58-1711 • N63306
• 58-1711 US Army. Delivered 04-May-1959.
Initially assigned to 18th Aviation Company at Fort Riley, KS.
Jan-1962. 12th Aviation Company, Fort Wainwright, Fairbanks, AK., with regular deployments to Fort Richardson, Anchorage, AK.
Jul-1970. Headquarters Company, 19th Aviation Battalion at Fort Richardson, Anchorage, AK.
Re designated as 222nd Combat Aviation Battalion.
• N63306 Auburn Adventist Academy, Auburn, WA. Regd Aug-1973.
Airworthiness date: 29-Oct-1974.
• N567AA Subsequently re-registered to Auburn Adventist Academy. Date unknown.
Accident: Auburn, WA. 04-Sep-1975. On take-off veered off the runway and collided with a dirt bank. Although none of the occupants were injured, the Otter was substantially damaged by the impact and a post crash fire.
• N567AA J.W. Duff Aircraft Company, Denver, CO. Regd 01-Sep-1976. Canx 17-Dec-1998. Shown as expired 09-Aug-2014.
Note: For the next 29 years it lay at the Duff yard in Denver, CO. It was bought by Rich Fowler and Carl Penner of Heber, Utah in November 2005 and trucked to Heber for use in the rebuild of Otter N3904 (54).
Otter 327 was delivered to the United States Army on 4th May 1959 with serial 58-1711 (tail number 81711). It was assigned to the 18th Aviation Company, Fort Riley, Kansas but by January 1962 it was serving with the 12th Aviation Company, Fort Wainwright, Fairbanks, Alaska. The 12th Aviation Company maintained a “southern platoon” at Fort Richardson, Anchorage and 81711 alternated between Fort Wainwright and Fort Richardson throughout the 1960s.
Tary Wilkinson recalls a flight in 81711 when he was serving with the platoon at Fort Richardson in the early sixties: “CW3 Leon Watts and I were flying to Point Barrow and had crossed the Brooks Range. We had been on top at about 5,000 feet for about two hours and could not raise anybody on the radio to get the weather conditions at Barrow. We tried our HF radio and got a military station at Fort Lewis, Washington. They gave us weather, but it was several hours old. We were approaching the decision point of having to divert to another airfield if we could find one, when I tried one more time to call Barrow Radio. A voice then came back saying 'Army 81711, this is Lonely'. After flying for five hours and being thankful for the six and a half hour fuel range for the Otter, our thoughts were - 'it sure is'! 'Lonely' turned out to be an Air Force DEW Line site, and had direct communications with Barrow. The weather was 500 feet overcast, so we were able to make an ADF approach. The airspace at Barrow was uncontrolled, so you had to broadcast your intentions on the Barrow radio frequency and co-ordinate your approach with any other aircraft in the vicinity. An Air National Guard C-123J was also there, so he being bigger and faster, we granted him the right of way”.
In July 1970 81711 was transferred to the Headquarters Company, 19th Aviation Battalion at Fort Richardson, which became the 222nd Combat Aviation Battalion, which 81711 continued to fly for until August 1973. It received honourable mention in despatches for August 1971: “The Chief of Staff, General William Westmoreland, paid the Command a visit on 17th August. Army aviation played a key role by providing rapid, safe air transportation for the Chief of the Army and his staff. One of the highlight's of the General's trip to the sub-arctic was a fishing trip to Elem Village and Mosses Point on the shores of the North Sound in western Alaska. The trip was completed by a pontoon-equipped Otter 81711 flown by Chief Warrant Officers Randall and Dotson”.
On completion of its military service in August 1973, the Otter was transferred to the Auburn Adventist Academy of Auburn, Washington to whom it was registered that month as N63306, subsequently re-registered N567AA. The Otter was based at Auburn, to the south of Seattle. The Otter was used to provide transportation for personnel of the Academy until it crashed taking off from Auburn on 4th September 1975. It was taking off at 20:40 hours that evening for a local sortie, with he pilot and five passengers on board. The airport was not equipped with runway lighting, only reflectors along the runway edge. The pilot “failed to maintain directional control” on take-off and the Otter veered off the runway and collided with a dirt bank. Although none of the occupants were injured, the Otter was substantially damaged by the impact and a post crash fire.
The wrecked Otter was acquired by J.W. Duff Aircraft Company of Denver, Colorado to whom N567AA was registered in January 1976. This company specialises in aircraft salvage, and brought the wreck to its facility at Denver. More than 25 years after the accident, it still remained at the Duff facility, too damaged to be rebuilt unless amalgamated with another Otter needing rebuild. The registration was formally cancelled on 17th December 1998.
Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005)