DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 453

C-FDIV wintering at Reddit, Ontario.
Photo: Robert S. Grant © December 1980 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FDIV doing Bell business.
Photo: Unknown photographer © Date unknown - Karl E. Hayes Collection

c/n 453

JW 9103 • CF-DIV



• JW 9103 Ordered new for Tanzania, with this serial number. On RCAF books for acceptance testing, training and delivery, at Camp Borden, ON with this serial number. Delivered to Tanzania on 04-Mar-1966.

• JW 9103 Tanzanian Air Force. Delivered 08-Mar-1966 but initially used as above. Based at Dar es Salaam. Sold May-1972.

• CF-DIV Bannock Aerospace Ltd., Toronto, ON.

• CF-DIV Bradley Air Services Ltd., Carp, ON. Regd 14-Jun-1972.

Accident: Coburg Island, NT. 04-Sep-1972. Damaged in a crash which was summarised as “selected unsuitable terrain; hard landing”.

• C-FDIV Re regd to Bradley, Air Services Ltd., Carp, ON and operated on behalf of Bell Canada Ltd. Based at Kenora, ON.

Incident: Reddit, ON. 24-Apr-1981. After touching down on the runway, the rear check cable broke, causing the tail wheel to collapse.Repaired.

• C-FDIV Tobin Lake Air Services Ltd., Nipawin, SK. Canx 11-Feb-1986 as removed from register..

Accident: Black Lake, SK. 01-Jul-1982, While on final approach to land on the isolated lake, the engine stopped. Attempts by the pilot to restart the engine were unsuccessful and he landed the aircraft in dense bush near the shoreline.

• C-FDIV Air Tindi Ltd., Yellowknife, NT. Reported as purchased. (See narrative below). However no recent history found of either serial number or construction number.

Status unknown

Otter 453 was one of eight Otters built by DHC on foot of an order from the United Nations (UN) given to DHC in December 1964. The Otters were intended for use by the UN in West Irian, a very under-developed part of Indonesia. The Otters were to have been used to develop air transportation in the region, so that UN officials could move around and assist with the development of the area. Otters 451 to 454 and 458 to 461 were the eight aircraft, procured at a cost of $1,060,000 and they had been completed at Downsview by March 1965.

However, following strong diplomatic representations from Britain, concerned that the Otters might end up used for other purposes, used by Indonesia in its confrontation with Malaysia, the Canadian External Affairs Minister vetoed the sale and the eight Otters were held in storage at Downsview. Accordingly, another use had to be found for these aircraft and an opportunity presented itself in April 1965 when the Canadian government was requested to provide assistance to Tanzania in establishing an Air Wing. In September 1965 the Canadian government announced its proposals for a five year programme costing nine million dollars. This included the 8 Otters as well as four DHC-4 Caribous, with support equipment and spares. The Canadians would also assist with the training of 400 air and ground crew, 200 of which would be trained in Canada.

Of the eight Otters, three were to be retained in Canada for training purposes and five delivered to Tanzania, including 453. It was painted into Tanzanian Air Force colours, allocated serial 9103 and formally handed over to the Tanzanian Air Force at Downsview on 8 March 1966. It was then loaded on board a Canadian Armed Forces C-130 Hercules and flown to Tanzania, where it was re-assembled and made ready for service. As well as the training of aircrew and technicians in Canada, the Canadian military was also to assist the Tanzanian Air Force in its home country. A Canadian Armed Force Advisory and Training Team Tanzania (CAFATTT) was formed, comprising CAF personnel instructing on the Otter and Caribou aircraft and also performing some general transport flying of the aircraft in Tanzania. The Team remained in Tanzania for a year, until the Tanzanians could operate the aircraft themselves.

The five Otters delivered to Tanzania, all by CAF Hercules flights, were 9102 (452), 9103 (453), 9104 (454) 9106 (459) and 9107 (460) and they were based at Dar es Salaam, operating within the country in the transport role. These five continued in service until March 1972, when they were purchased by Bannock Aerospace Ltd., of Toronto with the intention of returning them to Canada for re-sale. The five Otters were flown from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi-Wilson Airfield in Kenya in April 1972 and during May they were prepared for the long ferry flight back to Canada. They were registered to Bannock Aerospace Ltd., including 9103 (453) as CF-DIV. Ferry pilots were sent to Nairobi to fly them home.  Four of these Otters passed through Shannon in Ireland on the delivery flight back to Canada, the fifth passing through Prestwick in Scotland. CF-DIV passed through Malta on 14 May 1972 and then routed Paris (Orly)-Shannon-Reykjavik on 17 May 1972. It had arrived at Toronto’s Malton Airport by 29 May 1972 and was noted in a hangar there being worked on.

The Otter was sold on to Bradley Air Services Ltd., of Carp, Ontario on 14 June 1972 and after repaint into Bradley’s green and white colour scheme, it entered service as part of their Otter fleet, used on exploration support work in the High Arctic. It was damaged in a crash at Coburg Island, Northwest Territories on 4 September 1972, when a heavy landing was made as the aircraft touched down on rough terrain, causing substantial damage. It was repaired, re-registered C-FDIV and operated from then on by Bradley Air Services on behalf of Bell Canada Ltd., based at Kenora, Ontario. This was a long-term contract for which the Otter was painted orange overall with black cheatline and Bell Canada’s logo. It was used to fly Bell technicians to native settlements throughout Northwestern Ontario, in connection with the installation of the telephone network.

This was a summer only operation, at least towards the end of the contract, and the Otter was in storage at Reddit, Ontario over the winter of 1980/81. It suffered a minor incident at Reddit on 24 April 1981. After touching down on the runway, the rear check cable broke, causing the tail wheel to collapse. The damage was repaired and in June 1981 DIV was sold to Tobin Lake Air Services Ltd., of Nipawin, Saskatchewan. It was the company’s only Otter and joined a fleet of single Cessnas, Beavers, a Baron, Aztec and Queen Air. The company was later re-named Northeastern Airways Ltd., but remained based at Nipawin, serving the Saskatchewan bush country.

On 1 July 1982 Otter DIV crashed at Black Lake, Sask. While on final approach to land on the isolated lake, the engine stopped. Attempts by the pilot to restart the engine were unsuccessful and he landed the Otter in dense bush near to the shoreline. The engine was not recovered from the crash site and the reason for the engine failure could not be determined. That accident marked the end of the Otter’s flying career and the registration was formally cancelled on 11 February 1986. The fuselage was retrieved from the crash site and by 1987 had arrived in Salinas, California where it was used for engineering test work in connection with the Vazar Turbo Otter project. By October 1991 it had arrived at the Aeroflite Industries hangar at the Vancouver International Airport, where it was used for training purposes in connection with Vazar conversions being carried out by Aeroflite. It was then in storage in the hangar.

The fuselage was reportedly sold to Air Tindi Ltd., of Yellowknife, who at the time operated turbine Otter C-FXUY (142). The fuselage of DIV (453) was reportedly intended for rebuild as a turbine Otter at some stage, but that did not happen and it remained in storage in the Aeroflite hangar.   Air Tindi’s Otter XUY crashed at Yellowknife in June 2005, and in 2007 the wreck was trucked “out east somewhere”, reportedly for rebuild or parting out. At the same time, the fuselage of DIV was also trucked out of Vancouver to an unknown destination, presumably also for parting out. As of summer 2018 there has been no further word on either XUY or DIV.

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.