OTTER NEWS 2013
Blimey. Doesn't time fly when you're having fun - well working for a living
anyway. Here we are again at Christmas and it doesn't seem five minutes
since I took the tree down and packed away all the decorations.
To paraphrase Garrison Keillor "It's been a quiet year for Otter News". However, in some fleeting moments I have taken the opportunity to begin adding histories to each aircraft, based on the 'masterwork' produced by Karl E Hayes in DHC-3 Otter: A History (2005) which he kindly sent me when I first started the site. The first 30 are done (just 436 to go!) and there are two separate updates to add in due course. I am also trying to add as many photos to each aircraft page as possible too. At least it keeps me out of the pub/bar.
My grateful thanks to all of you who have contributed during 2013 and I look forward to hearing from you again in 2014. All best wishes for the New Year.
We kick off with a Christmas present from -Jim Gausman. He writes:
Hi Ian !
Every year my group of paper model designers distribute a free Christmas gift. This year we are giving away a model of a DHC-3T in Santa Claus livery. You can download the model here: http://www.ecardmodels.com/index.php/1-48-dehavilland-canada-dhc-3t-2013-christmas-edition-paper-model.html.
Feel free to post this link to your Otter site. Instructions can be found here: http://www.ecardmodels.com/index.php/1-48-dehavilland-dhc-3-otter-paper-model-instructions.html
Brilliant. Very many thanks Jim. I will have a go at that.
And if you are a Model Maker, here is a link to some new decals for a 1/72
DHC-3 Vazar Turbine Otter in Harbour Air and Kenmore colours from Mika
Jernfors of Arctic Decals who writes:
Here you can see a couple of new items to add into your “models” page. Again, these decals will be soon available through Khee-Kha and Aviation Megastore.
Good stuff Mika. Many thanks. View the Models Page HERE
Christopher Keeling recently digitized some old home movies his Dad
took in the late 1950's while working for Imperial Oil Ltd. They include
some clips of Otters and here are screen grabs of each plane. Chris says he
will try to get these onto YouTube sometime and send through the links. We
look forward to seeing them Chris.
You cant keep a good Otter Hound down and it is great to hear from John
Olafson again. He writes:
It has been a long time since I have mailed you, but I enjoy your Otter updates very much. I was recently on a cruise up to Alaska and really enjoyed all the Otters and Beavers up there. The Juneau Otters are very busy, in and out all day long and some times as a small squadron and that is nice to view from the ship. Lots of very busy Otters seen from the ship in Ketchikan. The Pro Mech Otters are always in the air it seems. Rust's Otters and Beavers are very busy at this time as well.
I have attached a few shots of some of the Otters I photographed up there. I really like the shot of N2899J landing at Lake Hood. They pass by so close and its fun to watch. [HERE]
The Harbour Air Otters in Vancouver are quite busy and many of them are wearing new liveries. I will send a few of them shortly.
All the best Ian, John
John's email brings back delightful memories of my own Alaska cruise in 2007 and far too short a morning spent at Lake Hood. There's no doubt that this cruise must be one of the best ways to see so many Otters and other delightful aircraft so easily. At Ketchikan a short (10-15 minute) walk north along the harbour front from where the cruise ship's normally dock takes you into the wonderful world of float planes - or just sit on deck and watch them go by. Really must go back there with more time. Thanks John. Lovely shots.
And being as good as his word John then sent through a number of photos. C-FHAX and C-GHAG were noted in new liveries at Vancouver Harbour [HERE] and then he writes:
Thought you would enjoy these images. Sure is a beauty. [HERE]
Just finished weighing it and then they were so kind as to pull it out into the sun for me. What an incredible rebuild. Its actually a composite from at least two Otter wrecks. Its for the Manitoba Govt. They are sorry they sold C-FMAU to Max Ward. Now they are back to 2 Otters.
The floats used to be amphibs, but were damaged in a crash on another Otter and were converted to straight. It will fly to Manitoba on wheels later on.
This lengthy rebuild was done by STOLairus in Kelowna. Fantastic work done by the guys there. Normally, the tailwheel is off, but they were just fitting the floats to it and weighing it and then it goes back on wheels for the flight to Manitoba. The bison/buffalo is a symbol of Manitoba.
And this time from a new visitor:
Roy Clark here. As a former Air Reservist with 411 ARS, (Otters & Kiowas) I enjoyed your Otter website and thought I would pass along the attached. [HERE]
Roy J Clark
Very many thanks for getting in touch Roy and good to hear from you. This aircraft is #363, originally designated for RCAF military use as 9405 it is now C-GSMG, operating for Plummer's Lodge and converted to a turbine in the last 12 months or so.
Kent our regular Otter pilot contributor wrote not so long ago;
Slow summer here. No big adventures. I am heading out west on my moto for a few weeks though. I will likely end up in Prince Rupert or Bella Coola and hop on a ferry to Hongcouver. I hope to see a few Otters in the wild.
The dream never dies, Kent
ps The xxxx photo is of Blueberry Burt in CZP during Sioux Lookout's Blueberry Festival.
Far too self critical Kent! ;-)
Delighted to hear from Christian Donig who writes:
I recently discovered your site, and have enjoyed reading all the info you have collected. I was fortunate to have spent time in some Otters when I lived in Pickle Lake Ontario in the 70's and 80's.
Two that I have fond memories of were owned by Austins airways during my time there, ODT and BEW.
BEW was s/n 140.
I knew she had crashed just after taking off of Pickle Lake in the summer of '86. At the time I believe she was operated by Kelner Air, but it could have already switched to Pickle Lake Air Service by then.
I found the following info when searching the call letters:
de Havilland DHC-3 Otter s/n: 140
C-FBEW. Following its crash on 17 March 1986 near its base at Pickle Lake, Ontario and further damage caused when it was dropped by the helicopter attempting to retrieve it from the crash site, the wreck was brought to Kuby’s Aircraft, Kenora, Ontario where it lay for many years. It was one of four wrecked Otters sold to Recon Air of Geraldton, Ontario in October 2005, and which were trucked to Geraldton for rebuild.
Pickle Lake was definitely a busy place in those years, and there was a lot of float flying going on. In those days not every northern reserve had it's own runway, so it was water or ice surfaces.
I still visit regularly, and hunt moose there every fall. I get to fly in CZO #71, and the flights alone are worth the cost, never mind the moose. She is still a radial classic, an old warhorse for sure.
I never get tired of the sounds and smells of the old girls. She is operated by Pete Johnson of Osnaburgh Airways. He also has C-GMAU, Beaver # 1134, although he hasn't had her in the water for a couple of years now. Sadly, Pete is the only one now flying off of Pickle Lake.
Wasaya has a couple of Caravans, one on amphibs, but its just not the same!
I hope you find the information useful, wish I had more to share, Christian
Very many thanks for getting in touch Christian. All information is gratefully received and it is wonderful to know that a radial Otter is still plying her trade successfully albeit a rather lonely existence on her own with no other Otters at Pickles Lake. I will add the details for #140 accordingly (just noted I don't have a page yet for that one).
For info, Pickle Lake is about 217 air miles (337 road miles) north of Thunder Bay, ON. A very remote location indeed. Wasaya Airways operates a service between the two. My whistle is whetted so to speak as I type.
And Finally, my good friend Ken Hurford has been on his travels
again - accompanied as ever by wife Bev - with visits to Newfoundland and
latterly BC, where he photographed Vancouver Island Air's DHC-3T, C-GVIX,
#97. [HERE]. Lovely photo's Ken.
Happy travels for 2014.
|It's been a little while and my apologies for the lack of updates. Two reasons. Firstly the overall level of submissions has dropped to a trickle as we all struggle with dealing with the second reason, the economy! I've had to keep my nose to the grindstone this year as I expect most of you have too, so trips to the backwoods Otter-spotting have dwindled accordingly. However, I am delighted to provide the latest round of submissions for your interest.
Bob Hagge kindly sent in some Otters from his aviation past. Bob was
assigned to the 156th Avn. Co., 224th Avn Bn. Although they didn't have any
Otters when he was there in '70-'71 there was one assigned there
earlier (no info on it). The Otters listed below were assigned to his sister
company, the 146th Avn Co, 224th Avn Bn.
"58-1714 (c/n 331), 55-3271 (c/n 117) and 55-2977 (c/n 50) were RU-1As code named Café Girl & Laffing Otter (was earlier named Happy Nights). I'm not sure which code name was with which aircraft. 55-3271 was shot down over Cambodia on February 12, 1969. Some info about them can be found at http://rinaldol.tripod.com/335rrc/plane.htm . I think where it says "tail No.57-1714" is an error and should be 58-1714".
"I came across another website about Otters in Vietnam at http://www.freewebs.com/18aviationcompanyotternest/ . They were not associated with our units, but they had many U-1A Otters that will be of interest to you. If you have any questions, please let me know".
That's great Bob and his photo's are [HERE]
I was delighted to hear from Holly Johnson, President of Wings Airways who wrote:
Hello Ian! And greetings from Juneau! I am with Wings Airways Inc here in Juneau where we own and operate 5 DeHavilland Otters. We are all HUGE Otter fans and know your site well. For a hobby you have done an amazing job with it! Thank you. We often send our interested passengers to your site!
I am working on an informational handout for those guests that love aviation as much as we do so I am happily emerging myself into research. I have some updates for you on our five aircraft and more to come if you would like it.
N336AK 333 Built in 1958
N337AK 418 Built in 1961
N338AK 262 Built in 1958
N339AK 454 Built in 1965
N753AK 7 Built in 1953
All of the aircraft are now owned by Inside Passage Aviation, with all being leased to Wings Airways Inc. Both entities are owned by our group of employees. Our main office is now on the historical waterfront where the planes call home throughout the summer months. 2 Marine Way, Suite 175, Juneau, AK 99801.
If this is the type of information you are interested in I would be happy to keep it coming! I have great photos for you as well.
Thank you again for sharing your passion. What a fantastic site!
Best regards, Holly
Holly. Thank you for your
kind words and my apologies for the delay in posting your information but do
please keep it coming. I had the great pleasure of watching your Otters in
action a few years ago from the dockside. If there was ever a better way to
spend a day other than in the cockpit that was definitely it. Juneau is a
'must visit' for all Otterhounds and if you can book a ride as well then you
really will have the full Otter/Alaska experience.
You can find Wings Airways
For those simmers amongst you Kerry has updated their Otter offering and very good it looks too.
The aircraft are built for X-Plane, not MS Flight Simulator, the X-Plane site is here:
DHC-3 pics, are available at:
And the STMA website is at:
Our regular neighbourhood Otter Pilot and photographer Kent has been
out and about in Zulu Papa and as ever has sent in some great shots.
As Kent rightly says, his back hurt after the last one, but I'm still amazed all that stuff went into (onto?)the aircraft in the first place! Hope your now returned to floats for the summer Kent.
And finally, long time contributor Marcel Fluet-Lecerf from Bordeaux,
France has been going through some medical turbulence of late, but is in
clear air again and has kindly scanned in a few more shots from his
collection which can be viewed [HERE]
Thanks Marcel and I hope the recovery is progressing well.
There we are. Another update for your interest and I look forward to hearing from you all again soon. Best wishes. Ian
another year comes to an end and the illustrious Otter enters its 62nd
flying year without any apparent signs of retirement. If anything the
effectiveness of the 'King Beaver' in its chosen role remains pretty much
unchallenged and long may that continue.
Although CEE was reported as "Grounded" (by me!) Paul is pleased to report
that she is still flying, although with a new nose job. [HERE]
Long time contributor Marcel FLUET-LECERF from Bordeaux, FRANCE has been off the radar for a while due to illness. Having had a 'refit and new paint job' he managed a trip to Canada in 2011 and then Alaska and the Yukon this year. The results are a fine selection of interesting aircraft as follows:
Air Contant C-FAZX 458
Laval Québec Oct 2011
Once again I have compiled a Photo Calendar for 2013 which you can download [HERE]. Maybe a tad too rotary this time but they're a dying breed, so enjoy them whilst you can. ;-)
And finally, the end of the
year would be incomplete without a suitably evocative shot from our roaming
Otter-Jock, Kent. [HERE] Nice one young
man. Keep it straight and level!
Here's hoping that 2013
will be a good year for you all.