DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 204

G-AOYX de Havilland demonstrator.
Photo: Gerald Lawrence © c.1959

c/n 204

G-AOYX • CR-LDT • (HB-UFB)

TR-LLZ

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• G-AOYX de Havilland Aircraft Company Ltd. Delivered 22-Feb-1957 based at Leavesden Airfield, nr Watford, England. Canx 27-Jun-1961. Used as European and Africa demonstrator.

• CR-LDT Empresa do Cobre de Angola / Copper Company of Angola, Luanda, Angola in May 1961.

• CR-LDT Compannia de Taxis Aereos, (Angola Air Taxis), Luanda, Angola. Dates unknown - circa May-1961. Sold Dec-1964.

• (HB-UFB) Nidico SA. Provisionally registered 16-Dec-1964. Canx 31-Aug-1965.

• TR-LLZ Air Gabon, Port Gentil, Republic of Gabon. Regd 01-Apr-1965. (Leased).

Accident Libreville, Gabon 17 April 1966. Details unknown. Aircraft destroyed.

Written off

Otter 204 was delivered to the  De Havilland Aircraft Company Ltd., on 22 February 1957 registered G-AOYX and based at Leavesden Airfield, England. It was to serve as the demonstrator aircraft for Europe and Africa, replacing G-ANCM (17). It was painted dark olive green overall with the registration in gold on the tail.

Its comings and goings around England were monitored by the aircraft spotters of the day. On 10-12 July 1958 G-AOYX attended the National Air Races at Coventry. On 26 August 1958 it was logged at 16:00 hours heading east over High Wycombe. It was noted at a display of STOL aircraft at Christchurch Airfield in Hampshire during September 1958, alongside Beaver G-ANAR, a Scottish Aviation Pioneer and Twin Pioneer and several helicopters. It was logged at Blackbushe on 7 December 1958 and at Southend on 5 February 1959. It was again at the National Air Races at Coventry 9 to 11 July 1959, where it gave a STOL demonstration, and at Northolt 15 July. It was logged at 17:35 hours on 16 July 1959 heading northeast over Uxbridge inbound to Leavesden. It was logged on 15 October 1959 at 11:00 hours heading southwest over Andover accompanied by Beaver G-ANAR.

It was intended at one stage that the Otter would return to Canada and on 9 March 1960 marks CF-MES were allocated to DHC for the Otter. There was then a change of plan, CF-MES was given to Otter serial 421 and G-AOYX set off on a sales tour of Africa. For this tour it was repainted with a white upper fuselage, dark cheatline, grey undersides with the registration G-AOYX on the tail and ‘Otter’ on the fuselage side. It was noted at Dakar in Senegal on 19 June 1960 in the course of this tour. It was sold while still in Africa and was destined never to return to England.

The buyer of the Otter was Empressa do Cobre de Angola, a mining company, and the aircraft was noted in service with the company based at Luanda in May 1961. The British registration was cancelled on 27 June 1961 and the Otter registered to its new owners as CR-LDT. On 12 March 1963 the Otter was sold to Companhia de Taxis Aereos (Angola Air Taxis), an air taxi and cargo company, remaining based at Luanda. CR-LDT flew for this company until sold in December 1964.

The buyer of the Otter was a Swiss company called NIDECO SA., owned by a lawyer named Bernard Couchepin from Martigny in Switzerland. It was a “societe pour la location at l’exploitation de materiel aeronautique” and specialised in dealing with Gabon, to where it had supplied and would continue to supply many aircraft. Mr Couchepin had negotiated a lease of the Otter to Air Gabon and on 16 December 1964 he applied to register the Otter in Switzerland, and was provisionally allocated marks HB-UFB. The Otter went on lease to Air Gabon on 1 April 1965 but it was registered to Air Gabon as TR-LLZ. On 30 August 1965 Mr Couchepin wrote to the Swiss Civil Aviation Authority informing them that the Gabonese authorities had insisted that all aircraft operating in the country had to be on the Gabonese register and that although the Otter remained the property of his company, NIDECO SA, the Swiss allocation could be cancelled, which it was on 31 August 1965.

Air Gabon was based at Port Gentil, with a network which served the country’s Forest Region, as well as the capital Libreville. The Otter joined a fleet of one Cessna 310, three Cessna 180s, two Broussards, four Beech 18s and several Alouette helicopters. The Otter continued to fly for Air Gabon as TR-LLZ until it was destroyed in a crash at Libreville on 17 April 1966.

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.