DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 228

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c/n 228

57-6109 • N8863 • CF-QCU



• 57-6109 United States Army. Delivered 16-Dec-1957. Designated as U-1A.

Initially delivered to Army Aviation Board based at Fort Rucker, AL.., until Mar-1969.

Oct-1969. Removed from Army inventory.

 N8863 Ferrer Aviation Inc., Miami, FL. Regd Jul-1971.

CF-QCU Dolbeau Air Service Inc., Chibougamau, QC. Regd Jan-1972.

C-FQCU Re regd to Dolbeau Air Service Inc., Chibougamau, QC.

C-FQCU Renamed as Direquair Inc., Regd 14-Feb-1975.

Incident: Presumed Chibougamau, QC. Mar-Mar-1975. Destroyed by fire.

C-FQCU Canx 09-Apr-1975.

Destroyed by fire

Otter 228 was delivered to the United States Army on 16 December 1957 with serial 57-6109 (tail number 76109). It was delivered to the Army Aviation Board, based at Fort  Rucker, Alabama with whom it would fly for its entire military career, until March 1969. The Board was responsible for evaluating aircraft in Army aviation service. After the testing of the Otter itself had been completed, 76109 was retained by the Board as a support aircraft, to provide for its own transport requirements. During the 1960s many helicopter types were entering service with the Army, which saw 76109 travelling all over the country  - to Bell Helicopters at Fort Worth, Texas; Sikorsky in Connecticut and Hughes Corporation in Los Angeles. The Otter was also used for proficiency training at Fort Rucker and for parachute drops.

Army records indicate that in April 1969 it went on loan from the Army for a “non-military activity”. It was in fact assigned to the National Aviation Facilities Experimental Centre (NAFEC) at the Atlantic City Airport, Pomona, New Jersey. NAFEC was a technical centre run by the FAA conducting research into various areas of aviation.  The Otter flew for NAFEC until a most unfortunate accident which occurred on Saturday 26 July 1969.

The Otter was parked that day on the NAFEC ramp at the Atlantic City Airport and parked nearby was FAA DC-3 N7. Events leading up to the accident started far away earlier that day, with the departure of TWA’s freighter Boeing 707-331C “Cargojet” N787TW from Frankfurt, Germany on Flight TW609. The flight stopped at London and Shannon and arrived at New York’s JFK Airport at 10:03 that morning. The flight was not due out of New York until that evening and it had been arranged that the 707 would undertake crew training for the rest of the day. After the cargo had been unloaded, an instructor pilot, flight engineer and three captains who were to receive proficiency training, boarded the aircraft which took off from New York at 11:46 that morning for the short flight to the Atlantic City Airport, where circuit training was to be undertaken.

The 707 as Flight 5787 landed on runway 13 at Atlantic City, then requested and the Tower approved clearance to taxi to the end of the runway, execute a 180 degree turn and take off on runway 31. Prior to take off the instructor pilot briefed the captain to expect a simulated engine failure, to execute a three-engined climb out and then to return to the airfield for an ILS approach to runway 13. The 707 was levelled off at 1,500 feet and vectored to intercept the ILS course for runway 13 in the vicinity of the outer marker. The # 4 engine remained in idle thrust and the instructor pilot directed the captain to execute a simulated three- engine ILS approach and to expect a missed approach at the decision height.

At the decision height, a missed approach was announced. The captain advanced power on engines 1, 2 and 3 and called for flaps up and gear up. However, neither the flaps nor the gear moved. The aircraft was accelerated to 130 knots and a missed approach climb instituted. At 300 feet all hydraulic pumps were shut down but power on the # 4 engine was not restored. Directional control was lost and the 707 entered a steep descending right turn. It struck the ground in a right wing low, nose down attitude, impacting the ramp adjacent to the NAFEC hangar. It broke up and exploded in a fireball, killing all five on board. Otter 76109 was 550 feet from the point of impact. It was struck by debris and badly burned. The nearby FAA DC-3 was also damaged. The subsequent investigation into the crash of the 707 concluded that the loss of directional control resulted from the shutdown of the hydraulic pumps, without a concurrent restoration of power to the # 4 engine.

The Otter was assessed by the Army but deemed beyond economical repair and deleted from the Army inventory in October 1969. The “wreck” was acquired by Ferrer Aviation in Miami, who had considerable experience of dealing with Otters and who managed to restore the Otter to flying condition. It was registered to Ferrer Aviation Inc as N8863 in July 1971 and by Bill of Sale dated 22 December 1971 was sold to Dolbeau Air Service Inc., of Chibougamau, Québec. The Otter was then at St.Hubert, Québec where it sustained some wind damage on 28 December 1971. A ferry permit was issued for a flight to St.Jean, Québec where St.Louis Aviation prepared the Otter for service with its new owners. Marks N8863 were cancelled on 29 December 1971 and it was registered as CF-QCU to Dolbeau Air Service on 14 January 1972, subsequently C-FQCU.

Dolbeau Air Service Inc., became Direquair Inc., to whom C-FQCU was registered on 14 February 1975, still based at Chibougamau Lac Cache and serving the Québec bush country. A letter from Direquair to Transport Canada sadly advised that the Otter had been “completement detruit au sol dans un incendie” (completely destroyed in a fire) on 9 March 1975, a most unfortunate example of lightning striking twice! The registration was cancelled on 9 April 1975. 

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.