DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 334

58-1716
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c/n 334

58-1716

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• 58-1716 United States Army. Delivered 02-Jul-1959. Designated as U-1A.

Initially assigned to 18th Aviation Company, Fort Riley, KS.

Jan-1962. Shipped to Vietnam with the 18th Aviation Company.

Accident: Ban Me Thuot, Vietnam. 21-Sep-1963. Story of crash and recovery shown below.

Scrapped

Otter 334 was delivered to the United States Army on 2nd July 1959 with serial 58-1716 (tail number 81716). It was assigned to the 18th Aviation Company, Fort Riley, Kansas and travelled with the Company to Vietnam during January 1962. It continued to fly for the 18th Aviation Company until 21st September 1963, when it was destroyed in a crash after take off from Ban Me Thuot.  There were five persons on board and several hundred pounds of cargo. The Otter came down in a rubber plantation. As the Company history records: “The pilot was assigned his first operational mission, and the Otter was loaded 200 pounds over gross weight, although the prepared manifest weight indicated the load was 100 pounds less than gross. Poor pilot technique and planning resulted in a crash into 75 foot rubber trees. There were no injuries”.

The history of the 339th Transportation Company records the recovery of the wrecked Otter: “On 21st September 1963 U-1A 81716 crashed into a grove of rubber trees at Ban Me Thuot. Because it was in the middle of a plantation of tall rubber trees, the aircraft was impossible to sling-load out with a helicopter. The only way left to recover the aircraft was by using a 'lowboy' truck. This required a 180 mile round trip through Viet Cong territory. After a very tense but uneventful 3 hour 40 minute journey, the recovery team arrived at the crash site. The closest the truck could get to the plantation was 150 yards. Thus the wreckage had to be carried piece by piece to the truck. The entire time, from the moment of arrival to the securing of the U-1A on the truck, was only six hours. The following morning, the convoy team returned over the same route to Nha Trang”. The remains of the Otter were scrapped at Nha Trang.

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