DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 73

C-FIFP the prototype PZL-1000 conversion, at Silver Falls, Manitoba.
Photo: John Kimberley © May 1993 - Karl E. Hayes Collection

c/n 73

CF-IFP • C-FIFP • N65AW

N320AK

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• CF-IFP Maxwell Ward (Wardair), Yellowknife, NT. Delivered 16th June 1955.

• CF-IFP Wardair Canada Ltd., in November 1962.

• CF-IFP Bannock Aerospace Ltd., Toronto, ON. Regd Jul-1971.

• CF-IFP Silver Pine Air Services Ltd., Pine Falls, MB. Based Silver Falls, MB. Regd October 1972.  Canx 23-Jun-1986.

Accident: Seven miles north of Pine Falls, MB 07-Apr-1981. The aircraft was flying over a heavily forested area when the engine ran rough due to the failure of a cylinder exhaust valve. The pilot decided to continue his flight to a road and make a precautionary landing. He touched down heavily, damaging the left gear. No injury and aircraft repaired.

Note: In 1982 the aircraft was flown to Airtech at Peterborough, ON, where a 600hp PZL-3S engine was installed. The aircraft /engine combination was not a success and another Polish engine a 1000hp ASz-621r-M18, driving a four-bladed propeller was installed which became the prototype for the installation subsequently receiving certification.

• C-FIFP Company re named Eagle Aviation Ltd., Pine Falls, MB. Circa 1986.

• C-FIFP V. Kelner Airways, Pickle Lake, ON. On lease from 28-Sep-1987.

• C-FIFP Purchased by South Peace Services Ltd., Pine Falls ,MB 06-Oct-1987.

Accident: Dorothy Lake, ON, 22nd May 1988. The pilot of the float-equipped aircraft was taking off in a 10 to 15 knot gusty wind. He rejected the take-off when he believed the aircraft would not clear a point of land ahead and then taxied the Otter back to the end of the lake. On the second attempt the aircraft became airborne, then the right wing dropped and the wing tip and right float struck the water, causing substantial damage. Repaired by South Peace Services Ltd.

• C-FIFP Lease continued with V. Kelner Airways , Pickle Lake, ON. Canx 19-May-1989.

• C-FIFP Leased to Parsons Airways Northern Ltd., Flin Flon, MB. 14-Jun-1989 to 22-Aug 1989.

• C-FIFP Returned to South Peace Services Ltd., Pine Falls ,MB. 22-Aug-1989. Canx 07-Jun-1990.

• C-FIFP Leased to Points North Air Services Inc. Saskatoon, SK. Based Points North Landing, SK. 07-Jun-1990. Canx 12-Jun-1991.

• C-FIFP Returned to South Peace Services Ltd., Pine Falls, MB. 12-Jun-1991. Canx 13-Apr-1995.

• C-FIFP Purchased by Eagle Aviation Ltd., Pine Falls, MB. Regd 13-Apr-1995. Canx 11-Oct-1995.

• C-FIFP Leased to Blue Water Aviation Services Ltd.,. Pine Falls, MB. Based at Silver Falls, MB Canx 05-Apr-2000.

Accident: Long Haul Lake, MB: 25th June 1999. The aircraft was initially loaded with six passengers, their luggage and equipment at Silver Falls for a flight to Sasaginnigak Lake. After the passengers disembarked, the Otter continued on to Long Haul Lake. There the aircraft was loaded with eight passengers and their luggage for a flight to Matheson Island, Manitoba. Just before lift off during the take-off from Long Haul Lake, the engine abruptly lost power and the pilot beached the Otter on an island. He relayed his predicament to the company's base via VHF relay through an overflying aircraft. Blue Water Aviation then dispatched a second Otter, flown by the company's maintenance co-ordinator, carrying an engineer and spare parts, to come to the rescue of the downed IFP.

On arrival at Long Haul Lake, the pilot of IFP moved over to the relief Otter, loaded his passengers and continued with his flight. The maintenance co-ordinator and engineer proceeded to examine IFP, to determine the reason for the power loss. They taxied the Otter to the camp dock, and having checked the main fuel filter sump, a cup of water was drained away. The pilot then taxied out into the lake and conducted two run-ups. Both pilot and engineer were satisfied with the engine's performance and believed that the engine's earlier rough running and failure resulted from water contamination in the fuel. The pilot selected a take-off run for his return to base at Silver Falls, which afforded a curving take-off distance of 4,000 feet in a north-westerly direction, among several islands. He taxied into take-off position and applied power. The engine ran smoothly and produced full power during the take-off and initial climb, until at an altitude of about 150 feet, the engine quit. As the Otter could not be landed on the remaining portion of the lake, the pilot turned towards the next nearest water area, and endeavoured to re-start the engine, without success.

The Otter descended into a stand of trees about one mile north of Long Haul Lake. It descended through the tops of the trees, and then at the edge of the stand of trees, fell and struck the ground at a steep angle. The impact broke off the floats and the wings. The roof and floor of the cockpit were twisted and the engine mounts broken from the fuselage. The front part of the cockpit broke away from the rest of the fuselage. The pilot, who was wearing his lap belt and shoulder harness, was seriously injured. The engineer, who was only wearing his lap belt but not the shoulder harness, was killed in the impact. The ELT was activated by the impact forces. Search and rescue aircraft were dispatched from Winnipeg and the two occupants were removed from the scene.

Total time: at Jun-1999 – 23,960 hrs with 5,314 on the PZL engine.

Note: Wreckage removed to Silver Falls and acquired by Atlantic Aircraft Salvage Ltd.

• C-FIFP Atlantic Aircraft Salvage Ltd., Enfield, NS. Regd 12-Feb-2008. Canx 28-Feb-2008 on export to USA.

N65AW Michael Schilling, Kenai, AK.Regd 29-Mar-2008 & 21-Nov-2009.

N65AW Regn Pending to Rustair Inc., 03-Dec-2011.

N65AW Rustair Inc., Anchorage, AK. Regd 05-Jan-2012.

• N320KT Rustair Inc., Anchorage, AK .-regd 12-Jul-2012.

Certification date. 06-Jul-2012.

Note: Now with PT-6A, Installation details currently unknown. Presumed circa 2012.

Current

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Otter 73 was delivered to Maxwell Ward on 16th June 1955 registered CF-IFP, for operation by his Yellowknife-based Wardair. It was his second Otter, his first being number 5 CF-GBY. CF-IFP was delivered on floats, on which it flew during the summer months, changing to wheel-skis for the winter. It immediately became a hard-working member of the Wardair fleet, flying throughout the Northwest Territories.

The Western SAR Area files in the National Archives in Ottawa document some of its flights, when communications difficulties were encountered, and show the type of work it was engaged in. For example, Fort Resolution-Yellowknife (19th December 1957); Wrigley-Fort Norman-Norman Wells- Good Hope-Arctic Red River-Aklavik (2nd to 4th February 1958); Yellowknife-Hay River (12th March '58); Coppermine-Port Radium-Yellowknife (29th March '58); Fort Simpson-Mile 108-Yellowknife (6th April '58); Tuk Tuk-Reindeer Station-Aklavik (5th July '58); Yellowknife-Cook Lake-Yellowknife (13th August '58) and Yellowknife-Tourcanis-Yellowknife (15th October '58).

The Otter was registered to Max Ward's company Wardair Canada Ltd in November 1962 and continued in service with Wardair for all of sixteen years, until sold in July 1971. The buyer was Bannock Aerospace Ltd of Toronto, the company established by Russ Bannock, one time director of DHC, to trade in DHC aircraft. He sold it on almost immediately to Silver Pine Air Services Ltd of Pine Falls, Manitoba in October 1972, being subsequently re-registered C-FIFP. Silver Pine Air Services are actually based at Silver Falls, some 15 kms from Pine Falls, on the river connecting Lac du Bonnet with Lake Winnipeg. This is quite an important Otter base as also located here are Otter operators/owners Eagle Aviation Ltd, South Peace Services Ltd, Blue Water Aviation Services Ltd., and Adventure Air. There is hangarage for storing the aircraft and maintenance. The river provides for summer operations on floats and for the winter there is a grass strip alongside the river.

C-FIFP entered service with Silver Pine A/S., providing a full range of bush services throughout Manitoba and further afield. On 7th April 1981 the Otter was flying over a heavily forested area seven miles north of its base at Pine Falls when the engine ran rough due to the failure of a cylinder exhaust valve. The pilot decided to continue his flight to a road and make a precautionary landing. He touched down heavily, damaging the left gear. In 1982 Silver Pine decided to have the Otter converted with the Polish PZL-3S engine of 600 horse power, and IFP was flown to the Airtech facility at Peterborough, Ontario where the work was done. IFP was one of eight Otters to be converted, but this engine/airframe combination did not work well and was not a success. Most of the eight were converted back to the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp engine, but Silver Pine opted to go for the more powerful Polish engine, the ASz-621r-M18 of 1,000 horse power, driving a four-bladed propeller. C-FIFP was in fact the prototype of this conversion and made its first flight with the new engine on 25th August 1983 at Peterborough. This engine was a success with the Otter and after a period of test flying received its Canadian certification.

IFP continued in service with Silver Pine A/S until 1986, when the company changed its name to Eagle Aviation Ltd and became predominantly a leasing company, leasing its aircraft to other operators. In September 1987 C-FIFP went on lease to V. Kelner Airways Ltd, based at Pickle Lake, Ontario. It was involved in an accident at Dorothy Lake, Ontario on 22nd May 1988. The pilot of the float-equipped Otter was taking off in a 10 to 15 knot gusty wind. He rejected the take-off when he believed the aircraft would not clear a point of land ahead and then taxied the Otter back to the end of the lake. On the second attempt the aircraft became airborne, then the right wing dropped and the wing tip and right float struck the water, causing substantial damage. The Otter was brought back to Silver Falls, and registered in June 1988 to South Peace Services, who undertook the repairs. From June to August 1989 it went on lease to Parsons Airways Northern Ltd, based out of Flin Flon, Manitoba. After winter storage at Silver Falls it went on lease to Points North Air Services, Points North Landing, Saskatchewan for the summer of 1990 and after another winter storage was reregistered to South Peace Services in June 1991. It flew for that company until April 1995, when it was registered back to Eagle Aviation Ltd. In October 1995 it was registered to Blue Water Aviation Services Ltd, also based at Silver Falls, on lease from Eagle Aviation. It was still flying for this company when disaster struck four years later.

On the morning of 25th June 1999 C-FIFP was loaded with six passengers, their luggage and equipment at Silver Falls for a flight to Sasaginnigak Lake. After the passengers disembarked, the Otter continued on to Long Haul Lake. There the aircraft was loaded with eight passengers and their luggage for a flight to Matheson Island, Manitoba. Just before lift off during the take-off from Long Haul Lake, the engine abruptly lost power and the pilot beached the Otter on an island. He relayed his predicament to the company's base via VHF relay through an overflying aircraft. Blue Water Aviation then dispatched a second Otter, flown by the company's maintenance co-ordinator, carrying an engineer and spare parts, to come to the rescue of the downed IFP.

On arrival at Long Haul Lake, the pilot of IFP moved over to the relief Otter, loaded his passengers and continued with his flight. The maintenance co-ordinator and engineer proceeded to examine IFP, to determine the reason for the power loss. They taxied the Otter to the camp dock, and having checked the main fuel filter sump, a cup of water was drained away. The pilot then taxied out into the lake and conducted two run-ups. Both pilot and engineer were satisfied with the engine's performance and believed that the engine's earlier rough running and failure resulted from water contamination in the fuel. The pilot selected a take-off run for his return to base at Silver Falls, which afforded a curving take-off distance of 4,000 feet in a north-westerly direction, among several islands. He taxied into take-off position and applied power. The engine ran smoothly and produced full power during the take-off and initial climb, until at an altitude of about 150 feet, the engine quit. As the Otter could not be landed on the remaining portion of the lake, the pilot turned towards the next nearest water area, and endeavoured to re-start the engine, without success.

The Otter descended into a stand of trees about one mile north of Long Haul Lake. It descended through the tops of the trees, and then at the edge of the stand of trees, fell and struck the ground at a steep angle. The impact broke off the floats and the wings. The roof and floor of the cockpit were twisted and the engine mounts broken from the fuselage. The front part of the cockpit broke away from the rest of the fuselage. The pilot, who was wearing his lap belt and shoulder harness, was seriously injured. The engineer, who was only wearing his lap belt but not the shoulder harness, was killed in the impact. The ELT was activated by the impact forces. Search and rescue aircraft were dispatched from Winnipeg and the two occupants were removed from the scene.

The accident investigation determined that the water contamination had remained in the fuel system, and led to the failure of the engine. C-FIFP had accumulated 23,960 hours since new at the date of the crash. It had flown 5,314 hours since the PZL engine had been installed. The wrecked Otter was eventually returned to Silver Falls and the registration was cancelled on 5th April 2000. As of June 2004, the wrecked Otter was in a barn at Silver Falls, awaiting a decision on its future.

See updates above, the aircraft was saved. More details here shortly.

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

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