Monday, July 30, 2007


28 Cylinders, "Whirring" in "Unison"!

This past Saturday, myself and Doug "McLeod" Burton had finished early, so we were going to take a "road trip" up to Matheson Island, and see some friends, and "inhale" some "wobbly pops". We would first head to the airport at Pine Dock and secure Cessna "amphib" Caravan C-GNWG, the aircraft Doug has been flying, which was parked on wheels, as there were "T-storms" in the forecast. As we rounded the last corner to the airport, we saw a "tail" sticking above the "horizon"...............


"Damn, a DC-3 came to visit"!




Gary Foster was the Captain, and they were on their way from Island Lake to Gimli. A few days back, they had "blown a jug" on takeoff, and returned to Island Lake. The maintenance crew had been sent north with an engine, and they had changed it out. They were on their way south, and stopped at Pine Dock for fuel. This aircraft runs Pratt and Whitney R-1830, two row, 14 cylinder radial engines.





The boys "gassed" her up, and prepared to head south. FTR is operated by FNT Transport, which operates from Gimli, Manitoba. They also run DC-3s CF-OOW and CF-QHY, which is Plummer's Lodges "old machine". They also run Curtis "Commando" C-46 C-GIBX, and have a second C-46, C-GTPO, which will be "on-line" soon. I tell you, the community of Gimli is treated to a "symphony" every morning when these "birds" take-off!


Gary fires up "#2 engine" before they leave...........



.......then "#1"!





Gary and FTR taxi for "take-off"!





The "last" word of my "post" goes to FTR, as she "sings a song", and becomes airborne..................


"We're outta' here".............




Steve's Video Of The Day: How "NOT" To Start A Beaver!

Mark Fuller sent me this video of a pilot up at Hall Beach, Nunavut, displaying a severe "lack of respect" for his engine and aircraft. This "IS NOT" how you "start" a Beaver, even though it seems he "lucked out". I can't believe the Beaver didn't catch fire, with a bottom-mounted carb. I am sure there was a fine "blue, 100LL stain" on the ground when the Beaver taxied away. This technique of "starting" an aircraft only guarantees that in the future you will also be "starting" a "fire".


How "NOT" To Start A Beaver!


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

In 1999 I was working for Blue Water Aviation in Silver Falls, Manitoba. An "incident" (to put it mildly) happened with an Otter owned by another company flying a caribou hunt out of Thompson, and I was sent some "vivid" pictures. Of course, the pictures were of the "final demise" of a "grand old girl", and I have since misplaced them. Last night, though, I was wondering what the history of the Otter was before her "final flight". So, "you guessed it", let's ask "Karl"!

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

De Havilland Canada


Otter 48

Otter 48 was one of the batch of the first six Otters delivered to the US Army, as explained in relation to number 43. Its delivery date was the 14th March 1955 and it was allocated serial 55-2975 (tail number 52975). All six aircraft set off together from Downsview on 14th March 1955 on delivery to the 521st Engineer Company at Crissy AAF, San Francisco. The six Otters then took part in a survey of Alaska during the summer of 1955, returning to Crissy AAF in September '55. The following month the unit relocated to the Sharpe General Depot at Stockton, California. The subsequent Army career of 52975 has unfortunately not been recorded, but it was deleted from the Army inventory in October 1961 as “crashed”.

Sold on the civilian market, the Otter was rebuilt and on 4th April 1968 a Provisional Certificate of Registration as CF-XFO and Flight Permit for an Importation Flight from Miami, Florida was issued to Gateway Aviation Ltd of Edmonton, Alberta. It was formally registered to Gateway Aviation on 4th June 1968. This company, although having its head office and maintenance base at Edmonton, operated mostly in the Northwest Territories and High Arctic in support of government projects, mining, exploration and oil industry projects, and flew six Otters over the years.

CF-XFO flew with Gateway Aviation for nearly four years, until sold to Nipawin Air Services Ltd of Nipawin, Saskatchewan in May 1972, registered C-FXFO. It serviced the bush areas of Saskatchewan with this operator until sold to Watson Lake Flying Services Ltd of Watson Lake in the Yukon in November 1977. For a remarkable twenty years XFO flew with this bush carrier out of Watson Lake, alongside a Beaver and some single Cessnas. Sadly, the carrier ceased operations in 1997 and the Otter and other aircraft were sold. The purchaser of the Otter was Blok Air Ltd of Thompson, Manitoba to whom C-FXFO was registered in April 1997. It joined Otter C-FIOF (24) which Blok Air had on lease, but which was returned to the lessor at the end of the summer '97 season. XFO continued flying for Blok Air, which was restructured during 1999. In July of that year, XFO was registered to P&D Aircraft Leasing Ltd, trading as Venture Air, which took over the Blok Air operation. The Otter continued flying from Thompson, Manitoba until its luck ran out on 15th September 1999.

On that day, the pilot was flying five caribou hunters from Thompson to Nicholson Lake, Manitoba. The number three cylinder cracked, the engine lost power and a fire broke out. The pilot managed to land the float-equipped Otter on a small un-named lake some 160 miles north of Thompson, in the vicinity of Kozak Lake, and evacuated the aircraft with his passengers. At this remote location there was unfortunately nothing they could do to put the fire out, and they stood helplessly at the side of the lake as the fire consumed and completely destroyed the Otter.

- by Karl E. Hayes

No one was hurt, so the outcome in "human terms" was "the desired". As far as the Otter being reduced to "black soot" and "melted aluminum", an "unfitting" end to an "historical, legendary piece" of Canadian history. At least she "rests" in her element, the "pristine shores of a lake".


Friday, July 27, 2007


"Wildfire Suppression"!

Manitoba's "extreme weather" continues. Cold, "rain-drenched" Spring, "maverick" lines of thunderstorms, tornadoes, and now "SCORCHING HEAT"! Last week we hit 38*C, and I hear it was hotter elsewhere in the Province. Anyways, with the bush as dry as a "popcorn fart", Manitoba Conservation has strategically placed some "front line" fire crews at locations around the Province. Last week, a "crew" showed up at Pine Dock, with related equipment. Check them out.


"Forward Attack Base"!



Doug stands beside an Air Tractor AT-802!


Pratt and Whitney PT-6 -67, rated for 1350 HP!


A sister AT-802. The 802 has an 800 Gal. "hopper", and can haul an 8,000lb. load!



The crew also had an Air Tractor AT-602. 1100 HP, 600 Gal. "hopper", 6,000lb. load!




The company on-site contracted by Manitoba Conservation was Westman Aerial. They brought their own trucks with Jet Fuel, and "Fire Retardant".


They had their own "Bird Dog", a Cessna 337 "Mixmaster"!


Pool full of retardant ready to fill an aircraft "hopper".


They brought a portable "workshop". Anyways, as you can see, "the boys" have quite the setup. "Boring as hell" when waiting for fires, but "exciting as hell" when bombing. The "last word" of my "Post" goes to the Manitoba Fire Program, powered by "Pratt and Whitney".



Thursday, July 26, 2007


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Luke's Guitar"!

This is one for all the "Red-Blooded Canadian Men", like myself, with families. The "pillars" of Canadian Society. Men that work their fingers to the bone, to provide a decent standard of living for their "wives and brood". I myself, have a lovely wife, 5 great kids, all with no hang-ups. I have sacrificed lots, but rightly so. Parenthood "ain't easy", but the "return on your investment" can't be measured in money. Right now I have my oldest child, who will be a 5th-year University Student this Fall, working at a Fly-In Fishing Lodge, earning wages toward her tuition for her last year of University, my second oldest is the Recreation Director at the Riverton Friendship Centre, she will be a 3rd-year University Student this Fall, my third oldest is in Penhold, Alberta, a member of the Air Cadet Staff training younger Cadets, my fourth oldest is at the Military College in Kingston through the Air Cadet Program taking an Athletic Instructor's Course, and my youngest, "The Munch", well, she keeps me and my beautiful wife "on our toes", as she was a "late" child, just now seven years old. Anyways, "men" give up lots for their families, and I "salute them all". You know, there is one thing though, that a man has a hard time giving up, something that becomes "part of their very being". I know it isn't the weekend yet, but as I sit with a "pickle jar full of water and liquid intellect", I happened to come across this fine rendition of a situation where a "man has given his all", but who will not give up the last "vestige of who he is". It is presented by a "Proud, Elder Canadian Statesman, and Order of Canada Recipent", and "outstanding Senior Citizen" who has the "uncanny ability" to measure the "pulse of this Nation". I give you.................


Luke's Guitar

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


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

OK, "Ladies and Gentlemen", time for "installment #17" in our "cockpit series", which will be a continuing "brain-strainer". "Aquila Chrysaetos" and "Leo Panthera", what a "mix"!


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


....but here "she" is! I figured the "Latin" would have been a good clue! "She" is a "Great Swede"!


Tuesday, July 24, 2007


"Anatomy Of A Dunking", or "Graceful" Performs "Swan Lake"!

Yesterday "Pontiac" and I had to fly Chris Pancoe, Simon Potter, and 4 others to Vickers Lake on the Pigeon River, as they will be canoeing the "canyons" of the Pigeon River until Saturday. It was very warm when we left, but the air was smooth. I made Vickers first, and tied on the "lee" side of an island. Then Pontiac landed, and as I finished unloading my guys and canoes, I noticed he shut down off a point on the island I was on. Yup, just like "The Skipper", he had "run aground". Time to untie his canoe, unload his passengers, and lighten the aircraft to get off the "rock ledge" he was on.


My canoes and "crew" unloaded..........


"Hey Pontiac, what are you doing out there?".........


Untieing his canoe, which his passengers will paddle to shore...........


"Mission accomplished"......."Shit, I am still hung-up"............


Get out the paddle...........




Pontiac looked like he would soon be "free", so I turned back toward my Otter, then I heard the "splash"............


Yes, I did hear a splash, lucky my camera was ready. Pontiac ("Graceful") can swim, so there was no chance he would drown.............


The "laughter" started from the island...........




"Graceful" made it back on the float, and then started pointing at something. Funny thing, he was using his middle finger...............



I turned back toward UKN, and I am sure a smile was "greased across her cowl"..........


......and the "last word of my Post" goes to bush veteran UKN.........

"Rookie humour, gotta' love it"............