OTTER NEWS 2011
Another year has dashed by and tomorrow is Christmas Day again. Far too busy for my own good this year, but needs must. And keeping the kids fed and the dog in sufficient bones has taken priority. However, despite that, it has been another good year for Otter Info and my thanks go out to all those who have contributed; some new to the site, others who are regulars. My thanks to you all as, without you, the site would not be what it is. If time permits I am going to try and update the main directories as I know these are not up to date and there are photos and details to add to many pages.
Stephen McGuinn kicks off this festive update with a series of photos by Brian Weisflock who kindly gave his permission. Brian currently owns the shell refueling depot at North Bay airport apparently. I see one shot is from a magazine with mention of the well known bush pilot and author Robert S Grant. Anyone know if he is still flying? And Steve also provides a YouTube link that may cause sage nodding of recognition from some and serious wincing on the part of others! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJgWwtpHzAQ&feature=related Thanks Steve.
Praeman Pillay is an Otter Pilot flying in Malta for Harbourair and sends it two shots of 9h-AHA (406) taken at his base. Glad to see AHA is earning her keep in warmer waters again having been originally in Burma I believe. And also from Praeman two shots of C-FHPE (273) taken at La Ronge and several shots of C-FSGD Dropping off fire men; Taking off; On a beach close to Stony Rapids and one with Cliff's piston Otter C-FPEM at his camp on Lake Athabasca. Very many thanks Praeman.
Fred Barnes has sent in a retro shot of C-FSOR (239) when she was with Air Hart at Kelowna 20.06.95. Fred notes that SOR is now 'turbine powered' and flies with Nestor Falls Fly-In Outposts. Great shot Fred.
Austin-Williams (Public Relations and Media Liaison Officer: South
African Airways Museum Society
www.saamuseum.co.za ) has started a new website dedicated to all de
Havilland aircraft in South Africa, past and present see
Finally Kent has taken an interestingly artistic shot and he notes, "If it wasn’t for the pointy nose this picture looks like it could be from the 1950’s". Absolutely Kent. What a good idea. Like it.
And as this
is Christmas don't forget Rich Hulina's book 'Bush Flying Captured'
featured on the Cockpit page; there are what looks like some interesting
http://www.alaskasbushpilots.com/; Design Group
Alpha's card models of the Otter would be worth a bit of modelling time at
and don't forget a nice buckle at;
wishing you all a quiet and Happy Christmas and all the Very Best for 2012
Kent has been a regular contributor for many years and never fails to
deliver new and evocative photographs whilst out flying Rich Hulina's Otter
for a living. Here are two more on a rapidly lowering water levels (and
Bruce Bowles kindly sends in some current
photos of FMAX and FODY [HERE]. He notes
they were turbinized 6 or 7 years ago and repainted in a new paint scheme.
Both pictures were taken at Croll Lake, MB
this is a wonderful tour de force (including many Otter photographs) which
I'm sure will be of interest to you all and whetted my appetite for a trip
like this of my own (one day). Currently he's planning a new trip to the
north-eastern part of Ontario for next summer - more Otter's to come!
I'm using a Nikon D90
(with a D60 as backup). In general I'm using the automatic functions of the
camera (with shutter-priority setting). I also use a slight underexposure by
adjusting the ISO sensitivity. In addition I also use Photoshop to give the
pictures a "final touch" (if necessary).
Olafson forwarded information from Bill Campbell about a rather odd
occurrence in Vancouver recently at the new downtown float terminal; the
sinking of Otter C-FHAS!
This does not bode too well
for this brand spanking new facility, but no doubt they will sort it out
quickly. A news report including video can be seen here:
And John Olafson has forwarded a link to an accident report concerning the crash of The CGI Communications Otter last year with Senator Ted Stevens on board. http://tiny.cc/8y36f
Principal of EARLS Industries Ltd, has kindly forwarded information about
the Sea and Floatplane Convention 2012 [
]which will be held in
Vancouver on the 1st and 2nd November next year. He asks also if any of you
can provide additional contacts for others who may be interested, either as
delegates, exhibitors, sponsors or any other form of participation. Bruce
can be emailed at
John Olafson kicks off this update with a before and after of CF-APQ
(201). John says:
I was going through my Alaska photos and found this picture I took at Lake Hood. I remember it as CF-APQ when it came to Kal Air Repair for conversion to turbine but never got a chance there to photograph it before it left Vernon. They did a nice job on the conversion. I am not sure if I sent you these images of APQ just after it arrived at Vernon. I'm glad I got this picture of the original Otter exhaust system. Soon it will be a thing of the past. [ HERE ]
Thanks John. An interesting mini-history collection. And thanks also for the article link about the resurrection of the Twin Otter at Viking Air - http://www.bcbusinessonline.ca/profiles-and-spotlights/industries/transportation/viking-air-resurrects-twin-otter
Otter Pilot Kent has
had a busy and interesting Otter summer by the look of things, but I think
the dog is less impressed! [ HERE ]
Otterhound Fred Barnes write:
Now received my copy of
Rich Hulina's 'Bush Flying Captured' book which is simply wonderful. With an
excellent selection of good quality photographs the book really does capture
the world of bush flying.
Fred and Neil Aird (of
www.dhc-2.com) also let me know about the
crash last week of Otter N361TT (361) just out of Old Harbor in Kodiak,
Alaska, sadly with the loss of Pilot James Andie. Full story from this link.
And finally were back
with Kent again for a very moody finale to the summer.
Well, that's it for now.
Take care all and don't forget to order Rich Hulina's book in time for
Richard Harris M CIV USN, TPS sent in a photo and accompanying article
that was released by NAVAIR for publication regarding their NU-1B Otter. The
Otter is currently decked out with a Centennial of Naval Aviation seal (see
photo) celebrating its place as the only flying military Otter in the
world and the Oldest BUNO in the Navy. Here is a
photo of the Otter on the ramp outside
the Test Pilot School on the day, and a
of the event with background details.
Many thanks for keeping us up to date Richard.
Fred Barnes has been out and about in BC again and sends in some excellent shots taken recently at Viking Air and Kenmore.
C-FDNK c/n 385 Viking Air,
John Olafson was in Juneau in May and enjoyed watching the Wings Airways Otters. Here is a picture of the five of them at rest. But as John points out, not for long, as they are very busy in the tourist season. The deck outside the door to the flight office is a great place to view these activities, and if you're on a cruise, just stay on deck with a beer to watch all the fun.
OK all you Otterhounds. Can
we help Jim with a decent picture or two of an Old Ditry Woman!! let me
Great report Jason and many thanks for the photos showing the capabilities of the Otter on all kinds of landing gear.
Well, that's it folks and
hope you are all having a great summer (he says looking out of the window at
yet another downpour! - isn't an English summer wonderful).
Kent has - in his own words - has been Just Fuelling Around recently and
took his camera with him. Great stuff Kent. These are wonderfully evocative
And, with Kent's boss in mind, keep a weather eye on Rich Hulina's website www.richhulina.com He has published a long awaited book of his photographs of bush aircraft "Bush Flying Captured" which is due out next month. You can email Rich for further information at email firstname.lastname@example.org Many of you will know that Rich both operates, flies and photographs Otters (and others) and has featured regularly on this site over many years. This is a 'must buy' as far as I am concerned.
Matt Biloff kindly lists those Otters he knows about that still have a radial engine. He notes:
There are still a few recip Otters left in Alaska although the number is growing increasingly smaller. Last I knew:
S/N 141 still operates with a PZL.
S/N 392 was still a standard Otter, although it has changed hands recently.
S/N 61 is still a standard Otter and operates on floats.
S/N 58 was a standard Otter, although it has also changed hands and there are plans to convert it to a turbine.
S/N 128 is still a standard Otter and operates on wheels.
There are several others that have a current registration but are in storage or rebuild. What engines that they end up flying with will be interesting to see.
Many thanks Matt. Very useful. Anyone able to add to this list?
John Olafson ahs been off cruising in Alaska (lucky fella) and reports from Juneau:
Our cruise ship, the Zaandam stopped at Juneau and when I looked outside I was happy to see that we were docked right beside Wings Airways excellent base. One by one I saw them arrive from the airport where they are parked overnight. They landed and taxi'd past the ship and parked at their dock.
They were very busy all day on flightseeing trips and I was able to get up nice and close to admire them. Most of them I had previously seen here in Vernon when they were being turbinized or repainted etc. Cheers, John [HERE]
That took me back to my own Alaska cruise trip back in 2007. You can get good and close to the action both onshore and aboard and there really is nothing better (other than flying the things) that watching the comings and goings, beer in hand, as the aircraft land and take off beside the ships. (Except perhaps repeating the whole thing again when the ship docks in Ketchikan!!)
For all you modellers out there, here is a fine set of photos from Chris Parsons who has done a wonderful job with a Turbo Otter conversion. Chris notes:
I used some pictures of Otters from your website as well as from Airliners.net and jetliners.net, and also through contact with John Winter at Harbour Air to build and convert this 1:48 scale radial engined model to the Vazar turbine version. I have included (in no particular order) some pictures of the model under construction and of the finished model. [HERE] Great Job Chris.
Now an Operator update from Lance De Foa:
I came across your http://www.dhc3otter.com/ web site and saw your page of DHC3 operators. Just 22 km west of Hawk Air, on Hawk Lake by Hawk Junction, is Watson's Skyways, on Wawa Lake, as one enters Wawa from the east.
J. Lance De Foa
P.O. Box 1217, Wawa, Ontario, Canada P0S 1K0
Thanks Lance and hope your season goes well.
Fred Barnes has also been on the west coast of Canada and reports from Vancouver:
c/n 427 C-FODX arriving on the North arm of the Fraser River at Vancouver South on 17.06.11. A/L says now Arctic Aerospace Inc., Richmond B.C. [HERE]
c/n 214 C-GHAG engine runs after rebuild, now painted with Harbour Air titles. Vancouver South 18.06.11. Best shot I could get.
The fuselage of c/n 289 C-FLAP was in the main Harbour Air hangar and new panoramic windows have been installed. Still had Johhny May's/Air Inuit basic livery and is now on a rebuild. Sorry no photo. C-GHAG c/n 214 was nearing completion of overhaul on 13.06.11. and was outside on 18.06.11 and was re-reg on 20.06.11.
Will have some more at a later date. Best regards, Fred Barnes.
Fred. More to come and looking forward to those. Fred has also been busy
with another article in Propliner Magazine I see.
Hi all. Apologies for the silence over the last month or so. Tad hectic on the
Lars Opland posed an interesting question. He asked
Steve McGinn kindly sent in a shot of his beaver between two of Slate Falls Airway Turbo Otters [HERE]. He also, has a link on his u-tube site of Otters in 1982, at South Porcupine ON. (No sound)
Many thanks Steve and very envious of the Beaver flying. Tough life I suppose, but someone has to do it!!
contributor Fred Barnes is back on the email with some new shots. "Having
just looked through the latest Otter update I thought that I would send the
following image of c/n 160 144672. By coincidence I visited the US Navy
Museum in Pensacola, Florida on 23 Mar and c/n 160 is now displayed in their
'Hangar One'. As you can see it is hanging from the roof".
came across an original DHC photo of CF-NWX c/n 412 when it was used as a
company demonstrator and an image of N44NB c/n 44 taken at Lake Hood,
Anchorage 05.06.88. when operated by Northward Bound. [PHOTOS HERE]
regular John Olafson has sent in a link to Victoria Air Maintenance
site and the AirGo turbo Otter that had the unfortunate accident with a
forward roll following a wheels-down landing on water in front of an
admiring airshow audience. Good news that she is back in the air. Thanks
John and well down to all at Victoria Air.
Lee, the Chief Pilot at Bald Mountain Air Service emailed: "I was
surfing the internet and looking for a diagram of the single otter similar
to the simple diagram of the twin otter and came across your site. Pretty
Cool! [thanks Eric] There is another cool site dedicated to Beavers.
[Neil Aird's site of course at
Good to hear from you Eric and hope the diagram was useful. If anyone else has a diagram for Eric then do send it through.
Otter pilot extraordinaire and photographer Kent sent in a couple of excellent shots of his 'office' - Rich Hulina's Zulu Papa - in the snow. Cool on so many levels Kent. Many thanks. [HERE]
And finally I had a great email from Design Group Alpha which I am sure you will all want to know about:
I think that you might like to know that Design Group Alpha has published a cardmodel of an R1340 powered DHC-3 Otter. The model is 1:48 scale and is available in 9 different liveries:
Instructions for the model are as follows:
Within the next few weeks Design Group Alpha will be publishing a DHC-3T Vazar Turbo Otter. There are three liveries finished now ( Kenmore Air, Harbour Air, and Air Saguenay ) and we are looking at making a few more.
The models are reasonably priced ($4.00 US) and all of the money is donated to aviation museums.
I would like you to know that we appreciate your Otter website and use it a a source for inspiration.
Design Group Alpha
Now if there was ever an excuse to create your own fleet of Otters this must be it and the finished article looks superb. With Father's Day rapidly approaching (in the UK at least) and, frankly, almost any excuse to get back and do a bit of modelling of your favourite aircraft, why not download an example now.
Thanks for getting in touch Jim and I have put details onto the models section of the website as well which I hope bear fruit.
all for now. Best wishes. Ian
John Caswell has been a busy fellow and provides a further shot of
C-GHAG (see last months news) showing the fuselage
damage. John says: "as best we know this was the first damage it had
sustained in its many years of operation in Canada and around the world. I
flew in GHAG in 1958 as a swamper moving Diamond Drill equipment when it was
registered as CF-JUH of Fecteau Airways out of Sennetere PQ".
Thanks John and do keep us up with progress on the repairs.
John also provides some shots of replacement Otter C-GVIX in action off Campbell River Spit.
Rich Harris, who is Liaison Officer at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School writes:
Our Otter here at TPS is getting a little press soon. It is not only the only remaining military Otter in the world, but also has been owned by the US Navy longer than any other aircraft in the US Navy. To add, our DeHavilland Beaver is the oldest flying airframe in Naval service. As such, in conjunction with the 100 year anniversary of Naval Aviation, we are showcasing it with the soon to be newest aircraft in the Navy, a T-6B Texan 2 that will be delivered to TPS late this week or early next week.
The Otter was built and delivered to the Navy in 1956 and we just recently found out it was the Last Otter to fly on the Antarctic continent for the Navy. http://www.vaq34.com/vxe6/otter.htm The photo in the website is a Navy Archive photo so you should be fine to use it.
I'll pass on any press releases we get for this event.
Thanks for the update Rich and do send through any press releases. Beginning to feel the oldest something myself nowadays.
Mike Stedman sent in a
couple of delightful (if chilly looking) shots of N753AK
And a very evocative shot of Wings Airways Otters on the pond at Juneau. N336AK serial # 333 is in front followed by N339AK serial # 454, N337AK serial# 418, N338AK serial # 262 and N753AK serial #7. Nice one Mike.
Lorne Keyes has been
scanning his 35 mm slides from the early days and found this photo of Otter
CF-GBY (Number 5) taken around mid June 1953 at
Lake Bistcho AB. Great Lorne. I hope you were in a boat and not treading
water! The history of this aircraft by the fabled Karl Hayes is here
Well that all for this
month and my grateful thanks to all contributors.
John Olafson kicks off this update with an excellent link to an impressive
demonstration of the real STOL virtues of the Turbine Otter. He says:
Here is a pretty
impressive demonstration of a Texas Turbine converted Otter demonstrating
that with the Garrett engine there is no need for long airstrips.
Jan Vennix from Martinborough, New Zealand has provided a clarification to a post by Fred Sprenger
John Caswell has updated the scene at Campbell River, on Vancouver Island.
C-GHAG being returned by
barge after an unfortunate meeting with a piling on takeoff at Kingcome
Inlet. C-GVIX arrived yesterday and will replace GHAG which is to be rebuilt
in Vancouver by Harbour Air. [HERE]
Thank as ever to all
contributors and I look forward to hearing from you all as the year
Liard Air of Muncho Lake BC experienced a tragic hangar fire on the 20th Jan
and lost three aircraft including Otter C-GNNP (465) which was destroyed.
Apparently a generator in the
hanger caught fire and without power the operator was not able to open the
hanger doors. What a tragedy.
Here is a link to a photo
on Flikr of the Aircraft concerned:
Barry J. O'Brien of Voyage Air [ http://www.voyageair.com/ ] has kindly been in touch with the following update:
"For your information I
(Voyage Air) have owned and operated C-GBNA Ser: 125 since the spring of
2002. I also own the Buffalo Narrows Airways name but we use Voyage Air. Our
main base of operation is Buffalo Narrows Saskatchewan, Fort McMurray is a
seasonal satellite base. You are welcome to use a photo of C-GBNA under the
Walter Engine page rather than the PT6 you have shown. Great site I'm sure
it takes a lot of work".
Lars Opland has kindly provided an update for the Models section:
Whiskey Jack Decals of Chilliwack, B.C. is no longer doing business. Gordon
Parker has sold the line to Thunderbird Models in the U.K.
Thanks for the update Lars. Really must get my modelling hat back on some time soon.
Pineau has been on a road trip and has sent in some
excellent otter photos from the NWT.
Many thanks Jason. Any more?
Doyon Jr. of Misty Fjords Air & Outfitting, LLC. in Ketchikan, Alaska
decided to take his birthday off from work and go on an adventure. He says
there were no cruise ships in town that day and that was reason enough! Too
A mid-month update to pick up on a few missed and some new submissions.
A couple of additional pictures that slipped the net from Rich Hulina's December shoot at Sioux Lookout (see December below). HERE
also dug up a couple more pictures of N63354.
Here he is being picked up from the shore line at Admiralty Island at the
completion of a fishing trip. Bob notes that Ward Air still have N63354, now
sporting a new paint job. But that is not the only change; they have
converted it to turbine power.
Patrick Cloutier has kindly sent in some updates on airframes that he knows.
Well, thank you for your kind words Patrick and the very useful information and pictures.
And thanks to all
contributors. Without you the site would not exist. See you again soon.
A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL
I've had a little play with Microsoft and created an Otter Calendar (pdf) for you to download and print for the coming year. Now, its no great shakes but might be a bit of fun for the study or den etc and I have credited the photos. The selection process was entirely arbitrary based on the many years of photos available and clearly there were many contenders so if you like the idea I can have a better go next year. [CALENDAR]
New contributor Bob Hee from Hawaii thought you may all be interested in a picture of DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter N63354 (30). Bob took the picture in Juneau, Alaska in June 2000. At the time it belonged to Ward Air and he flew in it on a fly fishing trip over to Admiralty island. As Bob rightly says, "What a great airplane!" Thanks Bob and do send in any others from that or other trips.
Those of you who read 'Propliner' will not have failed to see Fred Barnes' articles on float flying in Canada and the various trips he has made. The latest issue yet again regaled us with a trip in 2009 and Fred has kindly sent in some photos which included riding with an Otter as it made its stately way from lake to winter storage. The PHOTOS include:
C-FSOR c/n 239 At Nestor
Falls prior to departure to Pistol Lake, Minaki.
As ever Fred, many thanks and keep them coming.
John Olafson made a trip to Vancouver South in September and netted a few nice shots. "Here is one showing C-GOPP proudly parading itself past the Seair Terminal prior to making its takeoff. The other shot is kind of interesting as it shows the seaplane base from the opposite side of the river and a good assortment of Harbour Air's floatplanes with the Northshore mountains in the background".
Thanks John. Always useful
to keep up to date with Harbour Air and Vancouver action.
The winter has come early and hard to the UK again and we are all huddled
around our puny heaters, unused to -17 degrees and several feet of snow
outside our doors. Now I know that - to most of you - this is no more than
the whining of a lightweight Brit, but this is the third year running so we
are catching up fast on the rails. Or we would be if they weren't iced up!
Now then. A little Christmas pressy idea. A couple of years ago on a trip to BC I happened to visit the Green Lake base of Whistler Air (as one does) and purchased a belt buckle from their reception showing a Turbo Otter. I have just found the little piece of paper attached with it and tracked down the maker. Jim Klement of Coquitlam BC (Grumman Goose Pilot of note) kindly returned my letter with a list of buckles he can provide and I have posted a photo of my buckle with full details HERE.
Jim's Goose flying can also be found on YouTube if you search under "1939 Grumman Goose Landing at April Point" or "Grumman Goose Water Landing".
Very Many thanks Jim and I hope this will be of interest to Otter aficionado's and others.
Some time ago now (sorry Fred) Fred Barnes kindly sent in a shot of N2634Y (59) of Aeronautical Services Inc, taken at Friday Harbour 14.06.99. His colleague Fred Froude scanned in the image. Thanks guys.
John Olafson thought you would all be interested in these recent photos of Otter C-FDNK (385). The aircraft has been fitted with Vikings new PT6 conversion. It has quite a few additional wing fences on it. John believes it is for sale. The aircraft was photographed at Victoria 14 Sept 2010. Many thanks John.
Otter pilot extraordinaire Kent sent in some photos of the freeze-up in action HERE. Much the same outside my back door in the fish pond - but without the Otter. Drat! Have a good flying winter Kent. Keep them level.
And finally, good to hear again from Rich Hulina with several shots taken at Sioux Lookout just last week. Thanks Rich. Have a good winter's flying.
So there we are for now. Up to date with all your current submissions. Back to you again at Christmas time.