Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Steve's Video Of The Day: "The Spanish Windmill"!

Juan de la Cierva was a man with an idea that he wouldn't let die, similar to other "passionate" aviation designers. His dream wouldn't die, but unfortunately "he did". He is recognized as the man behind the "autogyro" idea, and made the design that was later owned by "Pitcairn". What an "impact" these aircraft could have on "General Aviation" today, allowing people to access areas without runways. Check out some history on the "autogyro"!


"The Spanish Windmill"!

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Juan de la Cierva and one of his early designs!

Monday, February 26, 2007


Steve's Thought Of The Day: Far Too Late, But "Finally"! A "Real Hero"!

You know, I don't see how men like this get (got) overlooked. Actually, I do. It was because of the "negative sentiment" from the American public towards anyone who served in Vietnam. Anyways, I am so glad this man was recognized, and not "posthumously"! Ordinary men rise to the occasion, and do "selfless" tasks during a crisis.

IT'S ABOUT TIME - Pilot Receives Medal of Honor for Heroism in Vietnam


"Way to go, Lt. Col., well-deserved 'HONOR'!"

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Steve's Video Of The Day: "Gusty"? "Go For It"! Get a "Gyroplane"!

I have always thought that "autogyros" were a fantastic idea that never received their "due". I remember the fantastic "Pitcairn", and it's performance and safety were exceptional. Anyways, check out a "gyroplane" in "35 knot +" winds. "Yee-haaa"!

VIDEO - "Gusty"? "Go For It"! Get a "Gyroplane"!

WEBSITE - "Magni-Gyro"


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Check out the old "Pitcairn"!

WEBSITE - Autogyro History and Theory

WEBSITE - The Contributions of the Autogyro

Sunday, February 25, 2007


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

This week's "pin-up girl" was born in 1952. She was a true "country girl", living in Northern Alberta and Northern B.C. until she was 15 years old. Then, seeking some independence, she headed "east" to Manitoba, where her "personality" continued to "evolve". In 1972, at the age of 20 years, she headed for Canadian "Fleur-de-lis" country. For 13 years, she was part of the "workforce", but left us sadly at the age of 33 years. Her "obituary" shows her "expiring" in July of 1985. She was "cremated". All information is from Karl Hayes' "masterful" CD entitled:

De Havilland Canada

Before we get into "this week's Otter" in more depth, read a little more about de Havilland Canada's early days, and the aircraft that proceeded the Otter. Also, at the very end of my "Post", find Karl Hayes' "Contact and CD Info"......




With the ending of the second World War, Canada was ready for the greatest northern development boom in her history. Worldwide, there was a shortage of minerals, oil, timber. Canada had all these in her northern hinterland, but lacked adequate transport facilities to get at them. Dog teams in winter and small boats and spur line railroads were the main means of transportation along with modified military aircraft, such as Stinsons and Norsemen. These in most cases were either too large and cumbersome for utilization in many areas or too limited in payload capacity. Aircraft were needed to explore for the hidden mineral resources and to move personnel, equipment and supplies economically and safely to the wilderness mine sites, to patrol and protect the forests, and generally to support the isolated communities throughout northern Canada.

With its first aircraft successfully behind it, DHC's design team turned their attentions to an aircraft which would serve the Canadian northlands, an idea they had long cherished. They saw both the need and the possibilities for an aircraft tailored to meet their country's bush flying requirements. The specifications for the new plane were based on the results of a questionnaire sent to all Canadian bush pilots from coast to coast. The information they provided produced a clear picture of what was required, a picture which was in accordance with DHC's own concept. Work started on the aircraft in September 1946. It was designated the DHC-2 and named the “Beaver” after the most industrious animal of that name whose habitat was the Canadian outback.

Although work progressed rapidly on the Beaver, it was not without difficulty, the problem area being the engine. The powerplant initially selected was De Havilland's own Gipsy engine, rated at 295 hp. An all- De Havilland engine/airframe combination was considered a good selling point although doubts did exist in that the new engine had not been proven in service and it would have left the aircraft underpowered. After considerable agonising over the choice of engine, the Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior was selected, rated at 450 hp, to begin what would be a long association between DHC and P&W.

The prototype Beaver CF-FHB-X first flew on 16th August 1947, piloted by Operations Manager and Chief Test Pilot Russ Bannock. The Beaver went on to become the all-time classic bushplane. Its outstanding characteristics were its ruggedness and dependability, its ease of operations, and its ability to haul a useful load out of small fields and tiny lakes. It was the first true STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) aircraft to go into large scale production and was an instant success. In 1949 the Beaver was demonstrated to the United States Search and Rescue Command in Alaska and was selected as the only aircraft that could meet all the exacting requirements of operation in the demanding Alaskan environment. A proposed purchase of 22 Beavers was prevented by the Buy American Act, which prohibited the purchase of peacetime military equipment outside of the United States. The US military however could not really afford not to purchase such an excellent aircraft and following a competition for a liaison aircraft held jointly by the United States Air Force (USAF) and the US Army in 1951, which the Beaver won by a handsome margin over the competition, an order was placed. The Beaver was designated the L-20 in US military service (subsequently re-designated the U-6 in 1962) and an impressive total of 981 Beavers were ultimately delivered to the US military.

DHC built a staggering total of 1,631 Beavers, military sales being 1,077 and civil sales 554, to 62 countries. The surviving military aircraft passed on to the civil market on their withdrawal from military service. The Beaver remained in production from 1947 until 1967. Most of the final deliveries were DHC-2 Mark III Turbo Beavers, which had a re-designed fuselage which could accommodate a pilot and up to ten passengers and was powered by a PT-6A turboprop engine. The prototype Turbo Beaver first flew on 31 December 1963 and sixty in all were built.

Otter 6

Otter number 6 was registered to Imperial Oil Air Transport Ltd on 18th December 1952 and delivered to its new owner the following day. Imperial Oil were Esso's Canadian affiliate. The Otter was based in Dawson Creek, BC and used to support oil exploration work in the Canadian North. It was joined by CF-IOF (24) in September 1954, which was based in Edmonton.

CF-IOD was active in northern BC and Alberta, especially in the Peace River country where hilly sparsely populated farmland soon dissolved into bleak mountain ranges, thick muskeg forests and innumerable lakes and rivers. The Otter supported drilling camps out in the bush. The drilling crew, having trucked in their equipment over hardened ground during the winter, carved a landing strip nearby for the Otter with their bulldozer. The Otter was also used to service small geological and seismic exploration parties, who camped by a lake or river where CF-IOD had a chance of landing.

A number of incidents were recorded, as it operated from short, rugged airstrips out in the bush. On 22 June 1953 at one of these strips, the tail wheel dropped into a hole, damaging the rear fuselage. The Otter was flown to Calgary for repair. On 1st August '53 on a flight from Peace River there was damage to the rear bulkhead on landing 30 miles north-west of Beatton River. On 18th April '55, flying from Imperial Oil's Rainbow Airstrip carrying a load of 1,800 lbs of diamond core barrel parts, the Otter was caught by a downdraft landing at Kahntah airstrip and struck a ridge at the end of the short strip, damaging the undercarriage and propeller. This was put down as one of the “hazards of bush flying”. The damage was repaired by Northwest Industries in Edmonton.

As well as carrying personnel and supplies into these camps, the Otter also brought in bags of specially formulated mud used on drilling sites to cool drilling bits and carry rock cuttings to the surface, and the aircraft also brought out core samples for analysis. It was also used for medevac flights whenever the need arose. Occasionally the Otter came to the attention of the SAR authorities, as it suffered communications difficulties in the course of its travels, giving rise to some concern until it managed to establish contact and report all was well. One such incident occurred on 8th November 1957 when it became overdue at Fort St.John on a round robin flight via Sikanni Chief. Another such incident was on 24th June '58, en route from Fort Providence to Hay River in the Northwest Territories.

There followed years of incident free operation until 2nd April 1965, when CF-IOD was flying from Edmonton to the company's Rainbow Lake airstrip with six passengers. During the landing roll, the aircraft encountered a ridge, became airborne and dropped heavily, sustaining substantial damage. The Otter was sold to DHC on 2nd September 1966, although it remained at Edmonton, where it had been taken for repair. It was sold on by DHC to Thomas Lamb Airways Ltd, and a ferry permit issued on 14th March 1967 for its delivery flight from Edmonton to its new base at The Pas, Manitoba.

IOD was one of thirteen Otters to be registered to this well known Manitoba carrier over the years. The company changed its name to Lambair in December 1968. IOD served the communities of Manitoba for five years, until February 1972, when it was one of three Otters (the others being CFXIL and CF-CDL) sold by Lambair to A. Fecteau Transport Aerien. IOD and CDL were delivered on 16th February 1972 and XIL followed on 1st March '72. With its new owner, IOD proceeded to operate in the bush country of Quebec, just as it had in Manitoba and Alberta before that. It was not long in service before its first scrape, on 6th April '72. Operating in the James Bay area, it was enroute from Fort George to Cape Jones airstrip with five barrels of aviation fuel. Landing on rough terrain and snowdrifts, damage was caused to the rear fuselage, which was repaired.

On 14th April 1977, on take-off from the hydro-electric power station site GB-1 en route to Great Whale, during the take-off run from the rough snow surface, the bolt holding the right gear strut to the fuselage failed, causing the right ski to fold under the fuselage on the subsequent landing. Damage was caused to the right wing, the strut and the centre tank. Repairs were carried out to C-FIOD, as it was then registered, by St.Louis Aviation at St.Jean airfield, Montreal. Another incident occurred two years later on 5th April 1979, landing at Lac Bolem, Quebec on a flight from Lac Mollet. The Otter was flying in material and personnel to repair a company aircraft (Beaver CF-DJO) whose landing gear had collapsed while landing on the rough surface three days earlier. During the landing roll, the left ski of IOD collapsed when it struck a snow-covered rock which the pilot had failed to see. Again, the damage was repaired.

In March 1982 Air Fecteau was amalgamated into Propair Inc, to whom C-FIOD was registered, and with whom it continued to serve the outback of Quebec. It was here, at Lac Helene, that it came to grief on 14th July 1985. The float-equipped Otter with the pilot, a passenger, an electric generator and construction materials on board took off from the lake, which was 10,000 feet long and located at an elevation of 500 feet. The aircraft left the water about half way along the lake and began to climb. At about one hundred feet the pilot retracted the flaps and re-set the engine from take-off to climb power. The aircraft then began to lose altitude. The pilot increased the power again but the Otter continued to descend until it struck the ground and cart-wheeled to the left and slid tail first before coming to rest. Fire broke out which completely destroyed the fuselage and its contents.

The take-off distance exceeded that specified by the manufacturer, probably a consequence of an overload caused either by excessive weight or by water in the floats. As a result, it was at a very low altitude close to the shoreline. The pilot had reduced the power and retracted the flaps at an altitude below that recommended, and was unable because of the low altitude to let the aircraft accelerate to the speed of the optimum rate of climb. The aircraft therefore progressed at low speed and a steep angle of attack. As a result of strong drag forces, it remained behind the power curve. The registration was cancelled on 19th June 1986 as “Detruit par le feu” (destroyed by fire).

- by Karl E. Hayes

A Billy Joell song starts to play in my head, "Only The Good Die Young"! Sometimes "painfully true".

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Otter # 6, CF-IOD, a young "filly", as operated by famous Manitoba company "Lambair", wearing her "winter attire", and "scoffing" at "the elements"............."R.I.P."....

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

Friday, February 23, 2007


Glorious Photos: Just "For You"!

There sure are some fine "shutterbugs" with an "eagle-eye" towards a great "photo-op". These next photographers fit right in. Grab a "wobbly-pop", put up your feet, check out these "56 photos"!

JUST FOR YOU! - "56 Photos"!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

"Aahhh! Just divine!" Love the North American XB-70 "Valkyrie" at the end!


**NEWS ALERT: 2006 "Tax Refund"**

I have been doing some research lately regarding 2006 taxes, as it is "that time of the year". I didn't realize there had been some "massive" Tax Reform happening, which will benefit middle class families "enormously. This "reform" will sure help me out this year, and it may help you also. Apparently, the potential for a large "refund" is very promising. Check out the PowerPoint Presentation detailing this tax reform. There is an audio portion to the Presentation, make sure your "speakers are on".


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Steve's Video Of The Day: How to "Bathe" a "Panther".....

I am sure that the pilot attempting to land this Grumman F9 "Panther" was uttering "phrases" that would make a "sailor" blush, as he descended for an "unscheduled wash"............!

VIDEO - How to "Bathe" a "Panther".....

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Also, check out the following "Link" regarding another "Panther mishap"!

GRUMMAN F9 "PANTHER" - Ramp Strike Video and Pics!

(Amazing that Cdr. George Duncan survived!)

Thursday, February 22, 2007


"Blast from the Past"!: The Flying "W"!

Recently I received a photo of an aircraft operated by Transair and others years ago. It is of an aircraft I love immensely. The first time I saw a photo of this aircraft was in the 1980s at Northway Aviation's Float Base in Riverton, MB. A couple of years later, friend and Northway Aviation "sched" pilot Lorne Goulet came to borrow CF-HDL, Northway's 1953 Cessna 180, which was on floats. Lorne was going to check his "wild rice"at "Maskwa" Lake (Maskwa is Ojibway for "bear"), which he had the "harvest rights" to. He noticed the picture of said aircraft on the wall and stated: "Hey, I have flown that aircraft." He had flown it years before when Transair owned it. In the picture it was on floats in Hooker Air Service "livery", whom Transair had sold it to. Pretty amazing. Anyways, I know of a little more recent history on this aircraft, but first some background on the "Bellanca Aircruiser", affectionately known as the Flying "W"!

The Bellanca Aircruiser (originally the Airbus) was a high wing, single engine aircraft built by Bellanca Aircraft Corporation of New Castle, Delaware. The aircraft was built as a "workhorse" intended for use as a passenger or cargo aircraft. It was available as land, sea or ski plane. The aircraft was powered by either a Wright Cyclone or Pratt and Whitney Hornet engine. The Aircruiser served as both a commercial and military transport.

With a Pratt and Whitney "Hornet" aircooled supercharged radial engine rated at 875 hp, the Aircruiser could carry a useful load greater than its empty weight. In the mid-1930s, the Aircruiser could carry 4,000lb payloads at a speed of between 145-155 mph, a performance that multi-engine Fokkers and Ford Trimotors could not come close to matching.

In 1934, US federal regulations outlawed single engine transports on US airlines, virtually eliminating future markets for the Aircruiser. Where the workhorse capabilities of the Aircruiser stood out was in Canada. Several of the the Flying "Ws", as they were commonly dubbed in Canada, were used in northern mining operations, ferrying ore, supplies and the occassional passenger into the 1970s.

The last flying Aircruiser, "CF-BTW," a 1938 model, after serving in Manitoba, is now on display at the Blimp Hangar Museum NAS, in Tillamook, Oregon.

Another Bellanca Aircruiser, "CF-AWR", named the "Eldorado Radium Silver Express", built in 1935, is presently under restoration at the Western Canada Aviation Museum, Winnipeg.

Here is the picture friend Jim Gulay sent recently.

What a beautiful machine, posing on her skis.

Below is how BTW looks in recent times.

Photo by - Budd Davisson

Not bad-looking for a 69 year old "female". Lots of history in this old girl. If she could speak, she could tell "volumes" of stories. Also, there is another Aircruiser at the Western Canadian Aviation Museum (WCAM) in Winnipeg, presently being restored, and she also has "her own stories". That these aircraft have survived speaks as to the "robustness" of "Guiseppe Bellanca's design". Anyways, check out a few more "links" below, they are quite interesting.

TILLAMOOK AIR MUSEUM - Bellanca Aircruiser

FLIGHT JOURNAL - Bellanca Aircruiser BTW

LINK - Vintage Bellanca Photographs and Reminiscences


WCAM - Eldorado Uranium Silver Express

AVIATION HISTORY - Eldorado Uranium Silver Express CF-AWR

Enjoy the history! Till next time, CF-BTW has the "last word"!

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Steve's Video Of The Day: When Things Go "Terribly Wrong".....

Airshows are great "visual spectacles", but always keep your "wits" about you. Something "could go wrong", as at this Airshow in Lviv, Ukraine..........Always be like "Snagglepuss", ready to "Exit: Stage Left"! (How's your "Russian"?....)


When Things Go "Terribly Wrong".....

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


"Journey", to the "Past"!

Yesterday's "Today In History" section on the Aviation.ca website appeared as such:
Today In History - February 20, 1959

On February 20, 1959 - The Canadian government announced the cancellation of the CF-105 Avro Arrow fighter project.

About a year and a half ago I did some internet-searching on "The Mother Corp." and found a "wealth" of information regarding the Avro Arrow and the "myopic boneheads" that "submarined" it. After my research, I made a 4-part "Post". Spend some time and have a "read", and form your own opinion on how "the ball was fumbled". Let's "journey to the past", and "revisit" the "Avro Arrow", the "Brain Drain", and "Black Friday"!

PART 1 - The "Avro Arrow"!

PART 2 - The "Avro Arrow"!

PART 3 - The "Avro Arrow"!

PART 4 - The "Avro Arrow"!


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Steve's Video Of The Day: "Flensburg": August 27, 2006!

Talk about a "diverse" display! Lots of "radials", "warbirds", and "shapely ladies"! If I start walking now, I can make "Flensburg 2007"!

VIDEO - "Flensburg: August 27, 2006!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Manitoba Aviation History: "Snapshots in Time"!

I "Posted" February 9 regarding a famous Manitoba aviation company and family, Lambair. The "Post" was entitled Manitoba History: "Lambair"! Friend and fellow "aviation enthusiast" Jim Gulay had sent me some fine photos of some of the Lambair fleet. Well, he has sent me some more. They are great "snapshots in time", and give a "glimpse" of what "winter flying" is about. The engineers and pilots of "days gone past" were "hearty souls"!

1961; Beaver Fall float operations at Eskimo Point. Today, "Eskimo Point" is called "Aqviat", and is located in Nunavut, north of Churchill, Manitoba, on the west coast of Hudson Bay. The name translates as “the place of the bowhead whale”.

-photo by Keith D. Olson

1962; Lambair Otter, Beaver, and two Norsemans at the Churchill base.

-photo by Keith D. Olson

1962; Routine maintenance being conducted at the Churchill, Manitoba Base, on one of Robert Noorduyn's fantastic "creations" the "Norseman"! Outside, with no gloves! Old "bush engineers" were "tough"!

-photo by Keith D. Olson

1962; Dennie Lamb near Cape Tatnum, Manitoba, with the Bell G2, CF-MWA, on a Computing Devices contract. Cape Tatnum is near York Factory, the site of a 171-year old Hudson's Bay Company Depot. The structure is the largest wooden building in Canada standing on permanently frozen ground known as permafrost.

-photo by Keith D. Olson

1962; Yathkyed Lake and some starving Eskimos. Keith Olson moving them to Baker Lake, today also called Qamani’tuaq, located in "Nunavut"...no GPS in those days.

-photo by Keith D. Olson

1965; Con Lamb landing a Beaver at Eskimo Point. Notice the front bungee shock-cord on the "tail-ski" is broken, and the ski is "pitched" forward and down.

-photo by Keith D. Olson

1965; Keith Olson with an Otter tied to a dock near the RCMP's "Peterhead" boat, at Eskimo Point.

-photo by Keith D. Olson

Norseman CF-INN in the foreground, sister Norseman behind her, and in the background, an Avro "York", registration CF-MAM. These photos taken at the Churchill ramp. Doug Lamb & Gordon Murray were just in from an X-ray tour of Rankin Inlet, Chesterfield Inlet, Repulse Bay and Baker Lake. X-ray tours were done to check for TB in the local populations.
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-photo by Keith D. Olson

Talk about pictures "telling a story". Notice the Avro "York" was owned by Transair, another famous Manitoba company, and at one time the fourth largest airline in Canada, and hired the first female airline pilot in Canada, Rosella Bjornson. You have to love a "4-engined tail-dragger". An Avro "York" was also Prime Minister Winston Churchill's private airplane.

Thanks again, "Jimmy G."!



Steve's Video Of The Day: One Helluva' "Good Man"!

Always remember, no matter what your "age" or "lot" in life, there is something you can do to make a positive "tremendous impact" on people. I know myself, I always think; "Before I 'cash in', I want to somehow make a difference"! This "Man" certainly has! "Way to go", Burt! We need more people like you!


One Helluva' "Good Man"!

WEBSITE - "Welcome Home a Hero Today!"

"Thanks, Clive"!

Monday, February 19, 2007


"When" I "Win" the "Lottery".......

Everyone that purchases lottery tickets "salivates" at the thought of winning "The Jackpot"! The "financial freedom" would severely lower your stress level, and maybe allow your heart to "pump" for a few extra years, increasing your personal "longevity"! People always have a number of items or bills they would acquire or pay off immediately, if they had the "lucky" ticket. If you won the "lottery" and had "new-found wealth", what would be the first two purchases you would make? Check below to see mine, as a picture is worth "10,000 words"!

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There is just "something" about "radial engines"..............


Steve's Video Of The Day: Time to Spare? Consider a "Tattoo"!

Oh, those "lazy weekends". If you have time to spare, and would like to occupy that time "productively", I have a very good idea. A "Tattoo"! I am "dead serious". So, next time you are making like a "potato", "holding the couch down", spring to your feet, and get out of the house, and consider a "Tattoo"!


Time to Spare? Consider a "Tattoo"!

Largest Military Air Show - video powered by Metacafe

Sunday, February 18, 2007


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

Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Vietnam, Thailand, Alaska, Yukon, to British Columbia, this following Otter has "had" a few "surgeries", but has always been "rehabilitated". Check her out, after a few brief paragraphs regarding de Havilland Canada's "early days". All information is from Karl Hayes' "masterful" CD entitled:

De Havilland Canada



In 1928 the De Havilland Aircraft Company of England established a Canadian subsidiary, realising the potential for aircraft in the exploitation of Canada's natural resources. The formation of De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd (DHC) was officially announced in March 1928 and the following year a seventy acre property was purchased at Downsview, near Toronto and a plant established there.

During the 1930s DHC assembled aircraft which had been manufactured by the English parent company and which had been crated to Downsview, aircraft such as the Puss Moth, Fox Moth, Dragon etc. In 1937 DHC manufactured its first aircraft (as distinct from assembling aircraft already made in England) in the shape of twenty five DH82A Tiger Moth trainers for the RCAF.

The company went into large scale production during the second World War, building many more Tiger Moths, 375 Avro Ansons and more than 1,100 Mosquito bombers. The ending of the war brought a period of adjustment, as such large scale production was no longer required. To start to fill the gap, DHC produced 53 of the DH83C, a Canadian version of the Fox Moth, which proved ideal for exploration of the northern bush country. These were followed by the first of DHC's own designs, the DHC-1 Chipmunk, a training aircraft to replace the Tiger Moth.

Otter 174

Otter 174 was delivered to the United States Army on 14th November 1956 with serial 55-3312 (tail number 53312). It first served with the 3rd Aviation Company, Fort Riley, Kansas and moved with the unit when it deployed to Germany in July 1957, establishing at Illesheim. The 3rd Aviation Company disbanded in November 1959. 53312 remained based in Europe, being assigned to the 708th Maintenance Battalion, Germany. The first ever visit of a US Army Otter to Ireland occurred on 15th September 1961 when 53312 arrived at Dublin Airport, flying in from Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany. It brought in a skydiving team for a local airshow, but they were regrettably prevented from performing by violent westerly gales. The Otter returned to Mannheim on 17th September '61. The Otter was noted flying from Brussels to Birmingham to Bad Kreuznach, Germany on 6th July 1963. Its European deployment came to an end in May 1964 when it was transported to the ARADMAC Depot, Corpus Christi, Texas where it was prepared for service in Vietnam.

On arrival in Vietnam in December 1965, flown there on board a USAF C-124 Globemaster, it joined the 54th Aviation Company. By May 1966 it was back at the ARADMAC Depot for work to be done on it, re-joining the 54th Aviation Company in July 1966, where it was to serve for the next four years. It is mentioned in the unit's history for September 1968. The 54th Aviation Company had a tasking to base an Otter in Bangkok, Thailand and 53312 was the aircraft in question in September '68, when it blew an engine. Parts had to be flown from Tan Son Nhut to Bangkok by USAF C-7A Caribou to repair the Otter.

In March 1970 53312 arrived at the 166th Transportation Company to be prepared for shipment home. It arrived at the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, California in July 1970 where it remained in storage until February 1973, when it was put up for disposal. It was one of two ex “Big Daddy” (the 54th Aviation Company's radio call sign) Otters purchased by Harold J. Hansen, who collected both aircraft at Stockton and trucked them to his facility at Boeing Field, Seattle, where they were rebuilt and civilianised. 53312 was registered to Harold J. Hansen as N90574 and the other Otter he had acquired, 81692, was registered to him as N90575. Both were painted in most attractive white colour schemes with blue trim and were put up for sale. N90574 was noted at Boeing Field on 8th February 1975. Both Otters went to Alaska, where Mr.Hansen's refurbished Otters always found a ready market.

N90574 was leased by Harold Hansen to Woods Air Service of Palmer, Alaska, who ran a fuel hauling and general charter service. It was not long in operation before it came to grief, in quite a spectacular accident at Anchorage. On 21st May 1975 at 0905 hours that morning, the Otter was taking off from the 2,200 foot gravel strip beside Lake Hood, adjacent to the Anchorage International Airport. Only the pilot was on board for the very short flight to the International Airport, where he was to pick up three passengers for a flight to Aniak. The 35 year old pilot had 2,768 hours total time, but only twenty in the Otter, which was new to the Woods Air Service fleet. The flight was a charter for Resources Associates of Alaska and also carried a load of food and fuel. The Otter, it was subsequently determined, was already 484 pounds over its maximum gross weight and took off with an incorrect trim setting.

Shortly after take- off, N90574 stalled and crashed into the United Lumber Company yard at Jewel Lake and Spenard Road, about three quarters of a mile from the end of the Lake Hood strip. The Otter clipped a 30 foot radio tower on top of a National Guard building, then impacted the yard, sadly killing the pilot. No one in the lumber yard was injured, but the ensuing fire damaged five cars, two of which were destroyed, as was a stock of lumber and the fence of the yard. According to a newspaper report: “Employees at the lumber yard next to the crash site watched the white and silver plane descending and saw the craft apparently veer to avoid hitting buildings there. Wreckage was scattered across a 60 foot circle, with the Otter's tail section propped intact against a 25 foot high stack of plywood”. The engine was taken by the NTSB to Air Power Overhaul Co for tear down and inspection. The subsequent accident report cited: “Inadequate pre-flight preparation and/or planning and failure to obtain/maintain flying speed” as the causes of the crash. Contributory factors were the pilot's lack of familiarity with the aircraft, an improperly loaded aircraft and an incorrect trim setting.

Despite the severity of the crash, which surely would have been the end of a lesser aircraft, the wreckage of the Otter was brought back by Harold Hansen to his facility at Boeing Field, Seattle and rebuilt. The Otter was completely repaired by July 1976 and had been repainted in a red overall colour scheme with white trim. He then arranged to lease the aircraft to Harold's Air Service Inc of Galena, Alaska. Despite the similarity of name, this operator had nothing to do with Harold Hansen, but was a charter company owned by a native American, Harold Esmailka. The Otter was on its delivery flight from Seattle to Galena when it came to grief again, yet another stall! N90574 had flown up along the Alaska-Canada highway, and fuel stopped at Northway, Alaska. On 29th September 1976, with just the pilot on board (aged 54, with 14,500 hours total time, but only 450 on the Otter) N90574 took off from Northway and was on its final approach to Eureka, Alaska when it stalled, sustaining serious damage. The pilot had “failed to obtain/maintain flying speed”. Yet again the Otter was repaired by Harold Hansen, before finally entering service with Harold's Air Service, based at Galena.

Harold Esmailka is a very famous bush aviator in Alaska. When the Otter joined his fleet, the operation was quite small. It joined Islander N22JA, a Cessna 206 and three Cessna 207s. Harold's Air Service had a contract from Wien Air Alaska to haul mail from its Galena base to outlying villages, and the Otter was engaged on this work. The Otter served with Harold's Air Service for the next ten years, rendering sterling service out of its Galena base with no further mishaps. Over the years, the fleet expanded and by 1986 had 28 aircraft including a Navajo, Bandeirante, Cessna Caravans and even a Turbo DC-3. Services were flown to 63 villages from Galena. In 1987 the company was renamed Friendship Air Alaska and in November of that year, the Otter was sold.

The new owner of the Otter was Lake Clark Air of Port Alsworth, Alaska one hundred and eighty roadless miles southwest of Anchorage. Owned by Glen R. Alsworth the company provided an air taxi service and at that stage also operated a Beech Bonanza, Cessna U206 and Piper Navajo. When it was first acquired by Lake Clark Air, the Otter was used to haul freight to mining company camps out in the bush. To quote from the book “Bush Pilots of Alaska” by Fred Hirschmann:”The winter months reduce Glen's air fleet to serving local residents, transporting them between the few
nearby Indian and Eskimo villages, hauling freight from Anchorage or emergency flights. But with the long daylight hours of spring, activity accelerates. Between May and October, Glen's aircraft fly almost continuously. Some days he makes three or more round trips to Anchorage, hauling sport fishermen, hunters, prospectors, sightseers or freight into a region best known for its sport fishing and hunting. With no overland or water access into Lake Clark, its small population is totally dependent on aircraft for fuel, groceries, building materials and transportation”. The book contains a particularly fine photograph of N90574 resplendent in its red colour scheme with white trim at Pear Lake, in Lake Clark National Reserve, with hunters of caribou and moose loading their gear into the Otter.

One mishap occurred in the course of this work. On 11th October 1988 the Otter was landing on a gravel strip at Bonanza Hills. During the landing roll, the left main gear encountered snow along the runway edge. The Otter veered sharply to the left and off the runway, causing substantial damage. The “Bush Pilots of Alaska” book also contains another fine photograph of the crashed Otter, in a somewhat forlorn state in the snow, with its left main gear folded under the fuselage and its propeller fallen off. As the book says: “Except for damaged pride, no one was injured. After three days of field repairs, the Otter was flown to Soldotna for a complete overhaul”.

After a time the mining support work dried up and the Otter was then used primarily to transport fishermen during the summer months. The insurance for the aircraft became increasingly expensive, until the operation was no longer economical. N90574 was put up for sale, and sold in December 1999 to Warren Le Fave, who collected the Otter at Port Alsworth and flew it to Kelowna, BC where it received a complete overhaul from AOG Air Support, the insertion of a large cargo door and repainting in a yellow and brown colour scheme. In June 2000, on completion of the work, the Otter was registered C-GFTZ to Kluane Airways Ltd of Whitehorse, Yukon, the operating company of Warren Le Fave.

Kluane Airways also operates a Beaver and a Hughes 500 helicopter in support of the Inconnu Lodge, a fishing and recreational resort in the Yukon, 185 miles east of Whitehorse. As its website proclaims: “The lodge offers its guests a vast variety of activities - heli-hiking, canoeing, kayaking, gold panning and some of the best fishing in Canada's North. Partnered with Inconnu Lodge is Kluane Airways, offering flights to the Cirque of the Unclimbables in the Northwest Territories for rock climbing”. The Otter remained parked at the AOG facility at Kelowna for a time, but was used to support the Lodge during the summer of 2001 and was then advertised for sale or lease in November 2001. At that stage it had 14,625 hours total airframe time, and had an asking price of US$525,000. It was on EDO 7170 floats with Baron extensions and bumpers, Baron STOL kit, the enlarged cargo door, nine new passenger seats, a new aluminium cargo floor and new interior. The Otter was not sold, but instead went on lease to Alkan Air of Whitehorse, Yukon to whom it was registered on 14th June 2002.

Alkan Air had during the 1980s flown Otter CF-AYR (436), which they had sold in June 1988. Now with the acquisition of C-GFTZ on lease, the company returned to Otter operations. During the summer months, the Otter was used to fly in guests to Mr Le Fave's Inconnu Lodge, as well as to fly big game hunters around the Yukon. It was parked up for the winter of 2002/03, but was again in use by Alkan Air for the same purposes during the summer 2003. In addition it supported an emerald mining operation at Regal Ridge, some 160 miles east of Whitehorse, flying in fuel drums and groceries and crew changes for the mine. It continued in use during the winter of 2002/2003. CGFTZ arrived at Vernon, BC in mid March 2004 to be re-engined as a Texas Turbine Otter by Kal-Air, following which it was registered to Saltwater West Enterprises Ltd, Smithers, BC, on 17th June 2004. It is operated by Alpine Lakes Air Ltd of Smithers, replacing C-FMPY (324), the turbine Otter which they operated up to March 2004.

*Latest Update!*

Otter 174

C-GFTZ. Alpine Lakes Air, Smithers, BC. Texas Turbine conversion # 13. The Otter was offered for sale in August 2006 through the agency of C&S Enterprises Ltd. It was advertised as having at that stage 16,050 hours on the airframe and on 8100 Intaero floats. The advert also referred to the aircraft’s major overhaul in the year 2000, to include sound-proofed cabin, heavy duty floor, Baron STOL kit, Baron upgross kit and Yukon Cargo Door.

- by Karl E. Hayes

The Texas Turbine Conversion uses a 900 HP "direct-shaft" Garrett turbine, and the DHC-3 Otter should have had "900-1000 horses" from "Day 1", whether piston or turbine. I have seen River Air's "Texas Turbine #4" Otter C-GYKO in operation, and she performs nicely. She sure is loud when maneuvering on the water, though, as all direct-shaft turbines are. Anyways, make sure you check out Karl's "contact info" at the end of my "Post". Great content again, Karl, thanks for sharing it!

WEBSITE - Texas Turbine Conversions, Inc.

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Super Otter #13
Alpine Lakes Air
Smithers, British Colombia , Canada
C-GFTZ, SN-174


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

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Steve's Video Of The Day: "When All Else Fails".....

This new "aircraft safety system" seems to work quite well on smaller aircraft. My question is this: "What happened to the 'poor sap' in the glider"?

VIDEO - "When All Else Fails".....

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WEBSITE - Ballistic Recovery Systems

Friday, February 16, 2007


"Mystical, Mysterious, Magical; McBeth Pt"!

Do you know of a "mystical" place where you can spend hours, if not days, wandering, and thinking of the "past"? Wondering how this spot of "terra firma" actually came to be, and the history associated with it? During my career in the "bush", I have been lucky enough to have witnessed a few "unique" places. McBeth Point on "Unforgiving Lake Winnipeg" is one of them.

McBeth Point is on the west shore of Lake Winnipeg, in the southern part of the "North Basin". The Fisher River Native Band operates a "Fish Station" at McBeth Pt. in the summer. There is also an old abandoned "mink farm" along the shoreline at McBeth Pt. Over the years I have made a number of trips to McBeth Pt., on "floats" and on "skis". In winter-time, McBeth Pt. is "moonscape", with "concrete-hard" snowdrifts. In summertime, it is alive with colours, wind, waves, wildlife, and she "gives up" some of her secrets.

This past summer I took some employees from the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature to "fossil hunt". They had made a number of trips in the past, exploring the "secrets" McBeth Pt. "disgorges" regularly. Let's return to August 2006.

Arriving at McBeth Pt., fishing shacks lining the southern shoreline.

"Fishing Station".

Otter C-FUKN was our "mount of choice" on this day.


UKN wasn't the only Otter in the vicinity, as this "otter scat", full of crayfish shell, proves.

As we walked from the dock, we stumbled across our first fossil, which seems to be some sort of "egg".

We took a short hike down the southern side of the point. The southern side is more sheltered, and the stones along shore do not become as "weathered" as the shoreline stones on the north side.

Then we walked along the east side of the point, and found an "Inukshuk"!

There were "shorebirds" everywhere, and then the fossils started to appear.....




We then decided to head for the "north" side of the point.

Notice the "layered" limestone.

More fossils emerge.

Lake Winnipeg is the center of ancient "glacial Lake Agassiz", and thousands of years ago all this was underwater.


"Treasures" abound!

The "sedimentary" layers are quite noticeable in this photo.

The "wind and waves" pound the cliffs, and large "chunks" fall into Lake Winnipeg, as she tries to "reclaim" McBeth Pt..............

I had taken Pontiac with me to act as a "swamper", and on the northern tip of the "point", he does his best Ernest Hemingway "Old Man and the Sea" pose.........

On the north side......

More "treasures"........


Notice the "roundness" of the shore stones on the north side, as they take more of a "beating" from wind, waves, and current........

The wind was light, but there was still some "surf"......

Finally, we "cut" through the bush to head back to the aircraft. The "Museum men" were still having their "tent-erecting" contest.

UKN ready to leave. We would leave the "Museum men" on site for a few days to explore.

I "taxi" UKN out........

McBeth Pt. from the air.......

Shaped by the "elements"..........

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McBeth Pt.! One of the "unique" places, forever "stored" in my "mental annals" entitled "spell-binding places I have been"!

Till next time,