DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 357

9402 RCAF publicity image.
Photo: RCAF © Date unknown - Aird Archives
N357AS still in basic RCAF colours.
Photo: John Kimberley © August 1988 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N357AS at Lopez Island - LPS, Washington.
Photo: Fred Barnes © 14 June 1999 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N357AS at Burlington / Skagit, Washington.
Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © 17 August 1999
Photo: Karl E. Hayes © September 1999
C-FHAA at downtown Vancouver base, British Columbia.
Photo: Fred Barnes © 14 June 1999 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FHAA plying her trade at CXH - Coal Harbour base.
Photo: Neil Aird © 22 September 2004
C-FHAA sporting theme colours.
Photo: Gary Vincent © 12 September 2016
C-FHAA sets out for Vancouver.
Photo: Lenn Bayliss © 13 August 2017

c/n 357

9402 • C-GVMC • N357AS • (C-GIWT)



• 9402 Royal Canadian Air Force. Delivered 04-May-1960. Designated as CSR-123.

Initially assigned to 438 Sqd St. Hubert, near Montréal, QC.

03-Nov-1960. 401Sqd, St. Hubert, QC.

03-Dec-1981. Into storage at CFB Mountain View, ON.

20-Jan-1982. Allocated to Crown Assets Disposal Corporation (CADC) for sale.

Total time: 8,224 hrs.

• C-GVMC John King, Grimshaw, AB. dba King's Construction Ltd., Grimshaw, AB. Canx 17-Jul-1987.

• N357AS Aeronautical Services Inc., Friday Harbour, WA. Regd July 1985.

Total time: 12,065 hrs. Sep-1999.

• (C-GIWT)  Raven Centre Holdings Ltd., Fort St.John, BC. Purchased Apr-2001 but not used. Does not appear on CCAR.

• C-FHAA Harbour Air Ltd., Richmond, BC. Regd 29-Nov-2002. Canx & re-regd 12-Jun-2006.

Power-plant. Converted to Vazar turbine power. Date unknown but pre Mar-2003.


Otter 357 was delivered to the RCAF on 4 May 1960 with serial 9402. It was allocated to 438 Squadron, St.Hubert, and then on 3 November 1960 to 401 Squadron, also based at St.Hubert. It remained based at St.Hubert throughout its career with the Canadian military, shared by both 401 and 438 Squadrons. It served with the Canadian military for more than twenty years without incident. It was the St.Hubert “VIP Otter”, fitted with airline-type seats in case any VIP required its use. Its military career came to an end on 3 December 1981 when it went to the storage depot at Mountain View, Ontario. On 20 January 1982 it was allocated to the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation (CADC) for sale.

It was one of seven ex Canadian military Otters put up for sale in September 1982 by the CADC, advertised as having 8,234 hours on the airframe. The buyer was a Mr John King of Grimshaw, Alberta at a price of $56,155 and the Otter was registered to King’s Construction Ltd., of Grimshaw as C-GVMC. Mr King also bought Otter 3671 (26) at the same sale, which was registered C-GVMO. These Otters, and two more, had been purchased with Mike Hackman Aircraft Sales of Edmonton acting as brokers and all four were collected together at the Mountain View depot and flown to Edmonton.  They left the depot on 28 November 1982 and their routing was via Port Huron-Battle Creek, Michigan-La Crosse, Wisconsin-Pierre, South Dakota-Glasgow, Montana to Edmonton, arriving 5 December 1982. As Mike Hackman later commented: “We caused quite a stir, four Otters arriving Edmonton in formation”.

C-GVMC was used during 1983 and 1984 by John King in connection with his construction business, on wheels in summer and on wheel-skis in winter. Destinations visited during this period included Peace River, Vitikuma, Shaftesbury, Lubicon, Talbot and Joker Lake. It was advertised for sale in May 1985 by Mike Hackman Aircraft Sales as being “Ex Canadian Military, Super Clean, 8,300 hours total time, March 1985 Certificate of Airworthiness, VIP military float-plane, rear toilet”. Asking price was US$95,900.  The buyer of the Otter in July 1985 was Aeronautical Services Inc., of Friday Harbour, Washington State to whom it was registered that month as N357AS, the Canadian registration having been cancelled on 17 July 1985. Aeronautical Services also operated Otters N2634Y (59) and N98T (181), servicing a UPS contract flying small packages throughout the San Juan Islands off the Washington coast. N357AS was delivered Edmonton-Boeing Field, Seattle-Friday Harbour on 20 July 1985 and entered service as part of the Aeronautical Services fleet.

As well as serving the San Juan Islands, the company also had a UPS contract based out of Long Beach, California servicing Catalina Island. N357AS was first deployed on this contract, and was to be seen in daily service flying from Long Beach packed full of freight, still in its silver and white Canadian military scheme, although it was eventually painted in Aeronautical Services blue colour scheme. So successful was the operation out of Long Beach that the loads outgrew the Otter. Accordingly, in 1993 the company sold Otter N98T and replaced it with a DC-3, which flew out of Long Beach. From then on, the remaining Otters N2634Y and N357AS flew only around the San Juan Islands. By September 1999 the total airframe hours on N357AS had increased to 12,065.

The two Otters continued in use with Aeronautical Services until November 2000, by which stage this unique cargo Otter operation was coming to an end. The growth in cargo had exceeded even the Otter’s capacity and a revised pattern of distribution saw the cargo move around the San Juan Islands on large trucks using the ferries.  Both Otters were parked at the Bayview / Skagit Regional Airport near Burlington, Washington and put up for sale.   Otter 357 was sold in April 2001 to Raven Centre Holdings Ltd., of Fort St.John, BC, its American registration being cancelled on 24 April 2001.  Marks C-GIWT were reserved for the Otter but never in fact used. The Otter remained parked at Fort St.John until it was sold on the following year and arrived at Vancouver on 24 November 2002, evidently having used the registration N357AS for the ferry flight, as it was noted still with this registration at Vancouver on 29 November 2002.  It was however registered that day to its new owners, Harbour Air, as C-FHAA and entered their hangar at the Vancouver International Airport to be converted to a Vazar turbine Otter with PT-6A-34 engine. This work was carried out over the winter of 2002 / 2003, during which the aircraft received the panoramic window conversion and was painted into the Harbour Air colours, fleet number 309.

C-FHAA entered service with Harbour Air in May 2003, one of its large fleet of turbine Otters, providing service between Vancouver and points on Vancouver Island, and would go on to serve the company for many years. A number of incidents on CADORS are reported:

24 February 2009.   Morningstar Air Express flight MAL 7072, operated by Cessna 208B Caravan C-FEXY for Fedex, was en route IFR from Victoria to Vancouver at 3,000 feet. Harbour Air Otter C-FHAA was opposite direction at 2,500 feet VFR from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria Harbour. The Otter started to climb and entered Class C airspace without authorisation, 18 miles south of Vancouver. The Caravan was given a turn for traffic avoidance and the two aircraft passed within 0.4 of a nautical mile horizontally at the same altitude.

1 June 2009.  Salt Spring Island Air DHC-2 Beaver C-FAOP was en route VFR northbound from Ganges Harbour on Salt Spring Island to Vancouver Harbour. On contacting the Tower the Beaver was cleared direct to the Vancouver VOR direct to Oak Bridge at 2,500 feet. About two miles south of the VOR the pilot saw two DHC-3T Otters on a collision course with him at the same altitude, these being Harbour Air’s C-FHAA and C-FJHA (393), both southbound from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria Harbour. The Beaver pilot took evasive action by descending. He had not been told of the conflicting traffic.

25 March 2010. C-FHAA en route Vancouver Harbour to Nanaimo, departed to the northeast, VFR. Shortly after departure oil began accumulating on the windshield. The pilot elected to return for landing as a precaution. The Otter landed safely and taxied back to the dock under its own power. It was determined that the oil cap had become loose.

30 April 2012. Air Canada Embraer 190 on flight AC553 from Los Angeles to Vancouver. Missed approach to runway 08 Left due to a flap malfunction. The Tower instructed the Embraer to conduct the published missed approach, to climb to 4,000 feet and to contact Departure frequency. The crew of the Embraer were attempting to change frequency when they received a TCAS traffic advisory. They followed the advisory and climbed to 4,600 feet. Meanwhile Otter C-FHAA was southbound at 4,500 feet approaching the airport under terminal control. The terminal controller advised the Otter of an overshooting Embraer that would be stopping at 4,000 feet but in fact had climbed to 4,600 feet. The pilot of the Otter identified the traffic. The aircraft passed within a half mile of each other with less than 500 feet vertical separation. The Embraer subsequently landed on runway 08 Right at Vancouver.

Otter C-FHAA received a major overhaul with Aeroflite Industries at Vancouver International Airport during July/September 2013. It was repainted in a new ‘logo’ colour scheme, based on the new Harbour Air white/blue scheme, with “Royal Roads University” and its logo on the tail and the words “life changing” on the lower tail. The University is located in Victoria, a daily destination for the Otter. It returned to service with Harbour Air in early October 2013 in its new colour scheme.

Some more reports from CADORS:

25 April 2014.  From Vancouver Harbour to Victoria Harbour. Executed a missed approach on the westbound landing due to a boat. Landed safely on the second approach.

26 May 2014.   From Victoria Harbour to Vancouver Harbour.  Water rudders temporarily inoperative.  Two aircraft delayed for departure.

16 August 2015.  From Vancouver Harbour to Nanaimo. Aborted take off due to being cut off by a Coast Guard vessel.

As at Spring 2018 C-FHAA was still in service with Harbour Air, its fifteenth year of service with the company.

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.