DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 270

57-6128 based at Fort Wainwright, Fairbanks, Alaska.
Photo: U. S. Army © Date unknown - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GLFK at Red Lake, Ontario.
Photo: Sheldon D. Benner © 12 August 1977 - Michael J. Ody Collection
N51KA engine runs after VAZAR conversion by Aeroflite at Vancouver - CYVR, British Columbia.
Photo: John Kimberley © June 1993 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N51KA in service at Ketchikan.
Photo: Larry Milberry © 03 August 1993
N51KA on the ramp at Ketchikan - PAKT, Alaska.
Photo: Karl E. Hayes © September 1994
N270PA in PROMECH AIR colours, at Ketchikan.
Photo: Helge Nyhus © September 2006 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N270PA at Ketchikan.
N270PA just twenty-two hours before the accident.
Photos: John W. Olafson © 19 June 2015

c/n 270

57-6128 • C-GLFK • N51KA



• 57-6128 United States Army. Delivered 21-Jun-1958. Designated U-1A.

Allocated to 12th Aviation Company at Fort Sill, OK., where it spent the whole of its U. S. Army career.

Aug-1961. Unit re-assigned to the Yukon Command at Fort Wainwright. AK., until inactivated on 21-Jun-1973.

• Un-regd. Donated to Alaska Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), noted in storage at Ten Mile Pond outside Anchorage. Aug-1973.

Total time: 4,750 hours.

C-GLFK William J.Bennett,(Gander Aviation Ltd), Gander, NL. Jul-1975

C-GLFK North Air Ltd., Gander, NL. Regd 13-Mar-1990. Canx 28-Jun-1991.

C-GLFK Leased to Trans Cote Inc., Lourdes de Blanc Sablon, QC. Regd 28-Jum-1991. Canx 04-May-1992.

N51KA. Ketchikan Air Service Inc., Ketchikan, AK. Regd 04-May-1992.

Airworthiness date: 18-May-1992.

N270PA Pantechnicon Aviation Ltd., Minden, NV. Regd 14-Jan-1997.

Power plant. Converted to Vazar turbine power in Feb-1993 by Aeroflite Industries, Vancouver, BC..

N270PA Operated on lease by Pro Mech Air, Ketchikan, AK.

Accident: Above Ella Lake, Misty Fjords National Monument. 20-Jun-2015.The float equipped DHC-3T Turbine Otter aircraft, operated by Promech Air, was destroyed when it impacted steep, mountainous tree-covered terrain about 25 miles northeast of Ketchikan above Ella Lake in the Misty Fjords area of Alaska. The pilot and eight passengers were killed. The aircraft departed a floating dock located in Rudyerd Bay about 44 miles northeast of Ketchikan about 12:00 hours for a tour through Misty Fjords National Monument Wilderness. A company VFR flight plan was in effect.

N270PA Expired 31-May-2016.

Arrived in container 28-Oct-2017 at Courtenay, BC. To be rebuilt by International Aeroproducts. Completion by 2019.

To be rebuilt


Otter 270 was delivered to the United States Army on 21st June 1958 with serial 57-6128 (tail number 76128). It was allocated to the 12th Aviation Company at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and was to spend its entire Army career assigned to this unit. In August 1961 it flew north to Fort Wainright, Alaska when the Company was re-assigned to Alaska to join the Yukon  Command.

76128 is mentioned honourably a few times in the unit history of the 12th Aviation Company. On 31st March 1971 it made history when a native child was born aboard the Otter while it was en route to Bethel. Temperature outside the aircraft at the time was 40 degrees below zero. On 8th  September 1971, flown by Captain William Brown, 76128 landed at McGrath en route from Bethel. After refuelling, he was informed of a native high school student who had badly injured his hand in an accident. Captain Brown immediately loaded the student aboard the Otter and flew on to Fort Wainwright, where medical facilities were better equipped to handle the emergency. Mid October 1972 found 76128 flying to several native villages in the bush. The Bureau of Indian Affairs needed to contact the natives of the Yukon River Drainage Area, and due to its excellent short field performance, the Otter was dispatched and spent two days flying in support of this government agency.

76128 was one of three Otters still flying with the 12th Aviation Company when it was inactivated on 21st June 1973, and was present at the stand-down ceremony held that day at Fort Wainright. In August 1973 the Otter is recorded as being donated to a vocational school, but ended up with the Alaska Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), in storage at Ten Mile Pond outside Anchorage. It  had 4,750 hours on the airframe at that stage. Also in storage at this location was Otter 329, tail number 81712, which had also been transferred to the CAP by the US Army. The Alaska Wing of the  CAP was somewhat under-funded at the time, and greatly welcomed receipt of such aircraft as the Otters from the Army, which could then be sold on.  In July 1975 Mr William J .Bennett of Gander Aviation Ltd., Gander, Newfoundland bought these two Otters from the CAP. When he arrived at Ten  Mile Pond, he found 270 to be in a dilapidated state but with a good engine. 329 was in a good state but its engine was shot. He swapped engines, putting the good engine on 329. Canadian registrations were allocated for both aircraft, number 270 becoming C-GLFK and 329 becoming C-GLFL. Number 329 was then flown back to Gander, but due to its poor condition, number 270 was taken by ship from Anchorage to Vancouver and then overland across the country to Gander for rebuild.

Number 270 C-GLFK performed its first test flight after the rebuild at Gander on 9th February 1977 and entered service with Gander Aviation Ltd. It was to fly for this company for the next  thirteen years, serving both the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador. Only one incident  is recorded, on 3rd March 1987 when the Otter made a precautionary landing after engine failure at Kelly's Pond, Newfoundland. It was repaired and returned to service. On 13th March 1990 it was registered to North Air Ltd., Gander, an associated company of Gander Aviation Ltd. It was leased to Trans Cote Inc., for the summer of 1991, based at Aéroport du Blanc Sablon, Québec on the north shore of the St. Lawrence. It then returned to Gander and last flew for Gander Aviation Ltd., in November 1991. It was then sold to Ketchikan Air Service Inc., who collected the Otter at Gander and flew it all the way to Ketchikan, the aircraft returning to Alaska from where it had come. It was registered to its new owners as N51KA on 4th May 1992. It was converted to a Vazar turbine Otter, arriving at Vancouver on 2nd February 1993 for the conversion, which was carried out by Aeroflite Industries. It then flew back to Ketchikan and flew as part of the Ketchikan Air Services fleet for some years.

The Otter was sold to Pantechnicon Aviation Inc., a leasing company, of Glenbrook, Nevada to whom it was registered N270PA in January 1997. Following the closing down of Ketchikan  Air Service in March 1997, another Ketchikan-based air carrier, Pro Mech Air, arranged to take N270PA as well as two other turbine Otters on lease from Pantechnicon Aviation. The Otter returned to Ketchikan, resplendent in Pro Mech's colour scheme, and was registered to Pro Mech Air in April 1998 and commenced flying their scheduled services out of Ketchikan. It was still flying for Pro Mech Air in 2004.

Full update due at a later date. See notes above for accident details.

To be rebuilt by International Aeroproducts, Courtenay, Breitish Columbia. Potential completion date of 2019.

Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005).