23 - C-FASV

Serial Number






Year of Manufacture









 Points North Air Services Inc


 Points North Air, Bag 7000, La Ronge, Saskatchewan S0J 1L0

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Accident reports at-

Crashed 1st May 1999. Continued takeoff run with ski still in slush and engine revs declined at point of takeoff. Aircraft burned. No serious injuries.

Delivered to Canadian Air Force 18.12.53 as 3669.

Otter number 23 was delivered to the RCAF on 30th December 1953 with serial 3669. Its first posting was to 105 Communications & Rescue Flight, based at Namao Air Base, Edmonton, Alberta. Here it joined Otter 3665, serving alongside the unit's other equipment, three Beech Expeditors and three C-47 Dakotas. 3669 became an active member of this busy Rescue unit's fleet and undertook many long-range missions. It carried the Flight's KT code.

On 29th March 1955 3669 departed from Namao bringing Army officers on a tour of inspection of Northwest Territories bases, in the course of which it was diverted to Big Slough to pick up an Indian with frozen feet. The full routing of the trip was from Namao to Fort Smith, NWT-Yellowknife-Fort Reliance-Fort Resolution-Yellowknife-Fort Simpson-Fort Chipewyan-Hay River-Fort Smith-Big Slough-Fort Smith-Fort Chipewyan-Fort McMurray-Brochet, Manitoba, before returning to base. In December 1955 Otters 3669 and 3665 joined Dakotas FZ695 and KJ956 and Expeditors 114, 948, 1506 and 1561 in an extensive search in northern Alberta for a Fairchild aircraft en route from Peace River to Namur Lake. The Fairchild was eventually found, down on a lake out of gas. On 9th January 1956, Otter 3669 departed Namao on yet another lengthy tour, routing Namao-Fort McMurray-Fort McKay-Bitu Mountain-Fort Chipewyan-Fond du Lac-Stoney Rapids-Camsell Point-Fort Smith-Rocher River-Hay River-Fort Chipewyan-Fort Vermillion-Little Red Deer-Namao.

In August 1956 3669 left the unit and flew first to the DHC facility at Downsview for incorporation of All Up Weight modifications, and then continued the short distance to its new base at Trenton, Ontario where it joined 102 Communications & Rescue Flight in October 1956. As well as undertaking transport and rescue taskings, 102KU was also the Otter Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), responsible for training aircrew on the Otter. During 1964, for example, nine courses were completed on the Otter, with twenty aircrew graduating. 3669 remained with this unit until August 1966, when it joined No.4 Operational Training Unit at Trenton, which had taken over as the Otter OCU, and then two months later, in October 1966 it was posted to 400 Squadron at Downsview, where it was to remain for the rest of its military career.

3669 undertook some “ground duty” during 1970. The history of 411 Squadron shows a photo of 3669, with wings attached, inside the Yorkdale Shopping Mall, North York, Toronto during February 1970 and explains that “among the activities of early 1970 was the mounting of a joint public relations/recruitment exhibit by 411 and 400 squadrons inside the Mall. The display included the Otter, manned by unit members, who provided tours and answered questions”. Another photograph shows 3669 on 16th August 1970, without wings, being towed down Toronto's Avenue Road en route to the Canadian National Exhibition Grounds. After this, however, it was back flying from Downsview.

As the Downsview-based Otters frequently flew VIPs, 3669 was configured accordingly, and outfitted with carpets, a couch with writing table, a comfortable stuffed chair and a chemical toilet. 3669 was to have a long service with 400 Squadron, sixteen years in all, and was still with the squadron when it withdrew the Otter from service during 1982. It was flown to the Aerospace Maintenance & Development Unit (AMDU) detachment at the Mountain View storage depot, Ontario and was one of seven Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Otters put up for sale in September 1982. 3669 was advertised for sale with 10,093 hours on the airframe . It was one of seven CAF Otters purchased by Newcal Aviation Inc of Little Ferry, New Jersey to whom it was registered in January 1983 as N2631U. Along with the other Otters purchased by Newcal, it was flown from the Mountain View depot to Decatur, Texas where it was placed in open storage, awaiting sale.

It appears that the market for Otters was somewhat soft around this time, and N2631U was to spend five years under the Texan sun at Decatur before being sold on. The buyer was Skyharbour Aviation of Nisku, Alberta to whom the Otter was registered as C-FASV in January 1988. It would appear that Skyharbour were acting as purchasing agents, as the following month the Otter was registered to Dawn Air Ltd of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, although the aircraft was based at La Ronge. Dawn Air ceased operations later that year, and C-FASV was taken over by PinehouseAirways Ltd, another La Ronge-based operator. One incident is recorded, on 6th April 1989, when the pilot experienced engine problems and conducted a successful forced landing on the frozen surface of McTavish Lake, Saskatchewan. In July 1989 ASV was sold to Air-Sask Aviation Ltd, with whom it remained based at La Ronge. On 26th July 1990, on level-off following departure climb, the pilot reduced power to cruise setting. The engine began to run roughly and to smoke, but a safe landing was made back at La Ronge.

In December 1990 C-FASV was sold to Points North Air Services Ltd of Points North Landing, Saskatchewan with whom it was to serve for the next eight years. Points North Landing is located some 450 road miles north of Saskatoon, at the end of a long, unpaved road leading from La Ronge. C-FASV was later joined by Otters C-FASZ (463) and C-FODW (403) in the Points North fleet, which also included C-47 and Cessna 208 aircraft. Supplies and materials were trucked up to Points North Landing and then distributed to outlying communities such as Stony Rapids, Fond du Lac, Wollaston Lake and Uranium City by the company fleet. There were also many fishing lodges and mining camps in the area that relied on Points North Air for delivery of their supplies. A typical Otter flight was, for example, a cargo of groceries from Points North Landing to the Indian reservation at Wollaston Lake, a twenty minute flight by Otter.

Operations by C-FASV continued until 1st May 1999. On that day, the wheel-ski equipped Otter was engaged in flying road construction crews from base camps to work sites in northern Saskatchewan. A five-man crew was moved from a base camp to Waterfound Lake, a small lake 22 nautical miles from Points North Landing. The drop-off was made in the morning on the frozen lake, with a pick-up planned for late afternoon. The pilot then flew back to Points North Landing and filled the Otter's fuel tanks. When he returned for the pick-up, the ambient temperature was about 7C and there were between five and six inches of slush on the ice surface of the lake. The pilot loaded his passengers and attempted a take-off. The aircraft accelerated slowly in the slush and the take-off was rejected. A different take-off run was selected and a passenger moved to a forward seat. The pilot then attempted a second take-off. He continued beyond his previously selected rejection distance. The engine RPM then reportedly decreased. The aircraft did not become airborne, but ran into the low shoreline and crashed, skidding to a stop 300 feet from the shore. The passengers and pilot evacuated the aircraft before an intense fire broke out. Flames engulfed the fuselage and engine, completely destroying the Otter.

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