DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 345

59-2208
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c/n 345

59-2208

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• 59-2208 United States Army. Delivered 19-Nov-1959. Designated U-1A.

Assigned to the 12th Aviation Company, Fort Sill, OK.

Aug-1961. To Fort Wainwright to join the Yukon Command.

Incident. Near Ruby, AK. Spring 1962. Forced into an emergency landing on the Yukon River after flying into icing conditions. See story below.

Accident: A strip at Lake Chandalar, north of Fairbanks. Sep-1964. The aircraft landed long and hit a berm at the end of the runway. A recovery lift out was organised but as no spoilers were put on the Otter’s wings when out of ground effect and at flying speed it climbed to hit the helicopter and they were forced to drop it into the lake. See story below.

Destroyed

Otter 345 was delivered to the United States Army on 19th November 1959 with serial 59-2208 (tail number 92208). It was assigned to the 12th Aviation Company, Fort Sill, Oklahoma and in August 1961 flew north to Fort Wainwright when the Company was re-assigned to Alaska to join the Yukon Command.

Bill Todd describes an incident in the spring of 1962 when the Otter was forced down due to freezing rain on the frozen Yukon River near Ruby, Alaska. He was a crew chief on 92208, one of a flight of three 12th Aviation Company Otters flying from Fort Wainwright to Galena AFS in Western Alaska. The Otters were carrying a Long Range Ski Patrol, who would then ski from Galena to Nome. Galena was a small USAF fighter alert base housing a detachment of F-102s. It was a four hour flight from Fairbanks. The weather on departure was sunny, clear and cold but as the three Otters flew down the Yukon River it worsened, so much so that two of the Otters diverted into Tanana, but 92208 managed to continue on to Galena. Having left off its passengers, it took off for the return to Fairbanks, but encountered even worse conditions flying along the River. “We were probably one hundred feet off the deck, dodging around big islands in the Yukon River. It's about a mile wide at this point. We flew back into the freezing rain, circling back because we were all iced up on the windshield, and had the side windows down.  Our main objective was to avoid any obstacles in front of us and we were fast losing altitude and ground reference. We started losing it and never regained control. We hit the ice covered snow and careened for a bit. We had the skis dropped down and they grabbed hold quickly. We'd dig in a ski a bit, then hit another hillock of ice and snow, which would fly up past our open windows. We slewed to a stop and it got very quiet indeed. Not a sound except the old, reliable R-1340 ticking over and the radio hissing static. We shut the radios and engine down and climbed down the iced up struts and wheels onto the snowy/icy river surface. I turned to look at 92208 and it was glistening like a diamond. There was ice all over the aircraft, in the cowl, on the antennas, everywhere. We walked away after I looked the aircraft over. No apparent damage and no buckled structure. A trapper heard us crash and came to investigate. We stayed overnight and got out the next afternoon after I rid the aircraft of all ice”.

After this incident, 92208 continued in service with the 12th Aviation Company until it was lost   in an accident in September 1964. As Parnell Ferguson, crew chief on Otter 76132 (278) describes: “We were hauling drums of fuel into a strip at Lake Chandalar, north of Fairbanks. We had about one thousand feet of gravel for a runway. I was in the first plane to go in. Captain Hardeman was in the trail ship (92208) and he landed long. He hit a berm at the end of the runway and the Otter was damaged. They were going to lift it out with a helicopter but messed it up. They didn't put spoilers on the wings and as soon as the helicopter hoisting the Otter got out of ground effect and started across the lake, the Otter started flying, came up and bumped the helicopter and had to be dropped into the lake”.

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