DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 302

N90575 at Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington.
Photo: Unknown photographer © January 1975 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GMDG when still piston powered.
Photo: John Kimberley © April 1993 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GMDG at Fort Frances, Ontario.
Photo: Karl E. Hayes © May 2004
C-GMDG at the usual dock.
Photo: Tim Williams © August 2005 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GMDG at Fort Frances water base.
Photo: Fred Barnes © 17 September 2009

c/n 302

58-1692 • N90575

C-GMDG

x

• 58-1692 United States Army. Delivered 02-Dec-1958. Designated U-1A.

Initially delivered to Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, CA.

Date unknown. Allocated to 17th Aviation Company, Fort Ord, CA.

Jan-1962. Assigned to the 18th Aviation Company for deployment to Vietnam. Actual date and location in Vietnam currently unknown.

Incident: Pleiku, Vietnam. Forced landing because of power failure. Returned to flying condition by 339th Transport Command.

Apr-1966. Returned to the US to Army Aeronautical Depot Maintenance Centre (ARADMAC), Corpus Christi, TX for depot level overhaul.

Jun-1966. Returned to Vietnam with the 54th Aviation Company.

Oct-1970. 56th Transportation Company.

Jan-1971. 166th Aviation Maintenance Detachment.

Apr-1971. Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, CA., where it was stored.

Feb-1973. Deleted from Army inventory. Jan-1975.

• N90575 Harold J. Hansen, Boeing Field, Seattle, WA. Regd Jan-1975.

• N90575 Frontier Flying Service, Fairbanks, AK., on lease from Harold  Hansen. Regd circa Jul-1975.

Accident. Kuskokwim River, AK. 23-Sep-1975. The Otter was on a cargo run, taking off from the Kuskokwim River en route to Minchumina, in gusty wind conditions, with inoperative flaps. There was insufficient room for the take off, and the Otter collided with a dirt bank in the river, causing substantial damage. See narrative for further information regarding accident and repair.

• N90575 Lawrence C (Buck) Maxon, dba Maxon Aviation, Kotzebue, AK. Regd 12-Oct-1978. Canx 0901-Apr-1980 on export to Canada.

Accident. Trail Creek, AK. 1st July 1979. The Otter had departed from its base at Kotzebue with a load of freight and was landing at Trail Creek, when the gear collapsed.

Note: Taken to Calgary, AB.,  where it was repaired by Kimba Air Services.

• C-GMDG Air Park Aviation Ltd., Lac du Bonnet, MB. Regd Jun-1980. Canx 06-Jan-1983.

• C-GMDG L S D Aviation Ltd., Fort Frances, ON. Regd date unknown. Canx 28-Jun-1983.

• C-GMDG Fort Frances Sportsmen Airways Ltd., Fort Frances. ON. (Northern Wilderness Outfitters) Regd 19-Apr-1984.

Power plant. Converted to Vazar, 750 hp Pratt & Whitney PT-6A turboprop.

Note: Currently wears Northern Wilderness Outfitters logos.

Current

Otter 302 was delivered to the United States Army on 2nd December 1958 with serial 58-1692 (tail number 81692). It was allocated to the 17th Aviation Company, Fort Ord, California. It was delivered from Downsview to the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, California before continuing on to Fort Ord. In January 1962 it was assigned to the 18th Aviation Company for deployment to Vietnam, and entered service with the Company in Vietnam. It is mentioned in the history of the 339th Transportation Company: “Recovery at Pleiku 2nd January 1963. The first recovery of the period took place 2nd January 1963 after U-1A serial 81692 of the 18th Aviation Company had to make a forced landing at Pleiku because of power failure. In one day, a crew from the fixed wing section of the 339th TC returned the Otter to flyable status”. With the 18th Aviation Company, 81692 carried the code 'F' and continued flying for the Company until April 1966 when it returned to the United States for depot level overhaul at the ARADMAC Depot, Corpus Christi, Texas.

After overhaul, the Otter was returned to Vietnam in June 1966 and joined the 54th Aviation Company. It continued to fly for this unit until October 1970, when it was taken on charge by the 56th Transportation Company. By January 1971 it was with the 166th Aviation Maintenance Detachment, and in April 1971 it arrived back in the United States, at the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, California. It remained at the depot in storage until February 1973 when it was deleted from the Army inventory and put up for disposal as military surplus. The buyer of the Otter was Harold J. Hansen of Seattle, who purchased two 'Big Daddy' (54th Aviation Company) U-1As from Stockton, 53312 (174) and 81692 (302). Both aircraft were trucked to his facility at Boeing Field, Seattle where they were refurbished and civilianised. 53312 was registered N90574 and 81692 became N90575, registered in January 1975.

N90575 had been completed by May 1975 and was being painted at Boeing Field in a white colour scheme with blue trim. On 11th July '75 it was noted at Vancouver, receiving some work from Aeroflite Industries, on its way to Alaska where it joined the fleet of Frontier Flying Service at Fairbanks, on lease from Harold Hansen. It was unfortunately not long before N90575 was involved in an accident. On 23rd September 1975 the Otter was on a cargo run, taking off from the Kuskokwim River en route to Minchumina, in gusty wind conditions, with inoperative flaps. There was insufficient room for the take off, and the Otter collided with a dirt bank in the river, causing substantial damage. The pilot was an experienced individual, with 15,100 hours total flying time, including 3,600 hours on the Otter. Factors cited in the accident report, in addition to the flaps, were selecting unsuitable terrain, unfavourable wind conditions and failing to abort the take-off.

Harold Hansen travelled to Alaska to fix the Otter. He used Otter N98T (181) to fly a set of replacement wings (which were strapped to the outside of the aircraft) to the scene of the crash. Temporary repairs were made on site, and N90575 was flown back to Boeing Field for permanent repairs to be made. Coincidentally, N90574 also returned to Boeing Field for repair, it too having crashed in Alaska not long after it had been delivered there. N90575 was noted at Boeing Field during December '75 being repaired and on completion of the work it was sold to Buck Maxon / Maxon Aviation of Kotzebue, Alaska, who also operated Otter N26641 (134) which he had also acquired from Mr. Hansen. N90575 continued to fly for Maxon Aviation until an accident on 1st July 1979. The Otter had departed from its base at Kotzebue with a load of freight and was landing at Trail Creek, when the gear collapsed. Causes cited in the accident report were misjudged speed and distance and failure to initiate a go-around.

The damaged Otter was acquired by Air Park Aviation Ltd., of Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba and taken to Calgary where it was repaired by Kimba Air Services and repainted in Air Park Aviation's colours. It was registered to Air Park Aviation Ltd., in June 1980 as C-GMDG and delivered to their base at Lac du Bonnet. It replaced Otter C-GQOX (308) which had been destroyed in a hangar collapse at   Lac du Bonnet in February 1980. Otter MDG was used by Air Park Aviation on mining and exploration charters and to support fly-in fishing camps around Manitoba. Five camps were operated by the company in eastern Manitoba, at Artery Lake, Bullmoose Lake, Bloodvein River and Sasaginnigak River East and West. It continued flying for Air Park Aviation until sold to LSD Aviation Ltd., of Fort Frances, Ontario to whom it was registered in January 1983.

The Otter was sold on to Fort Frances Sportsmen Airways Ltd., who are associated with Northern Wilderness outfitters, of Fort Frances, to whom it was registered in April 1984, and it was converted to a Vazar turbine. MDG flies alongside Otters C-GUTL (365), also a turbine, and C-GBQC (401), a piston, in the Fort Frances Sportsmen fleet. The three Otters are used to service remote fishing camps during the summer months.

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