28 - C-FSVP

Serial Number






Year of Manufacture



 Turbo-Prop - PT6A


 Goose Bay, Newfoundland




 Northern Lights Air Service Ltd


 Box 1035, Stn A, Goose Bay, Newfoundland A0P 1S0

Contact / Link



 N252KA. Imported 1993

Otter number 28 was delivered to the RCAF on 13th January 1954 with serial 3673. Its first posting was to 103 Rescue Unit at Greenwood, Nova Scotia where it adopted the unit's QZ code. With 103RU it served alongside Otter 3677 and the unit's Cansos and Dakotas. 3673 was a veryactive machine and is frequently mentioned in the unit's history, initially on transport flights, medevacs, training details and parachute drops. On 19th August '54 it is recorded as flying to the Grand Nanan area to search for a missing person, escorted by Canso 9830. On 13th January '55 it acted as crew ferry to Bagotville Air Base, Quebec with the crew of Piasecki H-21 helicopter 9614.

The following day, the Otter escorted the H-21 from Bagotville to Presque Isle, Maine where they had to overnight due weather, continuing on the next day via Moncton back to Greenwood. On 11th April 1955 3673 set off from Greenwood via Montreal and North Bay to Winnipeg, where it went on loan until the end of the year to 111 Communications & Rescue Flight at Winnipeg, to cover for Otter 3662 which was away on overhaul. 3673 remained at Winnipeg until 8th December '55 when it set off to return to Greenwood, where it arrived back on the 14th December after its lengthy cross-country flight. On 28th January '56 it flew to Trenton for the installation of a VHF radio, returning to Greenwood on 31st January '56. In May '57 it was engaged on “SAR Lorenz”, the search for missing Aero Commander 520 EP-AEA in Quebec, already referred to in relation to Otter 3665.

3673 continued operating with 103RU for several years. It went to DHC at Downsview in April
1958 to have some work done, returning to Greenwood on 17th June '58 on amphibious floats. On 25th November '58 it is recorded searching the Lake Rossignol area for missing hunters, escorted by Canso 11087. On 28th April 1960 a minor “C” category mishap was recorded in the course of a navigation training cross country detail out of Greenwood. The Otter was practising water landings and beachings. During climbout after one such practice, a vibration in the aft fuselage was noticed.

On landing, the fuselage near the jump door was found to be buckled as a result of a heavy landing. This was put down to “poor design - known problem area” and the damage was repaired. 3673 continued flying with 103RU from Greenwood until November 1962, when it went to No.6 Repair Depot at Trenton, to be prepared for its next assignment, which was to 102 Communications Unit at Trenton, the Otter OCU, which it joined in May 1963. In September 1963 a set of amphibious floats (taken from Otter 3674) was installed on 3673. Subsequent postings were to 4 Operational Training Unit at Trenton in August 1966 and finally to 411 Squadron, Downsview in February 1967, where it was to remain for the next fifteen years. It undertook a number of long-range trips, including to the Northwest Territories in June 1973. It is recorded as flying Downsview-Kapuskasing-Sioux Lookout on 21st June and the following day from Sioux Lookout-Thompson-Churchill and onwards into the NWT.

On 12th January 1981, during a maintenance test flight out of Downsview in the Toronto area, a “C” category mishap was recorded. The pilot noticed the RPM increasing on its own and was able to control it only by reducing power or increasing the load. The pilot altered course for base but two minutes later the oil pressure dropped to zero. He declared an emergency, shut down the engine and carried out a forced landing in a snow-covered field, during which the landing gear was damaged. Investigation found that an oil line had not been properly installed during the maintenance of the engine. That incident however ended the aircraft's military career, which would have ended in any event the following year when the Otter was withdrawn from Canadian military service. A salvage team from Downsview arrived and took the wings off 3673 and loaded it with the help of a crane onto a truck. The damaged Otter was taken to the Mountain View storage depot, Ontario where the following year it was joined by all the remaining CAF Otters as they were withdrawn from service at Downsview and St.Hubert.

Of the 20 Otters which arrived at Mountain View, 18 were sold, one (9408) went to the National Aviation Museum at Rockcliffe, and one (3673) was donated in 1982 to the Pacific Vocational Institute at the Vancouver International Airport, BC, where it was to be used as an instructional airframe. At one stage the Institute considered repairing the Otter and flying it to Vancouver, but in the event it was dismantled and trucked across the country. At Vancouver, the wings were put back on, the damage from the forced landing repaired, and the Otter was parked outside the Institute's hangar, still in its CAF colour scheme and sporting a fictitious registration “C-FCGP”, the “CGP” standing for C.Gordon Peters, who had been a long-time instructor at the Institute and a well-known figure on the local aviation scene. For the next eight years, the Otter did not fly, but was used as a ground instructional airframe by the Institute.

Standing outside under the elements for such a period would have been the end of a lesser aircraft, but like several Otter instructional airframes, this Otter was to rise again. In November 1990 the Otter was registered to Dajaco Commercial Corporation of Calgary as C-FSVP, in connection with its conversion to a DHC-3T Vazar turbine. It was towed the short distance across the ramp at Vancouver to the Aeroflite facility where the conversion work was done, and it emerged from their hangar in pristine condition as a turbo Otter. It was then sold to Central Mountain Air Services Ltd of Smithers, BC and departed from Vancouver on 29th June 1991 on delivery to Smithers, where it entered service with Central Mountain Air alongside their other turbo Otters C-GCMY (22) and CFXUY (142).

In November 1991 the Otter went on lease to Ketchikan Air Service Inc of Ketchikan, Alaska and was registered N252KA. It returned to Central Mountain Air in February 1993, reverting to C-FSVP and continued in service with them. The company filed for protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act in June 1994 and SVP was sold in January 1995 to Gynn Bay Logging Ltd, trading as Western Straits Air, based at Campbell River, BC on Vancouver Island where it served alongside Western Straits Air other turbine Otter C-FEBX (38).

C-FSVP features in an incident report for 27th August 1995 at Kildidt Sound, BC. “While en route to a fishing resort, the pilot of the float-equipped turbo Otter had to carry out a forced landing on the water because the engine stopped. The fuel supply was exhausted. The fuel gauge was faulty and had given an erroneous reading. There was no injury or damage”. Later that year, on 27th September '95, Western Straits Air other Otter C-FEBX (38) crashed near Campbell River with heavy loss of life, a blow from which the company was unable to recover. Operations ceased and in December 1995 C-FSVP was sold to a leasing company, who leased it to Northern Lights Air Service Ltd of Goose Bay, Labrador, the Otter crossing the country to its new home.

For nearly five years SVP flew without incident throughout Labrador from its base at Goose Bay, until 11th May 2000 when it was substantially damaged on a lake 120 miles north of Goose Bay. The Otter, loaded with four full fuel drums and a snowmobile, and with the two men who had chartered the aircraft as passengers, had landed at Panche Lake for the night. They planned to then move the cargo to a new caribou hunting sport lodge which the men were constructing north of Crystal Lake. The ski-equipped Otter had just taken off from the frozen surface of the lake. After becoming airborne, the pilot noticed a “thumping” sound and asked one of the passengers to look outside to see if they could determine the source of the sound. The rear-seat passenger, having opened the cabin door to look out, informed the pilot that the right main landing gear ski was “swinging”, so the pilot elected to land the aircraft back on the lake. Upon touchdown the right ski dug into the ice surface and folded under the landing gear strut, and then the landing gear sheared off.

As one of the passengers later described the incident: “Everything was okay for about five seconds after we touched down, and then snow started flying everywhere. We hit down on one wing tip and the plane collapsed on one side. We had skidded about 150 feet. Fuel was running everywhere - a ski leg had gone through the main tank”. As the Otter came to a stop, the pilot called Wabush FSS and reported the accident, and that there were no injuries. This information was relayed to Halifax Rescue Co-Ordination Centre, and a CAF CH-146 Griffon helicopter from 444 Squadron at Goose Bay was dispatched to pick up the pilot and his two passengers. A recovery team was later dispatched to repair the Otter, which then flew back to Goose Bay.

That incident however ended the Otter's career with Northern Lights Air Service. It was returned to the leasing company, and ferried to St.Mathias-sur-Richelieu, Quebec where it was put into storage, still in Northern Lights colour scheme. In April 2001 it was advertised for sale with a total airframe time of 14,442 hours. Features referred to in the advert included its Baron STOL kit, EDO 7170 floats, bubble windows and new metal floor. The Otter was leased to Labrador Airways Ltd, to whom it was registered on 16th July 2002, and it returned to Goose Bay. It replaced C-FQOS (398), the Labrador Airways turbine Otter which had crashed at Goose the previous September. After the summer of 2002, SVP returned to storage at St.Mathias-sur-Richelieu, its total time having risen to 14,803 hours. It was again advertised for sale with an asking price of $1,500,000 Canadian. It was still in storage there during 2004, still advertised for sale.

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