DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 382

59-2229 serving in the U. S. Army.
Photo: Unknown photographer © Date unknown - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N382BH being worked on.
Photo: Karl E. Hayes © September 1994
N382BH tied up for the moment.
Photo: Denis Norman © July 2000 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FHAS still in early colours, at Vancouver.
Photo: Warwick Bigsworth © 03 June 2013
C-FHAS alighting at Vancouver South on the Fraser.
Photo: Gary Vincent © 07 August 2015
C-FHAS f/n 312, leaving Victoria for Vancouver.
Photo: Lenn Bayliss © 10 August 2017

c/n 382

59-2229 • N382BH

C-FHAS

x

• 59-2229 United States Army. Delivered 14-Jul-1960. Designated U-1A.

Initial allocation unknown at Fort Benning, GA.

Jan-1964 Became a support aircraft for the Army's Golden Knights Parachute Team, Fort Bragg, NC.

Total time: 6765 hours at Nov-1980.

Incident  En route to Fort Rucker May-1981. Into retirement, the aircraft suffered engine problems. The engine ran rough and backfired and the pilot landed at Bush Field, Augusta, GA., where it remained for some months

Date unknown. Later repaired and continued to Ft. Rucker where it was parked in storage at Guthrie AAF., although it later joined the aircraft parked at the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker.

• N382BH Arlene Harnden, Reno, NV. Regd Jan-1991.

• N382BH Connor C. Thomas, Eagle River, AK. dba 40 Mile Air, Tok, AK. Regd Feb-1991.

Airworthiness date: 09-May-1991.

• N382BH Taquan Air Service Inc., Ketchikan, AK. Regd 28-May-1981. Dec-1999 Company closed down.

Power plant: During May 1995 it was converted to a Vazar turbine Otter at Ketchikan.

• N382BH Ketchum Air Service, Anchorage, AK. Jan-2000. Poss lease whilst Taquan’s liquidation was undertaken. Canx 27-Dec-2002.

• N382BH Hill Aircraft Service, Prince George, BC, Nov-2001.

Total time: 16,036 hours.

C-FHAS Kluane Aviation Corporation, Prince George, BC. Regd 07-Jan-2003. Canx 04-Apr-2005.

C-FHAS North Pacific Seaplanes Ltd., Prince Rupert, BC. Based Prince George, BC. Regd 04-Apr-2005. Canx 28-Sep-2010.

C-FHAS Harbour Air Ltd., Richmond, BC. Regd 28-Sep-2010.

Current

Otter 382 was delivered to the United States Army on 14th July 1960 with serial 59-2229 (tail number 92229). Its initial unit allocation is unknown, but it was delivered from Downsview to Fort Benning, Georgia. In January 1964 it joined the Army's Golden Knights Parachute Team, Fort Bragg, North Carolina as a support aircraft, and was to remain with the Team for the rest of its career with the Army. It flew alongside Otter 76135 (283). These two Otters were based at Simmons AAF., Fort Bragg together with the Golden Knights Caribou and other aircraft. They were used exclusively by the Competition Team, which trained each day at a small airfield near Raeford, North Carolina.

Occasionally the Otters were used as jump platforms at air shows when a helicopter or the Caribou was not available, and the air show was less than an hour's flight from Fort Bragg. One incident was recorded on 21st January 1977 in South Carolina. A generator light came on during cruise flight, followed by smoke from the instrument panel. A precautionary landing was made at a civil airfield and the generator replaced. By November 1980, 92229 had 6,765 hours on the airframe.

On 12th May 1981, an era came to an end when the two Otters took off from Fort Bragg for the last time and set off in formation, headed for retirement in Fort Rucker, Alabama. En route however 92229 suffered engine problems. The R-1340 ran rough and backfired and both Otters landed at Bush Field, Augusta, Georgia. When it became apparent that 92229 would need major engine work, 76135 flew on to Fort Rucker. 92229 was to remain at Bush Field for some months before it was repaired and completed its journey to Fort Rucker, where both Otters were parked in storage at Guthrie AAF., although they later joined the aircraft parked at the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker.

After nearly ten years in storage, the Otter was sold and was registered N382BH to Arlene Harnden of Reno, Nevada in January 1991, and then to Connor C.Thomas of Eagle River, Alaska the following month. The Otter had actually been purchased by 40 Mile Air of Tok, Alaska, with whom Mr Thomas was associated. The Otter was ferried all the way from Fort Rucker, Alabama to Victoria on Vancouver Island, the ferry flight undertaken with some difficulty as the brakes rarely worked. 40 Mile Air had contracted with Victoria Air Maintenance to refurbish the Otter and convert it to civilian configuration. A new R-1340 engine, acquired from a company called 'Firewall Forward' was installed in the Otter at Victoria and the Otter was then flown from Victoria to Renton Airport, Seattle for inspection by the FAA.  40 Mile Air had acquired the Otter to service a contract they had bid on, but when that deal fell through they had no need of the Otter, which they sold to Taquan Air Service Inc., of Ketchikan, Alaska. Victoria Air Maintenance completed the refurbishment of the aircraft for Taquan Air Service, and as soon as the Certificate of Airworthiness had issued, N382BH was delivered to Ketchikan on a set of floats supplied by Kenmore Air in Seattle.

N382BH joined Taquan's fleet as their first Otter, providing scheduled and charter services from the company's base at Ketchikan. During May 1995 it was converted to a Vazar turbine Otter at Ketchikan. It was the first field conversion to a turbine carried out in Alaska. Taquan Air Service continued to expand and acquire more Otters, until it became the major Ketchikan-based carrier. Sadly however it encountered difficulties and in December 1999 was closed down. N382BH was flown to Anchorage, where it was used for a short time by Ketchum Air Service, before it was parked. It was eventually sold through the courts by the liquidator of Taquan Air Service and purchased by Hill Aircraft Service of Prince George, BC, in November 2001.

The Otter was dismantled and trucked from Anchorage to Prince George where it was completely refurbished and repainted, and emerged from the hangar in pristine condition. It was advertised for sale in April 2002 by Hill Aircraft Service, on EDO 7170 floats, with total airframe time of 16,036 hours and 2,852 hours on the engine. It was a “refurbished aircraft ready to work”. On 7th January 2003 the Otter was registered C-FHAS to Kluane Aviation Corporation, Prince George, BC but remained advertised as “for sale by owner”. It was still advertised for sale during 2004.

This Otter was subsequently operated by Northern Pacific Seaplanes, regd 04-Apr-2005, an associated company of Harbour Air, Vancouver and with fleet number 312. It was based at Prince Rupert, BC. A minor incident was recorded in March 2007. The float-equipped Otter landed on the water at Masset on the Queen Charlotte Islands after a flight from Eden Lake. The pilot turned into the channel to taxi to the seaplane base. The wind was from the south east at 30 knots and gusty. When partially turned crosswind, using power, the tail suddenly lifted and the left wing and propeller struck the water. The Otter righted itself and the engine remained running. The aircraft was taken in tow by a fishing vessel and towed to the seaplane dock. The pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The aircraft sustained substantial engine damage. Following repairs it was returned to service.

For six and a half years, C-FHAS was based at Prince Rupert, flying the Harbour Air schedules and charters and during this period a number of incidents were recorded on CADORS:

20 September 2005.  HAS was inside the Mandatory Frequency Area at Prince Rupert before making contact.

The Otter returned to Vancouver for maintenance over the winter of 2005 / 2006 and was back based at Prince Rupert by late April 2006.

12 May 2006.   HAS issued Advisories for landing at Digby Island, Prince Rupert at 1625Z. However, the pilot failed to report down, only making his next contact when taxying for departure at 1642Z.

31 July 2006.    HAS did not report down at Digby Island as required.

14 September 2006.  No call from HAS as required on the Mandatory Frequency. First contact was overhead at Seal Cove, joining downwind for landing.

22 September 2006.  HAS experienced a transmitter failure after receiving a departure advisory from FSS at Seal Cove. Position updates were relayed through a company aircraft.

25 January 2007.  HAS departed Seal Cove without contacting the FSS for an advisory

7 March 2007.   HAS landed on the water at Masset on the Queen Charlotte Islands after a flight from Eden Lake. The pilot turned into the channel to taxi to the seaplane base. The wind was from the south-east at 30 knots and gusty. When partially turned crosswind using power, the tail suddenly lifted and the left wing and propeller struck the water. The Otter righted itself and the engine remained running. The Otter was taken in tow by a fishing vessel and towed to the seaplane dock. An inspection showed engine damage. The engine and propeller were replaced at Masset on 16 March 2007 and HAS resumed service.

6 July 2009.  HAS departed Seal Cove on a VFR flight to Port Simpson without contacting Prince Rupert FSS. Harbour Air Otter C-GVNL was inbound to Seal Cove at the time from the north-west. HAS made contact after becoming airborne.

4 July 2010.   HAS on a VFR flight from Prince Rupert landing at the Sandspit Airport on amphibious floats. The pilot advised he could not determine if the gear was down and locked. The Airport Manager was called by the Terrace FSS and asked to come airside and observe the Otter. The Airport Manager and duty staff observed the Otter on several passed over the runway and it appeared all four gear were down and symmetrical in their appearance. The local fire department was on standby. The Otter landed safely and taxied to the ramp.

19 July 2010.  The pilot of the Otter on a VFR flight to Prince Rupert reported a brake malfunction. The pilot advised he had to use excessive power to exit the runway. He powered the aircraft off the strip, resulting in tire failure. The wheel assembly and brake unit was changed and the Otter returned to service.

In September 2010 Harbour Air withdrew the Single Otter from service at Prince Rupert. Henceforth a DHC-6 Twin Otter would operate the scheduled services between Prince Rupert and the Queen Charlotte Islands and Beavers would operate all other services. On 28 September 2010 Otter C-FHAS was registered to Harbour Air Ltd., and moved base to Vancouver, to fly the company’s scheduled services alongside the other turbine Otters in its large fleet. HAS remained in full North Pacific Seaplanes colour scheme but with Harbour Air titles. As it was on amphibious floats, HAS was used on the Harbour Air schedules between Victoria Harbour and the airport at Langley, BC for which an amphibian was required. An incident occurred on 3 November 2010, as reported on CADORS.  Otter HAS was en route Victoria Harbour to Langley. After being cleared to land at Langley, the pilot noticed that he only had two green lights and conducted an overshoot and re-cycled the gear. Receiving four green lights he then proceeded to land without incident.

HAS continued on the services to Langley until they were discontinued on 20 May 2011. The route had not proved financially viable. The Otter then returned to Prince Rupert to operate from there again for a time. It was noted there in early July 2011 with Harbour Air titles removed, about to re-enter service with North Pacific Seaplanes, still on amphibious floats. Another incident was reported for 29 August 2011. The Otter was en route from the Prince Rupert Airport to the Seal Cove seaplane base, taking off from runway 13 at Prince Rupert. N23SB was a Challenger CL-600 executive jet on an IFR flight from Terrace to the Prince Rupert Airport and was five miles from the airport when the Otter commenced its take-off. The Challenger was provided with an advisory on the departing traffic. Forty five seconds after the “rolling” call, the Otter rejected the take off and exited immediately onto Taxiway 13. N23SB was advised and had the Otter visual and commenced a right hand 360 degree turn to allow the Otter exit the runway, which it did at 2029Z.  N23SB landed at 20:31Z and the Otter departed, successfully this time, at 20:34Z.

The Otter remained at Prince Rupert for a few more weeks before returning to Vancouver, where it was overhauled at the Harbour Air facility. Its period of service at Prince Rupert was over, and henceforth it would fly the Harbour Air schedules from Vancouver Harbour.  At Vancouver Harbour a new Flight Centre Terminal had been constructed at the Convention Centre, a few hundred yards from Harbour Air’s seaplane base at Coal Harbour. This new terminal had been ready since May 2011 but efforts to have Harbour Air move to the new facility were being resisted on grounds of cost, suitability and safety. Harbour Air was concerned about the vulnerability of the new aircraft docks to rough water.

A test of the new facility was arranged, involving Otter C-FHAS. The Otter was loaded with barrels of water, to bring its weight up to its 9,000 pound departure weight limit. It was docked at the new facility for a few days, to test the new facility. On Thursday 3 November 2011 ropes holding the Otter in position snapped. It was secured again to the dock. Then at 03:00 hours on the morning of Saturday 5 November 2011, staff at the Convention Centre noticed the Otter beginning to sink and by 04:30 that morning the entire tail section and rear fuselage were submerged in the water, and the nose of the aircraft was pointing upwards at a severe angle. Water had entered the Otter’s right float. By 08:30 a large crane on a barge had been brought in and lifted the Otter out of the water, allowing the water to be pumped out of the floats. Press reports of this incident referred to the Otter as a “$1.6 million dollar seaplane”.  HAS was subsequently taken to the Harbour Air facility at the Vancouver Airport for a thorough inspection. Fortunately only the rear part of the float had been affected – the engine and cockpit had escaped. It was soon back in service, still in the blue and white colour scheme it had carried with North Pacific Seaplanes. On 6 October 2012 it was mentioned in a CADORS report. After having departed the Vancouver Harbour ATC zone, a Harbour Air Beaver was authorized to conduct an orbit around Passage Island. This manoeuvre caused it to enter Class C airspace of Vancouver tower. The Beaver came within half a mile of Otter HAS before traffic information was exchanged and the Otter had to take evasive action.

In March 2013 Inland Air of Prince Rupert bought North Pacific Seaplanes and merged the operation into that of Inland Air, so the name of North Pacific Seaplanes that Otter HAS had carried for some years while flying from Prince Rupert disappeared into history.  HAS continued in service with Harbour Air from its Vancouver base and a few more incidents were recorded on CADORS in the years that followed:  

12 August 2013.   A Jazz Aviation DHC-8-300 on flight JZA8066 from Victoria was inbound to the Vancouver International Airport level at 3,000 feet. It received a TCAS radar advisory for Otter HAS which was VFR southbound from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria Harbour level at 2,500 feet. The Dash 8 reported visual with the Otter prior to receiving the radar advisory.

Up to this point the Otter had flown in the blue and white colour scheme it had worn with North Pacific Seaplanes but over the winter of 2014 / 2015 it was re-painted into the new Harbour Air white/blue/yellow colour scheme.

2 October 2016.   The Otter was on approach to the Vancouver Harbour water aerodrome. The pilot noted a drone overhead “The Ball”, the buoy which marks the south-west corner of the floatplane landing area. The Otter issued a caution concerning the drone and landed safely.

As of summer 2018 Otter C-FHAS continued in service with Harbour Air, part of its large fleet of turbine Otters.

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.