DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 65

C-GOFF landing at McFarlane Lake, Sudbury, Ontario.
Photo: Neil Ayers © 1979
C-GOFF at Ignace, Ontario.
Photo: Neil Aird © 18 July 1995
C-GOFF with Walter conversion, at Vernon, British Columbia.
Photo: John W. Olafson © 12 December 2002
C-GOFF at Red Lake, Ontario.
Photo: Michael Leonard © 27 July 2003

c/n 65

3698

C-GOFF

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• 3698 Royal Canadian Air Force, delivered 18-Feb-1955.

Cold Lake Station Flight until May-1957.

To DHC, Downsview, for incorporation of All Up Weight modifications.

Into storage by No.6 Repair Depot, Trenton as a reserve aircraft Nov-1957 to Jun-1958.

Goose Bay Station Flight, NL. Summers of 1958, to 1965 for summer deployments returning to Trenton in between.

Assigned to 438 Squadron at  St.Hubert, QC. Oct-1965.

To Saskatoon for disposal through the Crown Assets Disposal  Corporation. Nov-1975 until Apr -1977.

• C-GOFF/74 Province of Ontario, Ministry of Natural Resources, Sault Ste.Marie, ON. Sep-1978. Canx 09-Aug-1985.

• C-GOFF Thousand Lakes Airways Ltd., Upsala, ON. 17-Jun-1986.

• C-GOFF Ignace Airways Ltd., Ignace, ON. Apr-1990.

Incident Agimak Lake, ON. 05-May-1990. Moments after take-off the Otter descended and struck the water. Damage could not have been much as it was soon flying again.

• C-GOFF Ignace Airways (1996) Ltd., in October 1996.

• C-GOFF Huron Air & Outfitters Inc., Armstrong / McKenzie Lake, ON. November 1998.

Converted to turbine power at the AOG facility at Kelowna, BC with a Walter engine, winter 2002.

Accident: A strip near Jellicoe, ON 16-Dec-2003. The aircraft was parked overnight at Jellicoe and about eight inches of snow had fallen overnight. In the morning the snow was cleared off of the aircraft and it took off at noon that day from the airstrip beside Blackwater Lake near to Jellicoe, when it came down on the frozen lake, penetrating the ice and flipping over. The pilot and one passenger were sadly killed in the crash and one passenger survived. Just after lift off the outer right wing leading edge had struck some small trees at the end of the strip. and crashed through the frozen lake, located some seventy feet below the runway elevation ending up in an inverted position half submerged, having gone through 20 cms of solid ice with the aft section of the fuselage above the ice. After the aircraft came down, the one survivor, even though having broken a leg, managed to extricate himself from the wreckage.

Unfortunately the ELT beacon did not activate, no flight plan had been filed and so the authorities were unaware that the aircraft had crashed, as no one reported it overdue. The crash was not discovered until noon the next day, twenty four hours after it had happened, when it was seen from the air by an overflying aircraft. By that stage the survivor was in a critical condition, suffering from severe hypothermia, having spent the night on the frozen lake in a temperature of -22C.

Three days after the crash, the authorities managed to recover the wreck, using a tow truck and sixty metres of cable to pull the Otter to the shore. Only then could the bodies of the pilot and passenger be recovered, when the aircraft had been stabilized on the ice, as conditions had been too dangerous for diving. (Full narrative below).

Photo: Transport Saftey Board of Canada © December 2003

Written off

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Otter 65 was delivered to the RCAF on 18th February 1955 with serial 3698. It was first assigned to the Cold Lake Station Flight, where it served until May 1957 when it went to DHC for incorporation of All Up Weight modifications. On completion of this work, it was put into storage by No.6 Repair Depot, Trenton as a reserve aircraft in November 1957 and remained there until June 1958 when it joined the Goose Bay Station Flight for the summer. The first eight years of its service career would in fact comprise of summer deployments to Goose Bay and winter storage. It went back into storage with 6 Repair Depot at the end of September 1958 and went back to Goose Bay for summer 1959, from July to September, again returning to storage with 6RD. It yet again served at Goose Bay for the summer of 1960, from June to October, then returning to storage at Trenton. In April 1961 it went back to Goose and served with the Station Flight there for the summer of 1961, flying alongside 3681.

Both Otters were involved in the lengthy SAR effort for Okanagan Sikorsky S-58 CF-LWC, which crashed en route from Cartwright to Goose on 3rd July 1961. The Otter is also mentioned in dispatches on 26th August '61, overdue on a flight from Goose to Great Whale. It had set down to await a clearance in the weather, to avoid heavy thunderstorms, and was unable to maintain radio contact, eventually landing at Fort Chimo. In October '61 3698 returned to Trenton for storage and was back at Goose for the summer of 1962. In October 1962 it went back into storage, this time at
the Canadian Pacific depot at Calgary. Yet again it went back to Goose for the summer of 1963, back into storage at Trenton in August 1963. Its deployment to Goose had been to serve the Eagle River camp that summer. It was back at Goose in June 1964, flying to Trenton in August '64 and then to Saskatoon in September '64 where it was stored for the winter. On 6th April '65 it flew from Saskatoon back to Goose again for the summer. This was to be its last summer deployment to the Goose Bay Station Flight and in October 1965 it was assigned to 438 Squadron at St.Hubert, Montreal where it was to serve for the next ten years. In November 1975, its military career over, it was flown to Saskatoon and put up for disposal through the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation.

The Otter remained in storage at Saskatoon until April 1977 when, as explained in relation to Otter number 35, it was one of seven ex Canadian military Otters transferred to the Province of Ontario, Ministry of Natural Resources. All seven were flown to the Ministry's base at Sault Ste.Marie where they were completely rebuilt and modernised, and repainted in the Ministry's yellow and black colour scheme. Otter 65 was registered to the Ministry in September 1978 as C-GOFF and entered service. For the next seven years, the Otter flew for the Ministry of Natural Resources, until 1986 when it was sold as the Ministry was phasing out its Otter fleet during the mid 1980s. The registration to the Ministry was cancelled on 9th August 1985. After winter storage and overhaul, the Otter was registered on 17th June 1986 to Thousand Lakes Airways Ltd of Upsala, Ontario who had purchased the Otter.

C-GOFF was sold on to Ignace Airways Ltd of Ignace, Ontario in April 1990. One incident was recorded, moments after take-off from Agimak Lake, Ontario on 5th May 1990 when the Otter descended and struck the water. Damage could not have been much as it was soon flying again. It continued in service with Ignace Airways, the company being re-constituted as Ignace Airways (1996) Ltd in October 1996. In November 1998 the Otter was sold to another Ontario operator, Huron Air & Outfitters Inc of Armstrong-McKenzie Lake and continued to serve the Ontario bush country. In October 2002 the aircraft arrived at the AOG facility at Kelowna, BC for conversion to a turbine Otter with a Walter engine this being the third such conversion. The Otter was at Vernon, BC in December 2002, sporting its new Walter engine and still painted in the yellow and black colour scheme of its days with the provincial government. It was still in the testing phase at that stage, with airflow sensors on top of the cowling to analyse rain dispersal over the windshield.

The Otter continued to fly for Huron Air as a turbine throughout 2003, until sadly coming to grief on 16th December of that year. The Otter had flown from its base to an airstrip at Jellicoe, Ontario, where it was parked overnight. Approximately eight inches of fresh snow had fallen overnight and prior to departure the snow was cleared off the aircraft. C-GOFF had just taken off at noon that day from the airstrip beside Blackwater Lake near to Jellicoe, when it came down on the frozen lake, penetrating the ice and flipping over. The pilot and one passenger were sadly killed in the crash and one passenger survived. The purpose of the flight was to bring the two passengers, who were prospectors, out into the bush to McFaud's Lake and the aircraft also carried their snowmobile and supplies. Just after lift off the outer right wing leading edge struck small trees at the end of the strip. The Otter then crashed through the frozen lake, located some seventy feet below the runway elevation and came to rest in an inverted position with the aft section of the fuselage above the ice.

After the Otter came down, the one survivor, even though having broken a leg, managed to extricate himself from the wreckage. Unfortunately the ELT beacon did not activate, no flight plan had been filed and so the authorities were unaware that the aircraft had crashed, as no one reported it overdue. The crash was not discovered until noon the next day, twenty four hours after it had happened, when it was seen from the air by an overflying aircraft of Nakina Air Service. By that stage the survivor was in a critical condition, suffering from severe hypothermia, having spent the night on the frozen lake in a temperature of -22C.

The Otter was half submerged, having gone through 20 cms of solid ice on Blackwater Lake. On Friday 19th December '03, three days after the crash, the authorities managed to recover the wreck, using a tow truck and sixty metres of cable to pull the Otter to the shore. Only then could the bodies of the pilot and passenger be recovered, when the aircraft had been stabilized on the ice, as conditions had been too dangerous for diving.

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