15 - N150BA

Photo courtesy of Rich Hulina 2004

Serial Number






Year of Manufacture





Sioux Lookout, Ontario




Texas Air Cargo



Contact / Link



Was with:- 
Matt’s Air Services Ltd, Box 1267, Sioux Lookout, P8T 1B8 as C-FODL 

Otter number 15 was delivered to the Ontario Provincial Air Service (OPAS) as CF-ODL on 28th May 1953, registered to the Department of Lands & Forests, as were all the OPAS Otters. It performed the same duties as its sister ships, as described for number 13. The OPAS Otters were also available to other provinces in need of assistance. In August 1961, CF-ODL undertook a three day ferry flight through high winds and rainstorms to Newfoundland. On its first day of operation, 14th August, assigned to protect fishing outposts from a 400,000 acre fire near Traverse Brook, the Otter dropped 38 loads in 6 hours 40 minutes. The next day, assigned to a three mile section of fire line in a combined assault with ground crews, the Otter flew nearly 11 hours, dropping 94 loads. In 1963 ODL was involved in an interesting salvage operation, when it flew to Algonquin Park to assist in theretrieval of a historic Fairchild KR-34 CF-AOH, which had crashed there. The frame and floats of the Fairchild were attached to the Otter's floats and flown back to Sault St.Marie.

As with all the OPAS Otters, number 15 was re-registered in September 1972 to the Province of Ontario, Ministry of Natural Resources, becoming C-FODL. It continued serving the provincial government for 31 years, until sold in December 1984 to Slate Falls Airways Ltd. As with many of the former OPAS Otters, it remained in Ontario, its new base being at Sioux Lookout, where it was to remain for many years. As the Trans Canada highway runs through Ontario, route 72 heads off to the north, and at the end of this road is Sioux Lookout, ideally placed to serve the interior of the province. ODL joined C-FITS (90) with Slate Falls Airways, both Otters being re-registered to Slate Falls Airways (1987) Ltd following a re-structuring of the company that year.

In May 1989 C-FODL was sold on to Sioux Air Ltd, with whom it flew for three years and in July 1992 it was registered to Sioux Lookout Fly-In Camps, all the while remaining based at Sioux Lookout. In May 1993 it was sold on to Matt's Air Service Ltd, also based at Sioux Lookout, painted in a most attractive two-tone blue colour scheme with white trim. One minor incident was recorded, on 31st March 1995. The Otter, with only the pilot on board, departed from an ice strip at the Slate Falls Reserve, returning to its base at Sioux Lookout. Shortly after take-off, the pilot noticed a decrease in the aircraft's performance and saw that the left wheel-ski had become partially detached from the aircraft, being supported only by its check cables. The pilot diverted the flight back to the Slate Falls Reserve, and landed without further incident. ODL sustained minor damage to the left wheel-ski, which was repaired and the aircraft returned to service.

ODL continued in service with Matt's Air Service until sold to Bishop Aviation Inc in June 2001. It was flown south to the base of the new owner in Decatur, Texas where it was converted to turbine power with the Garrett TPE-331 engine, becoming the third such conversion. It was registered N150BA on 3rd July 2001 to Texas Air Cargo Inc of Decatur, replacing the crashed prototype of this conversion, N120BA (115). It became the Texas Turbines demonstrator. In February 2003 it was advertised for sale: “Texas Turbines 1000hp 'Super Otter' demonstrator is for sale for less than it cost to buy an airplane and do the conversion”. It had a new paint scheme and 100 hours since the factory engine had been installed. According to Texas Turbines, they had enough satisfied customers, didn't need a demonstrator any more and word of mouth was their best advertising.

Prices quoted were $775,000 on wheels without radios, $805,000 with radios and $955,000 on Wipline 8000 floats with radios. The Otter was sold in May 2003 and on 2nd June 2003 was registered to Kenai River Xpress LLC of Soldotna, Alaska. This is the company of Alan Norville, a commercial land developer based in Arizona, but who bought the Otter for travel around Alaska during the summer months, on sightseeing, fishing trips etc. The Otter was named “Norville's Otter”, which was painted on the nose, and it was flown all the way from Decatur, Texas to Soldotna, Alaska. It then arrived at Vernon, BC in late October '03 for the installation of a new customised interior, with plush leather seating in the cabin, and to be fitted with bubble windows for greater viewing, the work being undertaken by Kal Air at Vernon. The Otter then returned to Alaska, where Mr.Norville has a second home on the Kenai River in south central Alaska.

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