DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 399

9419
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c/n 399

9419

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• 9419 Royal Canadian Air Force. Delivered 08-Nov-1960.

Initially assigned to 443 Squadron at RCAF Station Sea Island, Vancouver, BC

Incident: Montaque Harbour, BC. 21-Feb-1964, Aircraft suffered engine failure and had to put down on Montaque Harbour. It was towed by the rescue boat 'Skua' to Patricia Bay for repair.

Mar-1964. Joined 401 Squadron at CFB St. Hubert, near Montréal, QC.

Incident: St. Hubert. 16th May 1965. During a water take-off, the amphibious equipped aircraft was allowed to swing left into wind, leaving the main channel and entering relatively shallow water while still not airborne. Just before lift off, the port float struck an unseen obstacle and sustained damage. The take-off was continued and a wheel landing effected back at base at CFB St. Hubert.

Accident: Location unknown, ON. 07-May-1970. During a training detail the aircraft in what was an apparently normal take off just as the floats started to clear the water, the left wing started to rise and the right float dug into the water, bringing the opposite wing into contact with the water. The aircraft cartwheeled to the right, coming to rest inverted with the nose and cockpit submerged. Four on board evacuated without injury

June-1970. Aircraft taken to CFB Mountain View depot, ON., where it was “reduced to spares and produce”.

See below for recent activities!

Rebuild project

Otter 399 was delivered to the RCAF on 8 November 1960 with serial 9419. It was assigned to 443 Squadron at RCAF Station Sea Island, Vancouver on amphibious floats. It is mentioned in the unit history on 21 January 1962, on something of a false alarm. Smoke had been reported near Sheringham Point, and 9419 was sent to investigate, as were a USAF Albatross and helicopter from Seattle. It turned out to be smoke bombs which had been dropped by a Royal Canadian Navy Tracker aircraft. On 21 February 1964 9419 suffered engine failure and had to put down on Montague Harbour. It was towed by the rescue boat ‘Skua’ to Patricia Bay for repairs.

The following month, after more than three years service withy 443 Squadron, 9419 flew east across the country and joined 401 Squadron at St.Hubert, near Montréal. It was to remain with that unit for the remainder of its military career. It was involved in another minor incident on a cross-country training flight on 16 May 1965, at which stage it was still on amphibious floats. During a water take off, the Otter was allowed to swing left into wind. It left the main channel and entered relatively shallow water while still not airborne. Just before lift-off the port float struck an unseen obstacle and sustained damage. The take-off was continued and a wheel landing effected safely back at base at St.Hubert.                      

Between May and August 1967 and again in 1968 the Otter was temporarily deployed to Goose Bay, Labrador for rescue and general utility duties. It continued flying for 401 Squadron until it was severely damaged in a crash on 7 May 1970. Again, the mission was a cross-country training flight of the local area around St.Hubert, to familiarize the student with water landing areas. The first landing and take-off were normal. The aircraft was then flown to the second proposed landing area. The intended landing path was inspected at low altitude, followed by a landing into wind. The aircraft was then turned downwind and taxied back in preparation for a take-off, which was initiated with normal power and flap settings for the prevailing conditions. About the time the floats started to clear the water, the left wing started to rise. The right float dug into the water, bringing the right wing down into contact with the water. The aircraft cartwheeled to the right, coming to rest inverted with the nose and cockpit submerged. The crew of four rapidly evacuated the aircraft and there were no injuries.

The wrecked Otter was first taken back to St.Hubert and the following month was brought to the Mountain View storage depot, Ontario, where it was “reduced to spares and produce”, according to the official record, which turns out not to be quite correct.  For a time, the fuselage was used for rescue training at CFB Trenton, and was then returned to the Mountain View depot, located quite close to CFB Trenton, where it languished for years. It was seen there by a group of visiting aviation enthusiasts in September 2007. Shortly thereafter it was sold to Atlantic Aircraft Salvage and trucked to the company’s facility at Halifax, Nova Scotia.  This company had also acquired the wreck of Otter C-GOFF (65) which had crashed in December 2003, and so it owned two wrecked Otters, both of which were considered as “rebuild projects”.

After its crash, C-GOFF had been re-registered C-FLOK, but serial 399 never had a civilian registration, as it had always flown with the Canadian military, so the company went about getting a civilian registration for it, which was C-GTNN, registered to Atlantic Aircraft Salvage Ltd., Enfield, Nova Scotia on 15 May 2008.   In August 2011 both of these Otters were advertised for sale through brokers C&S Enterprises as “Two DHC-3 Otter projects – package price now CDN$185,000”. Serials were given as 65 and 399 and 399 was reported to have 5,000 hours on the airframe.  The advertisement read:  “399 was manufactured in 1960 and sold to the RCAF. The aircraft was involved in a roll over accident on floats in 1970. The aircraft was removed from service and stored at CFB Trenton until 2008. Condition of airframe is poor and requires 100% reskin, many formers and stringers need replacement due to its poor storage and handling for 38 years. Very little corrosion. Belly section in fair condition. Cockpit was removed and virtually destroyed. Rear fuselage section was cut off. We have purchased a replacement cockpit section and rear fuselage section along with side fuselage panel assemblies”.

These two wrecked Otters, 65 and 399, were destined to be traded together for the next few years.  They were first sold to Neil Carl Walsten of Kenora, Ontario and were trucked from Halifax to Reddit, Ontario where they arrived 20 May 2013. His company was Walsten Aircraft Parts & Leasing, but he eventually sold on both aircraft, to Vancouver Island Air of Campbell River, BC in February 2017.  This company had established an associated company called Aerotech Industries at Campbell River, for the sale of Otter parts and rebuilding of Otter aircraft, and both Otters continued their journey across the country to Campbell River, being registered to Vancouver Island Air as C-FLOK (65) and G-GTNN (399) on 29 August 2017.  However, it was not long before they were sold again, in December 2017, to Mike Schilling of Kenai, Alaska who has traded in Otters for many years.  As of summer 2018 both of these Otters remain as rebuild projects.

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.