DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 407

N3125S in original colours.
Photo: John Kimberley © September 1988 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N3125S a slight colour modification, and something missing...
Photo: John Kimberley © April 1989 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N3125S at the Kenmore dock, yet another colour change.
Photo: Neil Aird © 04 August 1990
N3125S in her Seattle Hospitality livery.
Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © 22 September 2005
N3125S in her metronatural livery.
Photo: Neil Aird © 07 June 2007

c/n 407

9424

N3125S

x

• 9424 Royal Canadian Air Force. Delivered 27-Dec-1960. Designated as CSR-123.

Initially allocated to No.6 Repair Depot as a spare and put into the storage depot at Dunnville, ON.

23-Nov-1961. Assigned to 418 Squadron, CFB Namao, Edmonton, AB.

11-Jan-1962. Re-assigned to 400 Squadron, CFB Downsview, ON.

Aug-1962. Attached to 116 Air Transport Unit (ATU) on United Nations duties from Biak, New Guinea.

08-May-1963. Returned to Canada where it was put into storage at the Canadian Pacific Airlines depot at Lincoln Park, Calgary, AB.

Feb-1964 Assigned to RCAF Station Namao, Edmonton, AB.

Jul-1964. Transferred to 401 Squadron at St. Hubert, Montréal, QC.

27-Sep-1965. Attached to 102 Communications Unit, Trenton, ON.

24-Aug-1966. To 4 Operational Training Unit (OTU), also at Trenton, ON.

Accident: Trenton, ON. 18th September 1967 Suffered a B' category incident. The Otter touched down heavily, causing considerable damage. See below.

22-Sep-1967. To 6 Repair Depot for repair.

28-April-1971. Assigned to 401 Squadron, St. Hubert, near Montréal, QC. Also used by 438 Squadron at the same location.

Accident: Location unknown. 26-Feb-1978 On a training detail, while attempting a STOL a hard landing with a bounce occurred causing damage. To 6 Repair Depot for repair.

15-May-1978 was issued to 438 Squadron at St. Hubert, near Montréal, QC.

30-Jan-1981. To Mountain View depot, ON., and put into storage and it was put up for disposal through the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation.

Total airframe time: 5,388 hrs.

• N3125S Newcal Aviation Inc., Little Ferry, NJ. Regd Jun-1982. Ferried from Mountain View to an airstrip at Decatur, TX., where remained in open storage for several years.

Airworthiness date: 10-May-1983.

• N3125S Kenmore Air Harbor Inc., Kenmore, WA. Regd Oct-1988.

• N3125S Leased to Ward Air, Juneau, AK. Summer of 1989.

• N3125S Returned to Kenmore Air Harbor Inc., Kenmore, Seattle WA. Late 1989.

Power plant: Converted to a Vazar turbine Otter. Date currently unknown.

Incident: Lake Union, Seattle, WA. 23-Jun-2000. Ground crew untied the aircraft as pilot was starting engine to leave the dock for take-off. A gust of wind from the starboard side caused the aircraft to move left. The propeller struck the starboard wing tip on Otter N900KA, which was tied to the pier and was in the process of baggage loading when incident occurred.

For sale:  Nov-2016 $1,600,000. On EDO  7490 straight floats. Total airframe time 19,988 hrs. New engine with nil hours.

Current

Otter 407 was delivered to the RCAF on 27th December 1960 with serial 9424. It was allocated to No.6 Repair Depot as a spare and put into storage at the Dunnville, Ontario depot. On 23rd November 1961 it was assigned to 418 Squadron, Namao where it served until 11th January 1962 when it was re-assigned to 400 Squadron at Downsview. After some months service there, it was selected for service with 116 Air Transport Unit (ATU) on United Nations duties in New Guinea and in August '62 was flown to Trenton where it was made ready, along with 9423 (405), which was also going to New Guinea. Both Otters were put on amphibious floats and painted all white with large UN titles. They were loaded on board RCAF Hercules, departing 30th August 1962 and flown to Biak, New Guinea where they were re-assembled and entered service with 116 ATU.

On 27th April 1963 the two Otters were again loaded into RCAF Hercules for the long trip home, their mission in New Guinea accomplished. Both were flown to Calgary, arriving 8th May 1963, where they were put into storage at the Canadian Pacific Airlines depot at Lincoln Park. In February 1964 9424 was assigned to RCAF Station Namao for the period March to July '64 and it was then transferred to 401 Squadron at St. Hubert, Montreal. On 27th September 1965 it joined 102 Communications Unit at Trenton, moving on to 4 Operational Training Unit (OTU), also at Trenton, on 24th August 1966. While serving with 4 OTU, 9424 was involved in a 'B' category incident on 18th September 1967 in the course of a training detail. After take-off, with climb flap selected, the pilot closed the throttle to simulate en engine failure from an altitude of 200 feet above the water. During the subsequent practice forced landing, he did not achieve the desired indicated airspeed of 65 knots. The aircraft was rotated at 60 knots for landing and although the pilot opened the throttle, he was unable to arrest the high sink rate. The Otter touched down heavily, causing considerable damage.

9424 was taken to 6 Repair Depot for repair on 22nd September 1967 and after a slow rebuild, when it had been restored to airworthy condition, was assigned on 28th April 1971 to 401 Squadron at St.Hubert, also used by 438 Squadron. While serving with 401 Squadron, another incident is recorded on 26th February 1978 again on a training detail. On completion of a successful clearhood mission, the instructor demonstrated to the student how to perform a STOL landing. A complete briefing was carried out on the downwind portion of the circuit. Speed was maintained at 60 knots on final to a point 200 feet above the ground over the threshold for a simulated obstacle clearance landing. At that time, the throttle was closed and the nose lowered, the speed decayed to 55 knots and power was applied while a roundout was attempted. The engine did not respond but a three point attitude was attained on impact with a high rate of descent. The aircraft bounced as the engine finally responded and a controlled smooth landing was achieved. The pilot attempted to turn off the active runway, but heard a noise of skis scraping the runway and fuel fumes were smelled. The tower was informed and the engine shut down and the aircraft evacuated.

Once again, 9424 was brought to 6 Repair Depot at Trenton for damage from the hard landing to be repaired and on completion of the work, on 15th May 1978 was issued to 438 Squadron at St. Hubert. It continued to fly for 438 Squadron until 30th January 1981 when it was flown to the Mountain View depot and put into storage. It was put up for disposal through the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation and was one of a number of Otters sold at auction in February 1982. It was advertised for sale with a total airframe time of 5,388 hours. It was one of seven Otters purchased by Newcal Aviation Inc of Little Ferry, New Jersey, to whom the Otter was registered N3125S in June 1982. These Otters were ferried from Mountain View to an airstrip at Decatur, Texas where they were put into open storage. It appears that the market for Otters was poor at the time, as these Otters were to spend several years in store at Decatur before being sold on.

In October 1988 N3125S was sold to Kenmore Air Harbor Inc of Kenmore, Washington, in the northern part of Seattle. For the summer of 1989 it was leased to Ward Air and operated from their base at Juneau, Alaska. It then re-joined the Kenmore Air fleet. It was subsequently converted to a Vazar turbine Otter and flies as part of Kenmore Air's large fleet of turbine Otters, on their scheduled services. During summer 2002, it sported a 'logo' colour scheme, carrying the University of Washington 'Huskies' paint scheme. It was still in service with Kenmore Air during summer 2004, having received the scenic windows conversion, and sporting a “Seattle Hospitality” logo colour scheme.

Additional information provided by Karl after completion of the DVD

Some additional historical information has become available, taken from “Success on the Step”, the excellent history of Kenmore Air. N3125S was the company’s first Otter and was purchased as Kenmore Air needed a larger aircraft, as passenger loads often exceeded what a Beaver could carry. The market for Otters was apparently soft at that time during the 1980s, when an Otter on floats could be had for $100,000 and on wheels for much less. A Kenmore Beaver at the time cost upwards of $300,000. Newcal Aviation had purchased seven surplus Otters from the Canadian military, which had been sitting in open storage at Decatur, Texas for some years. Early in 1988 Kenmore Air noticed an advertisement for the sale of these Otters and arranged to buy N3125S. It had 600 hours life left on its engine, so the company figured they could fly it for three years before the expense of an overhaul would arise. A Kenmore pilot was dispatched to Decatur, picked up the Otter, which was still in CAF colours and on wheels, and flew it to the Renton Airport in Seattle. Rather than incur the substantial cost of dismantling the Otter and bringing it by barge to Kenmore Air Harbor, it was decided to fly the Otter to Kenmore and land it in a freight yard beside the Air Harbor, but which was only 700 feet long. This was done on 2 June 1988, the book providing a fine description of the landing, achieved on the third attempt, the Otter grinding to a halt after heavy breaking in a cloud of dust just feet from the boundary fence. According to the manufacturer, the Otter’s minimum landing distance is 810 feet, but N3125S had achieved its dramatic arrival in less than 700 feet. The Otter was then lifted by crane across a water channel into the Kenmore Air Harbor yard and put on Bristol 71710 floats. It was registered to Kenmore Air Harbor Inc in October 1988 and entered service. It apparently did not have sufficient power to fly off Lake Union and so was only used flying services from the larger Lake Washington. For the summer of 1989 and again in 1990, N3125S went on lease to Ward Air in Alaska, flying out of Juneau. It flew again for Kenmore Air for the summer of 1991, but over the winter of 1991/92 was converted to a Vazar turbine with the PT-6 engine. It has been in service with Kenmore Air ever since. It has sported a series of “logo” colour schemes. During the summer of 2002 it had the University of Washington “Huskies” paint scheme. During summer 2004, having received the scenic windows conversion, it sported a “Seattle Hospitality” scheme and for summer 2006 & 2007 had a “metronatural.com” logo scheme, this being Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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