Sunday, December 31, 2006



Steve's Otter Of The Week! Karl E. Hayes

When I started "Blogging" in December of 2004, I was unsure of what I was doing (probably still am), and since then it has been a great learning experience for me regarding the "Internet World". One of the "tremendous unplanned bonuses" my Blog has enabled me to receive is contact with people I otherwise would never have had contact with. My "new friends" are "passionate" aviation people, whether they are pilots, engineers, "onlooking enthusiasts", researchers, photographers, or historians. One of these "passionate" people has done tremendous (unbelievably) research and work regarding an aspect of aviation very "dear" to my heart, and I would like to profile this gentleman and his work, as "it needs sharing". The passionate person to "whom" I refer is a fellow by the name of Karl Hayes. Karl has produced a CD entitled;

De Havilland Canada

It is a "Masterpiece", with histories of all 466 Otters produced, and numerous outstanding photos. It is an enthralling "Otter family history". Karl had sent me the CD this summer, and had allowed me to reproduce some of the CD on my Blog. Due to the busy float, and then freeze-up seasons, I didn't have a lot of extra time to introduce his work to my "readers", but now I "have the time". I will profile 1 Otter every week, with history and photos if possible. I will start today with the initial portion of the Preface from the CD, profile an Otter, and at the end of the "Post" I will give some info on how to contact Karl and "acquire" one of these brilliant CDs. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. So, here is a portion of the Preface from the CD, and the very first Otter we will profile, C-FUKN, S/N 456, the first Otter I flew years ago, and the Otter I flew this summer from Pine Dock. I have about 4000 hrs. on this machine, having flown it on wheels, skis, and floats. Enjoy!


If ever there was an aircraft of immense interest whose exploits have gone, for the most part, unrecorded and unnoticed, it must surely be the Otter. The DHC-3 Otter first flew in December 1951 and ever since it has faithfully served its operators, both civil and military, mostly in remote parts of the world. Despite its many achievements and the great amount of important work it has performed over the years, and continues to perform, only a very limited amount has been written about it. The Otter was heavily involved in the Antarctic exploration programme of the late 1950s and early 1960s, but writings on this topic usually concentrate on other types of aircraft that were involved. It made a huge contribution in many outback parts of the world to their development. In US Army service it was instrumental in mapping and survey work in the Americas, from Alaska all the way south to Chile, and also in northern Africa and yet these roles are largely unknown. In Vietnam it saw ten years of combat service and yet books on the South East Asian conflict either ignore the Otter completely or mention it only in passing. In its home country of Canada, as in Alaska, it must surely be the ultimate bush aircraft and yet it is usually mentioned, if at all, as being a “big Beaver”, which it is, but it still merits discussion of its own achievements. It is hoped that this CD addresses these shortcomings, and pays adequate regard to the history and work of the Otter, recording it for posterity. It is an attempt to gather together all information that could be ascertained on the DHC-3 Otter. There is undoubtedly much more information “out there somewhere”. There must be many persons who were involved with Otters over the years, as pilots, maintainers, operators, members of military units etc. who have their stories and history on Otter aircraft. It is also to be hoped that this CD will bring together all those persons interested in the Otter, and foster a community of interest in this fine old bushplane. It is requested that anyone with any additional information, or corrections, would send in their data so that a future edition of this CD could include this information. Information on developments on the Otters still flying would also be appreciated. It is also hoped to issue periodic updates, and anyone sending in any information, either current or historic, will be sent copies of such updates. Any such information can be sent to the following postal address or by e-mail:

Karl Hayes,
Killiney Hill Road,
County Dublin, Ireland


Otter 456

Otter 456 was delivered to Sherritt Gordon Air Transport Ltd of Lynn Lake, Manitoba on 4th March 1965, registered CF-UKN. This was the air transport division of Sherritt Gordon Mines. The nickel mine at Lynn Lake was located in a very remote part of Manitoba, over one thousand kilometres north of Winnipeg, and air transport was required to connect the mine with Winnipeg and other parts of Manitoba. The Otter was to serve the mine for twenty years, with only one accident recorded, at Lynn Lake on 3rd October 1970, which the accident report summarised as: “Descending turn, dragged wing tip, failed to see/avoid objects, exercised poor judgement, glassy water, unwarranted low flying, substantial damage”. The Otter was repaired and resumed service. It continued flying for Sherritt Gordon Air Transport until sold to Northway Aviation Ltd of Arnes, Manitoba in April 1985, which it has served ever since, part of the company's fleet based at Arnes on the shore of Lake Winnipeg and serving central and northern areas of Manitoba.

-by Karl E. Hayes

Yes, quite the "bird". When Jim and Geiri Johnson of Northway bought the aircraft, they also received a spare engine, a set of de Havilland wheel-skis, water bombing tanks, and numerous extra parts. UKN also had a full IFR panel, as Sherritt Gordon had actually flown it IFR when it was configured on wheels. If only aircraft could speak! Great job, Karl! Here is Karl's "contact info". This CD is a "must have", and I think would be an outstanding gift for someone, as well as being an invaluable reference compilation.

CONTACT INFO - De Havilland DHC-3 OTTER - A HISTORY by Karl E. Hayes

 CF-UKN, when she was a "young lass", loaded, still working for Sherritt Gordon. Notice the "rack" on the side.

 Me, holding in my "gut", and UKN, still in her Sherritt Gordon colours, at Paint Point Lake, early 1990s.

 UKN, myself, and Jim Johnson displaying "moose racks" I had just hauled from the Berens River, along with the meat. Early 1990s, on the Icelandic River, Riverton.

 UKN "swaps" her floats for wheel-skis!

 UKN "at work" this past September, in her "new livery"!

 ....and the last word of my "Post" goes to UKN, in her Sherritt Gordon colours from years back, as "her and I" demonstrate the "one float" takeoff technique...... "Fantastic research and devotion, Karl! Adios"! Posted by Picasa

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