Monday, January 22, 2007


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

I have been helping run a hockey tournament with Conn Smythe Trophy winner and Philadelphia Flyers Alumni Reggie Leach since Thursday, and it has been "early mornings and late nights". Anyways, again we continue with our series profiling a different Otter every week, with the information coming from Karl Hayes' "masterful" CD entitled:

De Havilland Canada

I have profiled Otters 1, 2, and 456. If people are curious as to the "whereabouts" of the "first" Otter made, being the "oldest", they are certainly comparatively curious as to the "fate" of the "last" Otter made. Well, let's "hunt down" the youngest Otter, after some "acknowledgements" from Karl.


This work would not have been possible but for the high level of co-operation received from many military units, government departments, operators and enthusiasts throughout the world and I would personally like to express my appreciation to all who have helped.



Air Commodore Juan J.Ahets Etcheberry, Air & Military Attache, Argentine Embassy, London


Robert Kendall Piper, Chief Executive Officer, Historical Studies and D.H.Taylor, Chief Administrative Officer, both of the Department of Defence; L.Bernadas of the Department of Transport and Flight Lieutenant A.Woodward, RAAF.


Group Captain A.B.M.Zakaria and Wing Commander R.K.Talukdar, Air HQ, Dacca


Colonel J.G.Boulet, Director of Information Services, Ottawa and Lieutenant-Colonel D.D.Landreville, Commanding Officer, 400 Squadron, Downsview; W.A.B. Douglas, Directorate of History, Department of National Defence, Ottawa; the staff of the Military Archives, Ottawa and the following persons who gave information on the Canadian military aircraft: Michael Chow, Roy Clark, Clive Cozens, Robert Davis, Don Eddie, George Georgas, Serge Holoduke (recommended website:, K.Kusek, Fred Kuzyk , John McClenaghan, Frank Morrow, Ron Richardson and Jerry Vernon.


Colonels S.J.Contardo and R.I.Vega of the Chilean Air Force Mission, London


Air Vice Marshal John Odaate Barnor


Squadron Leader N.Prasad of Air HQ, Delhi and Wing Commander S.Krishnaswamy, Air Adviser, High Commission of India, London; Rupak Chattopadhyay.


Air Vice Marshal Roesman, Jakarta

New Zealand

The High Commission, London


Engineer Per-Oivind Skarphol, Material Command, Kjeller Air Base; Steinar Saevdal. A big word of thanks is due to Steinar for sharing all his information on the Norwegian Otters.

Royal Air Force

Mr F.Flower, Senior Museum Assistant, RAF Museum and D.W.Goode, Chief Librarian, Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough.

United States Army

The staff of the Army Aviation Museum, Fort Rucker, Alabama; Roger C.Lance, Directorate of Sales, Defence Logistics Agency; G.K.Alford, Chief, Troop Support & Aviation Material Readiness Command, St.Louis; General Services Administration, Washington; Golden Knights Parachute Team; US Army Safety Centre, Fort Rucker (Vickie Hendrix); US Army Aviation Centre, Aviation Branch Historian (James W.Williams); US Army Logistics Support Activity, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; Centre of Military History, Washington (Edward N Bedessem); Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

United States Air Force

James N. Eastman Jr, Chief, Research Division, Maxwell AFB, Alabama; Ned S.Robinson, Chief, Aircraft Disposition Office, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona; David Menard.

United States Navy

Lt.Commander C.A. Wheal, Royal Navy and Jerry Gallagher, both of the Naval Test Pilots School, Patuxent River NAS; staff of the Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, Florida; William J.Armstrong, Historian, Naval Air Systems Command; Mark R. Sharpe, Assistant Public Affairs Officer, El Centro NAF, California; Richard M.Walker and Bob Chenoweth both of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval Aviation History, Washington; Commander Jim Waldron; Joe Hawkins, Aviation History Branch, Naval Historical centre, Washington.

Otter 466

Otter 466, the last DHC-3 off the production line, was delivered to Laurentian Air Services Ltd, Ottawa on 16th June 1967, registered CF-VQD. It served with this operator for ten years, mostly flying in Quebec, until sold to Sabourin Lake Airways Ltd (Sabair) of Cochenour, Ontario in June 1977, re-registered C-FVQD. This was a 'First Nations' airline, owned by seven native communities in northwestern Ontario, which also flew Otter C-GPHD (113). Otter VQD was to fly for Sabair for nearly twenty years. The Otters were used to service remote northern settlements and for tourists, fishermen, hunters during the summer months.

An incident is recorded at Lingman Lake, Ontario on 19th December 1987 when after the engine was shut down, the Otter sank through the ice. It was repaired. VQD was involved in another incident at Sandy Lake, Ontario, on 5th December 1991. The Otter had started its engine on the ramp. A truck stopped in front of the Otter to drop off passengers for another aircraft. The pilot of the Otter was unaware of the truck and taxied forward. The propeller contacted the roof of the truck's camper top, fortunately without injury or damage to the Otter which, after inspection, was returned to service. The driver of the truck had not been trained in ramp procedures.

In July 1996 the Otter was sold to Black Sheep Aviation & Cattle Company Ltd of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. It was involved in an incident on 4th September '96 landing on a remote mountain strip fifty miles north of Mayo in the Yukon. The Otter was carrying a load of mining supplies. A light tail wind existed and during the landing roll a crest in the runway caused the aircraft to become airborne for a short distance. The pilot was unable to stop before running off the end of the strip into the bushes. The main landing gear, propeller and empennage sustained damage. The Otter was repaired and in April 1998 sold to Eagle Aviation Ltd of Silver Falls, Manitoba and went on lease to Blue Water Aviation Services Ltd, also of Silver Falls, Manitoba. VQD went on lease from Eagle Aviation to Sowind Air of Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba from April 1999 for that summer, registered again to Blue Water Aviation Services in May 2000, another lease from Eagle Aviation. On 5th April 2001 it was registered to Wamair Service & Outfitting Inc of Matheson Island, Manitoba and on 18th June 2002 it was registered to 3097448 Manitoba Ltd (Adventure Air) of Silver Falls, all these being leases from its owner, Eagle Aviation.

Eagle Aviation arranged for VQD to be converted to a turbine Otter with a Walter engine, the work being done by AOG Air Support at their Kelowna, BC facility. It thus became the second Otter to be converted with the Walter engine, after Eagle Aviation's C-FIOF (24), which was the first. VQD starred at the Otter's 50th anniversary celebrations held at Victoria, BC in October 2002, impressing all with its agility, even on amphibious floats. Having spent that winter parked at Vernon, BC, it went on lease from Eagle Aviation to Inland Air Charters Ltd, based at Seal Cove, Prince Rupert, BC in May 2003, joining Inland Air's piston Otter C-FRHW (445), used on the company's scheduled and charter services out of Prince Rupert. It was still leased to Inland Air and operating out of Seal Cove, Prince Rupert during 2004.

*Latest Update!*

Otter 466


The Otter was at the AOG facility at Kelowna, BC in February 2005 with its engine removed for inspection purposes. It is the first Walter engined Otter to have been operated in a salt water environment on lease to Inland Air Charters at Prince Rupert on the Pacific Coast, and inspection was necessary to see how it had fared. Its lease to Inland Air had ended, and by mid April VQD had departed from Kelowna and returned to its base at Silver Falls, Manitoba. For summer 2005 it was leased by its owners, Adventure Air, to Northway Aviation based at Pine Dock, Manitoba. An incident was recorded on 10 June 2005 at St. Andrews Airstrip, Winnipeg. The Otter, on amphibious floats, had just undergone maintenance to replace the brake pads, and was on a taxi run on runway 18 to seat the new pads. The calliper seals on the left brake leaked brake fluid onto brake assembly and at the end of the taxi run a small fire occurred on the left brake. The fire self extinguished. The left tire and brake seals were replaced and the Otter returned to service. VQD continued flying for Northway Aviation for the remainder of the summer 2005 season, before being parked for the winter of 2005/06 at its Silver Falls base. It was again leased by Adventure Air to Northway Aviation for the summer of 2006, serving the native communities of Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi.

- by Karl E. Hayes

Great to see the "old girl" is still "flogging the bush". I have "fondled" this aircraft before, flying her in the summer of 2000. Anyhow, check out some of my pics of VQD from the last 7 years.

 VQD sits "tail in" at Otig Lake, after "blowing" her Pratt and Whitney 1340 engine, being piloted by Ed Gaffray. Ed's Dad Art, and his Uncle Don, came to the rescue, and changed the engine in the bush, and VQD was flown out by Ed.

 Back on the dock at Silver Falls after the engine change.

 Two of my kids, Kaitlan and Shane, check VQD out. "Yup, Dad, she is ready to go!"

 VQD is now a Walter turbine-engined aircraft, landing on the turf strip at Silver Falls.

 Taxiing past.

 Check out the pilot!

 Just kidding! Doug "McLeod" Burton is the pilot!

 "Securing" for the night.

 "On the dock", at Pine Dock, summer 2006.


 Working with sister-ship UKN at Sasaginnigak Lake.

 Making a "run", and returning to "Sas".

 Tieing the "old girl" to the dock.

 Parked for the night. Posted by Picasa

So, you see, VQD is still in great shape, and quite active for a "lady" who will be 41 years old this summer! Great content, as usual, Karl! Top-notch!

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

(P.S. - I know of a 3 month job flying a turbine Otter on skis hauling fuel. Anyone "experienced" interested? Contact me or leave a comment with your contact info.)

Till next time, "Adios"!

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