DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 422

C-GLCP at the Tyee Spit, Campbell River, British Columbia.
Photo: B. MacN © 06 October 1980 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GLCP floats coming off, and wheels going on, at Vancouver - CYVR.
Photos: John Kimberley © January 1981 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GLCP of AirBC, at Vancouver South Seaplane base, with little sibling.
Photo: Unknown photographer © September 1981 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GLCP at Vancouver - CYVR.
Photo: Unknown photographer © Date unknown - Ruben Husberg Collection
C-GLCP without titles, at Vancouver - CYVR
Photo: John Kimberley © September 1984 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GLCP with COVAL AIR titles.
Photo: Unknown photographer © c.1984 - Ruben Husberg Collection
C-GLCP on the Tyee Spit, at Campbell River.
Photo: John Kimberley © July 1986 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
Photo: Unknown photographer © 11 September 1995 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GLCP with MIDCOAST titles.
Photo: Karl E. Hayes © September 1999
C-GLCP with NORTHERN DENÉ AIRWAYS.
Photo: Unknown photographer © c. May 2002 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GLCP with HARBOUR AIR special BC150YEARS scheme.
Photo: John W. Olafson © 12 June 2008
C-GLCP with another HARBOUR AIR special scheme.
Photo: John W. Olafson © 13 May 2010
C-GLCP in normal HARBOUR AIR livery.
Photo: John W. Olafson © 14 September 2014
C-GLCP f/n 311 in latest livery.
Photo: Lenn Bayliss © 13 August 2017
C-GLCP a peek inside.
Photo: Lenn Bayliss © 14 August 2017
C-GLCP departing Victoria harbour.
Photo: Gary Vincent © 16 August 2017

c/n 422

G305 • (CF-ZFL) • G305 • N17682

C-GLCP

• G305 Ghana Air Force Delivered on 21-Jul-1961. Based at Takoradi Air Base. Withdrawn from service in 1973 and put up for sale

Note: The following registration was allotted to Lambair Ltd., The Pas, MB. on 21-Apr-1971 who were considering a deal to purchase seven of the Ghanaian Otters. However the deal did not proceed and the allotment was withdrawn by Department of Transport 30-Apr-1971 after. See notes below.

• (CF-ZFL) Lambair Ltd., The Pas, MB. Regn allocated on 21-Apr-1971. ntu. Withdrawn by Department of Transport 30-Apr-1971.

• G305 Ghana Air Force. Withdrawn from service in 1973 and put up for sale.

• N17682 Joseph V. Masin, of Rodenkirchen, West Germany. Regn date unknown. Canx 15-Jul-1974.

• C-GLCP Air Craftsmen Ltd., St.John, NB. Reserved 26-Apr-1974 Regd  date unknown.

• C-GLCP Trans Mountain Air Services Ltd., Campbell River, BC.  Regd late 1974.

Accident: Tellot Glacier, Mount Waddington, BC. 26-Jul-1975, The float equipped aircraft was in the cruise and had a controlled collision with the ground, suffering substantial damage. The Otter had been dropping supplies for mountain climbers when it impacted the glacier, but managed to fly back to Campbell River where it was repaired.

• C-GLCP Change of name to Gulf Air Services Ltd., Campbell River, BC. 03-Aug-1976.

• C-GLCP Air BC Ltd., Vancouver BC. Part of Pattison Industries. Dec-1980.

Incident: Between Vancouver Harbour to Campbell River. 31-May-1983, while operating Air BC flight “XZ501”, the aircraft made an emergency landing due to an engine fire.

• C-GLCP CoVal Air Ltd., Campbell River, BC. Regd 17-Sep-1984.

• C-GLCP Mid Coast Air Services Ltd., Gibson, BC. Based Bella Bella, BC. Regd 06-Aug-1997 & 08-Dec-1997. Canx 03-Sep-1999.

• C-GLCP Northern Dene Airways Ltd., Prince Albert, BC. Regd 18-May-2000 & 13-Jul-2000. Canx 09-May-2003.

• C-GLCP Harbour Air, Richmond, BC. Regd 09-May-2003. Canx 27-May-2003.

Power plant: January / March 200 , The aircraft received a new R-1340 piston engine.

 • C-GLCP North Pacific Seaplanes Ltd., Prince Rupert, BC. Regd 13-Jan-2004. Canx 12-Jan-2009.

Power-plant: Converted to Vazar turbine at Harbour Air, Richmond, BC.

• C-GLCP Harbour Air Ltd., Richmond, BC. Based Vancouver, BC. Regd 12 Jan-2009. f/n 311.

Current

Otter 422 was delivered to the Ghanaian Air Force on 21 July 1961 with serial G305. It was the sixth of an order for twelve Otters, all of which were packed into crates and shipped to Ghana, where they were re-assembled. They were based at Takoradi Air Base. The Ghanaian Air Force had been established in 1959, originally operating training aircraft. In 1960 an order was placed with DHC for 14 DHC-2 Beavers, to be used on transport and communications duties between the major towns and more remote settlements. At the end of January 1961 the twelve Otters were ordered to supplement the Beavers and eight DHC-4 Caribou were also ordered. The final Otter was delivered in April 1963 and the type would serve with the Ghanaian Air Force for some years in the transport and internal policing roles. As well as the main base at Takoradi, there was also a Communications Flight at Accra with one of the Otters.

Four of the Otters were written off in accidents over the years, leaving eight in service. In 1970 Lambair of Canada made an approach to the Ghanaian Air Force to buy some of the Otters. Jack Lamb tells the story: “On arrival at Accra Airport we were net by a Major of the Air Force and flew a hundred miles or so along the Atlantic coast in a Caribou with the rear cargo door open to the Takoradi Air Base, where the Otters were stationed. They were lined up on the tarmac, all bright and shinny. They were beautiful airplanes. I went through each one, then inspected a building full of Otter spares. My thought were however that we would have to spend many thousands of dollars on each aircraft to bring them up to commercial Canadian operating standards, including installing heaters, new radios, wheel-skis, floats, paint jobs and ferry flights to Canada. I offered them $35,000 per aircraft”.

Lambair evidently though they were in with a chance, as they actually reserved Canadian registrations for seven of the Otters, including CF-ZFL for serial 422. In the event their offer was rejected and the Otters continued in service with the Ghanaian Air Force until 1973, when they were withdrawn from use and put up for sale. The eight surviving Otters were acquired by brokers Masin Aircraft of Cologne, Germany by Bill of Sale 7 February 1974 from the Government of Ghana to Joseph V. Masin. By letter dated 12 March 1974 Masin Aircraft applied to the FAA to allocate US registrations for the eight Otters, including 422 which was registered to Joseph V. Masin as N17682. Masin Aircraft had also acquired an Otter from the US Army which was in store in Germany (serial 189), giving it nine Otters, and in March 1974 it advertised them all for sale. The advert in Flight Magazine read: “Nine Otters available with all supporting ground equipment. Tools, spare engines, spare parts for engines and airframes. Two sets of amphibian floats, one set of normal floats”.

Masin Aircraft sold all nine Otters to Air Craftsmen Ltd., of St.John, New Brunswick, a company which specialised in buying, refurbishing and selling on ex-military Otters. On 26 April 1974 Air Craftsmen Ltd., reserved Canadian marks for all nine Otters, although some of these were not taken up and the aircraft were ferried to Canada using their American registrations. Marks C-GLCP were reserved for Otter 422, although these were not taken up at that time, and the Otter was flown from Ghana to St.John using its American registration N17682, in company with N17683 (serial 424, ex G306). Both of these Otters routed from Cologne to Prestwick on 27 June 1974 and then onwards via Iceland and Greenland to St.John.

After it had been refurbished and civilianised at St.John, its American registration N17682 was cancelled on 15 July 1974 and the Otter took up its Canadian registration C-GLCP. It was sold that month to Trans Mountain Air Services Ltd., and set off from St.John on its cross-country delivery flight to its new base at Campbell River, BC., on Vancouver Island. Trans Mountain Air Services Ltd., was a forest industry company which already flew Otter CF-QRI (326), two Beavers and some single Cessnas to provide transport for its own needs, flying its personnel to lumber camps. It also obtained a licence to fly charters, and Otter LCP was flying a charter when it had an accident on 26 July 1975 on the Tellot Glacier, Mount Waddington, BC. The pilot was Chuck Jenson.

During the summer months, Trans Mountain took climbers to the base of the glacier. The Otters were also used to drop supplies to the climbers on the glacier. It was a “blue sky” day at Campbell River on that 26 July, with no wind at all, when LCP took off from Campbell River on floats. There were two on board, the pilot and a helper, who would throw the supplies out of the Otter to the waiting climbing party below. The Otter did a swing over the glacier and all seemed fine, the conditions appearing to be as they were at Campbell River. Unknown to the pilot however the wind was in fact blowing at 60 mph over the glacier.

The Otter made a low pas to drop the supplies, but was forced down by an unexpected gust of wind, and smashed into the ice of the glacier, and turned from its course. All of a sudden the pilot was looking at sheer cliffs which he was headed for. Fortunately for those on board, the left wing of the Otter caught the ice and swung the aircraft around so that it was again facing the open glacier. As the Otter hit the glacier it bounced five or six times but the pilot applied full power and the Otter kept going. When it got to the drop off at the glacier, the pilot “stuffed the nose down, prayed and tried to maintain airspeed”. He successfully climbed away and managed to fly back to Campbell River, despite the damage which had been done to the Otter in its collision with the glacier. LCP was repaired at Campbell River and returned to service.

Trans Mountain Air Services Ltd., changed its name in August 1976 to Gulf Air Services Ltd., and from then on exclusively flew commercial services for the public. At that stage its fleet comprised Otters LCP, QRI (326) and XUY (142) as well as a Beaver, Islander, Twin Otter and some Cessna 185s. The Otters were very busy along the Pacific coast. There was another change of name to Gulf Air Aviation Ltd., in January 1979.

During 1979 / 1980 a wealthy industrialist named Jim Pattison arrived on the scene, intent on buying up all the local airlines in British Columbia and amalgamating them into one airline, to be called Air BC. He was successful in this endeavour and in early 1980 he agreed to buy Gulf Air and indeed all the other coastal operators. In December 1980 Otter LCP was registered to Pattison Industries Ltd., Vancouver and flew as part of the Air BC fleet. For a time it retained its Gulf Air colour scheme but by 1982 had been painted into Air BC’s blue, white and red scheme. It continued to fly from Campbell River on floats. On 31 May 1983 while operating Air BC flight XZ501 from Vancouver Harbour to Campbell River, LCP made an emergency landing due to engine fire. It was repaired and returned to service.

Whereas the mainline Air BC had become a successful operation, the same could not be said of its coastal division. The amalgamation of many small carriers proved inflexible and the customers were not happy. A recession in the logging industry also caused difficulties and as the floatplane operation was not working out for Mr Pattison, he decided to sell it off. In September 1984 he agreed to sell Air BC’s operation out of Campbell River, including aircraft, routes, equipment, staff etc to Comox Valley Air Ltd., which used the trading name CoVal Air. This company was based at Comox but moved to Campbell River when it took over the Air BC operation. As well as Otter LCP it also acquired Otters QEI (397) and XRI (258) as part of the Air BC take over at Campbell River, and also acquired more Otters from other sources.

C-GLCP was registered to CoVal Air on 17 September 1984 and was noted at Campbell River being painted into CoVal Air’s colour scheme. By 1985 CoVal Air was flying five Otters, as well as Beavers and Cessna 185s. As well as forestry workers and tourists, “aquaculture” (flying fish) became a large part of its business. It boasted that it was “serving more scheduled points than any other airline in Canada – 160”, these being the many towns, villages, camps, settlements etc around Vancouver Island and up and down the BC Pacific coast.

Sadly for CoVal Air its success did not endure and by early 1997 it was in trouble and winding down its operation. By April 1997 its three remaining Otters, LCP, APQ (201) and QEI (397) were parked at Campbell River out of use and awaiting disposal. On 6 August 1997 LCP was registered to Mid Coast Air Services Ltd., and moved to its new base at Port McNeill, BC where it was used for charter work. It remained in CoVal Air’s colour scheme but acquired Mid Coast titles. It continued in use until the end of the 1999 summer season and its registration to Mid Coast was cancelled on 3 September 1999.

At that stage LCP left the Pacific coast, which it had served for 25 years, and was flown to La Ronge, Saskatchewan where it was overhauled and painted into the colours of its new owner, Northern Dene Airways Ltd., of Prince Albert, Sask to whom it was registered on 18 May 2000. This was quite a substantial operation with a number of Cessna 185s, Beavers, Barons and Piper Navajos but LCP was its only Otter and was flown on charter work out of its base at Stony Rapids, Sask on floats in summer and on wheel-skis in winter. Also based at Stony Rapids were a Beaver and a Cessna 185. It was a popular destination for tourists and canoers going into the Thelon River area.

In October 2000 LCP was advertised for sale: “1961 Otter for sale. Over $110,000 spent on fuselage skins, stripping and painting and interior work during 2000. EDO 7170 floats and wheel gear included. Total time 19,339 hours. Asking price $390,000”. The Otter however did not sell at that time and continued in service with Northern Dene Airways which in 2002 changed its name to Norcanair. LCP continued flying from Stony Rapids until April 2003 when it was eventually sold, to Harbour Air of Vancouver.

C-GLCP headed back west and arrived in Vancouver where it was registered to Harbour Air on 9 May 2003, and joined the company’s expanding Otter fleet. It was however sent north, to be based at Prince Rupert, flying the Harbour Air schedules from the Seal Cove seaplane base at Prince Rupert. An incident is recorded on CADORS for 30 May 2003. LCP was inbound to Seal Cove from Port Simpson. It was observed by an FSS specialist descending from the north for a landing at Seal Cove but there had been no prior call on the mandatory frequency. On 4 August 2003 Otter RHW (445) also of Harbour Air, called LCP on the mandatory frequency at Seal Cove and engaged in conversation prior to calling the FSS. LCP departed Seal Cove en route to Digby Island without calling for an advisory.

On 13 January 2004 C-GLCP was registered to North Pacific Seaplanes Ltd., a company formed by Harbour Air to take over its operations at Prince Rupert. At the same time six Harbour Air DHC-2 Beavers were also registered to the new company, which would fly alongside the Otter at Prince Rupert. In January 2004 LCP was on overhaul at Harbour Air’s Vancouver base where it received a new R-1340 engine. It was painted into the basic white and yellow Harbour Air colour scheme and by the end of the month was back at Prince Rupert.  LCP features in a number of CADORS reports while registered to North Pacific Seaplanes and flying out of Prince Rupert:

3 February 2004.  LCP made its first call to the FSS on finals for the dock at Digby Island, well inside the mandatory frequency area, without having made an initial call as required.

16 June 2004.  LCP observed overhead Seal Cove, with no prior contact with FSS. Moments later the pilot advised of radio problems.

17 June 2005.   LCP entered the mandatory frequency area at Seal Cove without contacting FSS.

In September 2005 LCP flew south to Vancouver and over the winter of 2005 / 2006 it was converted to a Vazar Turbine DHC-3T Otter by Harbour Air at its facility at the Vancouver International Airport, and also received the scenic window conversion. It became fleet number 311. From then on, it was based at Vancouver, flying the Harbour Air schedules from there. It actually remained registered to North Pacific Seaplanes until 12 January 2009, when it was registered to Harbour Air Ltd, but its period of operation from Prince Rupert had only been from May 2003 to September 2005, after which it was based at Vancouver. During 2008 it received a blue tail band “BC 150 years”, to celebrate the Province’s 150th anniversary.

LCP featured in a CADORS ‘airprox’ report for 6 November 2009 on a flight from Victoria Harbour to Vancouver Harbour. “OILER 14” was a Canadian Armed Forces C-130 Hercules which had departed the Victoria Airport and was cleared to climb to 3,000 feet, en route to its destination at CFB Comox. The military flight was advised of the Otter, which was in its 2 o’clock position, two nautical miles away at 3,500 feet. The Otter however started to descend and “OILER 14” responded to a TCAS resolution advisory and altered course. The two aircraft closed to within .2 nautical miles and 700 feet and safety was not assured.

In January 2010 LCP was repainted into a dramatic colour scheme to support the Canadian team at the Winter Olympics. It had an all red fuselage with a large maple leaf logo. The tail was also red, with Harbour Air titles. By July 2011 it had been painted back into the standard white and yellow Harbour Air scheme. Some further CADORS reports during the years that followed:

30 June 2013.  While the Otter was on finals for an eastbound arrival into Victoria Harbour on a flight from Vancouver Harbour, a sail boat proceeded inbound wide of the boat lanes. The Otter elected to go around and landed safely three minutes later.

7 October 2013.  LCP en route Nanaimo Harbour to Vancouver International Airport water base. It squawked “Hijack 7500” in error. It landed at the water airport and Harbour Air confirmed all was in order.

17 July 2014.  LCP en route Vancouver Harbour to Nanaimo.  Hit a bird on departure but continued on without incident.

20 August 2014.   LCP was en route from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria Harbour. Westjet Boeing 737-700 C-FWAF was on flight WJA701 Toronto to Vancouver and was on final approach to the Vancouver International Airport. The 737 responded to a traffic alert and TCAS radar advisory and climbed away when the Otter passed under the approach at 1,000 feet and presented two discrete transponder targets, one of them without an altitude readout. Traffic had been passed to the 737, which was then vectored around for another approach. Interestingly, the registration of the 737 C-FWAF had in years past been carried on Otter serial 30.

24 February 2017.  Otter LCP from Pitt Meadows to Victoria Harbour. It traversed the eastern portion of the control zone without clearance and could not be reached on Tower frequencies.

During summer 2017 LCP continued flying the Harbour Air schedules from Vancouver. Since it had arrived on the Canadian Pacific coast from Ghana in July 1974, and excluding the three years it had spent in Saskatchewan, LCP had served the Pacific coast for a remarkable 40 years with seven different operators – Trans Mountain Air Services, Gulf Air, Air BC, CoVal Air, Mid Coast Air Services, North Pacific Seaplanes and Harbour Air.

More from CADORS:

29 July 2017.   Otter LCP from Victoria Harbour to Vancouver Harbour, in cruise flight at 2,000 feet. A Cessna 172 was inbound to the Victoria Airport and had been cleared to descend from 2,500 feet to 2,000 feet via the Brentwood Arrival. When both aircraft were at 2,000 feet the lateral separation decreased to one mile and the Otter was required to make a right turn to pass behind the Cessna.

11 September 2017. Otter LCP from Vancouver Harbour struck a seagull landing at Victoria Harbour.

During summer 2018 Otter LCP continued in service with Harbour 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.x