DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 155

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c/n 155



Entries preceded by a date are extracts from Canadian Department of Transport archives.

15-Jun-1956 allotment of CF-JFH DHC-3 msn 155, DHC for Shell Oil.

18-Jun-1956 DHC confirm that that DHC-3 msn 155 will be CF-JFH for Shell Oil Co., Ltd.

24-Sep -1596 Certificate of Airworthiness #5820 issued.

26-Sep-1956 Certificate of Registration #16518 issued Shell Avion Ltd., Calgary, AB.

• CF-JFH Shell Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB. Delivered 28-Sep-1956.

07-Jun-1959 Certificate of Registration # 16518 re-issued to reflect name change to Shell Oil Company of Canada Ltd., Calgary, AB.

• CF-JFH Shell Oil Company of Canada Ltd., Calgary, AB. Regd 07-Jun-1959.

22-Jun-1962 Flight Permit to ferry Edmonton, AB., to Ottawa, ON., issued Laurentian Air Services Ltd., Ottawa, ON.

26-Jun-1962 Application for Certificate of Registration by Laurentian Air Services Ltd., Ottawa, ON.

26-Jun-1962 Temporary Certificate of Registration (Commercial) and Certificate of Airworthiness valid to 26-Jul-1962 issued Laurentian Air Services.

03-Jul-1962 Certificate of Registration #28235 issued Laurentian Air Services Ltd., Ottawa, ON.

• CF-JFH Laurentian Air Services Ltd., Ottawa, ON. Regd 03-Jul-1962.

16-May-1966 application for Certificate of Registration by Wray Adair Douglas, Inuvik, NT

24-May-1966 Certificate of Registration #36189 issued to Wray A. Douglas, Inuvik, NT

• CF-JFH Wray Adair Douglas, Inuvik, NT. Regd 24-May-1966.

24-May-1966 amendment to Certificate of Registration permitting Commercial category while on lease to Northward Aviation Ltd.

• CF-JFH Leased for a short time to Northward Aviation Ltd., Edmonton, AB. Regd 24-May-1966

Accident: Nodwell Lake. 12ml W of Fort McPherson, NT. 13-Jul-1966. The aircraft had difficulty getting off the step and eventually got airborne at the end of the lake but subsequently hit rising ground and bounced for some distance before hitting the other bank of the lake and coming to rest. The aircraft was destroyed by the impact and a post impact fire Pilot Walter A. Wolfe and three passengers uninjured

Note: The accident report on the archive file is virtually illegible,

• CF-JFH Cancelled on Canadian Civil Aircraft Registration 10-Oct-1966

Total time since new as recorded at Canadian Department of Transport archives.

21-Sep-1957 - 701 hours

09-Oct-1958 - 1,284 hours

30-Sep-1959 - 1,695 hours

07-Oct-1960 - 2,255 hours

11-Oct-1961 - 2,932 hours

11-Oct-1962 - 3,329 hours

09-Sep-1963 - 3,510 hours

10-Mar-1964 - 3,863 hours

10-May-1965 - 4,406 hours

01-Apr-1966 - 5,198 hours

Note: CF-JFH is mentioned in “For The Love of Flying” (Metcalfe-Chenail); Laurentian used it for a contract to re-supply the USAF radar station at St Anthony NL

… and here is the pilot named above, Wally Wolfe today. Our colleague, Ian Macdonald, mentions that he met him a few times when he lived in Yellowknife


Destroyed by fire

Otter 155 was delivered to Shell Canada Ltd., of Edmonton, Alberta on 28th September 1956 registered CF-JFH. During December '56 it was flying out of Peace River, Alberta. It was joined by CF-KLC (255) in April 1958. The two Otters were operated in support of the company's exploration endeavours throughout western Canada. During the peak summer season, they were assigned to remote locations in the Yukon Territory and to Inuvik, Northwest Territories where they transported men and materials in support of exploration camps. Okanagan Helicopters had annual contracts with Shell Canada for half a dozen Bell 47s. The helicopters worked in these northern regions, supporting geologists engaged in field research. Shell had a DC-3 which flew into Norman Wells and Fort Simpson, and the Otters then shuttled the personnel, fuel and supplies to the camps in the bush, from where the helicopters were operating.

The Western Area SAR file in the National Archives documents some of the comings and goings of CF-JFH during 1958, alerts being raised due to poor communications and the aircraft becoming overdue on account of weather. On 4th January 1958 it was flying from Grand Prairie to Peace River; on 19th March Fort Simpson to Fort Liard and return; on 21st March Fort Simpson to Nahanni and return; on 23rd March Norman Wells to Fort Norman and the following day Norman Wells to Fort Good Hope; on 3rd June from Fort McMurray to Hay River and Fort Simpson; the next day from Fort Good Hope to East Three. On 9th August it was en route Tuk - Whitefish - Aklavik and on 16th September '58 from Yellowknife to Fort Simpson.

CF-JFH remained in service with Shell Canada until sold in 1962, being replaced by a Piper Aztec. The purchaser of the Otter was Laurentian Air Services Ltd., of Ottawa and a ferry permit was issued on 22nd June 1962 for a flight from Edmonton to Ottawa. JFH was registered to Laurentian Air Services on 3rd July '62 and flew for the company for four years. On 1st September 1963, Laurentian Air Services took over a contract which Eastern Provincial Airways had flown up to then with Otters. It was to re-supply the USAF radar station at St. Anthony, Newfoundland, operated by the 921st AC&W Squadron. Laurentian also used Otters on this contract, flying personnel and supplies to St. Anthony from Harmon AFB, Stephenville. Otter CF-JFH was used for this purpose. The Otter continued in service with Laurentian Air Services until it was sold to Wray Adair Douglas of Inuvik, Northwest Territories and registered to him on 24th May 1966. It was leased by him to Northward Aviation Ltd., of Edmonton, but its operation with that company was brief, lasting less than two months.

On 13th July 1966 the Otter was taking off from Nodwell Lake, which is situated on a plateau 12 miles west of Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories. With the pilot, a crewman and two passengers on board, it was en route to Fort McPherson. The lake was pear shaped, about half a mile wide from east to west where the take-off was attempted. The aircraft was slow in getting on the step and most of the take-off area was used before the Otter became airborne in a nose-high attitude. JFH then settled and touched rising ground 75 feet west of the lake shore, then continued along touching the ground intermittently while in a nose-high attitude, until it contacted the west bank.  The right float dug into a creek bank and the Otter settled to the ground and came to rest.

The pilot later described the incident: “I did get off the water just before the shoreline. However, once over the shoreline there was a gradual upward slope. The wind was blowing down the slope, creating a downdraft situation. I started to lose what little altitude I had until the floats touched the ground. The slope was grassy and relatively smooth so I kept going, hoping that I could get to the ridge just ahead. I could go off the ridge into the air and be airborne. Unfortunately, there was a small creek that wasn't very visible until I hit it with the front end of the floats. The floats tore off, breaking a fuel line. This of course stopped us cold. The fuel from the broken line caught fire”.

The occupants were not injured, but the Otter was destroyed by the impact and fire. All but the tail section was completely burnt. As the accident report says: “It is apparent that a decision should have been made to discontinue the take-off before the situation became critical”.

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