DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 108

C-GMCW at Calgary - CYYC, Alberta.
Photo: Anthony J. Hickey © April 1980 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GMCW docked at Whitehorse, Yukon.
Photo: Unknown photographer © 1983 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GMCW demonstrating at Victoria - CYYJ, British Columbia.
Photos: Neil Aird © 20 October 2002

c/n 108

55-3264 • N5339G

C-GMCW

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• 55-3264 United States Army. Delivered 12th April 1956. Designated U-1A.

Allocated to the 14th Army Aviation Company, Fort Riley, KS.

Re-designated the 1st Aviation Company and moved to Fort Benning, GA, Aug-1956 until March 1961.

Reserve Board based at Fort Dix, NJ where it served until Dec-1965.

Otter Transition School at Fort Ord, CA., from Dec-1965 until Jun-1971.

Golden Knights parachute team at Fort Bragg, NC., as a support aircraft, until Apr-1976.

• N5339G Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Jun-1976, assigned to the CAP's Northeast Region. Possibly CT.

• C-GMCW High Noon Holdings Ltd., Calgary, AB. Oct-1979.

• C-GMCW Leased to B.C.-Yukon Air Service Ltd., Watson Lake, YT. Apr-1980. Canx 27-Apr-1983.

For Sale: Feb-1983. Total time 8,238 hours, and an asking price of $125,000CDN.

• C-GMCW Air North Charter & Training Ltd., Whitehorse, YT.,  22-Sep-1983 Canx 21-Jun-1994.

Accident Mayo, YT 13th August 1986. The pilot was flying the float- equipped Otter through a narrow pass, with visibility occasionally reduced by rain. He entered the pass with the impression that he could see the top, and would have no difficulty flying through the pass. However, having entered the pass he realised he could not fly over the rising terrain nor turn the aircraft around. He landed straight ahead on the rising slope.

Note: Trucked all the way from the crash site in the Yukon to Ignace, Ontario where it was rebuilt by Mandair, owned by Neil Carl Walsten.

• C-GMCW Walsten Aircraft Parts & Leasing, dba as Mandair, Kenora, ON. Regd 21-Jun-1994 Canx 22-Jul-1994 for certification purposes.

• C-GMCW B.C.-Yukon Air Service Ltd., Watson Lake, YT. Regd 03-Nov-1994 & 10-Nov-1994. Canx 12-Aug-1997.

• C-GMCW Black Sheep Aviation & Cattle Company Ltd., Whitehorse, YT. Regd 12-Aug-1997. Re regd 04-Jun-2002 after turbine engine installation.

Note: Converted to turbine power with a Garrett TPE-331 by Kal Air at their facility at Vernon, BC during 2002.

Note: Attended the DHC 'Out of Production Aircraft' conference held at Victoria, BC in October 2002, being exhibited by Texas Turbine Inc.

Accident: 38 nautical miles northeast of Mayo, YT. 31-Mar-2011.The aircraft departed Mayo on a 94 statute mile day visual flight rules flight to the Rackla Airstrip, YT. At 15:07 Pacific Daylight Time, approximately 19 minutes after the aircraft had left Mayo, a 406 MHz emergency locator transmitter alert was received by the Canadian Mission Control Centre. The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Victoria was notified and a commercial helicopter was dispatched from Ross River, Yukon. Aircraft wreckage was located on a hillside 38 nautical miles northeast of Mayo at 18:33 Pacific Daylight Time. The wheel-ski equipped aircraft had experienced a catastrophic in-flight break-up and the pilot, who was the sole occupant, had sustained fatal injuries. There was no post-impact fire

• C-GMCW Black Sheep Aviation & Cattle Company Ltd., Whitehorse, YT. Canx and deleted 09-Dec-2014.

Destroyed

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Otter 108 was delivered to the United States Army on 12th April 1956 with serial 55-3264 (tail number 53264). It was allocated to the 14th Army Aviation Company at Fort Riley, Kansas. In August '56 the 14th was re-designated the 1st Aviation Company and moved to Fort Benning, Georgia where it continued to fly the Otter until 1961, when it converted to the Caribou, relinquishing its U-1As to
other units.

53264 was then assigned to the Army Reserve Board based at Fort Dix, New Jersey where it served until December 1965, when it crossed the country to join the Otter Transition School at Fort Ord, California. Here it was engaged in converting Army aviators onto the U-1A, who then went on to serve with Otter units in Vietnam. When the School closed down in June 1971, the Otter was assigned to the Golden Knights parachute team at Fort Bragg, North Carolina as a support aircraft, where it served until April 1976. It was then transferred to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) to whom it was registered N5339G in June 1976, assigned to the CAP's Northeast Region.

In October 1979 the Otter was sold to a Canadian leasing company called High Noon Holdings Ltd., based in Calgary, Alberta. On 11th October 1979 a provisional Certificate of Registration as C-GMCW was issued to High Noon Holdings and a flight permit for the Otter from Anchorage to Calgary. High Noon Holdings arranged to lease the Otter to B.C.-Yukon Air Service Ltd., of Watson Lake, Yukon Territory and the aircraft was noted at Calgary on 28th March 1980, painted in full B.C.- Yukon Air Service colour scheme. It was registered to the company in April 1980 and entered service. MCW was one of five Otters operated by this charter company over the years. Much work was performed for mining companies and government organisations, the Otters flying to established airstrips as well as to suitable mountain meadows on skis during the winter. Summer work involved everything from hauling drills for mining companies to taking tourist canoe parties up into the Nahanni Park in the Northwest Territories.

In February 1983 C-GMCW was advertised for sale, with total airframe time at that stage of 8,238 hours, and an asking price of $125,000 Canadian. The following September, the Otter was sold to Air North Charter & Training Ltd., based at Whitehorse in the Yukon. It remained in BC-Yukon's orange and black colour scheme, with Air North titles. It was still flying for this company when it was involved in an accident at Mayo in the Yukon on 13th August 1986. The pilot was flying the floatequipped Otter through a narrow pass, with visibility occasionally reduced by rain. He entered the pass with the impression that he could see the top, and would have no difficulty flying through the pass. However, having entered the pass he realised he could not fly over the rising terrain nor turn the aircraft around. He landed straight ahead on the rising slope.

That accident was to end MCW's flying career for some years. The wreck was sold to Walsten Aircraft Parts & Leasing, trading as Mandair, of Kenora, Ontario which was the trading and repair company of Neil Carl Walsten, whose aircraft operating company was Walsten Air. MCW was trucked all the way from the crash site in the Yukon to Ignace, Ontario where it was rebuilt. During the rebuild, the aircraft was registered to Walsten Aircraft Parts & Leasing. On completion of the rebuild, the Otter was actually sold back to B.C.-Yukon Air Service Ltd, by then under new ownership and based at Dease Lake, BC, to whom it was registered in November 1994. It continued flying for this company until sold in August 1997 to Black Sheep Aviation & Cattle Company Ltd., of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

Despite its unusual name, this is a charter operator, providing the usual range of bush aviation services from its Whitehorse base. During 2002 the Otter was converted to turbine power with the Garrett TPE-331, becoming the fifth such conversion. The work was undertaken by Kal Air at their facility at Vernon, BC. MCW was flown from Whitehorse to Vernon in May 2002, and returned to Whitehorse on 22nd June 2002 on completion of the conversion. The Otter appeared at the DHC 'Out of Production Aircraft' conference held at Victoria, BC in October 2002, being exhibited by Texas Turbine Inc. After the conference, it returned to Whitehorse and continued to fly for Black Sheep Aviation & Cattle Company.

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

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