Sunday, May 18, 2008


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

Today, I formally met a "fine female". I had laid eyes on her before from afar, but today I got to "hold" her. Our meeting was at Selkirk, Manitoba. My "caress" stirred something inside her, and she "purred" like a kitten. I was so "enamoured" by her, I brought her to Nestor Falls with me, as we will be providing employment for "her" for two weeks. "Oh", did I mention? She is also a "proud" Vietnam Veteran, having served her country well, and the 18th Aviation Company. "Salute!"

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

De Havilland Canada


Otter 130

Otter 130 was delivered to the United States Army on 20th June 1956 with serial 55-3281 (tail number 53281) and was assigned to the 2nd Aviation Company, Fort Riley, Kansas which later deployed to Germany, then France (as described in relation to Otter 124). By January 1962 the Otter was in the depot at Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany as a maintenance float and in May '62 was allocated to SETAF in Italy, where it served until September 1963. Details of its subsequent military career are unfortunately missing until it arrived at the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, California in July 1968 for overhaul. It was transported from there to Vietnam where it was received in March 1970 by the 388th Transportation Company at Vung Tau.

The Otter was allocated in August 1970 to the 18th Aviation Company and based at Qui Nhon, but its service with the unit was relatively brief, as it stood down in January 1971. The Otter was then placed with the 79th Transportation Company at Qui Nhon and was shipped back to the United States, arriving at the Army's Red River Depot in Texas in May 1971, where it was put into storage. It was deleted from the inventory in May 1972 and put up for disposal as “salvage”, apparently not being in the best of shape after its time in Vietnam.

The Otter was sold on 15th February 1973 to J.W.Duff Aircraft Company of Denver, Colorado for $31,800. Duff Aircraft, based at Denver's Stapleton Airport, were a company which specialised in dealing in military surplus aircraft and spare parts. Very rapidly they sold on the Otter on 27th February '73 to Seneca Aviation Inc of Mena, Arkansas who proceeded to return the aircraft to flying condition. It was registered to Seneca Aviation Inc on 1st March 1973 as N88753 and performed a test flight at Mena on 12th April 1973 after rebuild and conversion to civilian configuration. The Certificate of Airworthiness was issued to Seneca Aviation Inc on 21st May 1973, at which stage the Otter had a total time of 3,553 hours on the airframe.

The Otter was put up for sale and the American registration cancelled on 26th October '73 on the sale of the aircraft to Lauzon Aviation Company Ltd of Algoma Mills, Ontario, to whom it was registered as CF-KOA. After five years service with this Ontario bush operator, KOA arrived in Calgary, Alberta on 4th March 1979. The 'Lauzon Aviation' titles were removed that week and the aircraft prepared for its next operator, which was Parsons Airways Northern Ltd of Flin Flon, Manitoba. It served with them for eleven years, until sold to Sioux Narrows Airways Ltd, to whom it was registered on 28th February 1990. The Otter was converted by its new owners with the Polish PZL 1000 engine and joined another PZL-powered Otter C-GSMG (363) which also flew for Sioux Narrows Airways.

This operator was owned by Warren Plummer and used to service the sports fishing lodges he had established on Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake and on the Arctic Coast in the Northwest Territories. The fishing season runs from May to September each year, guests typically arriving by chartered Boeing 737. Then the Plummers Lodge's fleet took over for transport within the Northwest Territories. Their long-serving DC-3 C-FQHY connected the Great Slave, Great Bear, Trophy and Tree River camps and tied in to Yellowknife, carrying not only the passengers but fuel and supplies as well. The two Otters were used to take guests, eight at a time, from the lodges on special fly-outs to choice fishing spots. A Beaver and a Cessna 206 catered to smaller groups. At season's end the fleet flew south to Selkirk, Manitoba for winter maintenance and storage.

Two incidents were recorded during June 2001. On 18th June C-FKOA was in the cruise thirty miles north of Thompson, Manitoba when the pilot noticed the carburettor temperature indicator was above the normal range. He elected to return to Thompson and landed without incident. Maintenance found a cracked weld in the exhaust system near the engine air intake. This was repaired and returned to service. A few days later, on 27th June, forty eight miles west of Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories during the float take-off on a small lake, the engine failed. The pilot was able to land on the lake without damage to his Otter and relay his situation to Fort Smith through a passing airliner. Again the Otter was repaired and resumed service.


Otter 130

January 1st, 2008. C-FKOA. Sioux Narrows Airways/Plummers Lodge, Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories. Texas Turbine.

- by Karl E. Hayes

Yes, she is quite the machine, with her 900 HP turbine and 8100 floats! Tomorrow she "goes to work!" Stay tuned!


- photo by Anthony J. Hickey


- photo by John Kimberley


- photo by Steve Taylor, May 18, 2008


- photo by Dave Beaushene, May 18, 2008


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