Sunday, June 10, 2007


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

In early June of 1990, I was at Northway Aviation's Float Base in Riverton, Manitoba, on the Icelandic River. I had been hired that "Spring" to fly 1966 DHC-3 Otter #456 CF-UKN. The phone rang, and Farin Collins, Base Manager said; "Steve, it's for you!" On the other end of the line was a female voice, representing Aerokon Aviation from Whitehorse, Yukon Territories. She offered me a job flying an Otter on wheels. I asked her what had happened to their "last" Otter pilot. She stated: "He crashed our Otter, and it burnt. He is in the hospital with burns. We have replaced the Otter, but Otter pilots are harder to find than Otters." Well, I never accepted the job, and today as I "flogged the bush", this past historical incident "popped" into my "burbling, polluted cranial mass". Of course, I wondered which Otter had met it's fate at that time, so I turned to Karl's "exceptional research".........

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

De Havilland Canada


Otter 408

Otter 408 was delivered to the RCAF on 29th December 1960 with serial 9425. It was allocated to No.6 Repair Depot as a spare and put into storage at the Dunnville, Ontario depot. On 8th February 1962 it was assigned to 411 Squadron at Downsview, also used by 400 Squadron. It is mentioned in the 400 Squadron history during February 1963, flying to Lake Scugog with air cadets. On 6th September 1963 it was damaged in the course of a training detail from Downsview, flown by a 411 Squadron crew. Two of the Squadron's Otters were on a proficiency training trip. One landed successfully on a nine hundred foot grass strip some twenty miles from base and the pilot reported that the surface was satisfactory. The pilot of 9425 made one inspection pass of the field and landed. When he realised that he could not stop within the confines of the field, he cut fuel and switches. The Otter came to rest against a line of trees at the far end of the field. As the accident report summarised: “The pilots selected a field which was too small, with obstructions at the end, leaving no margin for error”.

Such was the damage sustained by 9425 that this crash marked the end of the aircraft's military career, after only eighteen months of active duty. It was taken to Dunnville for assessment by 6 Repair Depot, where it arrived on 18th September '63, but it remained in storage and a decision was made to dispose of the aircraft in October 1964. It was transferred to the Government of British Columbia, Department of Highways and after rebuild was registered to them as CF-BCG in April 1965, the BCG of the registration standing for BC Government. It was based at Victoria on Vancouver Island. There was a later change of registration to C-FBCG and operator to the BC Department of Commerce, Transport and Communications. The Otter was painted in an all-yellow scheme and remained in government service, flying throughout British Columbia, for eighteen years. It provided a full range of bush services to the government, including many wildlife surveys.

The Otter was sold to Burrard Air Ltd of Port Moody, BC and was registered to that company in February 1983. It was used by Burrard Air for more than three years on charters along the BC coast. In July 1986 it was sold to Red Baron Leasing Inc of Anchorage, Alaska who leased it to Sound Adventures Inc, based at Lake Hood in Anchorage, registered N666SA. In April 1988 it was sold back to Canada and reverted to C-FBCG, registered to its new owners, Aerokon Aviation Ltd of Whitehorse in the Yukon. Its period of operation was brief and it was destroyed in an accident on 29th May 1990 at Pelly Crossing, a First Nations settlement on the bank of the Pelly River, 282 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse. BCG was hauling fuel on the day of the accident. During climb out, the Otter lost power and settled into the trees. It crashed and burned, seriously injuring the two on board. The following year, Aerokon Aviation acquired Otter C-FODW (403) as a replacement.

- by Karl E. Hayes

"Wow", RCAF, to the BC Government, to Burrard Air, to Alaska, to the Yukon Territories, and then an "untimely end"! And the "Otter history" is available for everyone to "read", thanks to Karl E. Hayes.............

"Thanks again, Karl!"


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