Sunday, March 09, 2008


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

Here is an Otter that had a few "broken bones" during her career, along with a few "dunkings". As the "old adage" goes, though, "you can't keep a good girl down"! She is still "employed" today, enjoying herself in warmer "climes"..............

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

De Havilland Canada


Otter 387

Otter 387 was delivered to the RCAF on 31st August 1960 with serial 9412. It was assigned to 400 Squadron, Downsview and then to 411 Squadron, also based at Downsview in December 1960. It met with an accident on 19th January 1962 while landing at the Lake of Bays in the Muskoka Lakes area of Ontario. The mission was to land on the lake and set up camp as part of a survival training exercise. The pilot performed a touch-and-go on the snow covered ice of the lake, inspected the tracks for half a mile, and then landed at another parallel position. However, as the Otter taxied towards the shore, it encountered thin ice and sank, coming to rest with the wings resting on the ice and the fuselage full of water, which would later become ice when the temperature dropped. The crew made a rapid evacuation, without any injuries.

As it happened, there was a huge rescue effort on at the time, which had started on 16th January '62, for a Strategic Air Command B-47 bomber call-sign 'PETE 67', which had gone missing on a night training detail out of Plattsburgh AFB, New York. It was not known where the aircraft had crashed and although USAF aircraft were combing New York State, the RCAF were searching north of the border, a huge search involving Albatross, Dakota, Caribou, Expeditor and Lancaster aircraft and H-21 and H-34 helicopters, and also involving two Otters from 102 Rescue Flight at Trenton and one from St.Hubert. One of the SAR helicopters and a Caribou were diverted from the B-47 search to go to 9412's assistance. The B-47 wreckage was eventually found forty five miles south-west of Plattsburgh.

Otter 9412 was retrieved from the lake and taken to DHC at Downsview, where it was repaired by the RCAF's 12 Technical Support Unit (TSU). Following repair, on 30th October 1962 it was assigned to 401 Squadron at St.Hubert, Montreal. It was to spend the rest of its military career at St.Hubert, used by both 401 and 438 Squadrons. After nearly twenty years at St.Hubert, on 15th February 1982 it arrived at the AMDU, Trenton, moving on 27th May 1982 to the Mountain View depot where it was put up for disposal through the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation. It was one of a number of Otters sold at auction in September '82, advertised for sale with a total airframe time of 6,333 hours on the airframe. The purchaser was Silver Pine Air Services Ltd of Pine Falls, Manitoba at a price of $60,000. It was flown to Silver Falls and after overhaul and conversion to civilian configuration was registered C-GIIQ to Silver Pine Air Services in December 1982.

In July 1986 the Otter was sold to Jackson Air Services Ltd of Flin Flon, Manitoba. On 16th December 1987, at its Flin Flon base, the Otter sank through the ice while taxying for take off, the second dunking of its career. Repairs on this occasion cost $12,000. Another incident was recorded on 24th January 1990 at Sylvia Lake, Manitoba. The pilot landed too close to the shoreline and the aircraft ran up onto land, causing minor damage to the left wing. A more serious accident befell C-GIIQ at Sandy Bay, Saskatchewan on 11th March 1994. The Otter was departing from the ice strip at Sandy Bay. Because of the sticky snow conditions, the pilot taxied the aircraft beyond the normal take-off start position before starting the take-off run. However, the take-off run required was still too long to permit clearance over rising terrain in the departure path, and the aircraft struck the trees and crashed. The Otter decelerated in the trees and remained upright. The pilot and two passengers escaped without injury.

Damage to the Otter was very substantial however and brought the aircraft's career with Jackson Air Services to an end. The wreck was brought to Kuby's Aircraft at Kenora, Ontario where it lay for years. It was noted there still in May 2004, ten years after the accident.


Otter 387

January 1st, 2008. C-GIIQ. After its accident in March 1994 at Sandy Bay, Saskatchewan the Otter was brought to Kuby’s Aircraft, Kenora where it lay, in the company of other wrecked Otters, for years, intended for eventual rebuild. In the event, Kuby’s Aircraft sold their stock of wrecked Otters to Recon Air of Geraldton, Ontario and four Otters including C-GIIQ were trucked to Geraldton in October 2005. Rebuilding commenced during 2006 and IIQ was advertised for sale in November 2006, with total airframe time of 12,845 hours, in the course of rebuild to “like new” status, with a change of engine.

The buyer of the Otter, in March 2007, was Charles Bethel of Andros Island in the Bahamas where he runs the Flamingo Quay resort. He needed a replacement for his original Otter N335AK (263) which had crashed in December 2006. By the end of September 2007, IIQ was nearing the completion of its rebuild and had been converted to a Texas turbine Otter with the Garrett engine. It also had new avionics fitted, a new interior, new paint scheme and was on Wipline amphibious floats. It was registered N443CB on 12th October 2007 to Bank of Utah Trustee, Salt Lake City and set off on its delivery flight, routing from Geraldton- Duluth- Champaige (Illinois)- La Grange (Georgia)- Fort Lauderdale- Nassau- Flamingo Quay, a flight time of 26 hours. It then entered service supporting the Flamingo Quay resort, collecting its guests at Nassau and flying them to and from the resort.

- by Karl E. Hayes


- photo by Anthony J. Hickey



Wow, all I can say to the preceding is "You go, girl"! Enjoy the "tropics"!


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