6 – C-FIOD


Serial Number






Year of Manufacture







 Propair Inc


 Box 20 Rr1, Rouyn, Quebec, J9X 5B7

Contact / Link



Accident reports at-

Crashed Helene Lake 14th July 1985. Struck trees and caught fire.

Originally delivered to Lamb Airways.

Otter number 6 was registered to Imperial Oil Air Transport Ltd on 18th December 1952 and delivered to its new owner the following day. Imperial Oil was Esso's Canadian affiliate. The Otter was based in Dawson Creek, BC and used to support oil exploration work in the Canadian North. It was joined by CF-IOF (24) in September 1954, which was based in Edmonton.


CF-IOD was active in northern BC and Alberta, especially in the Peace River country where hilly sparsely populated farmland soon dissolved into bleak mountain ranges, thick muskeg forests and innumerable lakes and rivers. The Otter supported drilling camps out in the bush. The drilling crew, having trucked in their equipment over hardened ground during the winter, carved a landing strip nearby for the Otter with their bulldozer. The Otter was also used to service small geological and seismic exploration parties, who camped by a lake or river where CF-IOD had a chance of landing.


A number of incidents were recorded, as it operated from short, rugged airstrips out in the bush. On 22 June 1953 at one of these strips, the tail wheel dropped into a hole, damaging the rear fuselage. The Otter was flown to Calgary for repair. On 1st August '53 on a flight from Peace River there was damage to the rear bulkhead on landing 30 miles north-west of Beatton River. On 18th April '55, flying from Imperial Oil's Rainbow Airstrip carrying a load of 1,800 lbs of diamond core barrel parts, the Otter was caught by a downdraft landing at Kahntah airstrip and struck a ridge at the end of the short strip, damaging the undercarriage and propeller. This was put down as one of the “hazards of bush flying”. The damage was repaired by Northwest Industries in Edmonton.


As well as carrying personnel and supplies into these camps, the Otter also brought in bags of specially formulated mud used on drilling sites to cool drilling bits and carry rock cuttings to the surface, and the aircraft also brought out core samples for analysis. It was also used for medevac flights whenever the need arose. Occasionally the Otter came to the attention of the SAR authorities, as it suffered communications difficulties in the course of its travels, giving rise to some concern until it managed to establish contact and report all was well. One such incident occurred on 8th November 1957 when it became overdue at Fort St.John on a round robin flight via Sikanni Chief. Another such incident was on 24th June '58, en route from Fort Providence to Hay River in the Northwest Territories.


There followed years of incident free operation until 2nd April 1965, when CF-IOD was flying from Edmonton to the company's Rainbow Lake airstrip with six passengers. During the landing roll, the aircraft encountered a ridge, became airborne and dropped heavily, sustaining substantial damage.


The Otter was sold to DHC on 2nd September 1966, although it remained at Edmonton, where it had been taken for repair. It was sold on by DHC to Thomas Lamb Airways Ltd, and a ferry permit issued on 14th March 1967 for its delivery flight from Edmonton to its new base at The Pas, Manitoba.


IOD was one of thirteen Otters to be registered to this well known Manitoba carrier over the years. The company changed its name to Lambair in December 1968. IOD served the communities of Manitoba for five years, until February 1972, when it was one of three Otters (the others being CF-XIL and CF-CDL) sold by Lambair to A. Fecteau Transport Aerien. IOD and CDL were delivered on 16th February 1972 and XIL followed on 1st March '72. With its new owner, IOD proceeded to operate in the bush country of Quebec, just as it had in Manitoba and Alberta before that. It was not long in service before its first scrape, on 6th April '72. Operating in the James Bay area, it was en-route from Fort George to Cape Jones airstrip with five barrels of aviation fuel. Landing on rough terrain and snowdrifts, damage was caused to the rear fuselage, which was repaired.


On 14th April 1977, on take-off from the hydro-electric power station site GB-1 en route to Great Whale, during the take-off run from the rough snow surface, the bolt holding the right gear strut to the fuselage failed, causing the right ski to fold under the fuselage on the subsequent landing. Damage was caused to the right wing, the strut and the centre tank. Repairs were carried out to C-FIOD, as it was then registered, by St.Louis Aviation at St.Jean airfield, Montreal. Another incident occurred two years later on 5th April 1979, landing at Lac Bolem, Quebec on a flight from Lac Mollet. The Otter was flying in material and personnel to repair a company aircraft (Beaver CF-DJO) whose landing gear had collapsed while landing on the rough surface three days earlier. During the landing roll, the left ski of IOD collapsed when it struck a snow-covered rock which the pilot had failed to see. Again, the damage was repaired.


In March 1982 Air Fecteau was amalgamated into Propair Inc, to whom C-FIOD was registered, and with whom it continued to serve the outback of Quebec. It was here, at Lac Helene, that it came to grief on 14th July 1985. The float-equipped Otter with the pilot, a passenger, an electric generator and construction materials on board took off from the lake, which was 10,000 feet long and located at an elevation of 500 feet. The aircraft left the water about half way along the lake and began to climb. At about one hundred feet the pilot retracted the flaps and re-set the engine from take-off to climb power. The aircraft then began to lose altitude. The pilot increased the power again but the Otter continued to descend until it struck the ground and cart-wheeled to the left and slid tail first before coming to rest. Fire broke out which completely destroyed the fuselage and its contents.


The take-off distance exceeded that specified by the manufacturer, probably a consequence of an overload caused either by excessive weight or by water in the floats. As a result, it was at a very low altitude close to the shoreline. The pilot had reduced the power and retracted the flaps at an altitude below that recommended, and was unable because of the low altitude to let the aircraft accelerate to the speed of the optimum rate of climb. The aircraft therefore progressed at low speed and a steep angle of attack. As a result of strong drag forces, it remained behind the power curve. The registration was cancelled on 19th June 1986 as “Detruit par le feu” (destroyed by fire).

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