DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 171

No photograph yet.

Data coming shortly

Otter 171 was delivered to the Chilean Air Force, the Fuerza Aerea de Chile (FAC), on 30 May 1957, with serial 930. The FAC acquired five Otters for light transport and general utility duties, and all five aircraft left Downsview together on 30 May 1957 for the mammoth delivery flight south to Santiago. On arrival they were assigned to Grupo de Aviacion 5, a communications unit, based at La Chamiza Air Base outside of Puerto Montt in Central Chile. The unit already operated five Beech Twin Bonanzas as well as some Beavers and helicopters. The Otters were mostly used flying to small rural airfields in the south of the country.

Three of the Otters were written off in FAC service and by 1966 only two remained in service, 930 and 931 (176).   930 had an accident at Llanada Grande, in the mountains to the east of Puerto Montt, on 23 November 1966 and was struck off charge on 21 January 1967. By that stage the FAC had ordered Twin Otters, eight of which were delivered between October 1966/March 1967 and these replaced the other types with Grupo de Aviacion 5. The FAC then advertised for sale their two remaining Otters, 930 and 931, both of which were parked at Puerto Montt without engines. Ferrer Aviation Inc., of Miami, a company responsible for returning many Otters to the US and Canada, were the buyers. In July 1969, for 405,000 escudos, they purchased the two Otters, as well as three Beavers in flying condition.

Both Otters were transported to Miami, where on 11 July 1969 Ferrer Aviation Inc applied for registrations and were allocated N11250 for Otter 171 and N11251 for Otter 176. Both Otters were refurbished and made ready for sale by Aero Facilities Corp at the Miami International Airport on behalf of Ferrer Aviation. On 3 August 1972 Ferrer applied for a Certificate of Airworthiness for N11250, which at that stage of its career had a total time of 5,239 hours on the airframe. The Otter was photographed parked on the General Aviation Ramp at the Miami International Airport with a white upper fuselage, red cheatline, black lower fuselage, white tail with black and red bands and red wingtips. The registration N11250 was on the fuselage side.

N11250 was sold by Ferrer Aviation to Bear Lake Lodge Inc., of Alaska by Bill of Sale dated 9 August 1972 and undertook the long ferry flight from Miami to Alaska, where it would spend the rest of its career. Don Johnson was a pioneer in Alaskan aviation and guiding, and he had established Bear Lake Lodge, near Port Moller, a very remote location on the lower Alaskan Peninsula. There was a change of colour scheme, the Otter being repainted white overall with a red cheatline and three red speed stripes on the tail, no titles. For the next seven years Don Johnson flew the Otter for his Lodge, flying his guests from the Lodge and guiding them on hunting and fishing trips.

By Bill of Sale 30 April 1979 Don Johnson sold the Otter to brokers St.Cloud Aviation of Minnesota who sold it on a few days later, on 11 May 1979 to Bush Air Inc of Bethel, Alaska for $111,000. This was a charter company serving South-West Alaska from its base at Bethel and the Otter joined a fleet of Cessnas, two Islanders and a Do28D Skyservant. Having flown for Bush Air for just a year, N11250 was sold on to Bering Air Inc., by Bill of Sale 25 May 1980 and moved to its new base at Nome, Alaska. This was Bering Air’s first Otter. They installed a Sorm Industries bulk fuel tank and the Otter was used for hauling fuel out of Nome around north-western Alaska, as well as general freight work.

One incident is recorded during the Otter’s career with Bering Air. On 11 September 1985 at Cape Douglas, Alaska the Otter nosed over during a forced landing on the tundra following a loss of power, and was substantially damaged. The pilot reported that he made a low pass over a downed aircraft on a beach and as he advanced the throttles, a rapid decrease in engine power occurred, for reasons never determined. N11250 was trucked down to Seattle where it was rebuilt by Harold Hansen. After repair, it flew back to its base at Nome and resumed service with Bering Air. By Bill of Sale dated 4 February 1987 Bering Air sold N11250 to Temsco Helicopters Inc., of Ketchikan, Alaska (having acquired Otter 425, N2899J, as its replacement).

Temsco Helicopters Inc., was a large operator of Otters, which they used on scheduled and charter services out of Ketchikan under the name of Temsco Airlines. Temsco was an acronym for “Timber, Exploration, Mining, Survey, Cargo, Operations”. N11250 was painted into the company’s colour scheme of red  overall with yellow cheatline and trim. It joined the company’s other six Otters, as well as numerous Beavers and Cessnas, operating from the Ketchikan base.

N11250’s service with Temsco Airlines was not all that long and it made its final flight on 15 January 1989. To quote from the accident report summary: “After departing the float plane base at Ketchikan on a company VFR flight plan, the scheduled commuter flight proceeded north-west along a salt water strait at a low altitude above water. Two miles northwest of the airport the aircraft entered a snow squall and the pilot attempted a steep turn to reverse course. During the turn the aircraft impacted and sank in 167 foot deep water. Search and rescue efforts were suspended after four days”.

Some further details from the Ketchikan Daily News. The accident happened on a Sunday at 08:15 in the morning. The Otter came down at Peninsula Point. The two on board, pilot and one passenger, were killed. The Otter had exploded on impacting the water and the wreckage sank in the Tongass Narrows. The body of the passenger was recovered but that of the pilot was never found. The flight had been en route to Klawock, with the one passenger and 1,100 pounds of mail.  N11250 had 10,366 hours on the airframe at the time of its destruction.

Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005), now with added and updated information which Karl has supplied for the benefit of the website.