DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 365

9406 on a task with 438 Squadron from St. Hubert to Frobisher Bay / Iqaluit.
Photo: Dave Osborne © July 1977
9406 cruising during summer camp at CFB Chatham, New Brunswick.
Photo: Dave Osborne © July 1977
9406 when still in uniform.
Photo: Fred Guthrie © 26 May 1979 - John Mounce Collection - Aird Archives
C-GUTL in an early shot.
Photo: Andrew Brattkus © June 1983 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GUTL at Fort Frances, Ontario.
Photo: Ruben Husberg © Date unknown
C-GUTL getting into turbine mode.
Photo: Rich Hulina © March 2000 - Karl E. Hayes
C-GUTL after conversion, at Fort Frances, Ontario.
Photo: Neil Aird © 13 September 2003 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GUTL glinting in the sun.
Photo: Fred Barnes © 17 September 2009

c/n 365

9406 • C-GUTL • (HK-3048X)



• 9406 Royal Canadian Air Force. Delivered 16-Jun-1960. Designated as CSR-123.

Initially allocated to 438 Squadron at CFB St. Hubert, QC.

06-Oct-117 To Lahore Pakistan joining the Air Transport Unit, supporting a United Nations mission supervising a cease-fire between India and Pakistan.

Apr-1966 Returned to Canada.

18- Nov-1966. Assigned to No.4 Operational Training Unit at Trenton, ON.

Nov-1968. Unit re designated 424 Transport & Rescue Squadron.

22-Jun-1970. Transferred to 401 Squadron, CFB St. Hubert, QC., on 22nd June 1970.

28-Jun-1972 Into storage at the CFB Mountain View Depot, ON.

06-Aug-1974 Assigned to 402 Squadron, CFB Winnipeg, MB.

22-Dec-1975 Transferred back to CFB St. Hubert, QC.,  and re-joined 401 Squadron.

09-Dec-1981 To the CFB Mountain View Depot, ON., and put up for disposal by the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation.

Total time: 6,576 hrs.

 • C-GUTL Nahanni Air Services Ltd., Norman Wells, NT. Regd Feb-1983 Canx 17-Feb-1983.

• C-GUTL On lease to LSD Aviation Ltd., Fort Frances, ON. Regd Feb-1983. Canx 26-Jul-1983.

• C-GUTL Returned to Nahanni Air Services Ltd., Norman Wells, NT. Jul-1983.

• (HK-3048X) Aerolineas de la Orinoquia & Amazonia Limitada. Early 1984. NTU.

• C-GUTL Fort Frances Sportsmen Airways Ltd., Fort Frances, ON. Regd 19-Apr-1984, Canx 30-May-1989. Re regd 27-Jun-2013.

Note: Photographed with Northern Wilderness Outfitters titles at Fort Frances, date unknown.

Power-plant. Converted to Vazar turbine. Exact details unknown. Circa Mar-2003?


Otter 365 was delivered to the RCAF on 16 June 1960 with serial 9406. It was allocated to 438 Squadron at St.Hubert, near Montréal where it served until selected for duty with 117 Air Transport Unit, an RCAF unit formed to support a United Nations mission supervising a cease-fire between India and Pakistan. The Otter flew to Trenton on 23 September 1965, taking up temporary residence with 102 Communications Unit, and was then loaded on board an RCAF Hercules and flown to Lahore in Pakistan, where it arrived on 6 October 1965. Two other Otters served with 117 ATU, these being 9422 (404) and 9423 (405). The Unit also flew three RCAF Caribous.

The Otters were used to provide air transport and reconnaissance support as required by the United Nations India-Pakistan Observation Mission (UNIPOM). The extremely hot weather and the nature of the terrain caused operational difficulties. The Otters were limited to a three hour flight a day, as they were burning two gallons of oil an hour. Drums of oil were sent to various fields in the desert to enable the aircraft fulfil their mission. Carburettor air filters were ordered and a rush order went in for new engines. All engine changes and filter installations were completed by the first week in February 1966. One of the first Otter missions was from Lahore to Rawalpindi with spare parts for an unserviceable Caribou. Regular flights were made to Rawalpindi and New Delhi. Once the terms of withdrawal were finalised, military observers all along the cease-fire line were busy supervising the withdrawal. The Otters were very useful on aerial reconnaissance flights. The Otters also flew a “scheduled service”, UNSF number ten, which departed Lahore at 04:00Z and routing via Jammu, Rajouri and Punch arrived Rawalpindi at 07:45Z. It overnighted there and returned via the reverse route each Friday as UNSF eleven.

On 11 March 1966 the final Otter trip was flown, to give a total of 814 hours flown by the three 117 ATU Otters. The Otters were then dismantled and returned back to Canada during April 1966 again on board RCAF Hercules. After re-assembly by No.6 Repair depot at Trenton, 9406 was assigned on 18 November 1966 to No.4 Operational Training Unit at Trenton. This unit was re-designated 424 Transport & Rescue Squadron in November 1968, still based at Trenton.  9406 was noted on deployment to Goose Bay during June 1969.  The Otter continued to serve with the Squadron until transferred to 401 Squadron at St.Hubert, on 22 June 1970. On 28 June 1972 it went into storage at the Mountain View depot until 6 August 1974 when it was assigned to 402 Squadron at Winnipeg. On 22 December 1975 it was transferred back to St.Hubert and joined 401 Squadron. It continued to serve with 401 Squadron until 9 December 1981 when it was flown to the Mountain View depot and put up for disposal by the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation.

9406 was sold in an auction in February 1982, with a total airframe time at that stage of 6,576 hours. The buyer was Nahanni Air Services Ltd., of Norman Wells, Northwest Territories to whom the Otter was registered in February 1983 as C-GUTL.  It went on lease to LSD Aviation / Rainy Lake Airways of Fort Frances, Ontario for the summer of 1983, then returning to Nahanni Air Services. This company had also purchased two other ex Canadian military Otters, 9421 (402) which became C-GUTQ and 9423 (405) which became C-GUTW. A company in Colombia agreed to purchase all three Otters from Nahanni Air Services. The proposed purchaser had the exotic name of Aerolineas de la Orinoquia & Amazonia Ltd., and early in 1984 paid a deposit and obtained Colombia registrations for the three aircraft. C-GUTL (365) was to become HK-3048X, C-GUTQ (401) was to become HK-3049X and C-GUTW (405) was to become HK-3050X. The three Otters were made ready for delivery but apart from a deposit no further payments were made and nothing further was heard from the would-be buyer. The three Otters had been bought by Perry Linton, the owner of Nahanni Air Services, not for operation but for sale and when the sale to Colombia fell through, the three Otters were sold to other buyers. In the case of C-GUTL the buyer was Fort Frances Sportsmen Airways Ltd., of Fort Frances, Ontario to whom the Otter was registered in April 1984.

Fort Frances Sportsmen Airways Ltd., flew in association with Northern Wilderness Outfitters Ltd., flying guests to fishing lodges in the Ontario wilderness country. UTL was painted into an overall fawn colour, with orange and brown cheatline and tail stripes and Northern Wilderness Outfitters fuselage titles. It was to fly for this company for many years, alongside the company’s other Otters C-GMDG (302) and C-GBQC (401). UTL continued in service until an accident occurred on 16 May 1998.

On that day UTL was departing from Lichen Marina, the company’s base at Fort Frances for a flight to Tesup Lake, one hundred miles to the east, with the pilot and seven passengers on board. During the take-off run the aircraft was headed into a wind estimated at 30 knots plus gusts. Shortly after lift off the Otter passed a point of land and the wind gusts increased in strength and changed direction. The pilot reported that the heading suddenly changed from south-westerly to north-westerly. The pilot became doubtful that the Otter could clear the shore and the trees, which were now in the aircraft’s path, and elected to reduce power and land. As the Otter was touching down the gusty wind lifted the tail and flipped the aircraft on its back, in about seven feet of water. The occupants were uninjured and were taken to shore in a boat. The Otter had sustained substantial damage and drifted back to shore. It was retrieved from the water and taken to the company’s nearby hangar for rebuild.

In the course of the rebuild, UTL was converted to a Vazar turbine Otter, at a cost of $800,000, and repainted into an overall grey colour scheme with maroon cheatline, wings and rudder and re-entered service with Northern Wilderness Outfitters/Fort Frances Sportsmen for summer 2000, again flying alongside MDG and BQC, flying fishing guests during the summer season to the company’s lodges in Northwest Ontario.  BQC was sold in March 2012 and replaced with turbine Otter C-GMLB (359) which joined the fleet for summer 2014. From then on UTL, MDG and MLB flew for Fort Frances Sportsmen Airways. By summer 2018, UTL has flown for this company for 34 years.

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.