33 -  3675


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Otter 33 was delivered to the RCAF on 24th March 1954 with serial 3675. Its initial posting was to the Whitehorse, Yukon Station Flight where it arrived on 4th May 1954. It replaced Norseman 368 with the Flight, which was transferred to Calgary. The Otter flew alongside C-47 Dakota KG559. They were soon joined by Sikorsky H-5s 9604 and 9610. Otter 3675 was to remain with the Whitehorse Station Flight until August 1956 and during this period was engaged on general utility flights, parachute drops, medevacs and search and rescue. The unit history, for example, records a flight on 22nd March '56 to Watson Lake to collect an injured nurse, and on 1st May '56 the Otter departed for Snag and continued to Aishihik to pick up an injured baby.

Its last two missions with the Flight are also recorded, on 14th August 1956 from Whitehorse to Haines Junction with members of the Imperial Defence College and on 17th August to Dawson City with the “Station orchestra”, returning to Whitehorse the next day. The Otter then departed Whitehorse (being replaced by 3689) and went to DHC at Downsview for incorporation of the All Up Weight Modification. While at Downsview in December 1956, the Otter was repainted by DHC with an all-white colour scheme. The RCAF roundels were removed and the “United Nations” crest was put on, in preparation for UN duty. On completion of this work during December '56 the Otter was allocated to 115 Air Transport Unit (115 ATU) for United Nations service in Egypt. The Otter was flown from Downsview to Halifax, Nova Scotia as were Otters 3743, 3744 and 3745 which had also been allocated to 115 ATU.

At Halifax, the four Otters were loaded on board the aircraft carrier 'HMCS Magnificent', which sailed from Halifax on 29th December 1956. The carrier arrived at Port Said, Egypt and the four Otters flew off the carrier on 18th January 1957 en route to the 115 ATU base at El Arish, Egypt. 3675's period of service with 115 ATU was unfortunately brief, as it met its end in the Egyptian desert on 15th April 1957. There were eight persons on board when the Otter made its approach to a desert strip with a rough runway surface near Rafah. A power approach was executed with 25 degrees of flap, with an airspeed between 60 and 65 knots. On roundout the aircraft skipped, making it necessary to apply power to correct. The Otter was in a three-point attitude and on touching down for the second time, it ballooned to a height of thirty feet.

Full power was applied for an overshoot, but the aircraft sank to the ground in a complete stall. The Otter ground looped when the port wheel came in contact with a rise in the ground. The tire blew and the port landing gear collapsed, followed by the collapse of the starboard gear. Extreme heat (110F) gave the pilot insufficient power to carry out a successful overshoot in the turbulent conditions which prevailed. Fortunately there were no injuries, but the Otter was “totalled” and subsequently deleted from the RCAF inventory.

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