DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 461

N929KT at Talkeetna, Alaska.
Photos: Neil Aird © 10 September 2004

c/n 461

JW 9108 • CF-ZKW • N271PA

N929KT

x

• JW 9108 Used with this (RCAF?) serial as a ground instructional airframe for training Tanzanian Air Force aircraftsmen at RCAF Camp Borden, ON. From May-1966. (See narrative below).

Certificate of Airworthiness provided on 11-Feb-1971.

• CF-ZKW Athabaska Airways Ltd., La Ronge, SK. Regd 15-Feb-1971, who had the pleasure of taking the almost unflown aircraft out of its crate at La Ronge and re-assembling it. Canx 03-Apr-1992.

• CF-ZKW Contact Charters (374496 Alberta Ltd), Fort McMurray, AB. Regd 03-Apr-1992. Canx 02-Feb-1994.

• CF-ZKW Deh Cho Air, Fort Liard, NT. Regd 02-Feb-1994. Canx 13-Mar-1999.

Accident: Trout Lake, NT. 26-Sep-1997. The pilot was conducting his approach over the lake towards the mouth of a river where the dock was situated. The aircraft contacted the water surface prematurely, bounced and struck a sandbar that extended across the flight path. The right float separated from the aircraft and the left float collapsed upwards and struck the wing. The Otter cartwheeled and sank nose first in six feet of water. The pilot and passengers evacuated the aircraft and clung to the right float until rescued by a boat.

Note: Rebuilt by Kal Air Repair at Vernon, BC Sep-1999.

Power plant. Vazar PT6A conversion by Kal Air Late 1999.

Mods include. EDO 7490 amphibious floats and large sight-seeing windows. An eleven place interior. Numerous skins and other parts replaced as needed, all wiring and cables replaced and, new instruments installed.

• CF-ZKW Deleted from register 13-Apr-2000 on export to USA.

• N271PA Pantechnicon Aviation Inc, Minden NV. Regd Apr-2000.

Total time: 14,214 hrs since new and thirty hrs on its PT-6A turbine engine. May 2002.

• N929AK Rust Air Inc. Anchorage, AK. Operated by K2 Aviation, Talkeena, AK. Regd 11-Mar-2003.

New mods: At Kal Air, Vernon, BC. Apr-2003. Baron STOL modifications incorporated.

Incident. Talkeetna, AK. 21-Apr-2004. The aircraft had departed Mount McKinley Mountain House and was landing on Runway 18 at Talkeetna when it nosed over and struck the propeller on the runway.

• N929AK Rustair Inc., Anchorage AK. Operated by K2 Aviation, Talkeena, AK Regd 09-Jun-2011.

Current

Otter 461 is shown in the DHC records as delivered to the Tanzanian Air Force on 4th May 1966 with serial JW 9108. In fact, although painted in full Tanzanian Air Force colours, it never entered service but was retained in Canada for training purposes. The history of the Tanzanian Otters has been explained in relation to Otter 451. Otter 461 was one of three of the eight Otters which remained in Canada, going to Camp Borden where it was used as a ground instructional airframe for the training of Tanzanian Air Force personnel. By December 1969 it had arrived at the Mountain View depot, Ontario and was packed into a crate ready to be shipped to Tanzania, but that did not happen and the Otter went instead to DHC at Downsview for disposal.

The Otter was sold to Athabaska Airways Ltd., of La Ronge, Saskatchewan, who had the pleasure of taking the almost unflown Otter out of its crate at La Ronge and re-assembling it. It received its Certificate of Airworthiness on 11th February 1971 and was registered CF-ZKW to Athabaska Airways Ltd on 15th February 1971. It flew for Athabaska Airways for twenty years, alongside C-FAZW (451), one of the other former Tanzanian Air Force Otters. ZKW was sold to Contact Charters (374496 Alberta Ltd) of Fort McMurray, Alberta in April 1992, and sold on to Deh Cho Air Ltd., of Fort Liard, Northwest Territories in February 1994.

A profile of Deh Cho Air published in Wings magazine in 1992 gave some interesting information on the operation. Deh Cho Air started business in 1985 as an outgrowth of the Fort Liard Indian band's purchase of a float-equipped Cessna 185 to support its construction company, Beaver Enterprises, which was building roads at Wrigley and other points along the Mackenzie River, as well as other construction projects. Deh Cho Air acquired its licence in 1985 and purchased the Cessna from Beaver Enterprises. By 1992 it was operating two Cessna 185s, a Cessna 206, Beaver C- GDCJ and in June 1992 took Otter C-FAPQ (201) on lease from CoVal Air of Campbell River, BC. The Wings article quotes Rob Borrelli, the company's operations manager and chief pilot - “We added the Otter to support reforestation work and to take larger groups of tourists into Nahanni National Park. It can comfortably carry groups of four to six people with their canoes and supplies. Demand has surpassed what we can comfortably handle with our Beaver”.

The leased Otter APQ was returned to CoVal Air at the end of the summer season in September 1993 and as a replacement Deh Cho Air acquired Otter C-FZKW, which was registered to them in February 1994 and entered service, based at Fort Liard. The Otter and pilot Borrelli were the subject of a criminal investigation arising out of activities during the summer of 1995, as explained in the following extract from the Alberta Game Warden Officer's Notebook: “Deh Cho Air, for whom Borrelli is Chief Pilot, received a maximum fine for transporting wildlife, namely moose, which had been unlawfully killed contrary to the Wildlife Act, after Renewable Resources Officers were tipped off about Borrelli's activities. Officers seized a cow moose and hide from the Deh Cho Air Otter aircraft after sources revealed that the moose being transported had been shot from the floats of the taxying aircraft while it was swimming across a lake. Borrelli was charged with hunting from a vehicle and received a $1,000 fine after pleading guilty. Deh Cho Air also pleaded guilty to transporting unlawfully killed wildlife and received a $1,000 fine for their involvement”. Otter ZKW continued in service with Deh Cho Air until an accident at Trout Lake, Northwest Territories on 26th September 1997. The pilot was conducting his approach over the lake towards the mouth of a river where the dock was situated. The aircraft contacted the water surface prematurely, bounced and struck a sandbar that extended across the flight path. The right float separated from the aircraft and the left float collapsed upwards and struck the wing. The Otter cartwheeled and sank nose first in six feet of water. The pilot and passengers evacuated the aircraft and clung to the right float until rescued by a boat. Thus ended Deh Cho Air's Otter operations.

The Otter was noted at the facility of Kal Air Repair at Vernon, BC in September 1999, still in its damaged condition but under rebuild. It was sold to Pantechnicon Aviation Inc., of Minden, Nevada and registered to its new owners in April 2000 as N271PA. It was rebuilt as a Vazar turbo Otter.

Pantechnicon Aviation are a leasing company whose other three turbine Otters (159, 270 and 409) are leased to Pro Mech Air of Ketchikan, Alaska. N271PA was advertised for sale in 'Trade-A-Plane' magazine in May 2002, with total airframe hours of 14,214 and thirty hours since new on its PT-6A turbine engine. It was on EDO 7490 amphibious floats and had large sight-seeing windows and an eleven place interior. As the advertisement proclaimed: “Aircraft has just completed a very extensive multi-year airframe overhaul by Kal Air, with the new engine conversion done at the same time.

Numerous skins and other parts were replaced as needed, all wiring and cables were replaced, new instruments installed and aircraft is indistinguishable from new. Floats have been completely overhauled as well. Aircraft hangared in Minden, Nevada. Price $950,000 or long-term lease to qualified operator”. The Otter was noted at Clear Lake, California during September  2002.

On 11th March 2003, N271PA was registered to Rust Air Inc., Anchorage, Alaska. The Otter was back at Vernon, BC the following month, en route from Minden to Anchorage. At Vernon the Otter was painted into the colours of K2 Aviation, a division of Rust Air, and had Baron Stol modifications incorporated. It was also re-registered N929KT. It then continued on to Alaska, to its new base at Talkeetna, where K2 Aviation are based. The company specialises in flying climbers and tourists to the Mount McKinley region of Alaska. It joined turbo Otter N727KT (419) as well as a number of Beavers and Cessnas. An incident was recorded on 21st April 2004. N929KT had departed Mount McKinley Mountain House and was landing on Runway 18 at Talkeetna when it nosed over and struck the propeller on the runway. It was repaired and returned to service.. 

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