DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 336

CF-MIQ with a rather new nose.
Photo: Robert S. Grant © January 1991 - Aird Archives
CF-MIQ between trips at her Nakina dock, new titles.
Photo: Unknown photographer © Date unknown - Ruben Husberg Collection
CF-MIQ it's still winter at Nakina - CYQN, Ontario.
Photo: Rich Hulina © 10 April 2013

c/n 336


• CF-MIQ Hudson Bay Air Transport Ltd., Flin Flon, MB. Delivered 21-Jun-1960.

• CF-MIQ Parsons Airways Northern Ltd., Flin Flon, MB. Regd Nov-1982.  Canx 13-Dec-1982.

• CF-MIQ Donald Bourdignon, Nakina, ON. Regd 30-Jun-1983. Canx 30-Jun-1994. Operated by Nakina Outpost Camps and Air Service Ltd.

Note. Donald Bourdignon is CEO of Nakina Air Services.

• CF-MIQ Nakina Outpost Camps and Air Service Ltd. Regd 30-Jun-1994.

Power plant. Converted to Vazar turbine power. Date unknown.

•  Current

Otter 336 was delivered to Hudson Bay Air Transport Ltd., Flin Flon, Manitoba on 21 June 1960, registered CF-MIQ. It flew alongside the company’s other Otters CF-JOR (212) and CF-KTI (269) and replaced Beaver CF-GYU. Disaster struck on 4 April 1963 when the company’s hangar at Flin Flon burned down, destroying Otters JOR and KTI, which were inside the hangar at the time. MIQ had a lucky escape on that occasion. It had arrived back at base late the previous evening but had been left outside the hangar on the lake for the night. MIQ then continued in operation alongside replacement Otters CF-PEM (438) and CF-PEN (439).  CF-MIQ thus became the longest serving HBAT Otter, flying from its delivery in June 1960 until sold in 1982, a remarkable 21 year career without incident.

During the 1960s the Otters were used in support of exploration and development. Operating on floats in summer and wheel-skis in winter, they were able to fly to lakes in remote regions of the north, flying in the equipment to establish drilling camps, and keeping the camps supplied and dealing with camp moves. There were usually between eight and ten active camps in the bush within a 150 mile radius of Flin Flon. The Otters also provided a year round link to the hydro-electric plant at Island Falls on the Churchill River, 65 miles north-west of Flin Flon and between Flin Flon and Snow Lake, Manitoba a mining complex 75 miles to the east. The 1960s were a very busy time for the three Otters. They operated alongside a Cessna, two helicopters and a Beechcraft, the fleet logging over 2,900 hours in the air during 1968, a high for the company.

In the 1970s things changed somewhat. Forest industry logging roads sprang up around the North, opening up areas which were once only accessible by bush plane. This led to the first major cutback in HBAT’s operation in 1976. The three Otters remained in the fleet but with exploration activity at an all time low due to the economic climate, the Otters were only used sparingly to service the company’s facility at Island Falls, for the odd trip to Snow Lake and to transport line cutters and stakers. As the years went by the operation became uneconomic and flying ceased in July 1983. The remaining aircraft were sold and the HBAT air operations closed down.

CF-MIQ had already been sold by then, having been sold in November 1982 to Parsons Airways Northern Ltd., also based at Flin Flon. Its registration to HBAT was cancelled on 22 November 1982. Parsons served the bush country of northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan and MIQ was one of nine Otters flown by the company over the years. Its service with Parsons was however brief, only a few weeks, and its registration to Parsons was cancelled on 23 December 1982. The Otter was in storage over the winter and was put up for sale.

The buyer of the Otter was Donald Bourdignon of Nakina, Ontario to whom CF-MIQ was registered on 30 June 1983 and repainted into a blue and white colour scheme. He was the owner of Nakina Outpost Camps, a fly-in fishing outfitter, with camps throughout north-western Ontario and the Otter was used to fly his fishing guests to the lodges. There was a change of registered owner on 30 June 1994 to Nakina Outpost Camps & Air Service Ltd., as Mr Bourdignon incorporated his business, and the Otter was converted to a Vazar DHC-3T turbine with a PT-6A-135 engine, the work being done by Recon Air at Geraldton, Ontario. CF-MIQ remained in its colour scheme of two shades of blue and acquired Nakina Air Service titles.

Nakina outpost Camps flew to twelve lakes in remote North-west Ontario, with many cabins on each lake. The Otter was used on floats during the summer to fly the guests and their equipment from Nakina to the lakes and back. It also flew hunters into the wilderness. Before and after the season, when snow was on the ground, the Otter was flown on wheel-skis to open up and close down the camps. Over the years the company expanded, adding a scheduled and charter service. In 2001 the camps were sold and the company became purely a flying service, although it continued to fly fishing guests for other outfitters.

As its website explained: “Nakina Air Service caters to a range of scheduled and charter operations, from commuters to cargo, from tourists to crew changes and much more”. In 2004 MIQ was joined by turbine Otter C-FMPY (324) and also included in the fleet were a Twin Otter, four Cessna Caravans, two PC-12s and Cessna 185. Nakina Air Service has a base at the Nakina Airport and also a float-plane base at nearby Cordingley Lake. Scheduled services to local communities were flown with the Caravans and PC-12. Again as the website explained: “We operate our two Otters, one Caravan and a Cessna 185 on floats every day from dawn to dark, from ice-out to freeze up, generally May to November”.

A report on CADORS for 21 April 2012 shows that the Otter’s charter activities also take place in the pre-summer and extend far beyond Ontario: “The pilot of C-FMIQ failed to call the FSS at La Grande after landing at Kuujjuarapik (in remote northern Québec). The APM was advised at 20:06Z and confirmed the aircraft was on the ground”.  MIQ was still in service with Nakina Air Service early in 2018, remarkable 35 years after it first started flying out of Nakina.

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.