Monday, November 26, 2007


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

It seems the old Otter has served in every capacity and locale imagineable. She even had stellar service in the "National Guard", standing on guard for the "Homeland", early in her career! This following Otter served her country, and in 1980, even came to Manitoba for an "overhaul".....

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

De Havilland Canada


Otter 333

Otter 333 was delivered to the United States Army on 26th June 1959 with serial 58-1715 (tail number 81715). It was assigned to the 18th Aviation Company, Fort Riley, Kansas. When that Company departed from Fort Riley in December 1961 to deploy to Vietnam, a number of its Otters, which were not fit to travel, remained at Fort Riley, including 81715. The operation of these Otters was taken over by the 1063rd Aviation Company, a unit of the Iowa National Guard based at Waterloo, Iowa. In October 1961 this unit was upgraded to Active Duty status and sent to Fort Riley, to operate the Otters which the 18th Aviation Company had left behind.

The 1063rd operated 81715 until July 1962 at Fort Riley, when the Otter returned with the Company to Waterloo, Iowa, where it was operated until January 1964. It remained with the National Guard but its subsequent operating units are not known, until June 1972 when it joined the California National Guard, with whom it was to serve for the remainder of its military career. It was assigned to the Depot at Fresno, California as a support aircraft. Personnel at the Depot proudly referred to it as “the last active Army Otter west of the Rockies”. This was correct in so far as the Continental United States was concerned, there being Army Otters active in Alaska at that time as well. 81715 continued to serve at Fresno until December 1976, when it was deleted from the Army inventory.

The Otter was transferred to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). It was noted at Boeing Field, Seattle during June 1977, still in its Army olive drab colours but registered N5352G, and was assigned to the CAP's Pacific Region. In January 1980 it was sold on, being registered C-GBNJ to Silver Pine Air Services Ltd of Silver Falls, Manitoba who refurbished the Otter, and it was then sold to Parsons Airways Northern Ltd of Flin Flon, Manitoba to whom it was registered on 5th June 1980. For the next nine years it served the northern Manitoba bush country, one of a number of Otters flown by Parsons.

It was sold in May 1989 to Ketchum Air Service Inc of Anchorage, Alaska and was registered to its new owners as N567KA. It arrived in Vancouver on 24th November 1989to be worked on by Aeroflite Industries prior to delivery to Anchorage. It was noted in Anchorage during July 1992 flying for Ketchums, but still painted in the green/white colour scheme it had worn during its days with Parsons Airways. Although it carried Ketchum titles, it never was painted in their blue/white house colours. The Otter was sold to Alaska Juneau Aeronautics Inc, trading as Wings of Alaska, in March 1993 and re-registered N336AK. It was noted at Vancouver in May 1993, repainted in full Wings of Alaska colour scheme, about to be delivered to its new base at Juneau.

It went on to serve as part of the Wings of Alaska fleet for many years, flying countless cruise ship passengers on sightseeing flights during the summer months. On 19th July 2001 it was registered to Wings Airline Services Inc, Juneau, continuing to fly as part of the Wings of Alaska fleet. On 26th March 2003 the Otter was registered to Alaska Coastal Airlines Inc of Juneau, but again continued to fly as part of the Wings of Alaska fleet. During the winter of 2003/04, N336AK was converted to a Texas Turbine Otter at Juneau. A minor incident was recorded on 12th May 2004 when N336AK ran into sister ship N337AK (418) while docking in Juneau Harbour. Only superficial damage was caused and both Otters were soon back in service.


Otter 333

N336AK. Wings of Alaska, Juneau, Alaska. Texas Turbine conversion # 9, converted by Kal Air at Vernon, BC over the winter of 2003/04. N336AK returned to Vernon, landing on Okanagan Lake on 28 September 2005 at the end of its flight from Juneau. From the lake it was towed to the Kal Air facility where it was to spend the winter of 2005/06 being repainted and having a new interior installed and other work carried out. It departed Vernon on 24 April 2006 to Vancouver and then onwards back to its Juneau base.

- by Karl E. Hayes

Nice to see the old girl "healthy" and still in the "workforce"!



Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home