DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 375

CF-QOR at Edmonton, Alberta.
Photo: John Kimberley © July 1974 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
CF-QOR back at Edmonton, awaiting attention.
Photo: Unknown photographer © c.1975 - Karl E. Hayes Collection

c/n 375




• 9409 Royal Canadian Air Force. Delivered 18-Jul-1960. Designated as CSR-123.

Initially allocated to 442 Transport & Rescue Squadron at the Sea Island RCAF base, Vancouver, British Columbia,  on amphibious floats.

03 Nov-1960. Transferred to 443 Squadron, also based at Sea Island RCAF base, Vancouver, BC.

Accident: English Bay, 28-May-1962. Damaged float and capsized after a water landing to support a. boat in distress. Further information below.

21-Sep-1964. Joined 438 Squadron, CFB St. Hubert, QC.

Accident: Out of St. Hubert. 22-Jul-1967. The amphibious equipped was on a training flight involving a simulated engine failure. Taking off from land the aircraft was to land on water but neither of the crew ensure that the wheels were raised causing a severe landing on the nose and left wing. More information shown below.

Jun-1968 Aircraft moved to the CFB Mountain View storage depot in Ontario.

Oct-1970 Put up for disposal through the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation.

The following entries preceded by a date are extracts from Canadian Department of Transport archives,

Feb-1971 Crown Assets Disposal Corporation accepts Gander Aviation’s offer for three Otters.

00-May-1971 Weston Aircraft Oshawa request registrations CF-QOQ, CF-QOR & CF-QOS for Otters msn's 46, 375, 398.

13-May-1971 Allotment of CF-QOR to DHC-3 msn 375 for Weston Aircraft Ltd., Oshawa, ON.

13-May-1971 Temporary Certificate of Registration & Flight Permit issued for test flight.

28-MAY-1971 Application for Certificate of Registration by Gander Aviation Ltd., Gander, NL.

31-May-1971 Test flown for Certificate of Airworthiness by W.J. Bennett of Gander Aviation Ltd.

31-May-1971 Certificate of Airworthiness issued.

04-Jun-1971 Bill of Sale; Gander Aviation Ltd., to Buffalo Airways Ltd., Fort Smith, NT.

28-Jun-1971 Certificate of Registration issued to Gander Aviation Ltd., Gander, NL

• CF-QOR Gander Aviation Ltd., Gander, NL. Regd 28-Jun-1971.

18-Jul-1971 Application for Certificate of Registration by Buffalo Airways Ltd., Fort Smith, NT.

21-Jul-1971 Certificate of Registration issued to Buffalo Airways Ltd., Fort Smith, NT.

• CF-QOR Buffalo Airways Ltd., Fort Smith, NT. Regd 21-Jul-1971.

Accident: 18 miles southwest of Cambridge Bay 14-Nov-1974. Weather deteriorated while en route Bay Chimo (now Umingmaktok NU) to Cambridge Bay, NT., and full power was required to stay airborne, ran out of fuel and force-landed on the ice damaging the left wing, prop’ and aft fuselage. Douglas Turner and three passengers uninjured.

07-Jan-1975 Flight Permit issued for ferry Cambridge Bay-Edmonton, AB., valid to 07-Feb-1975.

26-Sep-1975 Bill of Sale; Buffalo Airways Ltd., to Altair Leasing Ltd., Yellowknife, NT.

30-Sep-1975 Test flown for Certificate of Airworthiness renewal at Field Aviation by Cedric Mah.

30-Sep-1975 Certificate of Airworthiness re-issued.

16-Oct-1975 Certificate of Registration issued to Altair Leasing Ltd (under lease from the 135 Syndicate).

• CF-QOR Bannock Aerospace Ltd., Toronto, ON. Regd 16-Oct-1975.

• CF-QOR 135 Syndicate Ltd..Toronto, ON. Regd 16-Oct-1975.

17-Oct-1975 Lease Agreement; The 135 Syndicate, Toronto, to Altair Leasing Ltd., 17-Oct-1975 - 16-Oct-1980.

17-Oct-1975 Application for Certificate of Registration by Altair Leasing Ltd (A.W. Laserich), Yellowknife, NT.

• CF-QOR Leased to Willy Laserich, dba Altair Leasing Ltd., Yellowknife, NT. Regd 16-Oct-1975.

26-Nov-1975 Lease Agreement; 135 Syndicate Ltd., and Altair Leasing Ltd., to Buffalo Airways Ltd., until 30-Nov-1976.

27-Nov-1975 Application for Certificate of Registration by Buffalo Airways Ltd., Fort Smith, NT.

18-Dec-1975 Certificate of Registration issued to Buffalo Airways Ltd (under lease from the 135 Syndicate Ltd., and Altair Leasing Ltd).

• CF-QOR Sub leased to Buffalo Airways Ltd., Fort Smith, NT. 18-Dec-1976.

13-Dec-1976 Buffalo advise Department of Transport that lease agreement extended to 30-Nov-1977.

Accident: Salkeld Lake NT, 61.25N/109.50W 17-Apr-1977 Crashed and burned when unable to out climb terrain after overshooting a landing attempt inbound from Fort Smith. George Grant and crewman injured.

• CF-QOR Cancelled from Canadian Civil Aircraft Register. 12-Aug-1977.

Total time since new as recorded in Canadian Department of Transport records.

31-May-1971 - 2,043 hours

19-Jun-1972 - 2,671 hours

11-Jun-1973 - 3,191 hours

12-Jun-1974 - 3,457 hours

30-Sep-1975 - 4,267 hours

23-Sep-1976 - 4,804 hours

Written off

Otter 375 was delivered to the RCAF on 18th July 1960 with serial 9409, and was allocated to 442 Transport & Rescue Squadron at the Sea Island RCAF base, Vancouver on amphibious floats. On 3rd November 1960 it was transferred to 443 Squadron, also based at Sea Island. On 28th May 1962 the Otter met with an accident, described in the official report as follows: “The pilot was on a routine exercise when he was advised to investigate a boat in distress. He proceeded to the scene and located the capsized boat. The energetic waving of the occupants of another boat nearby suggested that possibly immediate medical aid was required for the survivors of the distress vessel. The pilot, landing in a two foot swell, buried the port float after a bounce and broke it. When the aircraft came to a stop, it became obvious that the float was severely damaged and the aircraft occupants boarded the dinghy. Shortly after, the Otter capsized”.

As it happened, there was a Vancouver Sun newspaper journalist aboard the Otter, whose report adds some detail: “At 5:30pm the RCAF Otter seaplane left Sea Island on its regular Sunday patrol. I was going to do a feature story and I got more than I bargained for. Our route lay across Georgia Strait to Active Pass, north to Gabriola Island, back across the strait to Howe Sound then a short hop up the coast and back to base. I was admiring the scenery when we received the report of a boat in trouble near Passage Island, just west of Bowen Island. The pilot, Wing Commander Douglas Stewart DFC, senior staff officer for 19th Wing (Auxiliary) immediately altered course and increased speed. Suddenly the co-pilot, Flight Lieutenant Bob Bell, pointed to what looked like an over-turned sixteen foot boat. Stewart decided to land for a look. We hit the choppy sea with a rough   jolt, followed by a loud crash. The port pontoon was bent almost double by the impact. The plane began listing immediately. Stewart took a quick look then announced we were going down. Bell cried a frantic Mayday distress call into the radio. Corporal Ronn Buss opened the starboard hatch and tossed out the inflatable rubber raft. Within six minutes after landing we were all in the raft and our plane had turned bottom up. We were surrounded by small boats. Then Flight Lieutenant Bell discovered our raft was tied to the sinking plane and none of us had a knife. We decided to abandon the raft and jump onto one of the boats. We were transferred to an RCAF crashboat sent from Vancouver to retrieve us. Wing Commander Stewart boarded one of the two tugs engaged in towing his plane into Fisherman's Cove”.

The Otter was lifted out of English Bay and propped up on the wharf at the Kitsilano Rescue Base.

Apart from the salt water damage, the bulk of the structural and sheet metal damage was done by the crane that lifted the inverted Otter out of the water. The Otter was taken to the RCAF Depot at Lincoln Park, Calgary where it was repaired and on 6th September 1962 it re-joined 443 Squadron. It continued to fly for the squadron from Sea Island until 21st February 1964, as both 442/443 Squadrons were in the course of disbanding, and made the long journey across the country to St. Hubert, where it joined 438 Squadron.  It was still flying for 438 Squadron when it met with another accident on 22nd July 1967, on a cross-country training flight out of St. Hubert. After take off, the pilot climbed to 200 feet, then still climbing proceeded in the direction of a lake three miles to the south. While over the edge of the lake, the first pilot closed the throttle to simulate an engine failure. The captain completed the checks for engine failure and positioned the aircraft for a landing approximately 30 degrees out of wind. This necessitated a turn of some 180 degrees from the time the engine was cut. Both pilots neglected to check the undercarriage on the amphibious Otter, which was still in the down position. On touchdown a rapid deceleration took effect, the aircraft rotated to a nose and left wing down position, the wing struck the water and the Otter settled back in a normal position. Three passengers evacuated the aircraft, which was beached to ascertain the damage, which was classified as “B” category.

That incident ended the military career of 9409. It was taken to 6 Repair Depot, Trenton for evaluation following its “amphibious wheel landing in water”. In June 1968 it was moved to the Mountain View storage depot where in October 1970 it was put up for disposal through the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation. On 8th February 1971 it was sold to Gander Aviation Ltd., of Gander, Newfoundland. It was one of three damaged Otters then in storage at Mountain View purchased by Gander Aviation, the other two being 3685 (46) and 9418 (398). All three were trucked to Oshawa, Ontario where they were to be rebuilt for Gander Aviation by Weston Aircraft Ltd of Oshawa.  On 13th May 1971 registrations were provisionally allocated to Gander Aviation Ltd for the three Otters, CF-QOQ (46), CF-QOR (375) and CF-QOS (398). Gander Aviation intended to put one of the three (CF-QOS) into service, and to sell on the other two. After rebuild, QOR commenced flight testing at Oshawa on 13th May 1971. It had 4,505 hours on the airframe at that stage. It was sold to Buffalo Airways Ltd., of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories and registered to them on 13th July 1971. It entered service with Buffalo Airways, based at Fort Smith, ranging far and wide throughout the NWTs.

QOR met with an accident on 14th November 1974. The Otter was on a flight from Cambridge Bay to Bay Chimo on the Ellice River, returning to Cambridge Bay. En route from Bay Chimo back to Cambridge Bay, the aircraft had two and half hours fuel on board. The weather deteriorated and freezing drizzle was encountered. Full power was required to stay airborne and the fuel reserves were rapidly consumed. Eighteen miles southwest of Cambridge Bay, at Trap Point, the Otter ran out of fuel and force landed on the ice. There were no injuries to the three on board, but QOR's left wing, propeller and aft fuselage were damaged. Further damage occurred in a wind storm, as the Otter lay on the ice.

It was originally intended to carry out temporary repairs at Cambridge Bay and then fly the Otter to Edmonton for permanent repairs, and a ferry permit was issued on 7th January 1975 for such a flight. However, the damage was so extensive that this plan was abandoned, the Otter dis-assembled and shipped to Ray Cox in Edmonton for rebuild. Quite an amount of paperwork was generated during September / November 1975 as the rebuild neared completion. Buffalo Airways sold the Otter to Willy Laserich / Altair Leasing of Yellowknife, who was registered as owner on 16th October 1975.

The next day, he sold the aircraft to Bannock Aerospace Ltd., of Toronto, who the same day sold it to a leasing syndicate, who leased it back to Altair Leasing, who in turn sub-leased it back to Buffalo Airways, to whom it was again registered on 27th November 1975. It resumed service with Buffalo Airways.

CF-QOR continued flying for Buffalo Airways until it was destroyed in an accident on 17th April 1977. It was on a flight that day from its base at Fort Smith to Salkeld Lake, Northwest Territories. The pilot, after intentionally planning to land as close to the end of the lake as possible, overshot the selected landing area. In an attempted go-around, the aircraft could not out-climb the rising terrain. A tailwind condition prevailed at the time and the Otter was five hundred pounds over gross weight. It collided with the trees, crashed and burned, seriously injuring the two on board.

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