Certificate of Registration issued to York Realty Ltd., c/o J.C. Howse, Duncan, BC.

• C-GXYR. York Realty Ltd., c/o J.C. Howse, Duncan, BC. Regd 08-Jul-1980.  

21-Oct-1980 Bill of Sale; York Realty Ltd., to Kirk M. Thomas & James D. Gilmour, Ketchikan, AK (Tyee Airlines).

• C-GXYR 17-Nov-1980 Cancelled CCAR.

Total time since new as recorded in Canadian Department of Transport archives.

21-Jan-1980 - 5,374 hours

18-Dec-1980 - 5,377 hours

18-Dec-1980 Certificate of Airworthiness for Export #HQX805 issued.

• , Kirk M. Thomas. (the owner of Tyee Airlines Inc), Ketchikan, AK. Registered 22-Jan-1981.

• N68086 Temsco Helicopters Apr-1995 after purchase of Tyee Airlines. Fixed wing company named Temsco Airlines. Ceased operating 02-Nov-1991.

• N68086 Taquan Air Service Ltd., Ketchikan, AK.  Regd 12-May-1995.

Power plant: Converted to a Vazar turbine at Abbotsford, BC., by Conair during 1997..

• Un regd North Cariboo Air International, Fort St.John, BC. Oct-1999.

• DQ-GLL. Pacific Island Air, Nadi, Fiji. Regd 17-Nov-1999 who had leased it from North Cariboo International.

Accident: Off Vomo Island, Fiji. 29-Dec-2009. On approach to Vomo Island, off Viti Levu Island, Fiji, aircraft crashed into the sea several yards offshore, in unknown circumstances. All six occupants were slightly injured while the aircraft was withdrawn from use following the accident.

• C-GHAQ Harbour Air, Richmond, Vancouver, BC. Regd 30-Nov-2011. Import date 01-Apr-2011.


Otter 288 was delivered to the United States Army on 3rd October 1958 with serial 58-1683 (tail number 81683). 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 at Fort Richardson, Anchorage and 81683 alternated between the two bases while it flew for the 12th Aviation Company throughout the 1960s. It continued in service until it met with an accident in March 1970.

As the history of the 568th Transportation Company, Fort Wainwright, records: “Several recovery operations were performed by members of this unit during the year. One of the more notable achievements involved the retrieving of a U-1A which went down in the Glenallen area of the Alaskan Range. A recovery team was sent out to dismantle the aircraft and bring it back on two flatbed trailers. All went well until the return trip was underway. Upon approaching the Isabelle Pass area, high winds and snow conditions made it almost impossible to see. SFC Alvin R. Moist, leading the convoy in his own automobile, relates how he had to lean out the door and follow the highway line markings to make any progress”.

As a result of the crash, 81683 was deleted from the Army inventory in May 1970 and put up for disposal. The damaged aircraft was purchased by Harold J. Hansen and trucked to his facility at Boeing Field, Seattle, being registered to him as N3382 in February 1971, on completion of the rebuild. The Otter was then sold to Terry Wills, trading as Coastal Air, of Ketchikan, Alaska who used the aircraft on amphibious floats during the busy summer sport-fishing season. He worked N3382 between Ketchikan and the town's original airport, Annette Field, taking his charter passengers directly to Yes Bay Lodge and other local fishing resorts. In 1974 the Otter was sold to Thomas M. Parker of Cordova, Alaska and was substantially damaged in an accident at Hawk Inlet on 31st July 1975. The Otter had departed from Juneau on a cargo flight and was landing at Hawk Inlet. Unfortunately the pilot of the aircraft, which was on amphibious floats, forgot to retract the landing gear, and on landing on the water at Hawk Inlet, the Otter nosed over and sank.

N3382 was retrieved from the water by Harold Hansen and returned to Boeing Field, Seattle where it was repaired. It was then sold to Channel Flying Inc., of Juneau, Alaska and flew for them until 21st November 1978 when it suffered exactly the same type of accident again! The Otter, on a cargo flight, had departed from Juneau and was landing at Crab Bay when it nosed over and sank and came to rest in the water. The pilot had failed to retract the landing gear on the amphibious floats, just as on the last occasion. The wrecked Otter was sold to York Realty Ltd., of Duncan, BC, on Vancouver Island. This company had also purchased Otters 131 and 307 which had been returned to Canada from Nicaragua and parts from these aircraft were used in the rebuild of 288. When the rebuild was complete, the Otter was registered C-GXYR to York Realty Ltd., in January 1980. It was noted at Vancouver International Airport on 17th May 1980, repainted in a blue and white colour scheme.

The Otter was then sold to Kirk M. Thomas. (the owner of Tyee Airlines Inc) of Ketchikan, Alaska in November 1980, registered N68086, and departed Vancouver on delivery the following month, on floats. It was re-registered to Tyee Airlines Inc., in March 1981 and joined Tyee's large fleet of Beavers. Two more Otters (N9895B and N2783J) were later added to the Tyee fleet. Another Ketchikan-based operator at this time was Temsco Helicopters Inc, which operated a large fleet of Hughes and Bell helicopters. In January 1985, Temsco Helicopters purchased Tyee Airlines, as well as floatplanes owned by South Coast Inc,. creating a new airline which retained Tyee's colourful red, orange and yellow scheme. Otter N68086 was registered to Temsco Helicopters Inc in April 1985. As well as Tyee's fleet of aircraft, Temsco also acquired as part of the deal the Tongass Avenue dock and hangar which Tyee had used at Ketchikan, its hangar at the airport and a hangar at nearby Peninsula Point, which was used for aircraft maintenance. The name 'Temsco Airlines' was adopted for the fixed-wing fleet.

Otter N68086 flew as part of the Temsco Airlines fleet on its scheduled and charter services from Ketchikan until the company announced abruptly on Monday 28th October 1991 that its final services would take place the following Friday and that the airline's fixed wing division would close down on that date, due to adverse economic conditions. N68086 remained idle at Ketchikan from that date until it was acquired by Taquan Air Service Inc., of Ketchikan, to whom it was registered in May 1995. Taquan had taken over the services flown by Temsco Airlines from Ketchikan, and N68086 resumed flying from Ketchikan after nearly three and a half years idle on the ground. During 1997 the Otter was converted a Vazar turbine at Abbotsford, BC by Conair and re-joined the Taquan fleet. It continued flying for Taquan until October 1999, when it was sold to North Cariboo Air International of Fort St. John, BC.

This company purchased the Otter not to operate it, but to lease it out. The Otter was flown from Ketchikan to the Vancouver International Airport, where it was dis-assembled at the Aeroflite Industries facility, received the panoramic window modification, was packed into two crates and was then shipped from Vancouver to Nadi, the capital of the Pacific island of Fiji. It was re-assembled there and registered DQ-GLL in December 1999 to Pacific Island Air, who had leased it from North Cariboo International. It joined their Beaver DQ-GWW. As the company's website proclaims: “The Pacific Island Air amphibious seaplanes will transfer you direct from Nadi Airport and deliver you to any Mamanuca or Yasawa Island resort in minutes (other resorts just take a little longer), landing right in front of your resort, or vice versa. On your flight you will pass over other islands and reefs that will make you realize that you are in the Island paradise of the South Pacific. The airline will also transfer you to a resort on Vanua Levu, Nukubati, Taveuni, Qamea, Matangi or Namenalala. Transfers are also available to the Coral Coast and the Lau Group”.

As well as these resort transfers, the Otter is also used for general charter work, sightseeing and medical evacuation. No detail is spared on the website in describing the beauty of the place: “Among Fiji's 332 coral-fringed islands, the closest islands to the Nadi International Airport are the Mananuca and Yasawa groups. These are a string of gems thrown in a scimitar-like curve from near the airport to stretch away almost one hundred miles. Each is beautiful with snow-white beaches, turquoise and jade green reefs and coral gardens. The islands offer warm, sunny days and starlit nights”. With its large panoramic windows, the Otter proved ideal for sightseeing flights over these beautiful islands.

Originally the Otter was operated in its former Taquan Air white and blue colour scheme but by May 2004 had been repainted in the same styling but with red and yellow colours. It carried Pacific island Air fuselage titles and a colourful tail logo. The Otter would fly for Pacific Island Air for ten years, it main roles being the resort transfers and sightseeing flights. One of the Otter’s other roles was to provide inter-island medical evacuation. On 20 October 2009 it was on such a mission, carrying a pregnant woman from the island of Taveuni to hospital in Suva. It skidded on landing at Nausori Airport, Suva after a pin broke causing the landing gear to slip back into the under-carriage. There were no injuries but it blocked the runway for three hours, delaying the departure of a Pacific Sun Airlines ATR bound for Nadi, and causing another of the airline’s flights from Labasa to divert to Nadi. The Otter was attended to by engineers at Nausori and was ready for action again the next day.

It was not long after this incident that disaster struck the Otter. On Sunday 27 December 2009 DQ-GLL was en route from Nadi to the Vomo Island Resort, part of the Mamanuca Island Group, fifteen minutes flying time from Nadi. On board were the pilot and four passengers. The Otter “tipped over” on landing on the water at the resort. There were no injuries, but substantial damage had been caused to the Otter. The wreck was loaded onto a barge and taken back to Nadi, where photographs in the local newspapers showed the battered fuselage, with wings and tail detached. After ten years service, its flying days around this island paradise were over.

Around this time, the Pacific Island Seaplanes company was put up for sale. It had been founded by “Dusty” Simon, a former Canadian rancher and logger. He had built it up over the years into the largest charter operator in Fiji. At the age of 70 he wanted a change and had bought a ranch in Brazil. The company and its assets were advertised for sale, with an asking price of $5.2m. This included the company’s five aircraft – two Beavers, the (damaged) Otter and two BN Islanders, all the company’s buildings and equipment at Nadi International Airport, and the operating licenses that allowed the aircraft access to the whole country. As at March 2010 the operation was still advertised for sale and operations continued with the Beavers and Islanders. As at the end of July 2010 the damaged Otter still lay dumped outside at the Nadi Airport, minus wings, tail and engine, in a very sorry state indeed. It remained there until the middle of 2011, when it was packed into a crate and departed.

The crate eventually arrived at Vancouver, where the buyer of the Otter was revealed as Harbour Air. The Otter was registered to its new owners on 30 November 2011 as C-GHAQ. It remained in storage in a hangar however and was not at that stage repaired or put into service, although it was allocated fleet number 320.  That remained the position during summer 2018, with the damaged Otter still in storage in Vancouver.

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.