DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 362

59-2220 with glorious day-glo.
Photo: MAP © Date unknown - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N5321G with CAP at Merrill Field / Anchorage, Alaska.
Photo: Peter Keating © October 1974 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GLQX with strange company.
Photo: Unknown photographer © July 1982 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N362TT at Pelican Lake, Sioux Lookout, Ontario.
Photo: Rich Hulina © September 2000 - Kenneth I. Swartz Collection
N362TT at Anchorage - PANC, Alaska.
Photo: Keith Burton © 12 June 2005
N362TT at Lake Hood getting some TLC.
Photo: Michael J. Ody © No Date
N362TT at Vernon, conversion underway. A peek at the innards.
Photo: John W. Olafson © 07 July 2006
N362TT resting at Miami, en route to Nicaragua.
Photo: John McIntee ©
C-FMZC at Campbell River - CYBL, British Columbia.
Photo: Bob Kobzey © June 2012
C-FMZC with TSAYTA AIR at Smithers - CYYD, British Columbia.
Photo: Ken Hurford © 24 June 2018

c/n 362

59-2220 • N5321G • C-GLQX • N362TT

C-FMZC

x

• 59-2220 United States Army. Delivered 25-Mar-1960. Designated as U-1A.

Initially assigned to White Sands Missile Range, Holloman AFB., NM,

Jan-1962. Serving at Fort Rucker, AL.,  as an operational support airlift aircraft.

Jun-1969. Joined the Otter Transition School at Fort Ord, CA.

May 1972. Operated in a non military role by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on amphibious floats, on a nationwide aerial survey to identify lakes with water ageing problems. Further information below.

• N5321G Transferred to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Based at Boeing Field, Seattle, WA. Regd 21st April-1974.

• N5321G Moved to Civil Air Patrol, CAP Alaska Wing, Merrill Field, Anchorage, AK, by Oct-1974.

• C-GLQX Gander Aviation Ltd., Gander, NL. Regd Aug-1977.

• C-GLQX Lindbergh's Hunting & Fishing Air Service Ltd., Cochrane, ON. Regd in 1980. Canx 22-Jun-1982.

Accident: Lake Mosquito, ON. 06-Jun- 1980. After take-off, at a height of one hundred feet above the lake surface, a loss of engine power occurred, necessitating a forced landing into a heavy growth of trees. The engine had accumulated only 16 hours since its last inspection. A combination of carburettor water, foreign matter, a restricted fuel inlet screen and a faulty fuel inlet chamber float setting had caused the malfunction. There were nine souls on board

• C-GLQX Air Kipawa, Kipawa, QC. Regd date unknown. Canx 18-Jun-1987.

• C-GLQX Air Wemindji Inc., Wemindji, Baie James, QC. Regd 06-Dec-1988. Canx 22-Jul-1992.

Accident: Kuujjuarapik, QC. 30-Mar-1991. The aircraft struck a vehicle on landing.

Accident: Lac Dorontal, QC 02-Jun-1991. The aircraft experienced engine failure on final approach, which resulted in a hard landing. Water in the fuel tank had caused the malfunction.

• C-GLQX Registered to unknown leasing Company.

• C-GLQX On lease to Labrador Airways Ltd., dba Air Labrador, Goose Bay. Regd Jun-1995.

 • C-GLQX Leased to North Coast Aviation Ltd., Goose Bay, NL. Regd 04-Jun-1998. Canx 20-Jul-1999.

• C-GLQX Leased to Johnny May's Air Charter Ltd., Kuujjuaq, QC. Regd 20-Jul-1999.

Accident: Lac Bobby, 160 miles to the west of Kuujjuaq. 08-Sep-1999. On arrival at the lake, conditions were sky obscured with visibility reduced in fine rain. Having 'splashed down', the pilot realised that he had alighted too near the shoreline. He cut the power but it was too late to prevent the aircraft running aground. No one was injured but substantial damage was caused to the propeller, right wing and right float, which had collapsed. The right wing hit the water and was bent and crumpled.

• C-GLQX Canx 27-Jun-2000 on export to USA.

Total time: 14,951 hours at Jun-2000.

• N362TT R&J Aircraft Leasing Corporation, Anchorage, AK. owned by Ron Kakeldey Regd 05-Jul-2000 Canx 02-May-2012 to Canada.

Airworthiness date: 31-Aug-2000.

• N362TT Leased to Ultima Thule Outfitters, Chitina, AK. Canx to Canada.

• N362TT On lease to Grasshopper Aviation of Wasilla, AK. Jan-2003. 

• N362TT Canx 02-May-2012 to Canada.

• C-FMZC Tsayta Aviation Ltd., Fort St James, BC. Regd 14-May-2012.

Current

Otter 362 was delivered to the United States Army on 25 March 1960 with serial 59-2220 (tail number 92220). It was first assigned to the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico based at Holloman AFB., as a range support aircraft. By January 1962 it was serving at Fort Rucker, Alabama as an operational support aircraft. Photographs of the Otter at Fort Rucker show it in the standard Army olive drab scheme but with high-visibility day-glo patches. It continued in this role until June 1969 when it headed west and joined the Otter Transition School at Fort Ord, California. In May 1972 it is recorded as being loaned out for a non-military use.

The Otter was one of two (92220 and 92222) operated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on a project starting in May 1972. As the EPA explained: “The Agency will employ both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters in a nationwide survey of some 1,200 lakes . The purpose of the project is to identify bodies of water in the United States with potential or actual eutrophication (accelerated ageing) problems brought on by the discharge of excessive amounts of phosphates into them. This ageing results in the disappearance of desirable varieties of fish”.

The two Otters were put on amphibious floats for the project, quite a rare use of Army Otters on floats. Two Army Huey helicopters were also used. “The aircraft will be equipped with remote and contact sensors. First, they will fly over lakes using a device called a differential radiometer to detect chlorophyll levels in the water and another device, a thermal radiator, to measure surface temperature. Then the pontoon equipped Otter will land on the lake and scientists will lower probes into the water to measure dissolved oxygen conductivity, the acid-alkaline balance in the water and temperature. The aerial survey will inspect 400 lakes in the north-eastern and northern States during 1972 and the remaining 800 in 1973. In addition to New York, where 38 lakes will be sampled, the survey will cover the New England states, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin”.

92220 continued on this project until March 1974, when its Army career came to an end. That month, on 22 March, it was transferred to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and was registered as N5321G to the CAP on 2 April 1974 and was noted at Boeing Field, Seattle on 21 April. Here it was prepared for its new role by Harold Hansen, with its Certificate of Airworthiness issued on 5 June 1974, its total airframe time at that stage 7,284 hours. Its colour scheme was olive drab lower fuselage, white upper fuselage, white tail with an olive drab band and its registration N5321G on the fuselage side. It was then flown north to Alaska and was noted based at Merrill Field, Anchorage during October 1974. The Otter continued to fly for the CAP’s Alaska Wing until sold in June 1977. A CAP pilot ferried the Otter from Anchorage to Michigan, where it was de-registered on 28 June 1977 and handed over to the buyer.

The new owner was Gander Aviation Ltd., of Gander, Newfoundland to whom the Otter was registered as C-GLQX. The Otter flew alongside the company’s other DHC-3 C-GLFK on general charter work throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and also flew guests to fishing lodges. It continued flying for Gander Aviation until sold in early 1980 to Lindbergh’s Hunting & Fishing Air Service of Cochrane, Ontario. It flew alongside a Beaver supporting the company’s fishing lodges. It met with an accident at Lake Mosquito, Ontario on 6 June 1980. It was under the command of an experienced pilot with 22,000 hours flying time, of which 11,000 hours were on the Otter. There were nine souls on board. After take-off, at a height of one hundred feet over the lake surface, a loss of engine power occurred necessitating a forced landing into a heavy growth of trees. The engine had accumulated only sixteen hours since its last inspection. A combination of carburettor water, foreign matter, a restricted fuel inlet screen and a faulty fuel inlet chamber float setting had caused the malfunction. Substantial damage was caused to the Otter in the crash, which would be out of service for some time, so Lindberghs acquired Otter C-FFVZ (145) as a replacement.

After rebuild, Otter LQX was sold to Air Kipawa Inc., of Kipawa, Québec to whom it was registered in June 1982. LQX was to fly for Air Kipawa for the next six years, alongside its other Otters C-FDNK (385) and C-GLCO (420). The company provided the usual range of bush services throughout Québec. It was then sold to a leasing company (967096 Ontario Ltd) who leased it to Air Wemindji Inc of Wemindji in remote northern Quebec, to whom it was registered in December 1988. It was painted into a white colour scheme with orange trim and carried Air Wemindji fuselage titles. This was a newly-formed First Nations operator and as well as its main base at Wemindji, also flew out of Kuujjuarapik and La Grande Riviere, serving the northern Québec bush country. It was owned by the native Cree people of Wemindji, Chisabi and Whapmagoostui, serving the native nations of James Bay, Nunavik and Hudson Bay as well as providing a bush flight service for tourism, outfitting and mining exploration activities. C-GCQK (141) had been its first Otter, acquired in November 1988 and the next month LQX joined the fleet, to be followed later by other Otters.

While LQX was flying for Air Wemindji, two incidents were recorded. On 30 March 1991 at Kuujjuarapik the Otter struck a vehicle on landing. On 2 June 1991 at Lac Darontal the Otter experienced engine failure on final approach, which resulted in a hard landing. Water in the fuel tank had caused the malfunction. The damage was repaired. In July 1992 LQX was registered to Geraldton Air Ltd., of Geraldton, Ontario, which also operated Otter C-GVDM (361), serving the bush country of Ontario. Again, both of these Otters were on lease from the leasing company. In June 1995 LQX was registered to and operated by Labrador Airways Ltd., trading as Air Labrador, based at Goose Bay, Labrador. It was on lease from the leasing company. When the lease of LQX expired, the leasing company then leased the Otter to North Coast Aviation Ltd., also based at Goose Bay, to whom the Otter was registered in June 1998. According to its website, this operator was “Your Sango Bay connection” and also provided mining and remote construction support and the usual range of bush services. Alas, it did not prosper, and ceased operations the following year. The leasing company then leased LQX to Johnny May’s Air Charter Ltd., of Kuujjuaq, Québec to whom it was registered in July 1999.

On 8 September 1999 Otter LQX was involved in an accident on a flight from its base at Kuujjuaq to a caribou hunting camp at Lac Bobby, 160 miles to the west. On arrival at the lake, conditions were sky obscured, with visibility reduced in fine rain. Having “splashed down” the pilot realised that he had alighted too near the shoreline. He cut the power but it was too late to prevent the Otter running aground. No one was injured but substantial damage was caused to the propeller, right wing and right float, which had collapsed. The right wing was bent and crumpled. The repair of the Otter was entrusted by the insurers to Air Wilga of Laval, Québec. They chartered an Air Saguenay Otter and flew up a replacement wing, which was strapped to the float supports on one side of the Otter, a canoe strapped to the other side. Repairs were carried out at the side of the lake. The float was repairable. The new wing was fitted using a support of fuel drums and wood. LQX flew back to Laval for final repairs, escorted by Otter C-FEYY (19) of Air Wilga.

In April 2000 LQX was advertised for sale by the leasing company, its owner, through C&S Aircraft Sales, with a total time at that stage of 14,951 hours on the airframe. They were also selling sister ship C-GVDM (361). Both Otters were sold in June 2000 to a leasing company in Anchorage, Alaska, number 361 being registered to Kakeldey Leasing Corporation as N361TT and 362 being registered to an associated company as N362TT. The sale was made by Bill of Sale dated 14 June 2000 from 1191517 Ontario Ltd (the leasing company which had owned the Otter while it was flying in Canada) to R&J Aircraft Leasing Corporation of Anchorage. Canadian marks C-GLQX were cancelled on 27 June 2000 and the Otter was then registered as N362TT to R&J Aircraft Leasing Corporation.  These companies were owned by Ron Kakeldey, a retired airline pilot living in Anchorage, who had acquired the Otters to lease out. N362TT had its Certificate of Airworthiness renewed on 8 August 2000, at which stage its total time was 15,053 hours.

During the summer of 2002 N362TT was leased to Ultima Thule Outfitters of Chitina, Alaska for use pending the delivery of their own turbine Otter (N226UT). In January 2003 N362TT went on lease to Grasshopper Aviation of Wasilla, Alaska to replace its Otter (N3904) which had crashed. N362TT subsequently flew on lease to other operators and lodges. In mid  December 2005 it arrived at Vernon, BC by truck, minus its wings. Over the winter of 2005 / 2006 it was converted to a Texas Turbine Otter by Kal Air, conversion # 21. On 8 July 2006 it was loaded onto a trailer and left Vernon for the long road journey to Anchorage, where it was re-united with its wings, re-assembled and re-entered service with R&J Aircraft Leasing Corp, flying for lodges and other operators in Alaska in need of extra Otter capacity. It mostly flew during the summer months and underwent maintenance / storage during the winter with Northern Aircraft Maintenance at the Anchorage Airport. It was still painted in the white colour scheme with orange trim from its days with Air Wemindji.

N362TT was advertised for sale in December 2009, with an asking price of $1,295,000, on EDO 7170 floats. It remained for sale that winter and was noted tied down in outside storage at the Anchorage Airport in May 2010, with a “For Sale” sign on it. However, a lease of the Otter to Rusts Flying Service of Anchorage was agreed for summer 2010 and it flew for Rusts that summer on wheels, carrying Rusts titles on the tail. It was returned to R&J Leasing at the end of the season and again parked at the Anchorage Airport in open storage for the winter of 2010 / 2011.

A sale of the Otter was proving difficult to achieve, but then an exciting lease proposal came along, which would see N362TT embark on a long journey. The lease was to Nica Wings, a new start-up operator established in Nicaragua by Canadian interests working with the Nicaraguan government to promote flights for tourists. It was reported at the time that the Canadians were investing US$14m in the project, which was to be equipped with two Single Otters and two Twin Otters. N362TT was to be the company’s first aircraft and was to make the long delivery flight on straight floats.

It departed Anchorage at the start of January 2011. By 3 January it had reached Campbell River on Vancouver Island where some work was performed on the Otter by Sealand Aviation. It then continued south to Kenmore Harbour, Seattle. Full details of its subsequent routing are unfortunately not known but it did land on the Colorado River, north of Parker, Colorado. By 8 January it had reached Lake Conroe, some fifty miles north of Houston, Texas. On 11 January it flew from Lone Star Executive, Houston to Lakefront, Louisiana then onwards to Southern Seaplane Base at Belle Chasse, Louisiana and then to the Miami waterfront. On 12 January it flew direct from Miami to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua in a flight time of 6 hours 59 minutes. Its total flight time from Campbell River to Managua had been forty hours.

Having established bases at Puerta de Asese on Lake Nicaragua (Granada District) and at Tipitapa on Lake Managua, Nica Wings became operational with the first of a series of proving flights on 31 January 2011, flying a party of tourists in N361TT to the San Juan River. The Otter was still in its white colour with orange trim and no titles. Press releases stated that Nica Wings would begin scheduled services by operating routes to Ometepe Island, San Carlos, Pearl Lagoon, Corn Island, Coco River and the Gulf of Fonseca, among other destinations. The first route to become operational would be from Managua to San Juan de Nicaragua at the mouth of the San Juan River on the Caribbean coast.

Pending the start of scheduled services, charters continued and in early April 2011 the company’s website came on line, advertising “Charter flights throughout Nicaragua”. Prices were given for both Turbine Otter and Twin Otter charters to Ometepe, Solentiname, San Carlos, El Castillo, Corn Island, Lago Apanas, Rama Key, Laguna Perlas and Cayos Perla. In late July 2011 Twin Otter YN-CHQ (766) arrived on its delivery flight from Atlanta. It was on floats, in a white colour scheme with wavy blue lines but did carry Nica Wings titles. By this stage Nica Wings had obtained its Operating Certificate and the Twin Otter flew for the company alongside the Single Otter N361TT on charter flights. It appears that the scheduled services never got going. Despite great efforts by the Canadian owners, the difficulties in doing business in Nicaragua proved too much and by October 2011 Nica Wings had ceased operations, the Otter and Twin Otter tied up out of service at the dock at the Lake Nicaragua base.

In March 2012 the Twin Otter was flown back to Canada and Sealand Aviation of Campbell River were commissioned to recover N362TT and return it to Canada. A team was sent down to Nicaragua, where they worked on the Otter. They had to carry out a detailed inspection and install fuel bladders for the ferry flight. The preparation of the aircraft only took three days but it took three weeks more to get approval from the Nicaraguan authorities to buy fuel for the return flight to Canada. As on the flight down, the ferry flight back to Canada would be on straight floats.

Finally, on 3 April 2012, N362TT took off from Lake Nicaragua and in a ten and a half hour flight flew to a marina near to the Aransas County Airport, Rockport, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico coast. The following day it flew from there to Lake Havasu City, Arizona in a flight time of eight hours thirty seven minutes. On this flight the Otter cruised at 8,500 feet, working Houston Centre, then Albuquerque Centre on the radio. It landed just below the Lake Havasu Dam. It was grounded the next day as its batteries had to be replaced. On 6 April it continued from Lake Havasu to Seattle and on 7 April 2012 it flew on north to Campbell River, landing at The Spit to clear customs, then on to the airport where it landed on its floats on the grass beside the runway. The airport staff had used the fire trucks to hose down a section of the grass to use as a runway. It was then taken to the Sealand Aviation hangar for overhaul and put on wheels. The flight time from Nicaragua to Campbell River had taken thirty hours.

The US registration was cancelled on 2 May 2012 as the Otter had been sold and on 14 May it was registered as C-FMZC to its new owners, Tsayta Aviation Ltd., and it flew from Campbell River on wheels to its new base at Dease Lake, BC in early June. It remained in its popular white colour scheme with orange trim but acquired Tsayta Aviation titles and logo. As well as the Otter Tsayta Aviation also flew a BN-2 Islander out of Dease Lake Airport and also had bases at Fort St.James (Cessna 185 and Beaver) and Telegraph Creek, BC (Cessna 185). The company provided wilderness connections to hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation adventures in North Central BC and the Yukon, as well as oil, gas and mining exploration support. The Otter continued to fly for Tsatya Aviation in the years that followed. An incident was reported on CADORS for 4 September 2015 when C-FMZC, on a local flight out of Smithers, BC reported a coyote on the runway and had to land long. It was still in service with Tsatya Aviation during 2018.

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.