Tuesday, June 23, 2009


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

Here is a "deceased" girl that started her career in Norway, but returned later to Canada. I tell you, those boys at Thomas Lamb Airways Ltd of The Pas, Manitoba, were "real men". Who would fly an R-1340 engined Otter across the "Atlantic" today? Not too many volunteers, I don't think...........

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

De Havilland Canada


Otter 441

Otter 441 was delivered to the Royal Norwegian Air Force on 28th January 1964 with serial 64-441, taken from its year of delivery and constructor's number. It was crated and shipped to Norway, arriving in Oslo Harbour 2nd March '64. It was taken to Kjeller Air Force Base where it was reassembled, and accepted by the Air Force, and allocated code 0-AL. On 9th June 1964 it was assigned to 7192 Stotteving (7192 Support Flight) at Orland Air Force Base on amphibious floats. It was to serve the entire of its military career at Orland. In March 1966 it went to Kjeller Air Base for overhaul, returning to Orland. 7192 Support Flight became 720 Squadron, and on 25th January 1967 the Otter received code JT-S. It remained based at Orland with Detachment D of 720 Squadron until 9th October 1967 when it was taken out of service. On 15th November '67 it was struck off charge, having flown a total of 1,257 hours in the service of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, and was entrusted to Halle & Peterson of Oslo, the DHC agents in Norway, for disposal.

Three of the former Norwegian Air Force Otters were sold to Thomas Lamb Airways Ltd of The Pas, Manitoba in April 1968, number 29, which was allocated marks CF-XJM, number 423 which became CF-XIL and number 441 which became CF-CDL. This was the second use of the marks CF-CDL, which had initially been used for Otter 433 which had been destroyed in a crash on 14th February 1968. The purchase price was $30,000 a piece for each of the three Otters and at the time of the sale all three were located at Vaernes Air Base, Trondheim on amphibious floats. Thomas Lamb Airways (later re-named Lambair) were responsible for returning many Otters back to Canada from foreign parts, and arranged for ferry pilots to fly the three Otters back to Canada. A ferry permit was issued for the delivery flight from Vaernes Air Base to The Pas.

The three Otters set off in formation, flying first to Rotterdam in Holland (also noted at Soesterberg Air Base nearby on 22nd April), then to Manchester, England and on to Shannon in Ireland, where they arrived on 25th April '68. At Shannon, ferry tanks were installed in the Shannon Repair Services hangar for the ocean crossing. The three-Otter formation departed Shannon on 4th May for Prestwick, Scotland and on to Stornoway before setting off across the Atlantic via Iceland and Greenland to Goose Bay. The three Otters arrived at The Pas, Manitoba where they were overhauled and entered service with Lambair.

In February 1972 CF-CDL was sold to A.Fecteau Transport Aerien of Senneterre, Quebec. It met with an accident at Lac Goulde, Quebec on 25th June 1975 while operating on floats, referred to in the accident report as “engine failure on climb out” and was substantially damaged. After repair, it was returned to service, the company name being changed to Air Fecteau Ltee and the registration to C-FCDL. It suffered another incident at Lac Canusio, Quebec on 9th March 1981. After landing on the frozen lake, on which the ice was only one and a half inches thick, the pilot had unloaded five 45 gallon fuel drums, by pushing them out of the cargo door and allowing them to free fall to the ice, which weakened it. While taxying away from the unloading area for take-off, the Otter broke through the ice and was partially submerged. It was again repaired and returned to service.

Air Fecteau Ltee merged into Propair Inc, to whom C-FCDL was registered. On 7th March 1984, a precautionary landing after propeller failure is recorded at LG-2 in northern Quebec. In July 1986 the Otter was sold to Cargair Ltee based at St.Michel-des-Saintes, Quebec. It continued flying for Cargair until it was destroyed in a crash on 27th May 1991, twenty five miles north of its base at St.Michel-des-Saintes. In the cruise, the Otter struck trees in IMC conditions, crashed and burned. One of the two occupants sadly was killed and the other seriously injured. The Otter was destroyed.

- by Karl E. Hayes

"Damned trees"!


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