DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 419

N472PM at Kenmore Air Harbor, Washington.
Photo: Karl E. Hayes © April 1993
N727KT at Talkeetna - PATK, Alaska.
Photo: Neil Aird © 10 September 2004
N727KT still operating from Talkeetna - PATK, Alaska.
Photos: Todd Boettcher © 16 & 20 July 2017

c/n 419

UB-659 • 4659 • N472PM

N727KT

x

• UB659 Union of Burma Air Force. Delivered 28-Nov-1961.

• • 4659 Re serialled after change of country name to Myanmar. Date unknown. Operated with Transport Squadron at Mingaladon AFB.

• Un-regd Trevor Ross, Vancouver, BC. Purchased arriving early Dec-1969.

Note Stored in Aeroflite Industries hangar at the Vancouver International Airport and offered for sale.

• Un-regd Sold to Pro Mech Air Inc., Ketchikan, AK.

• N472PM Kenmore Air Harbor Inc., Kenmore, Seattle, WA Regd Mar-1991.

• N472PM Pro Mech Air Inc., Ketchikan, AK

• N472PM Wipaire Inc., Inver Grove, MN. Regd 29-Sep-1994.

• N472PM Taquan Air Service Inc., Ketchikan, AK. Regd Mar-1995. Canx Dec-1999.

Airworthiness date. 27-Apr-1995.

Power plant Converted to Vazar turbine by Island Flight Support Ltd., Victoria, BC.

Total time : 10,184 hours at Dec-1999.

• N472PM American Aeromotive & Aero Energy Technologies Inc., Dover, DE.

• N472PM Rustair Inc., Anchorage, AK. Regd 31-Jul-2002.

• N727KT Rustair Inc., Anchorage, AK. Regd 01-Aug-2002. Operated by K2 Aviation, Talkeetna Airport, AK.

Current

Otter 419 was delivered to the Union of Burma Air Force on 28th November 1961 with serial UB659. The Air Force took delivery of nine Otters, three in December 1958 and a further batch of six in 1960 / 1961. All were packed into crates and shipped to Burma, where they were re-assembled and entered service. Burma was subsequently re-named Myanmar. Its Air Force aircraft were re-serialled, adopting Burmese numerals, equivalent of the old serial with a '4' prefix and deleting the UB. Thus UB659 became 4659, depicted on the side of the aircraft in Burmese numerals. The Burmese Otters were withdrawn from service in 1985 and stored.

In 1989 six of the Burmese Otters were purchased by Mr Trevor Ross of Vancouver, British Columbia. Five were located at Mingaladon Air Base and one at Hmawbi Air Base. All six were shipped to Vancouver, where they were stored in the Aeroflite Industries hangar at the International Airport and offered for sale. They had all arrived in Vancouver by early December 1989. The buyer of Otter 419 was Pro Mech Air Inc., of Ketchikan, Alaska. The Otter was first registered N472PM in March 1991 to Kenmore Air Harbor Inc., of Kenmore, Seattle who prepared the Otter for its delivery, and it was then registered to Pro Mech Air in May 1991 and entered service with them, based at Ketchikan. The Otter flew for Pro Mech Air for more than three years, until sold to Wipaire Inc., of Inver Grove, Minnesota. It left Ketchikan on delivery to its new owner Wipaire Inc., one of the world's leading manufacturers of aircraft floats, used the Otter to test and certify its new Wipline 800 floats, both straight and amphibious. The testing was done at their facilities in Minnesota. Once the FAA had issued the STC on the new floats, the Otter was sold. The purchaser was Taquan Air Service Inc., of Ketchikan, to whom the Otter was sold in March 1995, on Wipline 8000 amphibious floats. In part payment for the Otter, Taquan traded into Wipline the wreck of their Cessna Caravan on straight Wip 8000 floats, which had crashed the previous January at Craig, Alaska when it hit a submerged log on landing. Otter N472PM returned to its previous base at Ketchikan, arriving on 1st May 1995 on its ferry flight from Minnesota. It carried two  PT6A-135 turbine engines as cargo, one of which was to be used to convert Otter 382 to a Vazar  turbine. N472PM then entered service with Taquan Air on their scheduled services and charter flights.

One incident was recorded some months later, on 13th July 1995. The pilot had just completed a climb out from Ketchikan and was adjusting the trim for level flight when the aircraft began vibrating. He landed immediately. Examination showed that a portion of the elevator servo tab had separated. Examination of the remaining section of the servo tab showed that there were cracks in the trailing edge. After some further service with Taquan, it was arranged for the Otter to be converted as a Vazar turbine. The work was performed by Island Flight Support Ltd., at Victoria, BC., and N472PM then continued flying as a turbine for Taquan Air until the company ceased operations as a result of financial difficulties in December 1999. N472PM was one of a number of aircraft put up for sale at auction by the receiver of Taquan Air in May 2000. It was on EDO 71710 floats, which had replaced the Wipline 8000s. It was advertised as having a total time of 10,184 hours on the airframe, with its PT-6A engine having a total time of 7,081 hours and being in need of overhaul. It did not sell at the auction and was reported in August 2000 as “sitting forlornly on the lower ramp at Ketchikan Airport, minus propeller and with a timed-out engine”.

The receiver arranged for the Otter to be ferried to Anchorage, Alaska where a new engine was installed. It was advertised again for sale in March 2001 with a zero-timed engine, asking price US$840,000 and 'ready to work'. On 9th May 2001 it was registered to American Aeromotive & Aero Energy Technologies Inc., of Dover, Delaware who had supplied the engine, but remained parked at Anchorage and for sale by the receiver of Taquan Air. It was eventually sold to Anchorage-based Rustair Inc., to whom it was registered on 31st July 2002, the registration being changed the following day from N472PM to N727KT. It joined K2 Aviation, which is a division of Rustair Inc., but based at the Talkeetna Airport. As its web-site proclaims: “K2 Aviation is a respected and familiar name in both the climbing community and tourism industry, having provided glacier flying service since 1979”. The Otter joined some Cessna 185s and Beavers and is used to fly tourists and climbers to glaciers   in the Alaska Mountain Range, as well as to fly sight-seers around Mount McKinley, flying up to 20,000 feet - the Otter is oxygen-equipped. In March 2003, Otter N929KT (461) also joined the K2 Aviation fleet, based at Talkeetna.

Rustair Inc., also using the trading name Rusts Flying Service, is a long established Anchorage-based operator and since June 1989 has flown Otter N2899J (425) on general charter work, on floats from its base at Lake Hood. In 1996 the Rust family purchased K2 Aviation, a flight-seeing and mountain climber support company in Talkeetna, one hundred miles or so north of Anchorage. It specialised in flight-seeing tours of Mount McKinley and the Alaska Range and in glacier landings, all of which were becoming increasingly popular. It also flew climbers to the Kahiltna Base Camp to begin the climb of Mount McKinley. K2 Aviation had a fleet of Cessna 185s and Beavers, which continued in use with the company, now a subsidiary of Rustair. From 1996 onwards Rustair had the two businesses, Rusts Flying Service flying general charters (including supporting many hunters and fishing lodges) from the base at Lake Hood, Anchorage and K2 Aviation, flying the tourists and mountaineers from the base at Talkeetna.

Having acquired turbine Otter N727KT in July 2002, it was painted into Rusts red and white colour scheme, with K2 on the tail and in August 2002 it became based at Talkeetna, flying for K2 Aviation, the first Otter to do so. It flew on wheel-skis, to enable it to land on the glaciers. As its website proclaimed: “K2 Aviation is a respected and familiar name in both the climbing community and tourism industry, having provided glacier flying service since 1979”. Over the years, Talkeetna (which is in the Denali National Park) became an increasingly popular destination for tourists and mountaineers during the summer months, and to cater for this business, Rustair went on to acquire several more turbine Otters, N929KT (461) in March 2003, N424KT (338) in June 2008, N320KT (73) in July 2012 and N636KT (451) in August 2016, so that for summer 2017 K2 Aviation were operating five turbine Otters out of Talkeetna. Just how popular these mountaineering activities have become is shown by the fact that Rusts competition, Talkeetna Air Taxi, were that summer also flying five turbine Otters out of Talkeetna, a major centre of Otter activity with ten turbines in action every summer’s day.  That remains the position for summer 2018.

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.