DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 446

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c/n 446



Entries preceded by a date are extracts form Canadian Department of Transport archives.

20-Apr-1964 Application for a Certificate of Registration for DHC-3 msn 446 by Thomas Lamb Airways Ltd., The Pas MB.

27-Apr-1964 Marks CF-DCL reserved for DHC-3 msn 446 for Lamb Airways Ltd.

22-May-1964 Test flown for Aircraft Inspection Release Certificate at DHC.

27-May-1964 Certificate of Airworthiness #10628 issued.

27-May-1964 Certificate of Registration #31772 issued to Thomas Lamb Airways Ltd., The Pas. MB.

• CF-DCL Thomas Lamb Airways Ltd., The Pas, MB. Delivered 29-May-1964. Based Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island in the Northwest Territories.

Accident: Rankin Inlet NT. 17-Nov-1965 Exceeded crosswind component while landing and hit dock pilings at end of runway, damaged, Conrad Lamb uninjured. Repaired by Field Aviation Ltd., Calgary, AB., by Jul-1966.

06-Mar-1969 Bill of Sale; Thomas Lamb Airways Ltd., to Lambair Ltd., The Pas, MB.

06-Mar-1969 Application for Certificate of Registration by Lambair Ltd.

15-Apr-1969 Certificate of Registration issued to Lambair Ltd., The Pas, MB.

• CF-DCL Lambair Ltd., The Pas, MB. Regd 15-Apr-1969.

• CF-DCL Leased to North Canada Air, 30-May-1969 to end of Jun-1969.

Accident: Grace Lake, The Pas MB 12-Jul-1970 settled into dense willows after take off, Pilot, Gary Tellier and nine passengers uninjured.

16-Jul-1970 Flight Permit to ferry The Pas, MB., to Calgary, AB., valid to 15-Aug-1970.

__Sep-1970 Repairs completed by Field Aviation Ltd., Calgary, AB.

28-Dec-1974 Bill of Sale; Lambair Ltd., to Athabaska Airways Ltd., Prince Albert, SK.

08-May-1975 Application for Certificate of Registration by Athabaska Airways Ltd.

14-May-1975 Certificate of Registration issued to Athabaska Airways Ltd., Prince Albert, SK.

• CF-DCL Athabaska Airways Ltd., Prince Albert, SK. Regd 14-May-1975.

Accident: Emma Lake SK 53.36N/105.5401-Jun-1976 Crashed into trees and burned after take off, one passenger killed, James Rodney Bague and three passengers injured.

• CF-DCL Cancelled from Canadian Civil Aircraft Register. 01-Nov-1976.

Total time as recorded in Canadian Department of Transport archives.

17-May-1965 - 701 hours

24-Jun-1967 - 1,815 hours

05-Jul-1968 - 2,666 hours

23-Jun-1970 - 4,063 hours

08-Aug-1971 - 4,727 hours

16-Jul-1972 - 5,538 hours

02-Aug-1974 - 7,082 hours

Destroyed by fire

Otter 446 was delivered to Thomas Lamb Airways Ltd., of The Pas, Manitoba on 29th May 1964, registered CF-DCL. This company, later re-named Lambair, was a major user of the Otter, with no less than thirteen Otters registered to it over the years, but number 446 was the only Otter it purchased new from DHC, all its other acquisitions being pre-owned. This was a family business run by Thomas Lamb and his children. DCL stood for Douglas Carl Lamb. CF-DCL was fitted with amphibious floats, and was acquired to support an initial one year contract for the Department of Northern Affairs, based out of Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island in the Northwest Territories.

As Jack Lamb, one of the sons of Thomas Lamb, later wrote: “These floats cost $25,000, which was a quarter of the price of the brand new Otter they were fitted to. Due to the high cost of the floats, we filed a separate tariff of $205 per hour to help recoup this extra cost. In July 1964 I had to fly to Ottawa, spending two days explaining to the Rates & Fares Department how I arrived at the amphibious float figure. That fall, after spending the summer servicing all the settlements on Baffin Island, I took the Otter two thousand miles back to home base at The Pas. We used this Otter on local trips but only charged the normal float rate, as the amphibious configured floats were not required. The Air Transport Committee auditor noted that we did a trip with DCL but did not charge the amphibious rate. I wrote back that we had substituted DCL on that trip because there wasn't any other Otter available. They wrote back wanting my assurance by Statutory Declaration that the air was let out of the tires on the amphib floats thereby making sure we would not be able to use the amphib float configuration. This gives a brief idea as to the mind-set of the people who were in charge of Canada's aviation policies in those days”!

The following year, on 17th November 1965, flown by Conrad Lamb, DCL was damaged on take off from Rankin Inlet, Northwest Territories en route to Whale Cove and Churchill. There were five passengers on board and the Otter was on wheel-skis. During the take off run in a strong cross wind, the aircraft turned to the right and struck a runway light post. It then crashed onto the frozen surface of a small lake off the end of the runway and suffered damage to the left undercarriage, left wing and propeller. The airstrip that was being used was 3,800 feet long and 150 feet wide. Runway lights at the side of the runway were attached to metal pipes embedded in the ground which rose to a height of four feet. When the tail wheel left the ground, the Otter turned sixty degrees to the right into the strong crosswind. The pilot reported that when he observed a runway light in his path, he was committed to continue the take off and applied full power and additional flap to climb over the light.

The tail gear struck the light, which ripped the gear from the aircraft. The Otter began to stall, swunginto the wind and the left wheel struck the ground, which caused it to collapse. The accident report concluded that the pilot had “attempted to take off in unsuitable conditions”. Damage was not that extensive and company Otter CF-MEL (222) flew up from The Pas with a repair  party.

DCL continued in service with the company, which was re-named Lambair in December 1968. In May 1969 the Otter went on lease to Norcanair for some months, returning to Lambair after the summer. It suffered another accident at Grace Lake, The Pas, Manitoba on 12th July 1970.  The Otter, with nine passengers on board and two hundred pounds of baggage, had just taken off en route to Norway House. It started to settle and came down in dense willows on the shore of the lake, fortunately without injury to anyone on board. On 16th July 1970, after temporary repairs at the site, it was ferried via Saskatoon to Calgary for repair by Field Aviation. It then returned to Lambair and continued flying for them until sold to Athabasca Airways Ltd., Prince Albert, Saskatchewan by Bill of Sale dated 28th December 1974.

The Otter was put on floats and went to work in northern Saskatchewan. It continued flying for Athabasca Airways until destroyed in an accident on take off from Emma Lake, Saskatchewan on 1st June 1976 on a flight to Patuanak. Prior to the flight, the Otter was loaded with four passengers and their baggage, boxes of canned goods, fresh meat, tool kits, plus four steel road-grader blade components, each eight feet in length. The pilot checked the weight and balance by “guesstimating” the weight and ensuring the floats “looked good”. On the first take off attempt the aircraft failed to get airborne. On the second attempt, the aircraft managed to get airborne, however, insufficient distance remained to the shore line and the take off was aborted. “Being persistent, and oblivious to the obvious” as the Accident Report puts it, the pilot taxied back into a small inlet to gain more room. On his third and final take off attempt, the aircraft got airborne but unable to climb, it crashed into the trees on the far shore and burned. One passenger subsequently died from severe burns. The pilot and the other three passengers were seriously injured. The Otter was destroyed.

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