DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 449

CF-ROW
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c/n 449

CF-ROW

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Entries preceded by date are extracts from Canadian Department of Transport archives.

04-Sep-1964 Allotment of CF-ROW to DHC-3 msn 449 for de Havilland Aircraft Company of Canada Ltd.

22-Oct-1964 Test flown for Aircraft Inspection Release Certificate by George A. Neal.

30-Oct-1964 Application for Certificate of Registration by de Havilland Aircraft Company of Canada Ltd.

• CF-ROW de Havilland Aircraft Company of Canada Ltd., Downsview, ON. Regd 30-Oct-1964.

17-Nov-1964 Bill of Sale; de Havilland Aircraft Company of Canada Ltd., to Trans Provincial Air Carriers Ltd., Terrace, BC.

18-Nov-1964 Application for Certificate of Registration by Trans Provincial Air Carriers Ltd.

29-Nov-1964 Certificate of Airworthiness #10739 issued.

29-Nov-1964 Certificate of Registration #34183 issued to Trans Provincial Air Carriers Ltd., Terrace, BC.

• CF-ROW Trans Provincial Air Carriers Ltd., Terrace, BC.

Accident: Yehiniko Lake 57.34N/131.13W, south of Telegraph Creek BC 18-Apr-1967 A wheel strut broke while landing at, prop and starboard wing damaged, Pilot. Weldon Walberg uninjured.

20-Apr-1967 Authority to ferry Yehiniko Lake BC., to Calgary AB., valid to 19-May-1967.

10-Oct-1968 Certificate of Registration amended to reflect company name change to Trans Provincial Airlines Ltd.

• CF-ROW Renamed Trans Provincial Airlines Ltd.

Accident 30 miles northwest of Stewart BC. 56.06N/130.30W, (Accident location actually in USA) 14-Oct-1968 Aircraft crashed in an inaccessible canyon, while caught by weather returning from an aborted supply drop to the Leduc Mine on the Leduc Glacier. The pilot Ayliffe Pat Carey suffered facial injuries, and was rescued by a long lining helicopter. Full report including pilot’s narrative below.

Note: Wreck reported back in Terrace, Jul-1970.

Total time since new as recorded in Canadian Department of Transport archives.

19-Oct-1965 - 886 hours

25-Oct-1966 - 1,582 hours

12-Oct-1967 - 2,109 hours

08-Oct-1968 - 2,736 hours

• CF-ROW Cancelled from Canadian Civil Aircraft Register, 25-Nov-1974.

Written off

Otter 449 was delivered to Trans Provincial Air Carriers Ltd., (later re-named Trans Provincial Airlines) of Prince Rupert, BC on 18th November 1964, registered CF-ROW. It met with a landing accident on 18th April 1967 twenty four miles south of Telegraph Creek on an ice and snow covered Yehenika Lake, some 250 miles north of Terrace, BC., near the Stickine River on a flight from Dease Lake. This incident is described by Denny McCartney in his much-recommended book “Picking Up The Pieces”. As he writes: ”The damage was extensive - two bent propeller blades, the outer five feet of the right wing bent up and both spars broken, the inboard section of the rear spar broken near the fuselage and the cabin roof buckled. We would be very busy for a few days for sure”. Mr McCartney and his repair team were flown out to the crash site on another Trans Provincial Otter from Terrace and set up camp. Working from daybreak to dark every day, mindful that a thaw in the weather could cause the Otter to sink, they had ROW repaired in three days and it was then flown back to Terrace. It continued on to Calgary for permanent repairs.

The Otter then resumed service with Trans Provincial Airlines, serving northern British Columbia, where it continued to serve until it crashed in the mountains 27 miles north-west of Stewart, BC., on 14th October 1968. The Otter was flying fuel drums in to a gold mine when it came to grief. In years to come, Otters 139 and 393 would be claimed by the same mountains in the course of similar operations. Otter 194 would also be lost in this general vicinity.

On the day of the accident, the pilot of ROW had already made three flights from Stewart to the Granduc Mine on the Le Duc Glacier, a forty minute flight. He was flying in 45 gallon drums of gasoline, five per flight. The Otter was on wheel-skis, painted yellow with dark blue trim. The pilot, the sole occupant, described what happened: “The flights that morning were made via the Scotty- Dogs, which takes one over part of the Frank Mackie Glacier and then down the Shoot into the Leduc Valley. The weather was good, ceiling over nine thousand feet, visibility over twenty miles. However, on making the next flight when at the head of Texas Creek, I noticed that the visibility was rather hazy and as there was fresh snow on the glacier, I decided to fly around by what is known as the 'Five Thousand Foot Pass'. Flying through the pass I could see the mountains on both sides of the valley and also the floor of the valley but at the 5,500 foot level the visibility was not too good, so I decided to drop down to two thousand feet, enter the Leduc Valley and fly up to the airstrip”.

 “When I came near the Leduc Valley, it was fogged in from the bottom of the valley right up to the clouds. I was not too concerned about this and turned around and climbed up to get out of this valley through the 'Five Thousand Foot Pass'. However, when I climbed up the pass was closed in. Here I knew that I was in trouble, so I lined myself up with the bottom of the valley, set my gyro and started to climb out to the other side. When I entered the clouds I noticed it was snowing. I was only in the clouds about two minutes when I noticed that the clouds were getting dark. The next thing I saw the black face of the high cliffs”.

The Otter had flown into a blizzard. The winds had blown the aircraft sideways into the side of the mountain. The outer portion of the leading edge of the right wing struck the rock first, causing the Otter to slew to the right. This broke the rope holding the cargo in place and three of the barrels of gasoline ejected through the side of the fuselage. Then the left wing struck the other side of a wedge-shaped ledge and the engine broke loose and continued on for about 200 feet before the aircraft then fell and landed partway up the ledge and fell back so that the tail section was hanging in mid air over the cliff. The Otter had crashed on the steep slope of a small ledge 3,750 feet up the vertical side of 7,500 foot Mount John Jay, some six miles over the Canadian border into the State of Alaska.

Miraculously, the pilot survived the impact but had received a bad cut to his face. The front of the Otter was totally destroyed and was on fire. The pilot quickly exited the aircraft before the fire spread and the two remaining gasoline drums exploded. Eventually the fire went out but all that was left of the Otter was the two wings and the rear fuselage, with the tail hanging over the cliff. When the flight became overdue, there was no immediate concern. The radio operator at the Leduc camp advised that the airstrip was fogged in and that it was snowing heavily. The pilot of the Otter on previous occasions had set his craft down on a suitable landing site when the weather closed in. As time passed however concern mounted and a search was commenced by two Trans Provincial aircraft, one of which located the crash site at 15:10 hours that afternoon.

There were also two helicopters in the area, which were also involved in bringing in fuel and other supplies to the Le Duc mine, a Hiller FH-1100 of Klondike Helicopter Company and CF-BHB, a Bell 204B of Bullock Helicopter Company. These were used to carry a mountain rescue team to the area that afternoon, but due to the precipitous terrain and high winds, they were unable to reach the crash site. They established a base camp on the valley floor underneath the crash site. The injured pilot had to spend the night on the ledge, tied to a tree to make sure he didn't fall over the edge. The Hiller did manage to drop him a parka and a thermos of hot coffee. Early the following morning, the Bell 204 effected an amazing rescue for which its pilot was subsequently commended. A harness was attached to a 150 foot length of rope and secured to the inside of the helicopter. Weather conditions were good, with no wind, and the helicopter would attempt to lift the injured Otter pilot off the ledge. The Bell was positioned over the ledge and the rope dropped down to the pilot below. This was an extremely hazardous manoeuvre, as the rotor blades of the helicopter were only three feet from the rock face of the mountain. This helicopter pilot clearly had nerves of steel.

The Otter pilot managed to get into the harness and the helicopter began to take up the slack by climbing vertically. Ever so slowly the Bell backed away from the mountain, and with the Otter pilot hanging 150 foot below, the helicopter carried him to the valley floor, 3,750 feet below, to the base camp established by the rescue team. Gently the pilot was lowered to the ground, the helicopter landed and when the Otter pilot was safely aboard the Bell, he was flown to hospital in Stewart. The pilot of the Otter was aged 64 at the time of the crash. He had obtained his pilot's licence in 1936 and over the years since then had amassed over 20,000 hours of bush flying. He was exceptionally well qualified for this type of flying. As the report concluded, the accident occurred in a mountain pass when the pilot lost visual reference in a blizzard. The pilot became trapped by weather conditions which could not be foreseen. Otter CF-ROW was destroyed in the accident.

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