59-2225 • CF-BEO • C-FBEO • VH-OTR
• 59-2225 United States Army. Delivered 03-Feb-1960. Designated U-1A.
Initial allocation to the White Sands Missile Range, NM., based at Holloman AFB.
Jan-1962. At serving at Fort Bliss, Texas as a combat support aircraft possibly supporting the U.S. Army Air Defense Center.
Dec-1965, To Vietnam joining the 2nd Signal Group, 1st Signal Brigade, Headquarters Company, based at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon.
Jan-1968 Attached to the 21st Signal Group.
July 1969. Taker on charge by the 520th Transportation Battalion, where it entered storage.
Sep-1969. Transported back to the United States, arriving at the Atlanta Depot, GA.
May-1972. Stored at the Forest Park Army Depot, Atlanta, GA. Removed from Army inventory and put up for disposal.
• CF-BEO Air Craftsmen Ltd., St. John Airport, NB. Regn reserved.
• CF-BEO Eclipse Consultants Ltd., Oshawa, ON, an associate company of Air Craftsmen.
• CF-BEO La Ronge Aviation Services Ltd., La Ronge, SK, Circa 1974.
• VH-OTR Aquaflight Airways, Cairns, QLD. Regd Jan1997.
• VH-OTR Change in name to Cairns Seaplanes, QLD. Early 2003.
Total time: 16,596 hours at Apr-2005.
• C-FBEO Glenn Pearce, dba Pearce Aero Services, Sidney, BC. Regd 01-Feb-2006 who re-assembled the Otter for its new owner. Canx 03-Apr-2006.
• C-FBEO Forde Lake Air Services, Hornepayne, ON. Regd 13-Apr- 2006.
• C-FBEO Excellent Adventures Outposts & Air Service Ltd., Ear Falls, ON. Regd 02-& 03 May-2007. Regd 07-May-2015.
• Current •
Otter 373 was delivered to the United States Army on 3rd February 1960 with serial 59-2225 (tail number 92225). Its initial allocation was to the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, based at Holloman AFB. By January 1962 it was serving at Fort Bliss, Texas as a combat support aircraft. It continued flying from Fort Bliss until December 1965, when it went to Vietnam and joined the 2nd Signal Group, 1st Signal Brigade, Headquarters Company, based at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon. In January '68 it joined the 21st Signal Group, where it served until July 1969. It was taken in charge by the 520th Transportation Battalion and after a short period of storage was transported back to the United States, arriving at the Atlanta Depot, Georgia in September 1969. It remained in storage at the Depot until deleted from the Army inventory in May 1972 and put up for disposal.
The Otter was one of six in storage at the Forest Park Army Depot, Atlanta, Georgia purchased by Air Craftsmen Ltd., of St.John Airport, New Brunswick, a company which traded in Otters, buying military surplus aircraft, restoring them as civilian and selling them on. The six aircraft were reserved as CF-BEO/BEP/BEQ/BER/BEU/BEW. The Otters were flown from the Depot to St. John and then refurbished. Otter 373 was reserved as CF-BEO and after the rebuild was registered to Eclipse Consultants Ltd., of Oshawa, Ontario, a company associated with Air Craftsmen Ltd. It was sold in 1974 to La Ronge Aviation Services Ltd., of La Ronge, Saskatchewan and entered service with them, later re-registered C-FBEO. It met with an accident at its La Ronge base on 23rd January 1981.
Shortly after take off, the engine lost power and stopped. Due to fog patches, the pilot selected an area for landing that did not provide an unobstructed roll out. The aircraft landed heavily, travelled across the snow and into the trees at the edge of the lake. Carburettor icing was suspected as the reason for the engine failure. The badly damaged Otter was trucked to Calgary, arriving there in August 1981 where it was repaired by Kimba Air Services and then resumed flying for La Ronge Aviation Services.
BEO continued flying for La Ronge until 1996, when it was sold in Australia. It was dismantled and shipped to Australia, where it was registered in January 1997 as VH-OTR to Aquaflight Airways of Cairns, Queensland. Painted in a green/blue/white scheme, the Otter served the many tourists visiting the Great Barrier Reef. The operators were not lost for words to describe their service: “Imagine a 15 minute flight from Cairns Inlet to a secluded sand island on the Great Barrier Reef, calm azure waters teeming with coral gardens and brightly coloured marine life…”. A magazine article on the local tourist industry of Cairns described the scene as follows: “In the bay, Trinity Wharf is home to Barrier Reef tripping catamarans, yachts, cruisers and launches. Moored among them is a spic and span mature-age Otter seaplane. Aircraft admirers love the crackle of its low revving nine cylinder radial engine as it heads into wind and then banks to take passengers to Green Island. They step off the amphibious floats onto the dazzling coral sand of the island. In a warm sun, cabins set among the coconut palms give an opportunity to realise any romantic island dream”. Early in 2003 there was a change in name for the operation to Cairns Seaplanes, but the Otter continued as before, flying alongside Beaver VH-IDQ.
. The Otter continued in operation with Cairns Seaplanes until December 2004, when it was put up for sale. It was noted at Cairns early February 2005 being crated prior to leaving Australia by ship headed for Canada. The crate left Cairns on 11 February ’05. The Otter was advertised for sale by C&S Enterprises, Aircraft Brokers, on their website starting in April 2005. It had 16,596 hours total time, was on stretched EDO 7170 floats and had an asking price of US$350,000. The departure of VH-OTR left only one Otter active in Australia, this being VH-OTV (250) based at Broome in Western Australia. The owner of VH-OTR then decided to sell the aircraft himself, which appears to have resulted in something of a delay in the departure of the aircraft from Australia. In any event, the Otter is recorded as being imported into Canada on 25 October 2005 and after seven weeks in a Russian container ship, it arrived in two containers at Victoria, British Columbia, where it was unloaded. It had been purchased by Forde Lake Air Services of Hornepayne, Ontario where it was to join the company’s existing fleet of a beaver and a Cessna 185. At Victoria the Otter was registered to Glenn Pearce of Pearce Aero Services, who were re-assembling the Otter for its new owner. It was registered C-FBEO, taking its original Canadian registration, on 1 February 2006. After the Otter had been reassembled, overhauled and repainted, it was registered on 13 April 2006 to Forde Lake Air Services and set off from Victoria on delivery to its new owners. It went to work out of Government Lake, Hornepayne, Ontario, flying from the lake on floats, back in Canadian skies after nearly ten years in Australia.
To be updated.
Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005)