16 - C-FEYO

Serial Number






Year of Manufacture









 Air Caribou (1985) Inc


 Cp 818, Fermont, Quebec, G0G 1J0

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 Cert of Reg CANCELLED 21.02.2002

Otter number 16 was completed during May 1953, being taken on charge by DHC on 1st June '53 and registered to DHC on 26th June '53 as CF-EYO for use as a floatplane Otter demonstrator. It remained in use as a demonstrator until sold by DHC to Eastern Provincial Airways Ltd (EPA) of Gander, Newfoundland on 18th June 1960, being re-registered to Eastern Provincial Airways (1963) Ltd in September 1963, after EPA had merged with Maritime Central Airways to become an important regional carrier in eastern Canada.

EYO was acquired by EPA specifically to support a USAF contract in Newfoundland. From its delivery until EPA lost the contract at the end of August 1963 the Otter was used to support the USAF radar site at St.Anthony, flying between St.Anthony and the USAF's Harmon AFB at Stephenville. Personnel of the 921st Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron at St.Anthony monitored the skies, checking all air traffic inbound off the Atlantic. They also worked military traffic in their area, flights of Strategic Air Command B-47s and their KC-97 tankers. They often ran practice intercepts using F-102s based at Harmon AFB.

An assignment to St.Anthony was a remote posting and as one serviceman stationed there wrote: “We were totally dependent on that little Otter for all fresh foods, so if it did not fly, we ate canned food. I remember periods of two weeks long, of nothing but powdered eggs, canned bacon, canned ham and canned sweet potatoes. Mail, like fresh food, was dependent on the bush pilot. Sometimes we would go twenty days with no mail. Whenever 'Easy Yoke Oboe', our Otter, got airborne at Harmon, the news would spread like wildfire. We would usually pick him up inbound about 40 miles out. No other track was watched so closely as EYO”. When that serviceman's tour of duty at St.Anthony was up in April 1962, he departed from a frozen lake near the radar site in EYO on wheel-skis, landing on the runway at Harmon AFB. EYO continued on this contract until August 1963, when Laurentian Air Services took over the contract from EPA.

EYO was then used on general charter work by EPA, including their winter mail schedules. On
29th March 1967 the Otter was damaged while taking off at Postville, Labrador. After a successful landing to off-load a small amount of cargo, a take-off was attempted in a westerly direction with a crosswind. Although the aircraft did not accelerate as well as the pilot expected, the take off was continued. The Otter became airborne at the end of an area of smooth ice, but struck rough ice and was damaged. A successful landing was later made at another location and the damage was repaired.

EYO and the company's other Otters continued in use until 1970, when EPA's bush operation and aircraft were sold to Labrador Airways Ltd in a management buy-out by former EPA employees. C-FEYO was registered to Labrador Airways Ltd in January 1971, remaining based at Goose Bay, the centre of aviation in Labrador. Labrador Airways had also acquired another four Otters from EPA (AGM, HXY, LEA and PMQ) giving the new carrier a good, solid fleet of bush aircraft. It also operated Beavers and Cessnas.

The Otters were used to establish a network of scheduled services from Goose Bay to the coastal communities of Labrador. They went north to Rigolet, Postville, Makkovik, Hopedale, Davis Inlet and Nain, and south out of Goose to Paradise River, Cartwright, Black Tickle, Charlottetown, Port Hope, Simpson, Williams Harbour, Fox Harbour, St.Mary's Harbour and Red Bay. At that stage, there were no airstrips at these locations. During the summer months, the Otters flew on floats from the appropriately named Otter Creek on Lake Melville near to Goose Bay, landing on the water at the communities. In winter, the Otters flew on wheel-skis out of the Goose Bay airport, landing on the ice at their destinations. Labrador Airways went on to acquire more Otters, until it had a fleet of ten DHC-3s by 1978. As well as flying on these scheduled services, the Otters also flew on charters throughout Labrador. In the fall of each year, a few of the Otters moved south to the island of Newfoundland for the moose hunting season.

In June 1978 Labrador Airways acquired the first of its fleet of DHC-6 Twin Otters, which took over the scheduled services out of Goose Bay. From then on, the Otters were used for charter work and as a back-up for the Twin Otters whenever required. The Otter fleet was progressively reduced, and by 1981 was down to 6 Otters. In June of that year, Labrador Airways divested itself of most of its single-engined aircraft in order to concentrate on Twin Otter services, and although it retained one Otter (C-FZYL) for general charter work out of Goose Bay, C-FEYO and its other four Otters (AGM, IKT, LJH and NLA) were sold to Newfoundland Labrador Air Transport (NLAT) of Corner Brook, Newfoundland. C-FEYO was registered to NLAT on 16th July 1981.

As well as these five Otters, NLAT also operated a fleet of Beavers, a Turbo Beaver, a Widgeon and Cessna 180/185s and had two main bases, Goose Bay in Labrador and Deer Lake on the island of Newfoundland. The Otters remained based at Goose Bay, although some flew out of Deer Lake during the summer months. NLAT decided to have four of its Otters (AGM, EYO, IKT and LJH) converted to the 600 hp Polish PZL-3S engine. This work was undertaken at the Airtech facility at Peterborough, Ontario after which the Otters returned to Goose Bay. This engine however did not work well with the Otter and gave nothing but trouble. All four aircraft were converted back to the P&W Wasp engine.

A re-structuring took place in 1983 which saw NLAT operating in Newfoundland only, and a new company was formed, Goose Bay Air Services Ltd, to carry on the operation in Labrador. All five of the NLAT Otters were transferred to the new company, and some were repainted from the red and white scheme they had carried into a new white, blue and green colour scheme. C-FEYO was registered to Goose Bay Air Services Ltd on 3rd March 1983 and continued in use with the company for the next two years. It remained in the red and white colour scheme it had carried with NLAT, and with Air Labrador. During this period, one incident was recorded, at Forteau Pond, Labrador on 27th September 1983. Just after lift-off, the Otter, which was overloaded by 517 pounds, was forced back down to the surface of the lake due to gusting winds and downdrafts. With not enough space to stop, it ran up onto the shore and was damaged. It was repaired and continued in service with Goose Bay Air Services until it was sold in July 1985 to Air Caribou (1985) Inc of Fermont, Quebec.

The Otter's new owners were an existing bush operator, equipped with a Cessna 206 and a Beaver, based at Fermont - Lac Daviault in northern Quebec, just across the border from Wabush, Labrador. C-FEYO was not flying long with them before it came to grief near Schefferville, Quebec on 24th September '85 during the annual caribou hunting season. The Otter on that day was on a VFR flight from Fermont with a party of six hunters and their equipment, en route to a camp 210miles to the north. After take-off, deteriorating weather conditions were encountered. The pilot altered course to the east of the intended route, to follow a railroad track heading north into a valley.

While en route, the pilot communicated with another company pilot who was heading south to Fermont and inquired about the weather. He was told he could probably get through to his
destination. Shortly after, the pilot realised that it would be impossible to get through the area of poor weather. He decided to turn back, keeping the railroad track in sight. He initiated a left turn at low airspeed, lowered some flap, applied maximum power and increased the angle of bank. He then pulled hard on the controls to remain within the confines of the valley. During the turn, the aircraft mushed and the left wing struck the railroad track, the Otter crashing to the ground. No one was killed, luckily, but the pilot and two of his passengers were injured. The wreckage of the Otter was taken to the Air Saguenay base at St.David-de-Fallardeau, at Lac Sebastien, Quebec where for many years it languished behind their hangar.

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