DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 73

C-FIFP the prototype PZL-1000 conversion, at Silver Falls, Manitoba.
Photo: John Kimberley © May 1993 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N320KT back on wheels.
Photo: Ben Cogger © 19 September 2018

c/n 73

CF-IFP • C-FIFP • N65AW

N320KT

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• CF-IFP Maxwell Ward (Wardair), Yellowknife, NT. Delivered 16th June 1955.

• CF-IFP Wardair Canada Ltd., in November 1962.

• CF-IFP Bannock Aerospace Ltd., Toronto, ON. Regd Jul-1971.

• CF-IFP Silver Pine Air Services Ltd., Pine Falls, MB. Based Silver Falls, MB. Regd October 1972.  Canx 23-Jun-1986.

Accident: Seven miles north of Pine Falls, MB 07-Apr-1981. The aircraft was flying over a heavily forested area when the engine ran rough due to the failure of a cylinder exhaust valve. The pilot decided to continue his flight to a road and make a precautionary landing. He touched down heavily, damaging the left gear. No injury and aircraft repaired.

Note: In 1982 the aircraft was flown to Airtech at Peterborough, ON, where a 600hp PZL-3S engine was installed. The aircraft /engine combination was not a success and another Polish engine a 1000hp ASz-621r-M18, driving a four-bladed propeller was installed which became the prototype for the installation subsequently receiving certification.

• C-FIFP Company re named Eagle Aviation Ltd., Pine Falls, MB. Circa 1986.

• C-FIFP V. Kelner Airways, Pickle Lake, ON. On lease from 28-Sep-1987.

• C-FIFP Purchased by South Peace Services Ltd., Pine Falls ,MB 06-Oct-1987.

Accident: Dorothy Lake, ON, 22nd May 1988. The pilot of the float-equipped aircraft was taking off in a 10 to 15 knot gusty wind. He rejected the take-off when he believed the aircraft would not clear a point of land ahead and then taxied the Otter back to the end of the lake. On the second attempt the aircraft became airborne, then the right wing dropped and the wing tip and right float struck the water, causing substantial damage. Repaired by South Peace Services Ltd.

• C-FIFP Lease continued with V. Kelner Airways , Pickle Lake, ON. Canx 19-May-1989.

• C-FIFP Leased to Parsons Airways Northern Ltd., Flin Flon, MB. 14-Jun-1989 to 22-Aug 1989.

• C-FIFP Returned to South Peace Services Ltd., Pine Falls ,MB. 22-Aug-1989. Canx 07-Jun-1990.

• C-FIFP Leased to Points North Air Services Inc. Saskatoon, SK. Based Points North Landing, SK. 07-Jun-1990. Canx 12-Jun-1991.

• C-FIFP Returned to South Peace Services Ltd., Pine Falls, MB. 12-Jun-1991. Canx 13-Apr-1995.

• C-FIFP Purchased by Eagle Aviation Ltd., Pine Falls, MB. Regd 13-Apr-1995. Canx 11-Oct-1995.

• C-FIFP Leased to Blue Water Aviation Services Ltd., Pine Falls, MB. Based at Silver Falls, MB Canx 05-Apr-2000.

Accident: Long Haul Lake, MB: 25th June 1999. The aircraft was initially loaded with six passengers, their luggage and equipment at Silver Falls for a flight to Sasaginnigak Lake. After the passengers disembarked, the Otter continued on to Long Haul Lake. There the aircraft was loaded with eight passengers and their luggage for a flight to Matheson Island, Manitoba. Just before lift off during the take-off from Long Haul Lake, the engine abruptly lost power and the pilot beached the Otter on an island. He relayed his predicament to the company's base via VHF relay through an overflying aircraft. Blue Water Aviation then dispatched a second Otter, flown by the company's maintenance co-ordinator, carrying an engineer and spare parts, to come to the rescue of the downed IFP.

On arrival at Long Haul Lake, the pilot of IFP moved over to the relief Otter, loaded his passengers and continued with his flight. The maintenance co-ordinator and engineer proceeded to examine IFP, to determine the reason for the power loss. They taxied the Otter to the camp dock, and having checked the main fuel filter sump, a cup of water was drained away. The pilot then taxied out into the lake and conducted two run-ups. Both pilot and engineer were satisfied with the engine's performance and believed that the engine's earlier rough running and failure resulted from water contamination in the fuel. The pilot selected a take-off run for his return to base at Silver Falls, which afforded a curving take-off distance of 4,000 feet in a north-westerly direction, among several islands. He taxied into take-off position and applied power. The engine ran smoothly and produced full power during the take-off and initial climb, until at an altitude of about 150 feet, the engine quit. As the Otter could not be landed on the remaining portion of the lake, the pilot turned towards the next nearest water area, and endeavoured to re-start the engine, without success.

The Otter descended into a stand of trees about one mile north of Long Haul Lake. It descended through the tops of the trees, and then at the edge of the stand of trees, fell and struck the ground at a steep angle. The impact broke off the floats and the wings. The roof and floor of the cockpit were twisted and the engine mounts broken from the fuselage. The front part of the cockpit broke away from the rest of the fuselage. The pilot, who was wearing his lap belt and shoulder harness, was seriously injured. The engineer, who was only wearing his lap belt but not the shoulder harness, was killed in the impact. The ELT was activated by the impact forces. Search and rescue aircraft were dispatched from Winnipeg and the two occupants were removed from the scene.

Total time: at Jun-1999 – 23,960 hours with 5,314 on the PZL engine.

Note: Wreckage removed to Silver Falls and acquired by Atlantic Aircraft Salvage Ltd.

• C-FIFP Atlantic Aircraft Salvage Ltd., Enfield, NS. Regd 12-Feb-2008. Canx 28-Feb-2008 on export to USA.

N65AW Michael Schilling, Kenai, AK.Regd 29-Mar-2008 & 21-Nov-2009.

N65AW Regn Pending to Rustair Inc., 03-Dec-2011.

N65AW Rustair Inc., Anchorage, AK. Regd 05-Jan-2012.

• N320KT Rustair Inc., Anchorage, AK .-regd 12-Jul-2012.

Certification date. 06-Jul-2012.

Note: Now with PT-6A, Installation details currently unknown. Presumed circa 2012.

Currently in K2 markings. (2018).

Current

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Otter 73 was delivered to Maxwell Ward on 16th June 1955 registered CF-IFP, for operation by his Yellowknife-based Wardair. It was his second Otter, his first being number 5 CF-GBY. CF-IFP was delivered on floats, on which it flew during the summer months, changing to wheel-skis for the winter. It immediately became a hard-working member of the Wardair fleet, flying throughout the Northwest Territories.

The Western SAR Area files in the National Archives in Ottawa document some of its flights, when communications difficulties were encountered, and show the type of work it was engaged in. For example, Fort Resolution-Yellowknife (19th December 1957); Wrigley-Fort Norman-Norman Wells- Good Hope-Arctic Red River-Aklavik (2nd to 4th February 1958); Yellowknife-Hay River (12th March '958); Coppermine-Port Radium-Yellowknife (29th March 1958); Fort Simpson-Mile 108-Yellowknife (6th April 1958); Tuk Tuk-Reindeer Station-Aklavik (5th July 1958); Yellowknife-Cook Lake-Yellowknife (13th August 1958) and Yellowknife-Tourcanis-Yellowknife (15th October 1958).

The Otter was registered to Max Ward's company Wardair Canada Ltd., in November 1962 and continued in service with Wardair for all of sixteen years, until sold in July 1971. The buyer was Bannock Aerospace Ltd., of Toronto, the company established by Russ Bannock, one time director of DHC, to trade in DHC aircraft. He sold it on almost immediately to Silver Pine Air Services Ltd., of Pine Falls, Manitoba in October 1972, being subsequently re-registered C-FIFP. Silver Pine Air Services are actually based at Silver Falls, some 15 kms from Pine Falls, on the river connecting Lac du Bonnet with Lake Winnipeg. This is quite an important Otter base as also located here are Otter operators/owners Eagle Aviation Ltd., South Peace Services Ltd., Blue Water Aviation Services Ltd., and Adventure Air. There is hangarage for storing the aircraft and maintenance. The river provides for summer operations on floats and for the winter there is a grass strip alongside the river.

C-FIFP entered service with Silver Pine A/S., providing a full range of bush services throughout Manitoba and further afield. On 7th April 1981 the Otter was flying over a heavily forested area seven miles north of its base at Pine Falls when the engine ran rough due to the failure of a cylinder exhaust valve. The pilot decided to continue his flight to a road and make a precautionary landing. He touched down heavily, damaging the left gear. In 1982 Silver Pine decided to have the Otter converted with the Polish PZL-3S engine of 600 horse power, and IFP was flown to the Airtech facility at Peterborough, Ontario where the work was done. IFP was one of eight Otters to be converted, but this engine/airframe combination did not work well and was not a success. Most of the eight were converted back to the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp engine, but Silver Pine opted to go for the more powerful Polish engine, the ASz-621r-M18 of 1,000 horse power, driving a four-bladed propeller. C-FIFP was in fact the prototype of this conversion and made its first flight with the new engine on 25th August 1983 at Peterborough. This engine was a success with the Otter and after a period of test flying received its Canadian certification.

IFP continued in service with Silver Pine A/S., until 1986, when the company changed its name to Eagle Aviation Ltd .,and became predominantly a leasing company, leasing its aircraft to other operators. In September 1987 C-FIFP went on lease to V. Kelner Airways Ltd., based at Pickle Lake, Ontario. It was involved in an accident at Dorothy Lake, Ontario on 22nd May 1988. The pilot of the float-equipped Otter was taking off in a 10 to 15 knot gusty wind. He rejected the take-off when he believed the aircraft would not clear a point of land ahead and then taxied the Otter back to the end of the lake. On the second attempt the aircraft became airborne, then the right wing dropped and the wing tip and right float struck the water, causing substantial damage. The Otter was brought back to Silver Falls, and registered in June 1988 to South Peace Services, who undertook the repairs. From June to August 1989 it went on lease to Parsons Airways Northern Ltd, based out of Flin Flon, Manitoba. After winter storage at Silver Falls it went on lease to Points North Air Services, Points North Landing, Saskatchewan for the summer of 1990 and after another winter storage was reregistered to South Peace Services in June 1991. It flew for that company until April 1995, when it was registered back to Eagle Aviation Ltd. In October 1995 it was registered to Blue Water Aviation Services Ltd, also based at Silver Falls, on lease from Eagle Aviation. It was still flying for this company when disaster struck four years later.

On the morning of 25th June 1999 C-FIFP was loaded with six passengers, their luggage and equipment at Silver Falls for a flight to Sasaginnigak Lake. After the passengers disembarked, the Otter continued on to Long Haul Lake. There the aircraft was loaded with eight passengers and their luggage for a flight to Matheson Island, Manitoba. Just before lift off during the take-off from Long Haul Lake, the engine abruptly lost power and the pilot beached the Otter on an island. He relayed his predicament to the company's base via VHF relay through an overflying aircraft. Blue Water Aviation then dispatched a second Otter, flown by the company's maintenance co-ordinator, carrying an engineer and spare parts, to come to the rescue of the downed IFP.

On arrival at Long Haul Lake, the pilot of IFP moved over to the relief Otter, loaded his passengers and continued with his flight. The maintenance co-ordinator and engineer proceeded to examine IFP, to determine the reason for the power loss. They taxied the Otter to the camp dock, and having checked the main fuel filter sump, a cup of water was drained away. The pilot then taxied out into the lake and conducted two run-ups. Both pilot and engineer were satisfied with the engine's performance and believed that the engine's earlier rough running and failure resulted from water contamination in the fuel. The pilot selected a take-off run for his return to base at Silver Falls, which afforded a curving take-off distance of 4,000 feet in a north-westerly direction, among several islands. He taxied into take-off position and applied power. The engine ran smoothly and produced full power during the take-off and initial climb, until at an altitude of about 150 feet, the engine quit. As the Otter could not be landed on the remaining portion of the lake, the pilot turned towards the next nearest water area, and endeavoured to re-start the engine, without success.

The Otter descended into a stand of trees about one mile north of Long Haul Lake. It descended through the tops of the trees, and then at the edge of the stand of trees, fell and struck the ground at a steep angle. The impact broke off the floats and the wings. The roof and floor of the cockpit were twisted and the engine mounts broken from the fuselage. The front part of the cockpit broke away from the rest of the fuselage. The pilot, who was wearing his lap belt and shoulder harness, was seriously injured. The engineer, who was only wearing his lap belt but not the shoulder harness, was killed in the impact. The ELT was activated by the impact forces. Search and rescue aircraft were dispatched from Winnipeg and the two occupants were removed from the scene.

The accident investigation determined that the water contamination had remained in the fuel system, and led to the failure of the engine. C-FIFP had accumulated 23,960 hours since new at the date of the crash. It had flown 5,314 hours since the PZL engine had been installed. The wrecked Otter was eventually returned to Silver Falls and the registration was cancelled on 5th April 2000. As of June 2004, the wrecked Otter was in a barn at Silver Falls, awaiting a decision on its future.

After laying in the barn at Silver Falls for many years, the wreck of the Otter was sold to Atlantic Aircraft Salvage Ltd., of Halifax, Nova Scotia to whom C-FIFP was registered on 12 February 2008. It was sold on to a Mr Mike Schilling of Kenai, Alaska and registered to him as N65AW on 26 March 2008. He employed Recon Air to rebuild the Otter for him and it was trucked from Silver Falls to the Recon Air facility at Geraldton, Ontario.

Mike Schilling is the president and owner of GLM Corporation, manufacturers of industrial and commercial machinery for the oil and gas industry, based at Kenai. Over the years he has traded in and leased out a number of Otters and Beavers and serial 73 was also acquired by him for rebuild and disposal. The Otter was at Geraldton being worked on for the rest of 2008 and throughout 2009 and was re-registered to Mike Schilling, again as N65AW, on 18 November 2009. It was noted at Geraldton in May 2010 completely rebuilt from its firewall back, awaiting a decision on a choice of turbine engine to be installed. It remained at Geraldton in this condition until sold by Mr Schilling to Rustair Inc., in November 2011.

Rustair selected the Vazar conversion for the Otter and a PT-6A-34 engine was installed at Geraldton during December 2011. The Otter was registered to Rustair Inc, Anchorage as N320KT on 5 January 2012, the company’s fifth Otter. Work continued on the Otter over the following months, including painting into Rustair’s red and white colour scheme and it did not make its first flight as a turbine until a test flight on 25 June 2012, its first flight after 13 years on the ground after its accident. It departed on its ferry flight to Alaska the next day, 26 June, routing Geraldton-Sioux Lookout, Ontario-Brandon, Manitoba where it overnighted, continuing on to Regina, Sask-Lethbridge, Alberta-Chilliwak, BC-Campbell River on Vancouver Island. On arrival at Campbell River some work was done on the aircraft by Sealand Aviation, for which apparently it required a Canadian registration. Accordingly on 28 June 2012 it was registered C-GRNI to William Alder of Merville, BC who is the owner of Sealand Aviation. With the work completed, the Canadian registration was cancelled on 6 July 2012 and the Otter registered again to Rustair Inc as N320KT. Whether it ever carried the Canadian marks is doubtful, as it was photographed at Campbell River on 2 July 2012 in full Rustair scheme as N320KT.

In any event N320KT then continued on from Campbell River on its ferry flight, flying north up along the BC Pacific Coast to Ketchikan and then onwards to Anchorage. For summer 2012 it joined the fleet of Rustair associated company K2 Aviation and was based at Talkeetna that summer, one of five Rustair / K2 Otters flying from Talkeetna with sight-seers and mountain climbers to the Alaska Range.  N320KT acquired the K2 logo on its tail. Also flying from Talkeetna that summer were three turbine Otters of Talkeetna Air Taxi and one leased by Fly Denali Air, making nine turbine Otters in total based at Talkeetna.

N320KT was stored over the winter of 2012 / 2013 but became active again in May 2013 at the start of the new season. A minor incident was recorded on 27 May 2013 when N320KT struck its wingtip on the ground when landing at Talkeetna, with a pilot and ten passengers on board. There were no injuries and it was soon back in service. In the years that followed N320KT has continued in the service of Rustair / K2 Aviation.

Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005), now with added and updated information which Karl has supplied for the benefit of the website.x