DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 436

CF-AYR at Ottawa / Uplands - CYOW, Ontario.
Photo: Peter Keating © 23 May 1979 - Karl E. Hays Collection
CF-AYR with all her extra "gear".
Photo: Unknown photographer © Date unknown - Karl E. Hayes Collection
CF-AYR at the end of her service with Geoterrex.
Photo: Ben J. Ullings © June 1981 - Karl E. Hays Collection
C-FAYR with Alkan Air at Whitehorse, Yukon.
Photo: Unknown photographer © 1983 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FAYR with ATLIN AIR at Boundary - BYA, Alaska.
Photo: John Kimberley © December 1988 - Karl E. Hayes Collection

c/n 436

307  N9744F  CF-AYR  C-FAYR

N125KD

x

• 307 United Nations Organisation (UN). Delivered on 15-Feb-1963.

Operated with the UN Observation Mission in the Yemen. Supported by the 134st Air Transport Unit (ATU), an RCAF unit which operated the Otters on behalf of the UN. This aircraft was based at Quizan and operated until Dec-1963 when unit disbanded.

Dec-1963. Ferried to El Arish, Egypt and put into storage with 115th ATU RCAF, a unit supporting the UN, pending disposal.

• N9744F Pan American UAR Oil Company, Cairo, Egypt. Purchased on 28-Apr-1964. Regd 02-Jun-1964.

• N9744F Pan American Petroleum Corporation of Tulsa, OK. 11 February 1969.

• N9744F Sea Airmotive Inc., (Seair), Anchorage, AK.  Bill of Sale 20 May 1970.

• N9744F Bannock Aerospace Ltd., Toronto, ON. Canx 02-Jun-1970.

• CF-AYR to Geoterrex Ltd., Ottawa, ON. Regd 02-Jun-1970. Put up for disposal Summer-1981.

• C-FAYR Alkan Air Ltd., Whitehorse, YT. Regd Dec-1981. Re-regd 15-Oct-1986. Canx 17-Jun-1988.

• C-FAYR Atlin Air, Whitehorse, YT. Regd 20-Jun-1986. Canx 16-Jun-1989.

• C-FAYR North of 60 Fishing Lodges Ltd., Winnipeg, MB. Regd 18-Jul-1990. Canx 17-Sep-1990.

• C-FAYR Points North Air Service Ltd., Saskatoon, SK. Based at Points North Landing, SK. Regd 05-Oct-1990. Canx 06-Aug-1991.

• C-FAYR North of 60 Fishing Lodges Ltd., Winnipeg, MB. Regd 18-Jun-1992.  Canx 17-Aug-1992.

• C-FAYR Points North Air Service Ltd., Saskatoon, SK. Based at Points North Landing, SK. Regd 05-Aug-1992. Canx 08-Sep-1992.

• C-FAYR Viola Monroe, Emo, ON. Regd 09-Sep-1992. Canx 16-Jul-1993.

• C-FAYR North of 60 Fishing Lodges Ltd., La Ronge, SK. Based Obre Lake, NT. Regd 16-Jun-1973. Canx 24-Oct-2001. Later Yellowknife, NT. Regd 09-Jan-2002. Canx 07-Oct-2012. Shown as exported to the USA 11-Mar-2015.

• N125KD Z Plane Inc., Fort Myers, FL. Regd 29-Apr-2015. (Owner Ray Zitzloff who also owned North of 60 Fishing Lodges Ltd).

• N125KD Northwind Otter LLC., Homer, AK. Regd 19-Jun-2015.

Airworthiness date: 28-Aug-2015.

• Current •

Otter 436 was delivered to the United Nations Organisation (UN) on 15 February 1963 with serial 307. It was one of four delivered to the UN at that time, the other three being 433 (UN serial 305), 434 (UN serial 306) and 437 (UN serial 308). All four were packed into crates at Downsview and shipped to the Congo where they arrived at Leopoldville in June 1963. Three of these Otters (306, 307 and 308) were unpacked on arrival and transported by USAF Hercules to Aden in the Yemen, where there was a requirement for Otters with the UN Observation Mission in the Yemen. In Aden the three Otters were re-assembled and entered service with 134th Air Transport Unit (ATU), an RCAF unit which operated the Otters on behalf of the UN. The Otters were all white.

134th ATU also operated some Caribou aircraft and had bases at Sanaa, Quizan and Najran in the Yemen. Otter serial 307 was based at Quizan. This operation continued until December 1963 when 134th ATU was disbanded and it was arranged to ferry the Otters to El Arish in Egypt, where they would be put into storage with 115th ATU pending disposal. 115th ATU was another RCAF unit supporting a UN mission as part of the Arab-Israeli cease fire. Otter 307 duly arrived at El Arish from Quizan and was placed in storage with 115 ATU and advertised for sale by the UN.

By Bill of Sale dated 28 April 1964 the Otter was sold to Pan American UAR Oil Company, Cairo, Egypt for $60,365. It had flown 198 hours since new. On 2 June 1964 it was registered to its new owners as N9744F and based at the Cairo International Airport. It received a red cheat-line and company titles.  It flew for the Pan American UAR Oil Company for the next four years, supplying exploration sites in the Egyptian desert. In early September 1968 it set off from Cairo to fly back to the United States. By 24 September ’68 it had arrived at London’s Gatwick Airport where it was to be resident for nearly two months. While at Gatwick three fifty gallon fuel drums were installed, to provide the fuel for the long Atlantic crossing.

N9744F departed Gatwick on 13 November 1968 en route to Prestwick, Scotland and then onwards via Iceland and Greenland back to the US. On 11 February 1969 it was re-registered to the Pan American Petroleum Corporation of Tulsa, Oklahoma. By April 1969 it had arrived at Calgary, Alberta where it was re-painted into a revised colour scheme of twin red lines on the fuselage and tail, red cowling and wingtips. From Calgary it continued on to Anchorage, Alaska. By Bill of Sale 20 May 1970 the Otter was sold to Sea Airmotive Inc., (Seair) of Anchorage, operators also of Otter N98T (181) but a few days later on 28 May 1970 the Otter was sold on to Bannock Aerospace Ltd., a company which traded in Otters, and was flown back to Toronto. It was sold on immediately to Geoterrex Ltd., a survey company. On 2 June 1970 the US registration was cancelled when the Otter was registered CF-AYR to Geoterrex Ltd., and it was fitted out with survey equipment in Ottawa. It was to retain its previous colour scheme of twin red lines on the fuselage and tail throughout its use as a survey aircraft, but acquired Geoterrex fuselage titles and logo.

Geoterrex Ltd., had been involved with several Otters on survey work. Originally CF-IGM (75) was used and then CF-IUZ (135). In January 1970 the prototype Otter CF-SKX (1) was registered to Geoterrex and new survey equipment installed. Sadly on 1 May 1970 during test flying of the new equipment, the Otter crashed and was destroyed. CF-AYR (436) was acquired as its replacement. AYR’s first task was to complete the survey of the Calabogie area of eastern Ontario which SKX had started.  AYR completed this survey during September / October 1970.

The revised equipment which was installed in AYR proved to be technically the best of all the systems which had been used up to then, and the Otter was used on commercial contract geophysical surveys throughout Canada and the US until 1980. During this ten year period AYR was responsible for finding three commercial ore bodies, the most important of which was the Crandon deposit of Exxon near Crandon, Wisconsin. During this period AYR was operated on behalf of Geoterrex and maintained by Laurentian Air Services at its Uplands Airport, Ottawa base. At the end of the summer 1981 season, its survey career over, AYR was parked in outside storage at the Ottawa Airport and put up for disposal.

AYR was sold to Alkan Air Ltd., of Whitehorse in the Yukon, to whom it was registered in December 1981. It acquired a new colour scheme of white overall, red cheatline and Alkan Air titles and tail logo. It joined the Alkan Air fleet of Cessnas and Pipers and was used to support mining operations throughout the Yukon. Another of its tasks was flying big game hunters and skiers to Mount Logan in the St.Elias Mountain Range. AYR flew on floats during the summer and on wheels or wheel / skis in winter.  AYR flew for Alkan Air for six and a half years, until its registration to that company was cancelled on 17 June 1988 and the Otter was sold to Atlin Air of Atlin, northern BC but it remained based at Whitehorse. It replaced two single Cessnas and flew for Atlin Air for summer 1988, at which stage the company closed down. AYR arrived at Boundary Bay, south of the Vancouver International Airport in December 1988 where it was stored until May 1989. The following month it was prepared at the Vancouver International Airport for its next owner and on 18 July 1990 was registered to North of Sixty Flying Services Inc., which was destined to own the Otter for the next 25 years.

North of Sixty Flying Services Inc., was owned by American interests and had been established to provide a flying service to North of Sixty Camps, to service its fishing lodge. It was also associated with North of Sixty Flying Inc., of Crystal, Minnesota which operated an FBO at the Crystal Airport, a general aviation field near Minneapolis, where the corporate headquarters of all these companies was. Otter AYR joined a Cessna 206 with North of Sixty Flying Services. North of Sixty Camps had its main lodge at Obre Lake, at the head of the Kazan River System in Canada’s Northwest Territories. It had nine mini-lodges in the area surrounding the main lodge – “strategically located in the Dubawnt River and Kazan River systems, the hottest trophy waters in Canada for Northern Pike, Lake Trout and Arctic Grayling”.  As its website went on to explain: “The area encompassing North of Sixty Camps is more than 10,000 square miles of virtually untouched virgin water. The area was previously only accessible by float planes based hundreds of miles away. Now with our six thousand foot runway and float planes based at Obre Lake Lodge, the ‘land of the midnight sun’ is accessible”. The company chartered its own dedicated Convair 580 which flew its fishing guests from Winnipeg to the lodge, a flight of two and a half hours. The Otter and Cessna 206 were then used to fly the fishermen from the main lodge to outlying lakes and lodges.

AYR was based at Obre Lake, NT., serving the lodge for summer 1990. In October 1990 it went on lease to Points North Air Services of Points North Landing, Saskatchewan, one of a number of Otters used by this company to fly supplies to villages and settlements in norther Saskatchewan. It returned to Obre Lake to service the fishing lodge for summer 1992 and then went back on lease to Points North Landing in August 1992 for a few weeks. Between 9 September 1992 and 16 July 1993 it was registered to a Viola Monroe of Emo, Ontario. During this period it is mentioned in CADORS for an incident on 1 June 1993: “The pilot of a DHC-2 Beaver which was proceeding south VFR into Eldon Lake, Manitoba took abrupt and evasive action to avoid collision with Otter C-FAYR”.

On 16 July 1993 AYR was again registered to North of Sixty Flying Services and would remain registered to that company for the next 23 years. In June 1996 it was joined by a second Otter C-FTOK (207) and together the two Otters would service the Obre Lake fishing lodge each summer. They were both in the same colour scheme of white with red cheatline but no titles. The operation was summer only, the Otters being stored for the winter usually at the La Ronge, Saskatchewan airport. In November 2009, at the end of the summer season, the company North of Sixty Camps was advertised for sale, to include the main lodge, ten mini-lodges and the airstrip, with an asking price of $2,500,000. The company North of Sixty Flying Services, including its two Otters AYR and TOK was also for sale. Separately, each Otter was also advertised for sale, AYR with a total time of 13,500 hours on the airframe. It appears that the fishing business at Obre Lake had declined and although guests were still being received, only the Cessna 206 was in use at the lodge.

In May 2012 both Otters AYR and TOK were reported in long term outside storage at the La Ronge Airport, with grass and small trees growing between the floats. Both Otters were subsequently flown to the Crystal Airport, Minnesota where they were hangered, and continued to be advertised for sale. TOK was the first to go, in September 2013, to Talkeetna Air Taxi in Alaska after turbine conversion. On 7 October 2013 registration C-FAYR was cancelled. On 11 March 2015 the Canadian registration was deleted from the Register on export of the aircraft to the United States. On 29 April 2015 the Otter was registered as N125KD to Z Plane Inc of Fort Myers, Florida, this being the company of Ray Zitzloff, who was the owner of North of Sixty Flying Services. He had registered the Otter in the US to improve its sale prospects. The Otter itself remained in the hangar at Crystal Airport, Minnesota.

A sale of the Otter was negotiated and on 19 June 2015 it was registered still as N125KD to its new owner, Northwind Otter PLC., of Homer, Alaska. This is a special purpose company formed to acquire the Otter, associated with Northwind Aviation, an air taxi business founded in 1992 by Jose de Creeft, and flying a Cessna 206 and L19. The aircraft are based at Beluga Lake, Homer on floats in the summer and at the Homer Airport on wheel/skis in winter. As its website explains, Jose has 20,000 flying hours, including on Otters and Beavers. He is the son of William de Creeft, owner of Kachemak Air Service of Homer which between 1976 and 2001 operated one of Alaska’s most famous Otters N3904 (54), which Jose had flown before it was sold. Kachemak Air Service continues in business with offices located beside those of Northwind Aviation at Beluga Lake and Jose’s parents help out with Northwind Aviation, which provides transportation into lakes and wilderness areas for hiking, camping, bear viewing, kayaking, hunting and fishing and tourist visits to Alaska’s National Parks.

The Otter was to remain at the Crystal Airport, Minnesota for a time after it was purchased as Jose had arranged to have a reconditioned R-1340 engine fitted. When that had been done, Jose ferried the Otter to Alaska in September 2015, another epic delivery flight, as follows:

16th September 2015:  Crystal, Minnesota to Mobridge, SD.

17th:  Mobridge to Columbus, Montana to Kalispell, MT.

18th:  Kalispell to Lethbridge, Alberta (cleared customs) to Grande Prairie, AB.

19th:  At Grande Prairie with a broken tailwheel. Replacement flown in from Aeroflight Vancouver.

20th:  Grande Prairie to Fort Nelson to Watson Lake to Whitehorse in the Yukon  (basically following the Alcan Highway, except direct from Grande Prairie to Fort Nelson and followed the Liard River from there to Watson Lake).

21st:  “We left Whitehorse on a foggy morning and got as far as just past Burwash where we turned around for snow and fog and returned to wait it out at the Burwash Airport. We bought an extra 50 gallons of fuel there and took a look at bypassing the snow by hopping through the Wrangell St.Elias mountains and down the Chitina River to Gulkana. So the Otter got to fly over some truly remote wilderness again and never missed a beat. We refuelled at Gulkana and the next stop that day was Anchorage where we cleared customs.

22nd:  Anchorage to Homer, its new base.

As Jose comments: “I plan to do a little sheet metal work, tidy up the interior and add some radios and work it next summer”.

To be updated.

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