DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 376

C-GSUV getting attention at St. Andrews - CYAV, Manitoba.
Photo: John Kimberley © April 1993 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GSUV at Whitehorse, Yukon.
Photo: André Munniks © 2001
C-GSUV at Kelowna - CYLW, British Columbia.
Photos: John W. Olafson © 25 March 2004

c/n 376

59-2226 • N6281 • N445FD

C-GSUV

x

• 59-2226 United States Army. Delivered 21-Jun-1960. Designated as U-1A.

Assigned to Fort Leavenworth, KS., as an operational support aircraft.

Assigned to the Army Security Agency, Fort Huachuca, AZ.

27-Apr-1972.Transferred to the Department of the Army, Office of Civil Defense, City of Chicago Civil Defense Corps, Meigs Field, Chicago, IL.

May-1972. Deleted from the Army inventory.

• N6281 Chicago Fire Department Air Sea Rescue Service, Meigs Field, Chicago, IL. Regd 01-Oct-1972.

• N445FD Chicago Fire Department Air Sea Rescue Service, Meigs Field, Chicago, IL. Regd 15-Aug-1973.

• N445FD E.C. Iverson, Baldwin, WI. Regd 16-Feb-1984.

• C-GSUV Silver Pine Air Services Ltd., Silver Falls, MB after overhaul. Regd Mar-1985. Canx 12-may-1985.

• C-GSUV Leased to Latham Island Airways Ltd, Yellowknife, NT. Regd Summer 1986. Canx 07-Oct-1986.

• C-GSUV Silver Pine Air Services Ltd., Silver Falls, MB. Canx 04-May-1987.

Power plant: Converted with a Polish PZL 1,000 horse power engine.

• C-GSUV Eagle Aviation Ltd, Regd May-1987. (Re-named from Silver Pine). Canx 15-Aug-1987.

• C-GSUV Leased to Black Sheep Aviation & Cattle Company Ltd., Whitehorse, YT. Regd 19-April-1995. Canx 08-Apr-2002. Regd 4-Jun-2002. Canx 30-Jul-2002.

Incident: Wind River, YT. Aug-1999. Following a precautionary landing because of deteriorating weather the pilot and passengers settled down for the night. Next day on an attempted take-off it hit rocks and damaged floats. All rescued later in the day by helicopter. Damage repaired on site.

• C-GSUV 3097448 Manitoba Ltd., (Adventure Air), Pine Falls, MB. Regd 21-Oct-2002.

• C-GSUV Leased to Jackson Air Services, Flin Flon, MB. Based Wollaston Lake, SK.

• C-GSUV 3097448 Manitoba Ltd., (Adventure Air), Pine Falls, MB. Regd 05-Apr-2005.

• C-GSUV Leased out to unknown operator.

• C-GSUV 3097448 Manitoba Ltd., (Adventure Air, Pine Falls, MB. 05-Dec-2007.

Power plant. Converted to Walter turbine power by AOG Air Support at Kelowna, BC.

Accident. Lac du Bonnet, 2008. 16-May-2008. The float-equipped DHC-3 Otter had just landed on the water at the Lac du Bonnet seaplane base, CJS9, when a gust of wind lifted the right wing. The left wing contacted the water and the aircraft overturned. The pilot and passenger were not injured. They evacuated the aircraft, and were picked up by a nearby boat.

• C-GSUV West Caribou Air Service Inc., Thunder Bay, ON. Regd 07-May-2010, 05-Aug-2011, & 27-Jan-2012. Canx 13-May-2013.

• C-GSUV 3097448 Manitoba Ltd., (Adventure Air), Pine Falls, MB. Regd 21-May-2013.

Current

Otter 376 was delivered to the United States Army on 21st June 1960 with serial 59-2226 (tail number 92226). It was assigned to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas as an operational support aircraft, and spent nearly all of its Army career at Fort Leavenworth. It was deleted from the Army inventory in May 1972 but sometime before that it had moved from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Huachuca, Arizona where it had been assigned to the Army Security Agency. The Otter was at Fort Huachuca on 27th April 1972 when it was transferred to the Department of the Army, Office of Civil Defense, City of Chicago Civil Defense Corps and flew from Fort Huachuca, Arizona to its new base at Meigs Field, Chicago.

It was registered to its new owners on 1st October 1972 as N6281, the registration being changed to N445FD on 15th August 1973. The Otter had 5,049 hours on the airframe when it arrived at Meigs Field. It was allocated to the Chicago Fire Department Air Sea Rescue Service, although it appears that it was not much used. It was eventually sold by Bill of Sale dated 16th February 1984 to Mr E.C. Iverson of Baldwin, Wisconsin, a sum of $61,000 having been borrowed from a credit union to assist in its purchase. A few months later, on 5th July 1984, it was sold on to Silver Pine Air Services Ltd., of Silver Falls, Manitoba and registered to its new owners after overhaul in March 1985 as C-GSUV. It went on lease to Latham Island Airways Ltd, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories during the summer of 1986, before reverting to Silver Pine Air Services, who converted the Otter with a Polish PZL 1,000 horse power engine. In 1987, Silver Pine Air Services was re-named Eagle Aviation Ltd., to whom C- GSUV was registered in May 1987.

Having been operated by Eagle Aviation for some years, it went on lease in April 1995 to Black Sheep Aviation & Cattle Company Ltd., based at Whitehorse in the Yukon. It was involved in an incident in August 1999. As the report summarised: “The float-equipped Otter was following the Wind River in a mountainous area of central Yukon in marginal VFR conditions. As the flight progressed, the weather deteriorated to a 200 foot ceiling with very poor visibility in smoke. The pilot considered turning back, however the weather had also deteriorated behind the flight. He performed a precautionary landing on the Wind River and was subsequently unable to make contact with anyone on HF or VHF radio. When the aircraft became overdue at approximately 18:40 PDT on 08th August, an air search was initiated. The pilot and five passengers secured the aircraft and overnighted on the river. On the following morning of 09th August, as the pilot was taxying for departure on the fast flowing river, the Otter struck rocks and became grounded. A company search aircraft found the party at about 16:00 PDT and arrangements were made to evacuate the occupants by helicopter to Mayo”. The damage to the floats was repaired and SUV then continued on its way.

On 21st October 2002, the lease to Black Sheep Aviation & Cattle Company having come to an end, C-GSUV was registered to 3097448 Manitoba Ltd (Adventure Air), also of Silver Falls, Manitoba, an associated company of Eagle Aviation Ltd. Eagle Aviation arranged for its four Otters (IOF, KYG, SUV and VQD) to be converted to Walter turbines, and over the winter of 2003 / 2004 C- GSUV was converted to a Walter turbine at AOG Air Support, Kelowna, BC, the work being completed by the end of March 2004. SUV then went on lease for summer 2004 to Jackson Air Services of Flin Flon, Manitoba but based out of Wollaston Lake, Saskatchewan. By mid October 2004 it had returned to Silver Falls for the winter.

For many years a company called Whiteshell Air Service, operating Otters C-GGON (225) and C-GGOR (97), had been based at Lac Du Bonnet, Manitoba but this company closed down in October 2004 due to its owner’s advancing years. Adventure Air bought the company and moved its base from Silver Falls to Lac Du Bonnet. Otters GON and GOR were sold, but henceforth Adventure Air’s own Otters would fly from the Lac Du Bonnet base. As well as leasing out its Otters, Adventure Air flew in support of its own fishing operation, Jackson’s Lodge and Outposts, with several lodges located throughout north-eastern Manitoba, within three of Manitoba’s beautiful Provincial Parks – Atikaki, Nopiming and Whiteshell.

Otter SUV was engaged on this business for summer 2005. During winter 2005 / 2006 it went on lease to Big River Air, based at Temiscamie River, Québec. By May 2006 it was back at Lac Du bonnet, again flying for Adventure Air and painted in the company’s colours. It supported the Jacksons Fishing Lodge business during summer 2006 and again for summer 2007. It again started this business in May 2008, until an accident on 16 May 2008. SUV was landing near the dock on the Winnipeg River just north-east of Lac Du Bonnet, returning from a northern fishing camp with two souls on board. The pilot said he was landing when a wind gust “lifted the wing and flipped us”. The Otter rolled onto its side and the two occupants climbed onto one of the floats and waited 15 minutes until a boat came and picked them up. “I barely got my feet wet” said the pilot. Floating upside down, the Otter drifted to the shoreline and emergency crews and Adventure Air staff tied ropes to it from the shore to secure it. It was lifted out of the water by a crane.

The damaged Otter was trucked to Silver Falls where it was repaired by Blue Water Aviation and it was then leased by Adventure Air to West Caribou Air Service Inc of Ontario, joining Otter C-GKYG (261) which West Caribou Air Service had already leased from Adventure Air. Both Otters were based at Webequie in northern Ontario to service a contract held by West Caribou Air Service. Webequie, 540 kilometres by air from Thunder Bay, is an important First Nations community, as it is a jumping-off point for northern exploration camps. At that time six major exploration camps were located in Ontario’s so-called “Ring of Fire” in this region. Local entrepreneurs formed a logistics company called Webequie Logistics to support exploration activity in the region, which contracted West Caribou Air Service to provide air transportation and for this purpose, West Caribou took Otters SUV and KYG on lease from Adventure Air.

Otter SUV, in the course of this contract, recorded an incident on 4 March 2010. The Otter, on wheel-skis, was landing at Webequie. Immediately after touch down the Otter nosed over, striking the propeller on the runway and damaging the engine. The nose over was caused by frozen brakes. The damage was repaired. On 5 July 2010 C-GSUV was registered to West Caribou Air Service, still on lease from Adventure Air. West Caribou Air Service continued as the operator of both these Otters, SUV and KYG, until the company was declared bankrupt towards the end of 2012. The contract for the work at Webequie was taken over by Adventure Air. On 21 May 2013 Otter SUV was registered back into the name of Adventure Air and the Otter returned to its base at Lac Du Bonnet, to fly again for Adventure Air in the years that followed.

On 5 November 2017 SUV was on a flight from Nanook, Manitoba to Churchill with a pilot and six passengers. On landing on runway 25 at Churchill it lost its tail gear and became disabled on the runway, which was closed until the Otter was towed clear. A Keewatin Air Beech 200 KingAir on a medevac flight inbound from Winnipeg had to land on runway 33. The lower fuselage skin on the Otter was repaired and the tail wheel assembly replaced.  SUV continued to operate out of Churchill during November 2017.

As at summer 2018 Otter SUV continued to fly for Adventure 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.