24 - C-FIOF

Photo courtesy of Rich Hulina 2004

Photo courtesy of Ian Beatty 2005

Serial Number






Year of Manufacture



Turbo Prop


 Matheson Island, Manitoba




Blue Water Aviation Services Ltd 


Box 20, Pine Falls, Manitoba, R0E 1M0

Contact / Link



Was Wamair Service & Outfitting Inc 

Otter number 24 was sold to Wideroes Flyveselskap & Polarfly A/S of Norway. It was painted in a Spartan Green colour scheme, allocated the registration LN-SUV and completed on 15th February 1954. It was crated and shipped to Norway, but was damaged in transit and returned to Downsview. It was replaced by Otter number 41, which was then allocated the marks LN-SUV. Meanwhile, Otter number 24 was repaired at Downsview and sold to Imperial Oil Air Transport Ltd of Toronto on 24th September 1954, being registered to its new owners as CF-IOF on 21st October 1954.

CF-IOF joined Otter CF-IOD (6) flying for Imperial Oil, who were Esso's Canadian affiliate. It remained in service with Imperial Oil for fifteen years, supporting exploration work in the Canadian north. Whereas IOD was based at Dawson Creek, IOF was based in Edmonton, although spent most of its time flying in the Northwest Territories, the same type of work as already described for IOD. It came to the notice of the SAR authorities on a few occasions, experiencing communications difficulties, examples being 2nd April 1958 Hay River to Norman Wells and 25th August '58 Edmonton VFR to Stien River and onwards to Hay River. In the spring of 1963 IOF helped to evacuate the 1,800 residents of Hay River when the flooding river required a massive airlift of the population.

IOF was sold to Carter Air Services Ltd of Hay River, NWT to whom it was registered on 19th June 1969. It had an even longer period of service with them, all of 24 years, and despite this very long operation in the demanding environment of northern Canada, only one accident is recorded. In 1976 the Otter was roaded to Calgary for repairs, having suffered storm damage to the tail and rear fuselage. During late 1992/early 1993, IOF flew on lease to Air Tindi, while its Otter CF-CZP (69) was under repair. The Otter was then sold to Randi Air Ltd (Caribou Air) of Edmonton, to whom it was registered on 31st May '93. It then went on short lease to Reliance Airways Ltd of Fort Smith to whom it was registered on 3rd June '93 before reverting to Caribou Air on 27th July '93. It then went to Arctic Wings & Rotors Ltd of Inuvik, NWT being registered to them on 13th August '93 and was to remain based at Inuvik for two years. It joined their fleet of single Cessnas, Navajos and Islanders.

The Otter's next owner was Eagle Aviation Ltd of Pine Falls, Manitoba to whom it was registered on 13th September 1995. The Otter was based at the Silver Falls seaplane base, some 15 kms from Pine Falls, on the river connecting Lac du Bonnet with Lake Winnipeg. The Otter flew on floats from the river during the summer, and on wheel-skis from the adjacent airstrip during the winter. In April 1996 C-FIOF went on lease to Blok Air Ltd of Thompson, Manitoba, returning to Eagle Aviation on 28th October 1997. It was used by Blue Water Aviation Services Ltd, another Silver Falls based Otter operator for a time, before flying south to McGregor, Texas where Eagle Aviation had arranged for the Otter to be converted to turbine power with a Walter M-601 engine, a Czechoslovakian powerplant very similar to the P&W PT-6. The Otter flew back to Silver Falls in September 1999, converted with its new turbine for test flying, before returning to McGregor, Texas for further test work as part of the certification process.

With certification achieved, IOF returned to its base at Pine Falls, Manitoba. During December 2001/January 2002 it was at the AOG facility at Kelowna, BC for technology refinement and maintenance work. On 30th April 2002 the Otter was registered to Wamair Service & Outfitting Inc, Matheson Island, Manitoba. According to its website “Wamair is located about 220 kilometres north of Winnipeg at the north end of Provincial Road 234 on Matheson Island on Lake Winnipeg. A short ferry crossing takes you from the north end of the road over to Matheson Island. Wamair's base is the first stop on the right as you drive off the ferry. Kathy and William Mowat operate Wamair using a Cessna 180 and 185, an Otter and a Beaver, on floats in summer and skis in winter. William has been flying small aircraft in the wilds of Manitoba for many years. Each year he transports many canoeists to a number of popular rivers in the beautiful Canadian Shield territory east of Lake Winnipeg and the surrounding area, known for its wilderness, fishing, whitewater and wildlife”.

Destinations served included the Bloodvein River, Pigeon River, Berens River and Poplar River. The Otter could carry two canoes, four passengers and gear. On 25th March 2004 the Otter returned to Silver Falls, Manitoba, being registered that day to 3097448 Manitoba Ltd (Adventure Air), an associated company of Eagle Aviation. In May 2004, IOF went on lease to Huron Air of Armstrong, Ontario to replace their Otter C-GOFF (65) which had crashed.

History courtesy of Karl E Hayes from DHC-3 Otter: A History (2005)