DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 53

3687

No photograph at this time.

Photo:

c/n 53

3687

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• 3687 Royal Canadian Air Force. Delivered 16th November 1954. Initially it was allocated to 408 Squadron, Rockcliffe, ON.

Accident: Site 212, near Knob Lake, ON. 18-Mar-1956. The pilot had a strip cleared down to bare ice for a wheel take off, as the port ski had been damaged and was not usable. The wind was 25 knots gusting to 35 knots, but the pilot got the aircraft airborne halfway down the strip at a normal 50 knots. Almost immediately the starboard wing stalled and the Otter swung to starboard. It clipped a snowbank with the wing and semi-cartwheeled. It was destroyed in the ensuing crash. The accident report found that the pilot made no attempt to utilize the full length of the strip and made no allowance for the gusty wind conditions..Useable elements were removed from the wreck and the remainder was scrapped.

Scrapped

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Otter 53 was delivered to the RCAF on 16th November 1954 with serial 3687. It was allocated to 408 Squadron, Rockcliffe. One of the tasks entrusted to the squadron was supporting the helicopters of 108 Communications Flight, which were engaged in the construction of the Mid Canada Line of radar sites. For this purpose a base had been established at Knob Lake, which bordered the northern Quebec mining community of Schefferville, where Sikorsky H-19 helicopters of the 108th Communications Flight were operating, supported by the Otters.

The 408 Squadron history records the departure of 3687, in company with Otter 3663 (9) from Rockcliffe on 8th June 1955 en route to Knob Lake, where they were based for the summer. Initially they worked the sites to the east of Knob Lake. 3687 returned to base at Rockcliffe for the winter, but on 14th January 1956 in company with Otters 3678 (36) and 3679 (37) flew back to Knob Lake on exercise “Rocktop 2”, the continued support of the 108th Communications Flight helicopters. On 20th February 1956 a request for a mercy medical evacuation flight was made to the Commander of the RCAF detachment at Knob Lake. A four month old baby was critically ill at Oreway, Quebec. Otter 3687 was selected for the mission and took off for Oreway. It had to land at Manihek Dam to fix an oil leak but then continued on, collected the baby and its parents and flew them to hospital at Sept Iles, Quebec. The mission resulted in some very praiseworthy newspaper articles, and provided excellent public relations for the RCAF.

Sadly, the following month, 3687 came to grief. It had flown from Knob Lake to Site 212 on 18th March 1956. At the site, the pilot had a strip cleared down to bare ice for a wheel take off, as the port ski had been damaged and was not usable. The wind was 25 knots gusting to 35 knots, but the pilot got the aircraft airborne halfway down the strip at a normal 50 knots. Almost immediately the starboard wing stalled and the Otter swung to starboard. It clipped a snowbank with the wing and semi-cartwheeled. It was destroyed in the ensuing crash. The accident report found that the pilot made no attempt to utilize the full length of the strip and made no allowance for the gusty wind conditions. On 22nd March '56 RCAF C-47 Dakota TS422 arrived at Knob Lake from Trenton bringing in a salvage crew from No.6 Repair Depot, to salvage what they could from the crashed Otter, the rest of which was then scrapped.

History courtesy of Karl E. Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter: A History (2005).

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