DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 199

LN-BFD
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c/n 199

LN-BFD

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• LN-BFD Widerøe's Flyveselskap & Polarfly A/S., Bodø, Norway. Delivered on 4th February 1957.

• LN-BFD Solbergfly A/S., Tønsberg, Norway. Regd 2nd April 1963.

• LN-BFD Ocean Products A/S., Bergen, Norway. Regd 21st February 1966.

Leased to Westwing A/S., Odda, Norway.

Accident: Near Odda, Norway. 31-Aug-1968. Flew into hill in poor weather. Of the five occupants one passenger survived.

Damaged beyond repair

Otter 199 was delivered to Widerøes Flyveselskap & Polarfly A/S of Norway on 4 February 1957.  It was one of two additional Otters (the other was LN-BIB serial 201) acquired by Wideroes to add to their existing Otter fleet and to replace Norseman aircraft and a JU-52 on the scheduled services the company was operating in northern Norway on behalf of SAS. Otter 199 was crated at Downsview and shipped to Oslo where it was re-assembled and registered LN-BFD on 11 April 1957. It entered service with Wideroes on floats, based at Bodo in northern Norway, one of its four strong Otter fleet flying a combination of SAS scheduled services and Wideroes own services and charters. It was painted in Widerøes “Spartan green” with white trim.

During the early 1960s the Norwegian government appreciated that the Wideroes floatplane operation successfully linked the remote communities within the Arctic Circle. However, this was a summer only service and the government wanted to make this a year-round service using landplanes, and was conducting an evaluation and cost analysis of this plan. As part of this proposal in 1963 new airports opened in northern Norway and SAS extended their own services to Kirkenes. As a result all seaplane services north of Tromso were terminated and Widerøes was left with routes only between Bodø and Tromso. As a result of these developments and uncertainty hanging over the future of floatplane operations, Widerøes decided to dispose of Otter LN-BFD. It was sold to Solbergfly A/S of Tonsberg, to whom it was registered on 2 April 1963.

Thor Solberg was a pioneer Norwegian aviator of the 1930s. Post war, he formed Solbergfly A/S with a base at Tønsberg, south of Oslo, where it ran a flying school and Cessna dealership at the Jarlsberg Airport. The company also had a base at Bergen on Norway’s Atlantic coast and when it acquired Otter LN-BFD from Widerøes in April 1963, the Otter was assigned to the Bergen base from where it flew charters and mail flights. Starting in July 1965 a service linking Bergen-Floro-Maloy (north of Bergen on the Atlantic coast) was operated until September 1965 with the Otter, which carried ten passengers as well as cargo and mail.

In January 1966 Solbergfly’s seaplane operations in Bergen were taken over by a newly formed seaplane operation called Westwings A/S, a subsidiary of Ocean Products A/S of Bergen. Otter LN-BFD was registered to Ocean Products A/S on 21 February 1966, as well on the same day one Cessna 206, two Cessna 185s and one Cessna 180, all for operation by Westwings A/S based out of Bergen. The Otter continued in service with Westwings until it crashed and was destroyed on 31 August 1968.

On that Saturday LN-BFD took off from the Westwings base at Odda, to the east of Bergen, at 09:15 hours, taking a party of five hunters up to the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, east of Odda. Despite being 125 kilometres from the North Sea, Odda is a busy port serving heavy industries. The mountains rise steeply up at the sides of the fjords to a height of 5,600 feet. To the east is a large uninhabited plateau with vast areas for fishing and hunting. Seaplanes provide fast and easy transport to this area, which is devoid of roads.

The weather was not good, with overcast and low clouds. After climbing out to the north over the fjord, making a turn to gain height, course was set toward the east. The only survivor of the crash later said in his testimony that having followed the usual route for these flights over some well known lakes, he noticed that the clouds got progressively lower and visibility dropped as the Otter flew further east into the mountains. Several mountain tops were covered in cloud. Suddenly the Otter made a sharp left turn over a lake and started a rapid climb. The last thing the survivor remembered before being knocked unconscious by the impact was grabbing his seatbelt. The Otter crashed near the lakeshore at a height of 4,259 feet above sea level. It burned to near total destruction after impact. The survivor gained consciousness at 10:45. At that time the aircraft was still burning and the hunting ammunition occasionally exploding. He quickly established that the pilot and the four other passengers were dead. He was found later in the day and flown back to Odda.

The accident investigation concluded that the crash was caused by the pilot attempting a VFR flight at low altitude in terrain and weather gradually making this impossible. In the end, he didn’t have enough room for manoeuvre and crashed into rising terrain in an attempt to turn around. LN-BFD had total time of 7,377 hours at its destruction. It was replaced in service with Westwings A/S by Otter LN-TSC (397) which they acquired from the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

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.