DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 324

C-FMPY at Vancouver - CYVR, British Columbia.
Photo: John Kimberley © November 1988 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FMPY at Vancouver with Wagair titles.
Photo: Fred Barnes © 14 October 1994 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FMPY at Nakina - CYQN, Ontario.
Photo: Rich Hulina © 10 April 2013

c/n 324




• CF-MPY Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Air Division. Delivered 28th July 1959.

Initially based at Frobisher Bay, NT.

Purchased by Bannock Aerospace Ltd., Toronto, ON. 10th October 1979

• C-FMPY Wardair Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB. Regd 12-Dec-1979. Operated on behalf of Maxwell Ward, the company’s founder.

• C-FMPY Loon Air Ltd., Fort Smith, NT, Regd 21-April-1987. Canx 01-Nov-1988.

• C-FMPY Irvin Olsen, Edmonton, AB. Regd 01-Nov-1988. Canx 23-Jun-1989.

• C-FMPY Central Mountain Air Ltd., Smithers, BC. Regd 23-Jun-1989. Canx 28-May-1991.

• C-FMPY Leased to Waglisla Air Inc., dba Wagair, Bella Bella, BC. Reggd May-1991.

• C-FMPY Poss leased to Gynn Bay Logging Ltd, Campbell River, BC.dba Western Straits Air Regd 23-Mar-1995. Canx 23-May-1995.

• C-FMPY Central Mountain Air Ltd., Smithers, BC. Regd 25-Sep-1995. Canx 20-Oct-1995.

• C-FMPY Northern Lights Air Ltd., Smithers, BC. Regd 20-Oct-1995. Canx 27-Sep-1996. Regd 17-Jul-1997. Canx 27-Apr-2000.

• C-FMPY Saltwater West Enterprises Ltd., Smithers, BC. Regd 27-Apr-2000. Canx 11-Mar-2004.

Note operated by Alpine Lakes Air Ltd., based at Smithers-Tyhee Lake, BC.

Power plant. Converted to Vazar Turbine by Guardian Aerospace at Vanderhoof, BC.

• C-FMPY Nakina Outpost Camps & Air Service Ltd., Nakina, ON. Regd 12-Mar-2004.


Otter 324 was delivered to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Air Division on 28th July 1959, registered CF-MPY. RCMP Norseman CF-MPL was traded-in to DHC in part payment for the Otter. CF-MPY was initially assigned to Frobisher Bay, Northwest Territories, where it replaced Otter CF-MPU (44), which was then returned off loan to the RCAF. CF-MPY was to faithfully serve the RCMP without incident for twenty years, until it was put up for disposal through the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation, and purchased by Bannock Aerospace Ltd., of Toronto on 10th October 1979. This was the company formed by Russ Bannock, a former director of de Havilland Canada, to trade in DHC., aircraft, and it was soon sold on, to Wardair Canada Ltd., on 12th December 1979, registered C-FMPY.

Unlike the Otters operated by Wardair during the late 1950s and 1960s, in the early days of the airline, by 1979 Wardair had evolved into a major carrier operating Boeing 747s and DC-10s on international routes, and during 1979 had sold off its bush operation. Otter MPY was acquired for the personal use of Maxwell Ward, the company's founder, although it was painted in Wardair colours, the same colour scheme as carried by the original Otters, blue trimmed with red and white outlines. The Otter was based in the company's huge jet hangar at the Edmonton airport, and was used by Max Ward for fishing and recreational trips up north. This use of the Otter continued until it was sold to Loon Air Ltd., of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories in April 1987.

The Otter flew for Loon Air for the rest of 1987 and to the end of summer 1988. By November 1988 it had arrived at Vancouver, where it remained in storage for the winter and following spring. On 1st June 1989 Loon Air titles were removed and it departed Vancouver on delivery to its next operator, Central Mountain Air Ltd., of Smithers, BC. In May 1991 it went to Waglisla Air Inc., trading as Wagair, of Bella Bella, BC; in March 1995 to Gynn Bay Logging Ltd., trading as Western Straits Air, of Campbell River, BC; in May 1995 back to Central Mountain Air and in October 1995 to Northern Lights Air Ltd., also of Smithers, BC.

On 27th April 2000 MPY was registered to Saltwater West Enterprises Ltd., of Smithers, who arranged for the Otter to be converted to a Vazar turbine Otter, the conversion being carried out by Guardian Aerospace at Vanderhoof, BC. The Otter was actually operated by Alpine Lakes Air Ltd., based at Smithers-Tyhee Lake, BC. This company flew a range of canoeing and kayaking tours, as well as flights to wilderness and fishing camps. Its website also offered the 'bush pilot special' - “a 25 minute flight from Smithers will take you across forest covered hills and green meadows to one of two pristine glacier lakes at the foot of the 9,000 feet Howson Range”. There was also the 'Three Lakes Tour' - “From Tyhee Lake we fly southwest over the Telkwa Range towards the Coast Mountains. Our first stop is Nanika Lake with its snow-capped mountains reflecting in the crystal clear water. We take off again and fly along the spectacular hanging glaciers of Atna Peak. There we start our descent into a most peaceful valley, with an emerald green, spruce flanked river winding its path through lush green meadows”.

 In March 2002 the Otter was advertised for sale, on EDO 7490 amphibious floats, BARON STOL modified, a new interior, new paint scheme, ten new high back seats, 16,000 hours total time, with an asking price of US$1,150,000. It took a while for a sale to be achieved, during which time it continued in service with Alpine Lakes Air, but on 12th March 2004 the Otter was registered to its new owners, Nakina Outpost Camps & Air Service Ltd., of Nakina, Ontario, who already operated turbine Otter CF-MIQ (336) and it headed east to its new base. Saltwater West Enterprises replaced the Otter with C-GFTZ (174), which again was operated by Alpine Lakes Air.

To be updated.

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