DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 433

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c/n 433

305 • N12533

CF-CDL

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• 305 United Nations Organisation (UN). Delivered 18-Feb-1963.

Entered service with the UN Support Squadron in the Congo.

05-Sep-1963. Withdrawn from the base at Luluabourg in the Congo and flown back to Leopoldville for transport to the Yemen by a C-130.

• 305. Entered service with the RCAF's 134 Air Transport Unit (ATU), Sep1963 which was operating several Otters in the Yemen on behalf of the UN.

Dec-1963. Put into storage with RCAF 115 ATU, a UN support unit at El Arish, Egypt.

• 305 Returned to the Congo 29-Mar-1964 and operated on contract by Transair, Sweden for the UN. Contract terminated Dec-1964.

Incident: Leopoldville, Congo. 30 Mar-1964. One wing damaged by the other. Confused? See below.

Incident: Lodja, Congo. 10th October 1964 Suffered bullet holes damage when it was shot up by rebel forces during a ground stop. A Swedish member of the crew was killed.

• N12533 Philip Mann, Miami, FL., an associate of Frank Ferrer, Aircraft Broker, Miami, FL. Regd 15-Jul-1965.

• CF-CDL Thomas Lamb Airways, The Pas, MB. Regd 27-May-1966 having received temp. reg. for the ferry flight from Miami in Apr-1966. Mainly based Thompson, MB.

Accident 3 ml from Thompson, MB. 14-Feb-1968. The aircraft had taken off with nine Hydro employees as passengers, en route to Kelsey, MB. A cylinder failed and the engine caught fire. The aircraft crashed three miles off the end of Runway 23 at Thompson, fortunately without any injuries. It was consumed by fire and totally destroyed.

Destroyed by fire

Otter 433 was delivered to the United Nations Organisation (UN) on 18th February 1963 with serial 305. It was one of four delivered to the UN at that time, the other three being 434 (UN serial 306), 436 (UN serial 307) and 437 (UN serial 308). All four were packed into crates at Downsview and shipped to the Congo in Africa, where they arrived at Leopoldville in June 1963. The other three were transported onwards immediately to the Yemen, where they were required for another UN support mission, but 305 was assembled at Leopoldville and entered service with the UN Support Squadron in the Congo. It remained in use until 5th September 1963, when it was withdrawn from the base at Luluabourg and flown back to Leopoldville for transport to the Yemen. It was flown to Aden in the Yemen by USAF C-130 Hercules, and entered service with the RCAF's 134 Air Transport Unit (ATU), which was operating the Otters in the Yemen on behalf of the UN.

The UN support mission in the Yemen continued until December 1963 and the Otters were then ferried to El Arish, Egypt where they were put into storage at 115 ATU, another RCAF UN support flight in connection with the Arab-Israel conflict. As the termination of UN operations in the Congo on 30th June 1964 approached, it was found that an air unit would continue to be required to support the civilian activities of UN agencies in the Congo. It was therefore decided to utilize three Otters, which would remain UN owned but would be operated on behalf of the UN by Transair Sweden under contract. UN Otters 305 and 308 were selected as two of the aircraft, because of their low airframe hours, as well as 302 (159) which at that stage was the only UN Otter left in the Congo, efforts to sell it having failed.

305 and 308 were in storage in El Arish after the Yemen campaign, and were airfreighted to Leopoldville, 305 arriving on 29th March 1964 and 308 on 2nd April 1964. 305 was damaged in a rather unfortunate accident the day after its arrival. On 30th March, when the transport aircraft which had flown in the Otter was departing, its propeller blast caused one of the Otter's wings (which had been detached from the aircraft to facilitate being loaded into the transport) to become airborne and land on the other wing, puncturing it in several spots. However, the damage was soon repaired and 305 returned to service, alongside 302 and 308. These three Otters were operated in the Congo by Transair Sweden from 1st July to 30th December 1964 in support of the civilian assistance programme of the UN. However, following the UN troop withdrawal of June 1964, the security situation again deteriorated, with a move towards rebellion yet again. The unfortunate 305 was again damaged when on 10th October 1964 it was shot up by rebel gunfire at Lodja during a ground stop. A Swedish engineer was killed in that incident. 305 was repaired and returned to  service.

The contract with Transair was terminated in December 1964 and the three Otters were sold during 1965. 308 was sold in Canada, to where it was shipped for rebuild by Field Aviation in Toronto. The other two, 302 and 305, were purchased by Frank Ferrer of Miami, Florida who was actively dealing in Otters, and returning many of them home to Canada from abroad. The two Otters were registered to a Mr Philip Mann of Miami, an associate of Frank Ferrer's who was involved in the financing, 305 being registered to Mr Mann as N12533 on 15th July 1965 and 302 being registered to him as N12665 on 18th October 1965. A ferry pilot was employed to fly the Otters, one at a time, all the way from the Congo, across to South America and up to Miami. N12533 (formerly UN 305) still bore the bullet holes from its attack at Lodja. Having arrived at Miami, both Otters were put up for sale, N12665 being sold to a Mr Ben Ginter of Prince George, BC and N12533 being sold to Thomas Lamb Airways of The Pas, Manitoba.

Temporary marks CF-CDL (standing for Conrad Delbert Lamb) were issued to the Otter, and a ferry permit for a flight from Miami to The Pas via a customs stop at Winnipeg was issued on 14th April 1966. Greg Lamb describes taking delivery of the Otter: “Ron Davie, our chief engineer, and I went down to Miami to pick CDL up. We had to spend a few days there until the money cleared the banks. While there, Ben Ginter (who was picking up his Otter 159) treated us to a trip to Nassau for the weekend. Our route from Miami was pretty straight to Winnipeg. The only radio we had was a VHF that didn't work and an ADF. We just kept flying until we needed fuel and then looked for a fuel pump. One landing was at a small private strip about 1,500 feet long. It was used by weekend pilots and when we landed I think half the town came to see what came to town. We took on more fuel than they sold in a month. This big, white funny looking airplane with bullet holes in the back door really created a stir. When the tanks were full, we released the brakes, rolled down a rise from the pump, started up again and were off the ground in about 500 feet”.

 “Our next stop was in Evansville, Kentucky for fuel and overnight in bad weather. The next day we made only a few miles and had to land again. We spent a day or so around there trying to head north, but the weather was pretty bad. Our next stop was on a small short strip, alongside a strip of water. There were a lot of boats running up and down the lake. It was all enclosed by a high mesh fence where we were met by armed guards and they wouldn't let us out of the airplane. It turned out to be a Mercury outboard test site. They were polite but told us we better go. We found a more friendly place later on for fuel. Our stop in Winnipeg was short. The customs met us and I told them we were simply returning the airplane back into Canada where it was built. All we had was a case of oranges and one of grapefruit and a Lava lamp I had bought in a bar in Miami”.“We arrived in The Pas after a fun trip, as we had never flown in the USA before. It took up 21 hours flying from Miami to The Pas. The airplane had around 650 hours on it when we picked it up. There were some bullet holes around the rear left hand door and the inside was splattered with blood spots. A Swedish engineer had been shot in the Congo while sitting in the rear seat. Once we had it in The Pas, we installed dual ADFs, single side band HF and dual VHF coms. We flew it to Calgary where Field Aviation painted it and we were ready to go to work. CF-CDL was officially registered to Thomas Lamb Airways on 27th May 1966. It was a real good airplane. I flew it most of its life out of Thompson, Manitoba except for a number of Arctic jobs we did”.

CF-CDL continued in service until it was destroyed in an accident on 14th February 1968. It was taking off that day from Thompson, Manitoba with nine Hydro employees as passengers, en route to Kelsey, Manitoba. A cylinder failed and the engine caught fire. The Otter crashed three miles off the end of Runway 23 at Thompson, fortunately without any injuries, but it was consumed by fire and totally destroyed. The registration CF-CDL was then used on Otter c/n 441, which Lambair acquired from Norway in April 1968.

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