DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 366

59-2222 "Quad Deuce".
Photo: Sheldon D. Benner © April 1972 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
59-2222 at a foggy Toronto Island - CYTZ.
Photo: Sheldon D. Benner © 23 April 1972 - Michael J. Ody Collection
59-2222 atToronto Island on amphibs.
Photo: Sheldon D. Benner © 28 April 1972 - Michael J. Ody Collection
C-GGSC with RAECOM AIR.
Photo: Sheldon D. Benner © July 1981 - Michael J. Ody Collection
C-GGSC at Air Mont Laurier's Sainte-Véronique base, at Lac Tibériade, Québec.
Photo: Karl E. Hayes © May 2001

c/n 366

59-2222 • N5072F

C-GGSC

x

• 59-2222 United States Army. Delivered 25-Mar-1960. Designated U-1A.

Initially allocated to Fort Riley, KS., as an operational support aircraft.

Apr-1962 Attached to the 17th Aviation Company, Fort Ord, CA.

Jun-1964. Crissy AAF., Presidio of San Francisco, CA again in an operational support role, possibly with the Sixth Army Flight Detachment.

Feb-1966. Otter Transition School at Fort Ord, CA.

May-1971. To Fort Lewis, Seattle, WA., as an operational support aircraft.

Jul-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.

Feb-1976, It joined the Army Electronics Command, Lakehurst NAS., NJ as a test aircraft.

Incident: Unknown location over Virginia. 08-Jun-1976, An incident was recorded when smoke entered the cockpit from under the dash, followed by an extremely rough running engine developing only partial power. A landing was made without further mishap.

Aug-1976 Operated at the Electronic Proving Ground Fort Huachuca, AZ., where it served as a test aircraft.

Incident: Over Arizona 06-Jan-1978. Twenty minutes into a flight, the engine began running rough and at times quit for a second or two. The Otter landed at a civil airport, where the engine was changed.

• N5072F Civil Air Patrol (CAP) assigned to the CAP's Southwest Region, TX. Regd 24-Apr-1979.

Total time 6,116 hours.

• N5072F Waggoner Aircraft Inc., Bethany, OK. Regd 17-Jun 1980. Canx 09-Jul-1980 on export to Canada.

C-GGSC Air Ranger Ltd., Winnipeg, MB.  Regd 8th July 1980.

C-GGSC Raecom Air Ltd., Yellowknife, NT. Canx 01-Oct-1986 and 10-Feb-1987.

C-GGSC Air Mont-Laurier (1985) Inc., Sainte-Véronique, Lac Tibériade , QC. Regd Aug-1987 & 18-Apr-1988. Later address, Rivière-Rouge, QC. Re-regd 04-Apr-2007. Based Sainte-Véronique, Lac Tibériade, QC.

Total time:  8,272 hours at Aug-1987.

Current

Otter 366 was delivered to the United States Army on 25 March 1960 with serial 59-2222 (tail number 92222). Its initial allocation was to Fort Riley, Kansas as an operational support aircraft and in April 1962 it joined the 17th Aviation Company at Fort Ord, California. It served at Fort Ord until June 1964 when it moved to the Presidio of San Francisco, based at Crissy Army Airfield (AAF), again in an operational support role.

As Herbert Nichols writes: “After my return from Peru (where he had flown Otters on the IAGS survey) I returned to the Presidio of San Francisco to await my service in Vietnam. While at the Presidio I flew an Otter which was used for the first local air evacuation flights of the wounded returning from Vietnam. The troops were being flown into Travis Air Force Base and then bussed to the Presidio hospital. We looked for a better way to transport them, so the Otter was configured for troop carrying and the wounded were the passengers. I made the inaugural flight mid summer 1965. This worked for quite some time but changed when the wounded were then to be transported by CH-34 helicopter. The main cause of this change was that the weather was frequently poor in and around the field at Crissy and the helicopter was thought to be better suited for the marginal approach facilities”.

In February 1966 Otter 92222 joined the Otter Transition School at Fort Ord where it acquired the nick name “Quad Deuce”. Jim McNeill, who flew the aircraft at Fort Ord, provides some detail:  “The School used four Otters, which were shared with the Fort’s Command Aviation Section, to conduct training for US Army aviators who were being posted to Otter units around the world. Like any other transition course, we provided ground schooling on aircraft systems and maintenance, weight and balance with emphasis on using the aircraft’s load computer and other general flying subjects. The programme of instruction was broken into four general phases – orientation and basic flight operations, emergency procedures, tactical flight and instrument training. Flights were made to many areas of northern and central California. Tactical training used “field” landing strips and approved low-level flight training areas on Camp Hunter-Liggett, some one hundred miles southeast of Fort Ord”.

“Our aircraft were also used by the Fort’s Command Aviation Section for administrative flights. We transported soldiers to and from Travis AFB., and transported VIPs and cargo to other military installations, notably Crissy Field, San Francisco. We provided aerial medical evacuation for wounded soldiers returning from Vietnam and participated in air shows and displays throughout California and Nevada. ‘Quad Deuce’ was a favourite of the School and staff pilots, not only for the unique tail number but because it seemed to be a little more reliable and a little more responsive than the other aircraft”.

92222 continued flying for the School until it closed. With the withdrawal of the Otter from Vietnam in the early part of 1971, there was no longer a need for an Otter Transition School. In May 1971 Quad Deuce moved to Fort Lewis, Seattle, Washington State as an operational support aircraft. In July 1972 its official record describes it as being loaned out for non-military use. It was one of two Army Otters (the other was 92220 serial 362) operated for 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 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 lakes and scientists will lower probes into the water to measure dissolved oxygen, conductivity, the acid-alkaline balance and the water 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”.

92222 continued flying on this project until February 1976, when it joined the Army Electronics Command at Lakehurst NAS, New Jersey as a test aircraft. A few months later, on 8 June 1976, an incident was recorded over Virginia. The Otter was cruising at 3,000 feet when smoke entered the cockpit from under the dash, followed by an extremely rough running engine developing only partial power. A landing was made without further mishap.

In August 1976 Quad Deuce crossed the country and was based at Fort Huachuca, Arizona as a test aircraft, supporting the Electronic Proving Ground. It flew from Libby AAF., on Fort Huachuca. Early in 1977 it was selected to support the Army’s AQUILA RPV system, then being developed by Lockheed Missiles and Space Company (LMSC). 92222 was modified by LMSC to include electronic portions of the Aquila system. This configuration permitted Army personnel to operate the Otter as a Remotely Propelled Vehicle (RPV), as though a functional RPV was flying instead of a manned aircraft. Operation of the C-Band and telemetry data link, payload sensor, altimeter and airspeed transducers, magnetometer, vertical gyro, flight controls electronics package and other airborne systems elements gave the appearance to the GCS (Ground Control Systems) operators that a real Aquila RPV was flying under their command. The Otter was used as a minimum risk GCS operator training and hardware checkout opportunity. Numerous test flights were carried out between April and June 1977. The test equipment was then taken out and the Otter resumed flying support duties for the Electronic Proving Ground from Libby AAF.

Another incident was recorded on 6 January 1978 in Arizona. Twenty minutes into a flight, the engine began running rough and at times quit for a second or two. The Otter landed at a civil airport, where the engine was changed. 92222 continued flying from Fort Huachuca until its military career came to an end in April 1979. On 24 April 1979 it was transferred to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), registered N5072F and was assigned to the CAP’s Southwest Region, Texas. It was put up for sale the following year and by Bill of Sale dated 1 May 1980 was sold by the CAP to Waggoner Aircraft Inc of Wiley Post Airport, Bethany, Oklahoma. At that stage of its career it had 6,116 hours on the airframe.

On 8 July 1980 it was sold on by Waggoner Aircraft to Air Ranger Ltd., of Winnipeg. It appears that the Otter had remained in Texas as it was ferried from there to Winnipeg as N5072F and the US registration was cancelled on 9 July 1980. At Winnipeg it was overhauled by Manwest Aviation and registered C-GGSC to Air Ranger and flew for that company for summer 1980. It was then sold to Raecom Air Ltd., of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and headed north to its new base, where it joined Otters CF-CZO and CZP in service with Raecom Air, serving the bush country of the Northwest Territories. It was painted into full Raecom colour scheme of yellow under fuselage and wings, black cheatline and white upper fuselage, with Raecom Air fuselage titles.

For the next seven years it flew out Yellowknife on floats during the summer months and on wheel-skis in winter. The registration of the aircraft to Raecom Air was cancelled on 10 February 1987 and the Otter was in store until sold in August 1987 to Air Mont-Laurier (1985) Inc., of Ste.Véronique – Lac Tiberiade, Québec. At this stage its airframe hours had increased to 8,272 and it was described as being “in rough condition”, after many years service in the harsh conditions of the Northwest Territories. Between 5 to 7 August 1987 it was ferried Yellowknife-Stony Rapids-Thompson-Pickle Lake-Val d'Or-Laval for complete overhaul, after which it was registered to Air Mont-Laurier (1985) Inc., on 18 April 1988.  It was painted into full Air Mont-Laurier colour scheme. On 27 May 1988 it arrived at its new base at Ste.Véronique and entered service with Air Mont-Laurier.

Air Mont-Laurier was a family business run by Norman Ouellette together with his wife and two sons, both bush pilots. As well as the Otter the fleet comprised two Beavers and a Cessna 206. The aircraft were active during the summer months only, end May to end September and were used to bring fishermen and hunters into the bush country to the north of Ste.Véronique. The company ran four fishing camps, the furthest away at Lac du Male, a flight of one hour fifteen minutes. The fishermen were transported to this remote location where they could fish to their heart’s content all day and would be cared for in the cabins at night. Each year from mid August to end September the Otter headed north to Fort Chimo, Québec for the annual caribou hunt, before returning to base where it was stored for the winter.  This would be its pattern of operations in the years that followed. As at April 2001 the total time had increased to 13,031 hours.

In 2007 Air Mont Laurier bought the bush division of Cargair, thus acquiring Otter C-FSUB (8), which moved to Ste.Véronique and joined GSC and these two Otters would fly together for Air Mont Laurier for many years.  An incident with C-GGSC was recorded on CADORS on 20 August 2008, during the annual caribou hunt in northern Québec. The Otter was en route VFR from Lac Stewart to a destination 120 miles west of Kuujjuaq (as Fort Chimo had by then been renamed). The pilot did not establish contact when in the Kuujjuaq mandatory frequency area.  By 2011 the Air Mont Laurier fleet, in addition to the two Otters, comprised four Beavers and a number of Cessnas. As well as the main base at Ste.Véronique, the company also had a base at Parent, close to the major hunting and fishing areas, and at LG-4 near James Bay, which was used for hunters and for support of exploration activity.

Another CADORS report was recorded for C-GGSC for 14 August 2016. The Otter was operating out of Lac de la Falaise, near LG-4, east of La Grande Rivière with nine souls on board at the start of the caribou hunting season. The ELT was activated accidently on landing at Lac Tily.  Canforce Hercules 130335 was tasked by the JRCC Trenton to go and investigate but stood down prior to departure. In December 2017 Otter C-FSUB was sold, leaving C-GGSC as Air Mont Laurier’s only Otter. It continued to fly for the company for summer 2018, its thirtieth year of service with Air Mont-Laurier.

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.