DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 98

55-3256
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Photo:

c/n 98

55-3256

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• 55-3256  United States Army. Delivered 12th March 1956. Designated U-1A

Allocated to the 14th Army Aviation Company, Fort Riley, KS.

Re-designated the 1st Aviation Company and moved to Fort Benning, GA, Aug-1956 until March 1961.

2nd Missile Command at Fort Carson, CO  until April 1962.

17th Aviation Company, Fort Ord, CA from Apr-1962.

• 55-3256 United States Air Force (USAF). Transferred in September 1963

Flown to the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, CA where they were prepared for their new role and painted in USAF colours.

4082nd Strategic Wing, Goose Bay Oct 1963 until 01-Oct-1966.

95th Strategic Wing, Goose Bay, NL 01-Oct 1966.

Accident: Minipi Lake, 49 miles southwest of Goose Bay, NL. The Otter failed to clear the trees on the lake shore. Having impacted the upper portions of several trees, it flipped into an inverted position, crashed to the ground, caught fire and was totally destroyed, along with twelve acres of scrub forest. Miraculously, the two pilots and six passengers were uninjured.

Destroyed

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Otter 98 was delivered to the United States Army on 12th March 1956 with serial 55-3256 (tail number 53256). It was allocated to the 14th Army Aviation Company, Fort Riley, Kansas. In August '56 the 14th was re-designated the 1st Aviation Company and moved to Fort Benning, Georgia where it continued to fly the Otter until 1961, when it converted to the Caribou, relinquishing its U-1As to other units. 53256 then joined the 2nd Missile Command at Fort Carson, Colorado until April 1962, when it moved to the 17th Aviation Company at Fort Ord, California.

53256 was one of three 17th Aviation Company Otters transferred to the United States Air Force (USAF). In September 1963 the three Otters (53256, 53267 and 81696) were flown to the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, California where they were prepared for their new role and painted in USAF colours. While this work was being done, the USAF crews to fly the aircraft received training on the Otter at Fort Ord. In October 1963 the three Otters were flown all the way from Stockton, California to Goose Bay, Labrador. The Otters had one specific tasking - that of supporting the USAF facility at Goose Bay, where they replaced U-6A Beavers. The Otters were used to transport personnel and supplies from Goose to Air Defence Command radar sites at Melville, Cartwright, Hopedale and Saglek; support of survival camps and outlying sites and general transport work. The three Otters were assigned to the 4082nd Strategic Wing, the host unit at Goose until October 1966, when the 95th Strategic Wing took over.

53256 served at Goose Air Base for eleven years, until it met with an accident on 21st June 1974. While taking off on floats from Minipi Lake, 49 miles southwest of Goose, where a survival training camp was located, the Otter failed to clear the trees on the lake shore. Having impacted the upper portions of several trees, it flipped into an inverted position, crashed to the ground, caught fire and was totally destroyed, along with twelve acres of scrub forest. Miraculously, the two pilots and six passengers were uninjured. A Canso water bomber was called in to fight the major fire which the Otter had caused. Otter 81696 flew in from Goose with a ground party to fight the fire and to return the survivors to base.

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

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