DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 60

144259
No photographs at this time.
Photo:

c/n 60

3693

144259

X

• 3693 Royal Canadian Air Force. Delivered 17-Dec-1954. Sent to storage and never actually entered service.

• 144259 US Navy 21-Sep-1955. Entered service with  VX- 6 Squadron in December 1955 in Alaska.

Accident: Kainan Bay, Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica 10-Feb-1956. The Otter was placed on board the USS Glacier to transport it from McMurdo to the Little America V scientific research base in Antarctica. It was to take part in the rescue operation of a downed Otter there. During the offloading process a hoist cable broke and the Otter plunged to the ice shelf and landed on its right wing and landing gear. The fall damaged the wing extensively and fractured the fuselage.

Total hours with USN – 29hrs.

Scrapped

x

Otter 60 was delivered to the RCAF on 17th December 1954 with serial 3693, and went initially into storage with No.6 Repair Depot, Trenton as a reserve aircraft. It never in fact entered RCAF service. The US Navy had also ordered the Otter for the specific purpose of supporting its Antarctic exploration programme, and took delivery of its first Otter in July 1955. Its next three Otters were delayed due to a strike at DHC and in the circumstances the RCAF transferred three of its Otters to the US Navy, these being 3693 (60), 3695 (62) and 3699 (66). All three were taken out of storage with 6 Repair Depot and handed over to the US Navy on 21st September 1955.

On being accepted by the US Navy, Otter number 60 was allocated BuAer serial 144259. The Navy's own first Otter (142424) and the three Otters acquired from the RCAF, were placed on board the 'USS Glacier' and sailed to the Antarctic where they were unloaded and entered service with VX- 6 Squadron in December 1955. On 3rd February 1956, Navy Otter 144260 (62) crashed while evacuating members of an oversnow traverse party from Little America to Marie Byrd Land. 144259 attempted to reach Little America from its base at McMurdo to assist in the rescue, but was frustrated by weather. It and a helicopter were put aboard the 'USS Glacier' which sailed to the Little America V base.

On 10th February 1956 during the unloading of 144259 from the ship at Kainan Bay a cable broke sending the Otter plunging onto the ice shelf, landing on its starboard wing and main landing gear. It was declared a write-off when the extent of the damage was assessed and was scrapped. The fall had extensively fractured the fuselage and wing. 144259 had flown only 29 hours in Naval service, making it the shortest-lived Naval Otter. The wrecked Otter was taken by sledge from where it had fallen to the Little America base where it was scrapped.

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