Sunday, June 08, 2008


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

It is said that an "image" is worth a thousand words. Well, an "image" of an Otter is a "story" waiting to be told. Unfortunately, many never will be, but with many thanks to Karl Hayes, many stories are being told, and updated as "time marches on". Just check out the "storied" life of this Otter..... "friggin' unbelievable" where she has been, what she has done, and what she has been through......

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

De Havilland Canada


Otter 201

Otter 201 was delivered to Wideroes Flyveselskap & Polarfly A/S of Norway on 11th March 1957. It was crated at Downsview and shipped to Norway where it was re-assembled and registered LN-BIB on 29th April 1957. It entered service with Wideroes based at Bodo in northern Norway on their scheduled network. LN-BIB was to fly for Wideroes for fourteen years. It was damaged on 26th June 1967 when in collision with a boat but was repaired and continued in service. It was one of the last three Otters flown by Wideroes, all three of which were sold to Laurentian Air Services Ltd of Ottawa by Bill of Sale dated 19th October 1971. LN-BIB was registered CF-APQ to Laurentian Air Services, the other two Otters being CF-APP (ex LN-BDD) and CF-APR (ex LN-LMM). By that stage of its career, Otter 201 had 12,240 hours on the airframe. The three Otters were shipped back to Canada and re-assembled at the Laurentian base at Ottawa.

All three Otters entered service with Laurentian Air services, which was a large operator of the DHC-3. Over the years, it operated no less than fourteen Otters. Although based at Ottawa, most of the company's flying was done in Quebec. CF-APQ was involved in an accident at Esker, Newfoundland on 2nd August 1974. As the report summarises: “Selected unsuitable terrain; overshot; substantial damage”. It was repaired and sold to Direquair Inc of Chibougamau, Quebec in 1977, registered C-FAPQ. With Direquair, the Otter was based at Lac Cache, Chibougamau and served alongside the company's other two Otters C-FDIO (452) and C-FQOS (398). There was a change of name to Air Mistassini Inc in 1981. On 25th March 1982, C-FAPQ was involved in an incident at Baie du Poste, Quebec. Following the landing and while taxying in soft snow and slush, the right ski attachment bolt failed. The pilot felt the aircraft begin to sink and applied power. The drag strut then failed from excessive loads as the ski moved sideways and the Otter fell onto its right side.

The Otter was repaired, but shortly afterwards Air Mistassini went bankrupt. Although their other two Otters were stored at Lac Cache, APQ went on lease to Propair who flew it in northern Quebec. The registration to Air Mistassini was cancelled on 27th May 1982. For the summer of 1982 the Otter was registered to Societe Tourisme Baie James, while operated by Propair. It was then sold to CoVal Air Ltd in June 1984 and crossed the country, all the way to Campbell River, Vancouver Island on the Pacific Coast, its new base. Initially it flew in Air Mistassini colour scheme with CoVal Air titles, before being re-painted into CoVal's blue and white colour scheme. It was to fly for CoVal Air for all of thirteen years. One incident was recorded during that time, at Jesse Island, BC on 12th January 1987 when APQ made a forced landing due to engine failure. It was soon repaired in Vancouver and back in service by late March '87. It went on lease to Deh Cho Air from June 1992, based out of Fort Liard, Northwest Territories. Deh Cho Air added the Otter to its fleet to support reforestation work in the Fort Liard Indian Band's territory and to take groups of tourists into Nahanni National Park. It proved ideal for this operation and could comfortably carry groups of six people with their canoes and supplies. It returned to CoVal Air at Campbell River in September 1993, and Deh Cho Air then acquired their own Otter C-FZKW (461).

C-FAPQ continued in service with CoVal Air until early 1997 when the company suspended operations. By April 1997 the three CoVal Otters APQ, QEI (397) and LCP (422) were parked out of service at Campbell River. The Otter had been on lease and its owners arranged for it to be given a major overhaul prior to being put up for sale/lease. At that stage it had 24,336 hours total time. The airframe was paint stripped and de-corroded and then primed, seam sealed and painted overall gloss white. It received an updated instrument panel and cabin sound proofing. It was on EDO 7170 floats. Over $200,000 was spent on the overhaul and it was advertised for sale as “ready to work”, with an asking price of US$375,000. It was leased in July 1999 to North Coast Aviation Ltd of Goose Bay, Labrador, resulting in another cross-country ferry flight back to the Atlantic coast.

With North Coast Aviation Ltd at Goose Bay, it was to replace Otter C-GLQX (362 which the company had been operating up to then. The following month, there was a change of personnel within the company, which was re-named Goose Bay Aviation Ltd, trading as “Northwind Aviation”, to which APQ was registered in August 1999. The Otter suffered a mishap at Nain, north of Goose Bay, during summer 2000. While docked at Nain, one of the floats filled with water and the Otter flipped over and sank. It was fished out of the water, dried out, temporarily repaired on site and a ferry permit obtained for a flight back to Goose Bay. Over the winter of 2000/2001, it was rebuilt at Goose. In November 2001 the Otter was sold to 541964 British Columbia Ltd, a private company with an address at Comox, BC to whom it was registered on 7th November 2001, but the Otter was parked at Polson, Montana while owned by this company.

In October 2002 the Otter was advertised for sale, through aircraft brokers Island Aero Services of Sidney, BC. Photographs of the Otter on their website showed it parked at Polson, in an all white scheme, on wheel-skis. The aircraft was advertised with an asking price of US$550,000. By March 2003 the Otter had arrived at Hemet Valley airfield, California where it was parked, for sale. It was still painted all white and on wheel-skis. It was still there in August 2003, its wheel-skis somewhat out of place in the 35C heat. The Otter was still advertised for sale during 2004.


Otter 201

January 1st, 2008. N205RC. Rapids Camp Lodge, King Salmon, Alaska. Texas Turbine.

- by Karl E. Hayes

"Wow", now she has a 900 HP Garrett engine, and you should see her, talk about a middle-aged female getting "back in shape"!


-photo by John Kimberley



-photo by Stephen Toernblom

......and "now"! "Aye Caramba"!


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