Monday, April 30, 2007


You Know It's "Spring" When......

You know it's "Spring" when.............


#456 DHC-3 Otter C-FUKN shows up at the hangar for "pre-floats" inspection.............






You know it's "Spring" when.............


The Caravan sits on a "snow-free" ramp...........

You know it's "Spring" when.............


There are "major" shadows.............

You know it's "Spring" when.............


The "hangar boys" get a "spring" poster for a toolbox...............

You know it's "Spring" when.............


The ice "leaves" the lakes...........

You know it's "Spring" when.............


The "Float Base" at Pine Dock starts to open up..............


You know it's "Spring" when.............


Sky North's Chieftain "kicks up some dust"..........


You know it's "Spring" when.............


The "Weekend Warriors" and their "amphib" come out..........




You know it's "Spring" when.............


On the way home you spot a "Nash Rambler"...........





..........and the "last word" of my "Post" goes to the Nash Rambler.........



Sunday, April 29, 2007


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

"No. 99" has forever been recorded in the "history books" as the number of the most "prolific athlete" and "hockey player" ever to live, good "Canadian Boy" Wayne Gretzky. By the way, Gretzky is not like your normal "spoiled child" athlete, and is actually a "credit to his parents". Anyways, before Gretzky, there was another "99" that has been recorded in history, serving her country well. Stationed in Vietnam, "Otter 99" served well, returned to the U.S. for "surgery", returned to Vietnam, "served well" again, and "laid down her life". Read on..................

All information is from Karl Hayes' "masterful" CD entitled:

De Havilland Canada


Otter 99

Otter 99 was delivered to the United States Army on 12th March 1956 with serial 55-2357 (tail number 53257). 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.

53257 was then assigned to the 2nd Missile Command, Fort Carson, Colorado where it served until May 1962, then joining the 24th Aviation Battalion. In July 1962 it arrived at the Atlanta Army Depot, Atlanta, Georgia where it was overhauled and from where it was transported to Vietnam, being assigned to the 611th Transportation Company based at Vung Tau. This was a maintenance unit providing support for other Army units. As well as the Otter, it also flew a U-6A Beaver (tail number 41727) and three CH-37B Mojave helicopters, all attached to the unit's Recovery Platoon. A large drawing of an eagle was painted just behind the pilot's door on the Otter by a talented artist. In addition to its direct support of aviation units in the Mekong Delta, the 611th also backed up other maintenance units, either sending repair teams to help those units, or bringing the damaged aircraft to Vung Tau for repair. It also mounted recovery missions for downed aircraft.

In May 1965, 53257 crashed into the bush just after take-off from Vung Tau as a result of a cracked cylinder block. It was hoisted back to the airfield by 50623, one of the 611th Transportation Company CH-37B helicopters, and repaired. It continued flying for the 611th until February 1966 when it was assigned to the 54th Aviation Company. In July '66 it was returned to the United States for depot level maintenance at the ARADMAC Depot, Corpus Christi, Texas and arrived back in Vietnam in November '66, being assigned to the 18th Aviation Company. It continued flying for the 18th Aviation Company until destroyed in an accident in July 1968, then serving with the Company's 1st Platoon based at Da Nang.

To quote from the unit history: “Forced to fly low because of weather, Captain Kenneth Waldrop and CWO Clark along with crew chief Robert Christiansen were eight miles east of Hue Phu Bai, flying the morning courier run, when the aircraft was raked from front to rear by automatic weapons fire. The burst caused partial power failure and a "Mayday" call was transmitted. The windows were shot out but the three crew and eight passengers escaped injury. Approximately a quarter mile later, another machine gun opened up and smashed into the engine compartment, causing the faltering engine to quit. The aircraft then crash landed into a rice paddy five miles from Phu Bai. As the Otter careened along the ground, a third burst from another automatic weapon ripped open the fuel tanks, but they failed to ignite”.

“Passengers and crew were able to make their way from the aircraft for about ten yards when machine gun fire pinned them down in the mud. For the next twenty five minutes the survivors received intense fire from a nearby treeline. Hugging the ground, they heard the voices of approaching enemy soldiers. Captain Waldrop, the only one of the group who was armed, readied his .45 pistol and aimed at a trio of enemy troops closing in fast. His aim was good and down went one of the enemy. The other two withdrew. A few minutes later, Marine helicopter gunships answering the "Mayday" arrived on the scene. Machine gun and rocket fire blasted the enemy positions while a rescue ship whisked all the survivors away to safety”.

A short while later an Army CH-47 Chinook attempted to sling out the stricken Otter but had to abort because of heavy ground fire that ripped the Otter apart as it was being lifted. 53257 was officially deleted from the Army inventory the following month, August 1968.

- by Karl E. Hayes

Unbelievable, maybe "flying the bush" in Canada was a safer occupation. Anyway you read it, the Otter has a history like none other, and like Wayne and his parents, the Otter is a "credit to the de Havilland designers". Great info, Karl, "Thanks"!


Friday, April 27, 2007


Steve's "Real Hero" Of The Week! "Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire"!

Some people during their lives are placed in an "unimageinable situation" through "fate", through no fault of their own, and "history" judges them in the following years. I would have to say that "history" looks favourably on this following man, and looks "unfavourably" on the people and organizations whom General Dallaire alerted to the "spiraling toward genocide" situation. Here is an excellent article written by Terry Allen, from Amnesty International NOW magazine, Winter 2002.

General Romeo Dallaire - United Nations/Canada

The General and the Genocide

-by Terry Allen

Gen. Romeo Dallaire defied U.N. orders to withdraw from Rwanda. Without the authority, manpower, or equipment to stop the slaughter, he saved the lives he could but nearly lost his sanity.

In an indifferent world, Gen. Romeo Dallaire and a few thousand ill-equipped U.N. peacekeepers were all that stood between Rwandans and genocide. The Canadian commander did what he could -did more than anyone else -but he sees his mission as a terrible failure and counts himself among its casualties.

After a 100-day reign of terror, some 800,000 Rwandan civilians were dead, most killed by their machete-wielding neighbors. Dallaire had sounded the alarm. He'd begged. He'd bellowed. He'd even disobeyed orders. "I was ordered to [then-U.N. Sec. Gen. Boutros] Boutros Ghali about seven, eight days into it. .. and I said to him, 'I can't, I've got thousands' -by then we had over 20,000 people-'in areas under our control,"' Dallaire said in a recent interview with Amnesty Now. The general's hands, always moving, rose beside his face as if to block the memories. "The situation was going to shit....And, I said, 'No, I can't leave."'

The U.N. had sent Dallaire and 2,600 troops, mainly from Bangladesh and Ghana, to Rwanda to oversee a peace accord between the region's two main groups, Hutus and Tutsis. But on April 6, 1994, eight months after the peacekeepers arrived, a plane carrying the Rwandan and Burundian Presidents, both Hutus, was shot down over Kigali, the Rwandan capital. Hutu-controlled radio blamed the Tutsis and immediately began calling for their extermination, as well as for the murder of moderate Hutus considered friendly to the Tutsi "cockroaches." The broadcasts gave details on whom to kill and where to find them.

Dallaire and his troops were about to become spectators to genocide. As bodies filled the streets and rivers, the general, backed by a U.N. mandate that didn't even allow him to disarm the militias, pleaded with his U.N. superiors for additional troops, ammunition, and the authority to seize Hutu arms caches. In an assessment that military experts now accept as realistic, Dallaire argued that with 5,000 well-equipped soldiers and a free hand to fight Hutu power, he could bring the genocide to a rapid halt.

The U.N. turned him down. He asked the U.S. to block the Hutu radio transmissions. The Clinton administration refused to do even that. Gun-shy after a humiliating retreat from Somalia, Washington saw nothing to gain from another intervention in Africa, and the Defense Department, according to a memo, assessed the cost of jamming the Hutu hate broadcasts at $8,500 per flight-hour.

Dallaire's pain is palpable as he remembers his yearlong mission. His words, raw as a wound, make a grim contrast to the carefully parsed regrets of the world leaders who actually had the power to stop the genocide but turned away. He has just spoken at an Amnesty-sponsored conference in Atlanta on law and human rights, and he looks tired- older than his 56 years (2002). His eyes are close set, raptor-like, but his gaze is warm and direct. "When you're in command, you are in command," he says. "There's 800,000 gone, the mission turned into catastrophe, and you're in command. I feel I did not convince my superiors and the international community," he says. "I didn't have enough of the skills to be able to influence that portion of the problem."

Three days after the Rwandan killings began, with Dallaire's troops running short of rations as well as ammunition, about l,000 European troops arrived in Kigali. The general watched with frustration as the well-armed, well-fed Westerners landed and left again as soon as they'd evacuated their own nationals. Then, after Hutu militias killed 10 Belgian paratroopers, Brussels withdrew all of its peacekeepers (the only significant Western contingent and the only one that was properly equipped) from the U.N. mission. Dallaire's depleted force was on its own.

Even as the already desperate situation worsened, Washington called for a complete withdrawal of peacekeepers. On April 21, after international pressure, the U.S. agreed to a limited force and supported a Security Council resolution slashing the force to 270 peacekeepers. U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright accurately described the tiny force as enough "to show the will of the international community."

Remarkably, with scant resources-indeed, with only one satellite telephone for the whole mission -Dallaire was able to maintain safe areas for those 20,000 terrorized Rwandans. But he could do little else, and the killing continued.

Eight years later, in daylight and in dreams, Dallaire still hears the cries of wounded children, the weeping of survivors, the voice of the man who died at the other end of a phone line as the general listened. He still can't escape the smell of death, the memories of hacked-off limbs scattered on the ground, and worst of all, he says, the "thousands upon thousands of sets of eyes in the night, in the dark, just floating and looking back" at him in anger, accusation, or eternal pleading.

With counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder, and a handful of pills a day, he is working to use his experiences to prevent another Rwanda. But the baleful ghosts remain, and the book he is writing about the slaughter is rousing them. "As I go over what I have written," he says, "more and more I see lost opportunities; more and more I see errors because of lack of intelligence or simply from mis-assessing a situation. I'd take a decision on the phone, and people would die within seconds. I was getting pressure from everybody not to use my soldiers." His voice fades to a whisper. "It's horrific because every day decisions were taken on life and death. Every day. Real people, real people."

We are sitting in a dark taxi and I can't see his face. He maybe remembering when the Belgian senate blamed him "at least partially" for the deaths of its paratroopers. Or he may be listening to his Rwandan voices. As we near his hotel, he says, "l always have people with me. Like tonight, I'll ask the guys at the desk to just check on me because I'm not supposed to be alone because it can go to extremes."

Dallaire says that about 20 percent of troops and humanitarian workers on missions like his suffer much the same thing, as do 5 to 10 percent of diplomats. "They are casualties," he tells me. "High suicide rates, booze, drugs, pornography, finding themselves on skid row."

When Dallaire returned to Canada from Rwanda, he tried to drink himself into a stupor of forgetfulness. He raged at his family. He tried to kill himself In 2000 a few months after he was medically released from the Canadian Forces, he was found passed out drunk under a park bench in Hull, Quebec. "He was curled up in a ball," photographer Stephane Beaudoin, alerted by a police report, later told the Ottawa Citizen. "I never took a photo. I felt sad for him. I thought, 'This man has done so much for us. How did he come to be here?"'

Dallaire's reluctance to give himself credit for what he managed to accomplish certainly contributed to his breakdown. Asked directly, he admits saving people, "sometimes by the thousands, you know, just by giving appropriate orders to my troops." Past and present merge as Dallaire remembers one day when he, his driver, and aide-de-camp "were making our way through a large population move in the hills. It was raining and cold because it's fairly high up. And there this woman was, right there by the road, and people are walking around her, and she is giving birth. And so, as we're inching, the child came out. The woman, already emaciated, sort of picked up the child and then fell back. So we jumped out, you know, because nobody was stopping. The mother was dead. We tried to wrap the baby up as best we could, brought it back, and then other people sorted it out."

But Dallaire quickly returns to the people he failed to save and to the limits of his skills. "Thirty years ago when I joined the army, if somebody mentioned human rights, we immediately equated them with communists," Dallaire now says. The former career officer has come to believe that, along with the ability to attack and kill, soldiers must learn peacekeeping, negotiation, and human rights preservation. That belief is reflected in the war stories he chooses to tell. Rather than tales of derring-do, he offers anecdotes that plumb the moral ambiguities of modern soldiering.

"A young officer is entering a village," Dallaire recounts. "The village has been wiped out except for a few women and children still alive [in a ditch filled with bodies]. There is 30 percent AIDS in that area. There is blood all over that place, no rubber gloves. Does the platoon commander order his troops to get in there, into the ditch risking AIDS, and help?" The question, it turns out, is not an exercise in armchair ethics. "When I asked the platoon commanders, those from 23 of the 26 nations that sent forces said they would order their troops to keep marching. Commanders from three nations -Holland, Ghana, and Canada -were saved the complexity of the question because by the time they turned around their troops were already in the ditch."

Dallaire continues, his hands alive, his eyes still, the Gallic-tinted accent of his native Quebec growing more pronounced. "Or a soldier is watching two girls, 13 or 14, both with children on their backs, with a crowd spurring on the one with a machete to kill the other girl because she is different. What does the soldier do? Shoot the girl with the machete, possibly killing her baby? Shoot into the crowd? Do nothing?"

"Should I myself," he asks, "negotiate with a militia commander with gore on his shirt and his hands from the morning's work, making a joke, to get him to withdraw his gang so I can move thousands of people [to safety]? Or do I pull out my pistol and shoot him between the eyes?"

"The corporal," says Dallaire, returning to the soldier watching the machete-wielding girl, "tried to negotiate his away through the crowd to stop the attack but headquarters in his home country ordered him not to intervene. That corporal is now an injured ex-corporal," Dallaire says, and like the ex-general himself, a casualty of post-traumatic stress.

For all the blame he heaps on himself, Dallaire also faults the strictures that bound him in 1994 and that will have to change if the world is to avoid another Rwanda. The institution of peacekeeping missions, he says, is deeply flawed. Even if he had received the political and humanitarian training the job demanded, the U.N.'s rules would have robbed him of the ability to use his military skills. With thousands of civilians begging for protection as they were hunted down in their homes and churches.

"I could tell [the peacekeepers] to do things," he says, "but they would check with their country. The troops are under my operational command, but they remained under the ultimate command of their nations, so. . . if a national capital feels that a [rescue] mission is unwarranted, or too risky, or something, the soldiers can turn around and say, 'No, I can't do it."'

Asked to name one of the countries that ordered its soldiers not to move injured Rwandans to safe areas, even when Dallaire told them to, the general hesitates for a long time before saying, "Bangladesh." It was the Ghanaians, he adds, who performed most humanely.

With the exception of the Red Cross, the non-governmental organizations were clueless, Dallaire says. "When they started sending people in, they kept sending me assessment teams. Assessment teams! 'Listen, I don't need a goddamn assessment team. I need food, medical supplies, water for 2 million people, and I've got to feed them twice a day. Get the shit in here. We'll sort out the distribution.' "

If Dallaire's anger at those who did too little is fierce, his fury at world leaders who feigned ignorance and did nothing is white hot. He cannot forget, for example, that President Clinton stopped for a few hours in Kigali in 1998, after it was all over, and with the engines of Air Force One running, said he was sorry; he didn't know.

Or that David Rawson, the U.S. ambassador to Rwanda at the time of the mass murders, waited a month before declaring a "state of disaster," and then dismissed the slaughter as "tribal killings." Calling what happened in Rwanda "tribal" conflict made intervention seem futile. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Prudence Bushnell, who had pushed hard for the U.S. to "neutralize" Hutu hate radio, later explained to author Samantha Power, "What I was told was, 'Look, Pru, these people do this from time to time."'

The designation of "tribal" conflict also nicely avoided the word "genocide." Had a major power or the U.N. invoked that term in time, all states that were signatories of the 1948 convention on genocide would have been obliged to condemn the slaughter and act to stop it.

Avoiding the word did not however avoid the fact. "They knew how many people were dying," Dallaire says, no matter what word they used. "The world is racist," he says bitterly. "Africans don't count; Yugoslavians do. More people were killed, injured, internally displaced, and refugeed in 100 days in Rwanda than in the whole eight to nine years of the Yugoslavia campaign," he says, and there are still peacekeeping troops in the former Yugoslavia while Rwanda is again off the radar. "Why didn't the world react to scenes where women were held as shields so nobody could shoot back while the militia shot into the | crowd?" he asks. "Where... boys were drugged up and turned into child soldiers, slaughtering families?...Where girls and women were systematically raped before they were killed? Babies ripped out of their stomachs? ...Why didn't the world come?"

Dallaire supplies his own answer: "Because there was no self-interest....No oil. They didn't come because some humans are [considered] less human than others."

Nonetheless, Dallaire still calls himself an optimist. Despite its troubles, he believes that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which operates out of Arusha, Tanzania, "is one of those great potential instruments of the future." His own job, he says, won't be done until the tribunal finishes its investigation. "My duty as force commander who ultimately became head of mission will not end until the Arusha Tribunal says it doesn't need me to testify anymore, or when the tribunal decides to hold me accountable."

There is virtually no chance the international court will blame him. The question is whether he'll one day stop blaming himself. "The work I'm doing helps," he says, referring to his campaign to stop the use of children as soldiers. Counseling seems to be helping, too.

"One day after a couple hours of therapy," he says, "we're sitting there, and, you know, to-ing and fro-ing. I all of a sudden felt joy in my stomach. You know when you feel happy in your tummy? And I had not felt that in the seven years since Rwanda. All of a sudden I said, 'jeez, I feel, I feel better."' Dallaire stopped, tilted his head as if to listen to his own words and broke into a smile as sweet as warm winter sun. "My therapist let me savor that -and then we talked. And at the end of it, I said, I think I have moved from survival to living. And maybe to getting better."

The world, he knows, has not. Without the political will and institutional mechanisms to stop it, "Rwanda" will happen again.

What a situation to be "thrust" into, and being abandoned by the U.N.. Typical, the U.N. is run by "invertebrates". General Romeo Dallaire is an "extraordinary man", and a "Real Canadian Hero"!




Thursday, April 26, 2007


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Flight To Hell"!

"Amazing" video, with fantastic accompaniment by "legend" Johnny Cash, still a "force" shortly before the end of his life, singing a Trent Reznor from "Nine Inch Nails" personal "outpouring" song. My "heartfelt belated sympathies" to the families.


"Flight To Hell"!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


It's Time To Play..... Otterflogger's "Name That Cockpit"!

OK, "Ladies and Gentlemen", time for "installment #4" in our "cockpit series", which will be a continuing "brain-strainer". This aircraft is very "dear" to me, and the sound of her coming to "full power" is better than a "symphony"!


-photo by Steve Taylor

This is the "cockpit" of a ......................


It is a Curtiss C-46 "Commando"! "Anonymous" wins, good job, you seemed to know immediately. Have you had experience with C-46s? Mitchell B-25 was also guessed, sorry, you fell for my "trap" of mis-naming the picture. "Anonymous", you win the "entire contents of Don Imus' head"! Congratulations!


Curtiss C-46 "Commando" C-GIBX, operated by FNT Transport!

-photo by Steve Taylor


Me and IBX!

-photo by "Pistol" Pete!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Steve's Video Of The Day: DC-3 "Impresses The Crowd"!

Check out some "fine birds" and watch as a DC-3 "steals the show"!

VIDEO - DC-3 "Impresses The Crowd"!

Monday, April 23, 2007


Louis' "African Adventure"!

In May of 2006 I first met Louis-Gabriel Lavigne through e-mail, as he asked for some advice, which I provided. He had a fresh Commercial License, and was "set" to "hit the market". Check out a "Post" I published in Oct. 2006 to give some insight into how Louis-Gabriel's career took hold.

POST - Sometimes I Give "Good Advice"..........

Anyways, Louis is in "AFRICA"! now, and I just received an e-mail from him, and some pictures. Let's get an "UPDATE" on Louis-Gabriel!

Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2007 17:40:05

From: "LG Lav"

Subject: Hello from Africa.


Hello Steve,

Just wanted to let you know that I've been flying in Africa for the last 7 months on a 206/208 based out of Lilongwe in Malawi and I'm in the process of moving northwards to Tanzania to start as FO on the Twotter in late May. I can't start telling you how reading your blog made me miss Canadian bush flying, especially this winter when you were posting 'winter flying' pictures while I was drenched in sweat in +45 degree Celsius weather!!!!

Will be spending another 12 months out here, before coming back home to what I love most, Float Flying!

Thought you might enjoy some pictures which were taken in Mozambique, Malawi, and Tanzania......

Best Wishes,

Louis-Gabriel Lavigne -Arusha, Tanzania-

P.S- Included are what fuel cells in our 206 look like in Africa! (They passed inspection by the way! (Scary eh!))


Louis' "runway"...........


Louis and some "beautiful kids"..........


Fuel "bladders".........


Yes, they have seen some "use"...........

Good luck on the Twin Otter position, Louis-Gabriel, you will love the airplane! There are many "memories" that are about to "be made" for you! Keep in touch! Thanks for the e-mail and pics!



Sunday, April 22, 2007


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

We have read about the "exploits" of the Otter in Canada, and how well "she" did her job, opening the "north". We have read about her with the U.S. Army, down in Antarctica, and flying in Vietnam. Did you also know the Otter was used by the United Nations for "humanitarian missions"? Yes, the "Ole Otter" has been "everywhere", just like in the Hank Snow song. This next girl saw the world, as she "resided for a time" in Kansas, Germany, London, Belgian Congo, Yemen, Egypt, and finally back to Canada, where she met her "untimely end". Check out the history of the "Silver Trumpeter", Otter 164's nickname while "she" served with the UN!

All information is from Karl Hayes' "masterful" CD entitled:

De Havilland Canada


Otter 164

Otter 164 was delivered to the United States Army on 24th October 1956 with serial 55-3305 (tail number 53305). It first served with the 3rd Aviation Company, Fort Riley, Kansas and moved with the unit when it deployed to Illesheim, Germany in July 1957. The Otter was noted visiting Blackbushe airfield, near London, on 21st September 1958. The 3rd Aviation Company disbanded in November 1959 but 53305 remained based in Europe.

In July 1960 53305 was one of two US Army Otters, the other being 53302 (159), selected to join an Army Task Force which was rushed to the former Belgian Congo to rescue US citizens caught up in the fighting there, and was flown from Rhein-Main Air Base, Frankfurt, Germany to the Congo onboard a USAF C-124 Globemaster, as was 53302. When that task was finished, both Otters remained in the Congo and were transferred to the United Nations Support Wing Air Squadron, as explained in relation to Otter 159. The Otters were painted all white and given UN markings, and 53305 took UN serial 301 and was named the “Silver Trumpeter”. These two Otters were joined by two Otters transferred from the Royal Norwegian Air Force, all four aircraft being flown and maintained by Swedish personnel attached to the United Nations. The UN subsequently purchased another four Otters from DHC.

301 served with the UN in the Congo, and subsequently in the Yemen, attached to 134 Air Transport Unit, manned by Royal Canadian Air Force personnel. In January 1964, on the conclusion of the Yemen campaign, 301 and the other five Otters operating in the Yemen were flown to the UN base at El Arish, Egypt where they were put into storage awaiting disposal. Two of these Otters, 301 and 304 (manufacturer's serial 21, one of the former Royal Norwegian Air Force aircraft) were sold to Mr. G.Rae MacLeod, trading as Aero Leasing of Montreal, on 26th May 1964. They were however registered as N127F (301) and N128F (304) to Frank Ferrer's company, Ferrer Aviation Inc of Miami, who was undertaking the ferry of the two Otters back to Canada. These two Otters, still in their all white UN paint scheme, passed through Manchester, England and Prestwick, Scotland on 21/22 June 1964 en route via Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland to Montreal's Dorval Airport. On arrival they were registered to Mr Mac Leod, N127F becoming CF-RNP and N128F becoming CF-RNO.

After overhaul at Dorval, CF-RNP went out on lease. A ferry permit was issued on 24th November '64 from Dorval to Lac-a-la-Tortue, Quebec and then on 24th February 1965 from there to Sept Iles, Quebec, where the Otter was leased to Northern Wings Ltd (Les Ailes du Nord), a company based at Sept Iles. In September 1968, the Otter was operating from the Northern Wing's seaplane base at Blanc Sablon, in a very remote part of Quebec, near to its border with Labrador, on the coast of the North Shore of the Gulf of the St.Lawrence. On 6th September '68, CF-RNP took off from Blanc Sablon at 15.30 hours for a destination at St.Augustin, 69 miles distant. The aircraft then departed St.Augustin for Old Fort, a distance of 42 miles, before continuing on to St.Paul's River, six miles away. At St.Paul's River, seven passengers joined the flight, which then took off for Blanc Sablon, a distance of 21 miles. The Otter also had on board an assistant as well as the pilot, nine souls in all. These were scheduled services for Northern Wings Ltd, which served the North Shore of the St.Lawrence.

A variable fog condition existed along the shore line of the Straits of Belle Isles that day. En route to Blanc Sablon, the pilot contacted base and was advised that the weather at his destination was 200 feet obscured and a quarter of a mile in fog. The pilot then advised that he was going to return to St.Paul's River. The Otter crashed in Bradore Bay, near to the south-west end of the Island of Ledges, a mile south-west of the destination lake. This area abounds in reefs and rocks, with numerous crevices below water level. A number of witnesses located at Bradore Bay heard the aircraft. One witness actually saw the Otter at a low level in the fog for a few seconds, after which it disappeared. Two witnesses report having heard the sound of the crash as the aircraft impacted the water. An extensive search followed, which continued for eight days, and involved the entire local community. Heavy fog persisted in the Straits of Belle Isles for three days after the accident, and prevented any aircraft search operations. Floatable items such as floor boards, cabin insulation, part of the left main float and three bodies were found along the shore line of the Island of Ledges. None of the other persons on board, nor the aircraft itself, were ever found.

Due to the remoteness of the location and the fog conditions which persisted for some days, the accident investigators had considerable difficulty getting to the scene. Two Department of Transport investigators flew from Montreal to Sept Iles by Air Canada scheduled flight. A Provincial Government group also flew to Sept Iles aboard the government De Havilland 125 executive jet. The investigators eventually departed Sept Iles on the morning of 9th September aboard a Northern Wings DC-3, which made two unsuccessful landing attempts at Blanc Sablon, before diverting to St.Anthony, Newfoundland due to the continuing fog. A pick-up truck was then hired to drive the group eight miles to the coast, where a ferry boat was located. Having crossed the Straits of Belle-Isles, the investigators eventually arrived at Blanc Sablon early on the morning of 10th September, four days after the crash.

By this stage, the fog had cleared, and a Northern Wings Otter was used to search the area, as well as an RCAF Rescue helicopter from Halifax and two boats. These joined the many private boats which were independently carrying out search operations. The search continued until 15th September but nothing further was found. From an examination of the few pieces of wreckage that were recovered, particularly the float, the investigators concluded that the Otter had struck the water in a steep, nose-down attitude, most probably in a bank to the right. They gave as the cause of the accident the fact that the pilot had continued flight into known fog conditions, which resulted in a loss of control at low level. Otter CF-RNP had 5,088 total airframe hours at the time of its loss.

- by Karl E. Hayes

Very depressing, but "reality". "Life" is a "challenge", and tragedies happen. One thing that "struck me", though. The investigators "blamed" the pilot as usual. Maybe he was to blame. What if he was "visual", though, low level, and the Pratt and Whitney R1340 quit abruptly? It really "pisses" me when conclusions (guesses) are made when the investigation is "inconclusive". I am sure the pilot's family didn't need the "stigma" that was attached to their loved one after the report. Otter pilots are a "fine breed". Thanks for the "history", Karl.


Friday, April 20, 2007


Steve's "Real Hero" Of The Week! "Major William George Barker"!

Major William George Barker

VC, DSO & bar, MC & 2 bars, Croix de Guerre,
Medaglia al Valore Militare d'Argento & bar

Born: 3 November, 1894 Dauphin, Manitoba

Killed in Flying Accident: 12 March, 1930 at Rockcliffe Aerodrome, Ottawa, Ontario

Confirmed Victories: 50

Barker joined the Canadian Mounted Rifles in December 1914. He spent a year in the trenches before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps in April 1916. After starting out as a mechanic, he qualified as an observer in August 1916 and shot down his first enemy aircraft from the rear seat of a B.E.2d. Posted to England in November 1916, he soloed after 55 minutes of dual instruction and received his pilot's certificate in January 1917. A month later, he was back in France flying an R.E.8 until wounded by anti-aircraft fire on 7 August 1917. When he recovered, he served as a flight instructor before returning to combat duty in France. In November 1917, his squadron was reassigned to Italy where Barker's Sopwith Camel became the single most successful fighter aircraft of the war. Logging more than 379 hours of flight time, Barker shot down 46 enemy aircraft before Camel #B6313 was retired from service and dismantled on 2 October 1918. That month, he assumed command of the air combat school at Hounslow. Deciding he needed to brush up on air combat techniques for his new assignment, Barker joined 201 Squadron for ten days in France. During that time, he saw no action and was about to return to England when he decided to make one more excursion over the front. On 27 October 1918, alone and flying a Sopwith Snipe, he encountered sixty Fokker D.VIIs flying in stepped formation. In an epic battle with Jagdgeschwader 3, Barker shot down four enemy aircraft despite appalling wounds to both legs and his elbow. Fainting from pain and loss of blood, he managed to crash land his Snipe within the safety of the British lines. For his actions that day, Barker received the Victoria Cross (VC). Aside from his VC, and the other awards mentioned above, he also received Three Mentions-in-Dispatches.

William G. Barker's VC Citation

"On the morning of the 27 October 1918, this officer observed an enemy two-seater over the Foret de Mormal. He attacked this machine and after a short burst it broke up in the air. At the same time a Fokker biplane attacked him, and he was wounded in the right thigh, but managed, despite this, to shoot down the enemy aeroplane in flames. He then found himself in the middle of a large formation of Fokkers who attacked him from all directions, and was again severely wounded in the left thigh, but succeeded in driving down two of the enemy in a spin. He lost consciousness after that, and his machine fell out of control. On recovery, he found himself being again attacked heavily by a large formation, and singling out one machine he deliberately charged and drove it down in flames. During this fight his left elbow was shattered and he again fainted, and on regaining consciousness he found himself still being attacked, but notwithstanding that he was now severely wounded in both legs and his left arm shattered, he dived on the nearest machine and shot it down in flames. Being greatly exhausted, he dived out of the fight to regain our lines, but was met by another formation, which attacked and endeavored to cut him off, but after a hard fight he succeeded in breaking up this formation and reached our lines, where he crashed on landing. This combat, in which Major Barker destroyed four enemy machines (three of them in flames), brought his total successes to fifty enemy machines destroyed, and is a notable example of the exceptional bravery and disregard of danger which this very gallant officer has always displayed throughout his distinguished career."

-VC citation, London Gazette, 30 November 1918

"They don't build 'them' like they used to................"


Outstanding "Manitoba Farm Kid"!


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Czech" Gear Down!

Hey, the old "Eastern Bloc" countries made "skookum" aircraft and landing gear! "Czech" it out!

"Czech" Gear Down!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Well-Deserved "Late Accolades"................

Nunavut Honours Aviation Pioneers

The Nunavut Government has honoured a family of Manitoba pilots for decades of pioneering aviation in the North.

The four surviving pilots in the Lamb family — Conrad, Doug, Jack and Greg — received plaques and accolades from Community and Government Services Minister Levinia Brown during a reception in Rankin Inlet on Saturday.

The father, Tom Lamb, and sons Donald and Dennis are deceased.

Longtime residents of the eastern Arctic may recall airplanes with the red Lamb Air logo on the side during the 1950s to '70s. The family of pilots, comprising six sons and their father, spent those years flying passengers around the area that is now Nunavut.

Lamb Air, which was based in The Pas, Man., was in business from 1935 to 1981.

"They were the type of guys that would always allow someone to get on or off an airplane, depending on where they were, if they were in need," Shawn Maley, assistant deputy minister of Community and Government Services, said Saturday.

"That's the kind of work they did over many many years in the early part of the development of the territory."

With four sons in the family still living — the youngest being in his 70s — Maley said his department and the Department of Transportation felt it was time to extend their appreciation to the family.

"There was a number of us that saw that the Lambs were getting on in age and for whatever reason they haven't been properly recognized, either in Canada or Manitoba," he said. "We thought now would be a good time to recognize their efforts in helping develop the Nunavut territory."

The surviving brothers, who currently live in various communities across Manitoba, flew to Rankin Inlet for the weekend occasion. Jack Lamb said flying to Nunavut in his day was a lot different than it is now.

"It was pretty rough in those days," Lamb recalled. "There was no runways and no navigation, and the only beacons that were around were Churchill, Baker Lake [and] Coral Harbour."

The Lamb brothers said they were honoured and a little embarrassed by the attention. Jack Lamb said he appreciates the recognition for what was a very difficult job at times.

Good for the family, I can tell you, they were "real men". Flying Beavers, Otters, Norsemans, DC-3s, Bristol Freighters, and other aircraft types in the "far reaches" of the North and elsewhere took a "special breed", too bad it is basically "all over". As my first full-time "aviation employer", Reg Treacy, WWII veteran, and old Hudson's Bay employee always used to say..... "You could always find the 'Real Men' in the North"..................... "True words" from a "wise old sage"!


Lambair "Bristol Freighter" through the ice! The "boys" got "her" out...........

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


It's Time To Play..... Otterflogger's "Name That Cockpit"!

OK, "Ladies and Gentlemen", time for "installment #3" in our "cockpit series", which will be a continuing "brain-strainer". I had "exposure" to an aircraft of this type in the early 80s. Able to operate on wheels, skis, or floats, she was as "fast" as a "broken watch". The only aircraft I know of that can have a "bird strike" from behind! Oh yes, and her "prop" turns backwards!


It is "a" ....................


It is a "Wilga"! Good job, "Anonymous" wins the "semi load" of "sailboat fuel"!




Spring, "FINALLY"!

We have just experienced a week and a half of beautiful weather. The Red River dropped, and the "flood threat" is no more. The "inland lakes" are turning "black", and the rivers and creeks are opening. "Men and machines" are "gearing up" for a "busy season".


ZYH, Provincial Helicopter's Little Grand Rapids "break-up" machine, is ready for Spring..........





The river opens at Little Grand.......




Little Grand Terminal Building.........





"On the roll"..........


Josh and Wamair's 206 EIF are ready for Spring.........




"Off" 36 Bloodvein..........


Northway's Cheyenne is ready for Spring..........



Gillam Air's Islander "SAD" is ready for Spring..........




......and the "last word" of my "Post" goes to the "windsock", being "caressed" by a warm south wind........