4 – CF-GBX


Serial Number






Year of Manufacture












Contact / Link



Accident reports at-

Delivered to Hudson Bay Air Transport Ltd at Flin Flon, Manitoba 11.11.52.
Crashed Carling Lake, Ontario. 1980.

Otter number 4 was delivered to Hudson Bay Air Transport Ltd (HBAT) as CF-GBX on 11th November 1952, becoming the first Otter delivered to a customer. HBAT were based at Flin Flon, Manitoba. Formed in 1939, the company supported mineral exploration and development and during its 43 years of operation flew fifteen different aircraft, including six Otters, which proved ideal for the company's work. They could fly in personnel and equipment to establish exploration camps in remote northern areas, move the camps and keep them supplied.

CF-GBX was to faithfully serve HBAT for five and half years. It was based for a time at Jeff Lake in the Yukon, supporting the company's S-55 helicopters at a drill camp. In March 1957 it was joined by the company's second Otter CF-JOR (212). In June 1958 the two Otters were engaged in the Reed Lake area in central Manitoba, to the east of Flin Flon, moving drilling camps. On 6th June '58

an unfortunate accident befell GBX. As the pilot later recounted: “I was engaged in moving camp supplies and drill from Camp 72 (Radar Lake) to Camp 84 (Foot Lake) that morning. I moved one load of groceries and one passenger. The second load comprised of boxes of groceries, containers of kitchen equipment and drill and camp equipment. I took off from Camp 72 at 1100 and docked at Camp 84 fifteen minutes later and tied up. I walked to the tent to write up my flight reports and my helper started to unload. He said there was something burning in the machine. I ran to the aircraft and had the pyrene extinguisher on the flames within seconds.

However, the fumes and smoke became so thick I couldn't remain in the cabin. The fire took hold and the cabin started to burn”. The fire was seen by the pilot of Otter JOR, who raised the alarm, but the fire continued to burn, causing very substantial damage to GBX. It transpired that gasoline had spilled from an out-board motor and had come into contact with a battery. That was the end of the Otter as far as HBAT were concerned - “total destruction by fire”. The wreckage was sold, purchased by Superior Airways Ltd of Fort William, Ontario. The new owners were not convinced of the aircraft's “total destruction” and set about rebuilding it. This took quite a time, seven years in fact, but on 12th May 1965 the Otter was registered to Superior Airways and entered service with them. For the next 14 years it flew for Superior Airways, based at Pickle Lake, Ontario.

In 1979 CF-GBX was sold and was registered to its new owners, Central Air Transport, of Sioux Lookout, Ontario on 17th September '79. Its time with Central Air Transport was not long, for on 24th May 1980 the Otter was destroyed in an accident. GBX had flown from its base at Sioux Lookout to Carling Lake, Ontario. It was taking off from Carling Lake with the pilot and seven passengers on board when engine failure occurred. The Otter ran up on the lake shore, and although all the occupants evacuated the aircraft, it was consumed by a post-impact fire.

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