DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 37

N606KA arrives at Nanaimo.
Photos: Neil Aird © 23 May 2005
N606KA at home base.
Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © 27 September 2007
N606KA in current "Orca" colours.
Photo: Todd Boettcher © 07 Marche 2016
Photo: Neil Aird © 11 July 2015
N606KA showing her distinctive and popular markings.
Photo: Nigel Hitchman © 26 August 2017
N606KA at her home base.
Photo: Ron Kosys © 23 March 2019 - Aird Archives

c/n 37

3679 • BM-1001 • N8260L



• 3679 Royal Canadian Air Force. Delivered 08-Apr-1954. Its initial posting was to 408 Squadron at Rockcliffe, ON.

Note: Put into storage as reserve aircraft 1st October 1962 until March 1963.

• BM-1001 Indian Air Force On charge 24-Apr-1963. Donated by the Canadian Government to India as part of an aid package. Served with 41 Squadron based at Palam Air Base, New Delhi, India.

Note: Advertised for sale in April 1993 by the Indian Ministry of Defence at Barrackpore. purchasers  were La Ronge Aviation / Mike Hackman Aircraft Sales

Total time 5,476 hours on the airframe at Apr-1993.

• N8260L Kenmore Air Harbor Inc., Kenmore, WA. Regd Feb-1995.

• N606KA Kenmore Air Harbor Inc., Kenmore, WA. Regd 25-Apr-1995.

Note Rebuilt by Kenmore who installed a PT-6 engine. First flight in Sep-1999.

Total time. 8,947 hours Mar-2004.



Otter 37 was delivered to the RCAF on 8th April 1954 with serial 3679. Its initial posting was to 408 Squadron at Rockcliffe. During the summer of 1954 it was one of six of the Squadron's Otters operating out of Goose Bay, supporting the Squadron's Lancasters on their mapping missions. On 14th January 1956 the Otter departed from Rockcliffe in company with Otters 3678 and 3687 en route to Knob Lake, Quebec on “Operation Rock Top 2”, supporting the helicopters of 108 Communications Flight on the construction of the Mid Canada Line of radar sites. On 16th February, 3679 returned in company with 3678 to Rockcliffe for modifications, before flying back to Knob Lake to resume work with the helicopters. Light transport, communications flights and ice surveys were the tasks performed.

On 18th March 1956 3679 damaged its starboard aileron at Site 212, but was repaired. Early 1957 saw 3679 back at Knob Lake on the same tasks, and it was slightly damaged on 2nd March 1957 on landing at one of the sites when it overshot the landing area and ran into a tree. On the day in question, the pilot was being checked-out on the ski- equipped Otter in the course of an operational flight. The Otter did not have dual controls and the captain was in the right seat. On a higher than recommended approach, the pilot landed too far down the frozen lake, whose surface was covered in slush. The Otter could not be stopped before it ran into a tree at the end of the lake, resulting in the starboard ski being bent and the wheel twisted. The damage was repaired and the Otter flown back to Rockcliffe.

The following month, April 1957, 3679 was re-assigned to 111 Communications & Rescue Flight at Winnipeg, where it carried Rescue Marks and the unit's PW code. The Flight's history records its many missions. In July 19anitoba. The ground search party were flown in by the unit's Otter 3696. After they had rescued the two occupants of the Norseman, 3679 picked them and the ground party up at Biche Lake and flew them first to Savage Island and then on to Riverton. It was involved in a search for a downed T-33 on 28th December 1957 and a downed Stinson on 9th January '58. In May 1960 it participated with the Unit's other Otters in 'SAR Harrison', searching for PA-20 CF-HJH missing en route from Flin Flon to Tartan Lake. On 5th September 1960 3679 departed on a tour of northern stations, routing to Norway House-Lynn Lake-Ennadai-Eskimo Point, returning via Ilford to the Flight's summer base at Lac du Bonnet. During the summer months,
the Flight's Otters operated from Lac du Bonnet on floats. During the winter, they flew from Winnipeg Air Base on wheel-skis.

3679 continued in service with 111 Communications & Rescue Flight until 1st October 1962 when the Flight withdrew its Otters from service and they were flown to No.6 Repair Depot at Trenton and put into storage as reserve aircraft. 3679 left Winnipeg for Trenton on 10th October 1962. It remained in storage until March 1963, when it was one of five Otters removed from storage and sent to DHC at Downsview for crating, to be shipped to India, having been donated by the Canadian Government to India as part of an aid package. The Otter was taken on charge by the Indian Air Force on 24th April 1963 and allocated serial BM-1001. The Otter faithfully served the Indian Air Force for the next 27 years, and survived its Air Force career in the remote and inhospitable Indian bush country. Nothing is known of its service with the Indian Air Force, apart from the fact that it served with 41 Squadron based at Palam Air Base, New Delhi between 1976 and 1980. It was at that stage configured and used as a dual trainer.

The aircraft was one of “8 Otters on the ground since 1990 and 5 Otter airframes without engines” advertised for sale in April 1993 by the Indian Ministry of Defence. The successful purchasers were La Ronge Aviation / Mike Hackman Aircraft Sales. The Otters were located at various bases, BM-1001 being one of five at Barrackpore. At the time of sale it had 5,476 hours on the airframe. These five, and a further three at Kanpur, were paint stripped, dismantled and shipped from Calcutta, arriving at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan by 30th April 1994. They were then advertised for sale. The purchaser of Otter number 37 was Kenmore Air Harbor Inc., of Seattle.

The Otter was trucked to Kenmore, on the northern end of Lake Washington, and was registered to its new owners in February 1995 as N8260L. It was one of three former Indian Air Force Otters acquired by Kenmore Air Harbor, the others being numbers 11 and 221. These three Otters were rebuilt by Kenmore Air Harbor and during the re-building were converted to turbine power with the installation of PT-6 engines. Otter 37 was the last of the three to be completed, and was only ready to make its first flight as a turbine in September 1999, having been re-registered N606KA the previous March. Interestingly, the parts taken off these three piston Otters when they were converted to turbine, were then sold by Kenmore to J.W.Duff Aircraft Corp., of Denver, Colorado, who advertised them for sale as “three Otter firewall forwards”, very valuable to those who were rebuilding damaged Otters, which more often than not need new “firewall forwards”.

N606KA, repainted in Kenmore's smart yellow and white trim, joined the company's active Otter fleet in October 1999, flying on its scheduled commuter services. In 2003 Kenmore Air introduced a Cessna 208 Caravan amphibian into the fleet, joining the Beavers and turbine Otters. It was used on a landplane service to Bayview and Port Angeles. In March 2004 two of the turbine Otters were advertised for sale, one of which was N606KA, with a total airframe time at that stage of 8,947 hours. The Otter however continued in service with Kenmore Air pending sale.

An incident was recorded on CADORS on 15 May 2006 after N606KA landed at Victoria Harbour. As the Otter was taxying to the dock, the pilot of another aircraft reported seeing a fire from the exhaust stack and the engine was shut down. The Harbour Patrol vessel was soon on the scene and assisted the Otter to the dock.

N606KA was damaged on 1 June 2006 in the course of a Kenmore Air scheduled service from Lake Union, Seattle to Victoria, with the pilot and ten passengers on board, none of whom were injured. Instrument conditions prevailed and the incident occurred ten minutes after the Otter had taken off when it was over the Puget Sound near Port Townsend, Washington. To quote from the NTSB report: “The pilot said that as he approached Port Townsend he encountered a lowering ceiling and visibility. He said that the water conditions were glassy smooth with no visual definition. This condition made it increasingly difficult to be sure he was maintaining forward visibility. He began to turn back but conditions worsened. He elected to perform a precautionary landing on the water. He said that with no visual definition he misjudged it and landed hard. He was unsure of the airplane’s structural condition so he taxied it to Port Townsend. The fuselage was bent/deformed and the fuselage skin wrinkled and the dorsal stabilizer was bent/wrinkled”. At the time of this incident the Otter had 10,465 hours on the airframe.

The Otter was taken back to the Kenmore Air base for repair, and was noted there at the end of August 2006 with wings removed. It was repaired in the Kenmore hangar over the winter of 2006 / 2007, with the scenic window modification incorporated at the same time, ready to resume service in spring 2017. Another CADORS incident was recorded on 10 June 2009 when the Otter was VFR from Victoria Harbour to Kenmore Air Harbour. The pilot reported a problem to the company and that he might be setting down on the water. There was no sign of the aircraft on radar. The Rescue Co-Ordination Centre was advised and it transpired that the aircraft had an electrical failure and was proceeding no radio to Seattle, where it landed safely on Lake Union.

The Otter was subsequently painted in a “Wild Orca” black and white colour scheme, which was unveiled at an event at Kenmore on 11 May 2015. The scheme symbolises the orca whale, which can be seen off the Pacific coast. The Orca is also shown on custom embroidery on the cabin bulkhead. Two Kenmore pilots had founded the “Wild Orca” organisation to raise awareness and funds for these majestic mammals. Funds were raised for this new paint scheme on the Otter and Kenmore Ar agreed.

There was another CADORS incident on 23 June 2017 when N606KA was en route from Campbell River on Vancouver Island to Kenmore, 14 miles from the Victoria International Airport. It entered Class D airspace at 1,500 feet without contacting ATC, flew ten miles and then descended.   As at summer 2018 N606KA remained in service with Kenmore Air.

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.