48 - C-FXFO

Serial Number






Year of Manufacture





Thompson , Manitoba CANADA







Contact / Link



Was with:-
Venture Air, Box 385, Thompson, Manitoba, R8N 1N2 

US Army 55-2975

Otter 48 was one of the batch of the first six Otters delivered to the US Army, as explained in relation to number 43. Its delivery date was the 14th March 1955 and it was allocated serial 55-2975 (tail number 52975). All six aircraft set off together from Downsview on 14th March 1955 on delivery to the 521st Engineer Company at Crissy AAF, San Francisco. The six Otters then took part in a survey of Alaska during the summer of 1955, returning to Crissy AAF in September '55. The following month the unit relocated to the Sharpe General Depot at Stockton, California. The subsequent Army career of 52975 has unfortunately not been recorded, but it was deleted from the Army inventory in October 1961 as “crashed”.

Sold on the civilian market, the Otter was rebuilt and on 4th April 1968 a Provisional Certificate of Registration as CF-XFO and Flight Permit for an Importation Flight from Miami, Florida was issued to Gateway Aviation Ltd of Edmonton, Alberta. It was formally registered to Gateway Aviation on 4th June 1968. This company, although having its head office and maintenance base at Edmonton, operated mostly in the Northwest Territories and High Arctic in support of government projects, mining, exploration and oil industry projects, and flew six Otters over the years.

CF-XFO flew with Gateway Aviation for nearly four years, until sold to Nipawin Air Services Ltd of Nipawin, Saskatchewan in May 1972, registered C-FXFO. It serviced the bush areas of Saskatchewan with this operator until sold to Watson Lake Flying Services Ltd of Watson Lake in the Yukon in November 1977. For a remarkable twenty years XFO flew with this bush carrier out of Watson Lake, alongside a Beaver and some single Cessnas. Sadly, the carrier ceased operations in 1997 and the Otter and other aircraft were sold. The purchaser of the Otter was Blok Air Ltd of Thompson, Manitoba to whom C-FXFO was registered in April 1997. It joined Otter C-FIOF (24) which Blok Air had on lease, but which was returned to the lessor at the end of the summer '97 season. XFO continued flying for Blok Air, which was restructured during 1999. In July of that year, XFO was registered to P&D Aircraft Leasing Ltd, trading as Venture Air, which took over the Blok Air operation. The Otter continued flying from Thompson, Manitoba until its luck ran out on 15th September 1999.

On that day, the pilot was flying five caribou hunters from Thompson to Nicholson Lake, Manitoba. The number three cylinder cracked, the engine lost power and a fire broke out. The pilot managed to land the float-equipped Otter on a small un-named lake some 160 miles north of Thompson, in the vicinity of Kozak Lake, and evacuated the aircraft with his passengers. At this remote location there was unfortunately nothing they could do to put the fire out, and they stood helplessly at the side of the lake as the fire consumed and completely destroyed the Otter.

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

Registration cancelled 11/5/1999