DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 361

C-GVDM of ADLAIR, at Yellowknife.
Photo: MAP © Date unknown - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N361TT before turbine installation by Kal-Air at Vernon - CYVK, British Columbia.
Photo: John W. Olafson © 18 March 2003
N361TT after installation, ready to go.
Photo: John W. Olafson © 06 June 2003

c/n 361

9404 • C-GVDM



• 9404 Royal Canadian Air Force. Delivered 12-May-1960. Designated as CSR-123.

Allocated to 400 Squadron, CFB Downsview, ON.

Accident: Fredericton, NB 14th July 1964. Aircraft stalled on landing and damaged and the starboard landing gear strut was forced into the fuselage.

07-Jul-1965. Returned to 400 Squadron, CFB Downsview, ON

23-Sep-1965. At Trenton (on the Bench) as a reserve for service with the United Nations 117 Sqaudron in Kashmir. However not required.

May 1966 it was returned to 6 Repair Depot and re-assembled.

11-Oct-1966. 418 Sqd. Namao AB, Edmonton, AB.

31-Oct-1975.Re-joined 400 Squadron at CFB Downsview.

Jun-1977. Deployed to the Northwest Territories on floats, based on King William Island, to support a naval diving expedition searching for the missing ships of the Franklin Expedition.

Note Interestingly one of the lost ships had recently been found in Sep-2016. Some forty years afterwards.

Feb-1982. Into storage at CFB Mountain View, ON., to be disposed of by the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation (CADC).

• Un-regd Mike Hackman Aircraft Sales, Edmonton, AB. Purchased for $51,111.

Total time: 7,486 hours

• C- GVDM Adlair Aviation (1983) Ltd., Yellowknife, NT. Based Cambridge Bay, NT. Regd June 1983 Canx 11-Jun-1986. Regd 11-Dec-1986. Canx 18-May-1993.

• C- GVDM Geraldton Air Ltd., Geraldton, ON. Regd 18-May-1993. Canx 10-May-1995.

• C- GVDM River Air Ltd., Kenora, ON. Regd 20-Jun-1995. Canx 08-Aug-1995.

• C- GVDM Labrador Airways Ltd., Goose Bay, NL. Regd 15-Nov-1995. Canx 10-Jun-1997.

• C- GVDM Northern Light Air Ltd., Smithers, BC. Based Watson Lake, YT. Regd 10-Jun-1997. Canx 27-Apr-1998. Canx 06-Jan-1999.

• C- GVDM 1191517 Ontario Ltd., Thunder Bay, ON Regd 22-Jan-1999. Canx 30-Jun-1999.

• C- GVDM Johnny May’s Air Charter Ltd, Kuujjuaq, Regd 30-Jun-1999. Canx 27-Jun-2000 on export to USA.

Total time: 11,806  hours at Apr-2000.

• N361TT Kakeldy Leasing Corporation, Anchorage, AK. Regd 05-Jul-2000..

• N361TT Renew Air Taxi, Dillingham, AK. Circa 2003. Actual dates unknown.

Power plant: Texas Turbine conversion # 8. Texas Turbine Conversions, Inc., Denison, TX. The engine was installed by June 6, 2003 by Kal-Air, of Vernon, BC..

• N361TT Servant Air, Kodiak. AK. Dates unknown.

Note. Also quoted as Paklook Air Inc, Kodiak, AK

Accident. Near Heitman Lake, AK. 23-Sep-2011 Operating with Servant Air on a flight from Old Harbour, AK to Kodiak Airport, AK.. The aircraft sustained substantial damage in an accident near Heitman Lake, near Mile 14 of the Chiniak Highway, Kalsin Bay, AK, six miles south of Kodiak, AK. The pilot was killed and the two passengers suffered serious injuries. The airplane struck a tree and terrain during a go-around at Heitman Lake. PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from a tree during a low altitude maneuver and his failure to maintain control of the airplane. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s use of over-the-counter sedating medications. ANC11FA107.

• N361TT Shown as expired 31-Mar-2012.

Written off

Otter 361 was delivered to the RCAF on 12th May 1960 with serial 9404. It was allocated to 400 Squadron, Downsview, based at the airfield where the Otter was constructed, so did not have far to go to reach its unit! It was to spend some years flying for 400 Squadron. A minor accident was recorded on 14th July 1964, when some of the Squadron's Otters and Beech Expeditors were deployed to Fredericton, New Brunswick on summer camp. On landing that day at Fredericton the Otter stalled in heavily on one wheel and bounced in a nose-high attitude. The weight configuration was such as to prevent the application of power from being effective. The aircraft stalled and the starboard landing gear strut was forced into the fuselage.

As the accident report found: “The pilot rounded out high and held the nose too high. After the bounce in a nose-high attitude and full power, he was behind the power curve”.

The Otter was taken to No.6 Repair Depot at Mountain View and repaired. It then remained in storage at Mountain View until re-issued to 400 Squadron, Downsview on 7th July 1965. On 23rd September 1965 it went to Trenton as a spare aircraft, in case one was required, for service on United Nations duties with 117 Air Transport Unit in Kashmir. By 18th January 1966 it had been moved to Saskatoon, the wings removed and put in a 'cradle', ready to be airlifted to Kashmir by Hercules. In the event, it was not required and in May 1966 it was returned to 6 Repair Depot and re-assembled. In July '66 it returned to Saskatoon and on 11th October '66 it headed west on its next assignment, to 418 Squadron at Namao Air Base, Edmonton, Alberta.

9404 served for nine years with 418 Squadron, until 31st October 1975, when it re-joined 400 Squadron at Downsview. It was again an active member of the Squadron for more than six years. During the summer of 1977 it deployed to the Northwest Territories on floats, based on King William Island, to support a naval diving expedition searching for the missing ships of the Franklin Expedition. As the Canadian military use of the Otter was coming to an end during 1981, 9404 was selected to fly the Eastern section of the Otter's nationwide farewell tour. During August 1981, the Otter had been stationed at Goose Bay, where Captain Don Eddie of 400 Squadron had spent a week flying between Goose and the military fishing camp at No Name Lake in Labrador. He set off from Goose on 3rd August '81 on the first stage of the commemorative flight, routing that day to Gander and on to St.Johns. The next day, 9404 flew on to Stephenville and then to CFB Summerside on Prince Edward Island. August 5th routing was CFB Summerside-Charlottetown-CFB Shearwater-Fredericton (the scene of 9404's hard landing way back in 1964) and finally on 6th August '81 it flew from Fredericton to Quebec City and back to base at Downsview. The farewell tour to the West Coast and back was completed by Otter 9415 (393) the following month.

The Otter remained with 400 Squadron at Downsview until February 1982. As Captain Eddie wrote: “I flew 9404 in a formation of two Otters from Downsview to Mountain View, near CFB Trenton, on 22nd February 1982. These were the last two Otters from Downsview”. Truly, the end of an era. 9404 went into storage at Mountain View, to be disposed of by the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation (CADC). It was one of seven Otters sold at auction in September '82, advertised as having total airframe time of 7,486 hours. It was sold to aircraft broker Mike Hackman Aircraft Sales of Edmonton for $51,111. It was sold on by him, and after overhaul registered in June 1983 to Adlair Aviation (1983) Ltd of Cambridge Bay, Northwest Territories as C-GVDM.

This was a company established by well known aviator Willy Laserich, who had emigrated from Germany to Canada in the 1950s. Adlair Aviation was established at Cambridge Bay in a very remote part of the Northwest Territories, where the Otter was to serve for the next ten years. It was operated initially in its Canadian military colour scheme, but with the engine cowling painted all red, and  'Adlair' titles on the rear fuselage. Being the only Otter based at Cambridge Bay, it was kept busy. One of its regular taskings was to fly out to where fishermen had caught their fish (Arctic Char) and fly the fish back to the processing plant at Cambridge Bay. It also flew hunters (for caribou, polar bears and muskox,) often with their canoe strapped to the outside of the Otter, and cached fuel for exploration companies. It flew many search-and-rescue missions and medevacs. For the polar bear hunts, it flew north to Rae Point on Melville Island, which was the furthest north it went. Government officials were transported on inspection tours. The Otter went to Yellowknife for maintenance, but apart from that was based at Cambridge Bay. These activities continued until Adlair purchased a Beaver and a Twin Otter in 1993, so that the Otter was surplus to requirements and was sold in May 1993.

The purchaser of the Otter was Geraldton Air Ltd., of Geraldton / Armstrong, Ontario, who collected the Otter from Yellowknife, and to whom it was registered as C-GVDM in May 1993. An incident was recorded at Miska Lake, Ontario on 11th September 1994. When power was applied during the landing approach, there was no response from the engine. The Otter landed hard on the water and bounced back into the air. This time, when power was applied, the engine responded and the aircraft climbed out. The pilot decided to fly back to Geraldton to have the aircraft inspected. Slight buckling of the fuselage in the vicinity of the forward cabin bulkhead was noted. Carburettor icing was suspected as the cause of the temporary loss of engine power. VDM continued to fly for Geraldton Air until May 1995. For the summer of 1995 it was registered to and flew for River Air Ltd., of Minaki, Ontario and in November 1995 it was leased by a leasing company to Labrador Airways Ltd, trading as Air Labrador, of Goose Bay, Labrador.

In June 1997 it crossed the country to its next operator, Northern Lights Air Ltd., of Watson Lake, Yukon. It continued in operation at this location until the end of the summer 1998 season, and was then sold to 1191517 Ontario Ltd., (Piper Martin Air Partnership Number One) of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, a leasing company, to whom the Otter was registered in January 1999. VDM was then leased to Johnny May's Air Charter Ltd., of Kuujjuaq (Fort Chimo), Québec in May 1999. It features in an incident on 29th June 1999 and although it was not damaged, it certainly could have been. The Otter had taken off from Lac Tasioulujjuak and was returning to base at Kuujjuaq at an altitude of 3,000 feet. The pilot experienced health problems and lost consciousness for some minutes. When he came around, he found himself at 5,700 feet and had strayed from his course. He attempted to contact other aircraft and eventually succeeded in raising an Air Inuit flight which had just taken off from Povungnituk. He informed the flight of his difficulties and that he was making an emergency landing on a lake but could not give his exact position. Immediately after making a successful landing, the pilot lost consciousness again. The downed Otter was found two days later on a lake 40 miles north of Lac Minto by a rescue helicopter, which brought the pilot to hospital at Kuujjuaq. The Otter was later retrieved and continued in service with Johnny May's Air Charter.

In April 2000, VDM was advertised for sale through C&S Aircraft sales, with a total time at that stage of 11,806 hours on the airframe. It was sold to Kakeldey Leasing Corporation of Anchorage, Alaska to whom it was registered N361TT in July 2000. This is a leasing company which leases out its aircraft to other airlines and outfitting companies. In May 2001, the Otter went on lease to Renew Air Taxi of Dillingham, Alaska. This company flew the Otter and a Cessna 185. According to its website: “During May to October time, we are operating out of Aleknagik Lake, Dillingham. Aleknagik Lake is part of the Wood Tikchik State Park, one and a half million acres of pristine wilderness accessed only by air for fishing, rafting, hunting and ecotours. We also access the Togiak Nation Refuge and Katmai National Park”. In March 2003 the Otter arrived at Vernon, BC for conversion to a turbine Otter by Kal Air. It emerged from the hangar in early June 2003 as a Texas Turbine conversion with the Garrett TPE-331 engine, and departed back to its base at Dillingham, Alaska to continue flying for Renew Air Taxi.

To be updated.

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