DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 63

3696
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Photo:

c/n 63

3696

X

 3696 Royal Canadian Air Force. Delivered 27-Jan-1955.

Immediately placed into storage with No.6 Repair Depot, Trenton, ON., as a reserve aircraft.

To DHC in January 1956 for incorporation of All Up Weight modifications.

111 Communications & Rescue Flight, Winnipeg, MB. Circa Jan-1956.

Lincoln Park, Calgary depot and placed into storage. Jul-1957.

105 C&R Flight at Namao Air Base, Edmonton, AB. Mar-1958 – Dec-1958.

102 Communications & Rescue Flight at Trenton, ON., Jan-1959.

Accident: Unknown lake, ON 05-Aug-1960. In the course of a cross-country training flight from Trenton, “B” category damage was sustained. At 400 feet during an overshoot from a glassy-water landing, the pilot decided to do another landing.  He then proceeded as for a ripple water landing. At 65 knots he began to round out, with power out. The aircraft stalled and struck the water. The airframe at the rear of the float attachment point was bent. Water conditions were such that the pilot should have done a glassy water type of approach. Repaired at DHC, Downsview.  Returned by May-1961.

October 1963, Storage at the Dunnville Depot, ON., Oct-1963.

402 Squadron, Winnipeg for use by 38 Radar Sqd, based at Armstrong, ON., a radar station on the northern shore of Lake Nipigon.

Accident: Unknown Lake. 27-Mar-1965.The pilot had decided to practice ski landings on a lake, and a touch-and-go landing was made to check snow conditions. A 180 degree turn was executed for an inspection pass, with  the flaps selected up. Conditions being found suitable, a chandelle-type manoeuvre was begun  to reverse direction for a second landing. About 70 degrees of bank was used in the turn, begun  at about 300 feet. The flaps had been forgotten in the 'up' position. After about 90 degrees into the turn, the pilot saw the airspeed to be about 60 knots. The nose was lowered, the power increased and the turn continued. The aircraft stalled and there was insufficient altitude for recovery. The Otter struck the ground in a descending left turn, just prior to recovery from the stall, striking the port wing tip and port ski. The aircraft bounced back to a flying attitude and was flown back to base. The port wing and aileron had suffered extensive damage. A hazardous technique had been used for the circuit. The damage was repaired.

115 Air Transport Unit (ATU) in Egypt. Apr-1966. Wore UN markings.

Returned to 6 Repair Depot, Trenton, ON., circa Jan-1967 and posted to Goose Bay, NL., May-1967 – Sep-1967.

438Sqd St Hubert - Montréal, QC., Sep-1967.

Accident: 45.05N. 72.29W, to the east of Montréal. 17-Apr-1969. In the course of a cross-country training flight out of St.Hubert, The aircraft crashed and was written off. During a low level exercise, while initiating a turn to the right, the aircraft contacted trees and crashed to the ground.. The two occupants were slightly injured but the Otter was wrecked and was later “reduced to scrap and spares”.

Written off

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Otter 63 was delivered to the RCAF on 27th January 1955 with serial 3696. It went into storage with No.6 Repair Depot, Trenton as a reserve aircraft, returning to DHC in January 1956 for incorporation of All Up Weight modifications. It was then assigned to 111 Communications & Rescue Flight, Winnipeg, the unit's diary recording that on 17th July '56 a crew was ferried to Downsview to pick up 3696, their new Otter. By 16th August '56 3696 was on floats operating from the Lac du Bonnet summer base, flying alongside 3662 and on 8th November '56 both Otters returned to Winnipeg and were fitted with wheel-skis for the winter.

On 30th November '56 a medevac mission to Crookston, North Dakota is recorded and on 18th February '57 3696 took photographs of the crash site of a Mitchell bomber in the St.James area and then headed north for an inspection check flight of northern facilities. On 9th July '57 3696 was involved in the rescue effort for Central Northern Airways Norseman CF-CRD which had crashed near Island Lake, on a flight between Riverton and Savage Island. The Otter landed the ground rescue team at a nearby lake and later flew the survivors and the rescuers to Riverton. That was the Otter's last mission with the Flight, as it was then flown to Canadian Pacific's Lincoln Park, Calgary depot that month and placed into storage. In March 1958 it was assigned to 105 C&R Flight at Namao Air Base, Edmonton. On 13th June '58 it was launched in response to a distress signal on the ground seen by an RCAF fighter. A doctor parachuted from the Otter to the distress scene where a person was suffering from pneumonia. He was rescued the next day by Bell 47 CF-JRG of Associated Helicopters, which flew the patient and doctor to Edmonton. On another occasion in June '58, 3696 was active with the Flight's other Otter 3691 in the search for a missing Fleet Canuck in the Buffalo Narrows area. In September '58 both Otters as well as two of the Flight's Dakotas and four Expeditors were engaged in the search for Pacific Western Beaver CF-DJM, missing on a flight from Eureka River to a provincial forestry airstrip.

The two Otters soldiered on until December 1958 when 105 C&R Flight was disbanded and in January 1959 3696's next posting was to 102 Communications & Rescue Flight at Trenton, Ontario. In December '59 it is recorded as en route from Kapuskasing to Pagwa, involved in the search and rescue effort for a USAF B-47 and F-102 which had collided in mid air north of Pagwa. 102 KU provided the Otter and three C-47 Dakotas for five days for the search. On 5th August 1960, in the course of a cross-country training flight from Trenton, “B” category damage was sustained. At 400 feet during an overshoot from a glassy-water landing, the pilot decided to do another landing. He then proceeded as for a ripple water landing. At 65 knots he began to round out, with power out. The aircraft stalled and struck the water. The airframe at the rear of the float attachment point was bent. Water conditions were such that the pilot should have done a glassy water type of approach.

The Otter was taken first to 6 Repair Depot, Trenton and then to DHC Downsview for repairs, and arrived back at 102 Communications Unit, Trenton in May 1961 where it continued to serve until October 1963, when it went into storage at the Dunnville Depot, Ontario. There it remained as a reserve aircraft until May 1964 when it was assigned to 402 Squadron, Winnipeg for use by 38 Radar Squadron, based at Armstrong, Ontario, a radar station on the northern shore of Lake Nipigon. The station was located near to the hamlet of Armstrong, and had its own flight of Otters, known by the imaginative name of the “RCAF Armstrong Otter Flight”. Up to three Otters were on strength at any one time, operating from the Department of Transport airfield at Armstrong. The Otter Flight's duties ranged from logistical support, search and rescue and “Flying Doctor” services. This was offered on a weekly and monthly basis to RCAF personnel stationed at Pagwa and Sioux Lookout. Medical evacuations were carried out as necessary. The Otter Flight was reduced to a single aircraft in late 1965 and finally on 1st April 1968 the Flight, then designated the CFS Armstrong Otter Flight was disbanded.

On 27th March '65, while still serving with the Armstrong Otter Flight, 3696 recorded another incident. The pilot had decided to practice ski landings on a lake, and a touch-and-go landing was made to check snow conditions. A 180 degree turn was executed for an inspection pass, with the flaps selected up. Conditions being found suitable, a chandelle-type manoeuvre was begun to reverse direction for a second landing. About 70 degrees of bank was used in the turn, begun at about 300 feet. The flaps had been forgotten in the 'up' position. After about 90 degrees into the turn, the pilot saw the airspeed to be about 60 knots. The nose was lowered, the power increased and the turn continued. The aircraft stalled and there was insufficient altitude for recovery. The Otter struck the ground in a descending left turn, just prior to recovery from the stall, striking the port wing tip and port ski. The aircraft bounced back to a flying attitude and was flown back to base. The port wing and aileron had suffered extensive damage. A hazardous technique had been used for the circuit. The damage was repaired.

The Otter continued to serve with the Flight until April 1966, when it went to DHC for depot level maintenance and preparation for its next assignment. It was painted white and given 'UN' markings, as its next posting was to 115 Air Transport Unit (ATU) in Egypt. It was fitted with special air filters to enable it to operate in desert conditions and in May 1966 it was flown in an RCAF Hercules to El Arish, where it is recorded as arriving on 21st May '66. It was a replacement for 3678 which had crashed at El Kuntilla, Egypt on 25th April '66. Air transport and air observation remained 115 ATU's roles. Scheduled flights provided rations and troop rotation to various desert outposts several times a week. The Otters flew the short hauls to Ras El Naqb and El Kuntilla, but increasingly these were being combined with the longer flights to Sharm El Sheikh using the Caribou. It remained a hazardous tasking, as the territory over which the aircraft flew was bleak, barren desert or mountainous terrain with few recognizable landmarks. Radio aids to navigation were minimal, with heavy reliance on map reading skills.

With 115 ATU 3696 flew alongside Otter 3677. The use of the Otter on this UN operation was however coming to an end and with effect from 31st October 1966 the two Otters officially ceased to fly on UNEF taskings, but they were retained as back up. They did in fact continue flying their missions, recording 65 hours flying time in November '66 and 28 hours in December. The two Otters flew just 9 hours during the early part of January 1967, before being flown back to Trenton by RCAF Hercules. On arrival back at Trenton, both 3696 and 3677 were deposited with 6 Repair Depot, who restored the aircraft to standard RCAF configuration and both Otters were then sent north, in May 1967, to be based at Goose Bay for the summer. 3696 remained at Goose until the end of September '67 when it flew back to 6 Repair Depot, Trenton for the removal of its floats, and as a wheel aircraft it was then assigned to 438 Squadron at St.Hubert, Montreal.

On 17th April 1969, in the course of a cross-country training flight out of St.Hubert, 3696 crashed and was written off. During a low level exercise, while initiating a turn to the right, the aircraft contacted trees and crashed to the ground. The accident occurred at position 45.05 North 72.29 West, to the east of Montreal. The two occupants were slightly injured but the Otter was wrecked and was later “reduced to scrap and spares”. The accident happened while approaching a mountain range, the pilot having failed to gain sufficient altitude. He then attempted to attain a rate of climb beyond the capability of the aircraft and stalled, crashing into the trees.

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