DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 295

CF-DRC at Marjorie Lake.
PhotoPeter Wollenberg © 1980 - Aird Archives
CF-DRC at crash location.
This view shows some of the trees it snapped off as it went into the bush.
This image was taken standing upright in the cockpit door, note the instrument panel, control, etc., are all torn loose and rotated 90* clockwise from the remainder of the aircraft.
This image shows the helicopter hovering low  over the accident site just below the small lake, it was hard to see the crash unless you looked straight down the cut path it made through the trees.
This image was taken of C-FBHY Bell 204B (2010) of Midwset Helicopters at the end of the day. The heli has just dropped us off in the side lot beside Parson’s waterbase outside Channing.
Photos: Paul Donaghy © September 1981
CF-DRC final resting place on the Parson's scrap heap, at Channing, Manitoba.
Photo: Ian Macdonald © Spring 1984

c/n 295




• 58-1687 United States Army. Delivered 30-Oct-1958. Designated U-1A.

Initially allocated to 12th Aviation Company, Fort Sill, OK.

Aug-1961.Moved with unit to Yukon Command at Fort Wainwright, Fairbanks which also maintained a Platoon at Fort Richardson, Anchorage and the aircraft alternated between the two locations.

May-1972. Put into storage at the Red River Army Depot, TX.

May 1972 Deleted from the Army inventory.

Entries preceded by date are entries from the Canadian Department of Transport archives.

27-Feb-1973 allotment of registration CF-DRC to  DHC-3, serial number 58-1687, to Rainy Lake Airways Ltd., Fort Frances, ON.

27-Feb-1973 Temporary Flight Permit & Certificate of Registration for Importation Flight Texarkana, TX to Fort Frances, ON for DHC-3 serial number 58-1687 to Rainy Lake Airways.

09-Apr-1974 Application for Certificate of Registration by Rainy Lake Airways Ltd.

01-May-1974 Temporary Flight Permit & Certificate of Registration to test fly for Certificate of Airworthiness for DHC-3 msn 295 to Rainy Lake Airways, valid to 01-Jun-1974.

05-Jun-1974 Above permit reissued, valid to 04-Jul-1974.

07-Jun-1974 Certificate of Airworthiness issued.

17-Jun-1974 Temporary Certificate of Airworthiness & Certificate of Registration to operate for Commercial purpose pending issue of formal documents.

18-Jun-1974 Certificate of registration issued to Rainy Lake Airways Ltd., Fort Frances ON.

• CF-DRC Rainy Lake Airways Ltd., Fort Frances, ON. Regd 18-Jun-1974.

30-Jul-1974 Application for Certificate of Registration by Parsons Airways Northern Ltd., Flin Flon, MB.

06-Aug-1974 Certificate of Registration issued to Parsons Airways Northern Ltd.

• CF-DRC Parsons Airways Northern Ltd., Flin Flon, MB. Regd 06-Aug-1974.

Accident: Near Precipice Lake MB 10 miles north Flin Flon, 54.52N/101.52W 16-Sep-1981. Crashed in bush due to fuel starvation. Pilot, Robbin MacKinnon injured, eight passengers uninjured. Aircraft destroyed

Total time since new as recorded in Canadian Department of Transport archives.

06-Jun-1974 - 3,317 hours

06-Jun-1975 - 3,562 hours

22-May-1976 - 3,959 hours

10-May-1977 - 4,356 hours

17-May-1978 - 5,033 hours

04-Jun-1979 - 5,716 hours

02-Jul-1980 - 6,305 hours

15-May-1981 - 6,684 hours

• CF-DRC Cancelled from Canadian Civil Aircraft Register. 11-Dec-1981.

Written off

Otter 295 was delivered to the United States Army on 30 October 1958 with serial 58-1687 (tail number 81687). It was allocated to the 12th Aviation Company at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and in July 1961 it flew north to Alaska, when the Company was re-assigned there to join Yukon Command. The 12th was based at Fort Wainright, Fairbanks but maintained a platoon at Fort Richardson, Anchorage and 81687 alternated between the two bases while it flew for the Company throughout the 1960s. It continued to fly for the 12th until May 1971 when, together with sister ship 81686, it flew south and was put into storage at the Red River Army Depot, Texarkana, Texas. It remained there until May 1972, when it was deleted from the Army inventory and put up for disposal. It was sold as item 43 in Sale Number 46-3062, which opened 11 January 1973 at Texarkana.

The buyer of the Otter was Vernon J. Jones of the Holiday Inn, International Falls, Minnesota and the Otter was registered to him that month as N67511. He was the founder and owner of Rainy Lake Airways Ltd., of Fort Frances, Ontario, just over the border from International Falls, where Mr Vernon also owned the Holiday Inn. A ferry permit was issued on 27 February 1973 for a flight by the Otter from the Depot at Texarkana to Fort Frances, where the Otter was civilianised, overhauled and painted into the colour scheme of Rainy Lake Airways which comprised a black lower fuselage, red cheatline and white upper fuselage with a black and red tail and company titles on the fuselage. The American registration was cancelled on 14 June 1973 on the registration of the Otter that day to Rainy Lake Airways Ltd., as CF-DRC.

Rainy Lake Airways was quite a substantial operation, with a fleet of thirteen aircraft, including Norseman, Goose, Beavers and Beech 18s, used to fly fishermen, hunters and tourists into the wilderness areas of Ontario. CF-DRC was to be its only Otter and did not remain in the fleet for very long, being sold to Parsons Airways Northern Ltd., of Flin Flon, Manitoba to whom it was registered on 6 August 1974. It served the bush country of northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan, one of nine Otters flown by Parsons over the years. It retained its Rainy Lake Airways colour scheme but without titles.

For the next seven years the Otter flew for Parsons Airways Northern based out of Flin Flon until it was destroyed in an accident on 16 September 1981. It was en route from Barrier Lake, Manitoba to Flin Flon with the pilot and eight fishermen on board. It was being flown at low altitude with reduced power settings because of suspected low fuel and headwinds. The engine lost power due to fuel starvation and the Otter crash landed in dense bush near Precipice Lake, Manitoba, ten miles north of Flin Flon. No one was injured but the Otter was destroyed in the crash.

Paul Donaghy was involved in recovering the wreck from the bush.  The recovery crew were flown to the nearest lake and hiked to the downed Otter, carrying a chainsaw and tools. They spent the morning clearing trees and making a clearance for a helicopter. The remnants of the wing were taken off with an axe, so that the helicopter could airlift the Otter. Bell 204 C-FBHY of Midwest Helicopters arrived and airlifted the wreck to the Parsons scrap heap at Channing in stages, carrying the floats, engine, fuselage and parts. The recovery crew also carried out the passengers fishing gear.

Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005), now with added and updated information which Karl has supplied for the benefit of the website.