DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 81

C-FIKT at St-John Harbour, Torngat Mountains.
Photos: Normand Denis © 12 July 1983
C-FIKT of Airtech test flying with PZL-3s powerplant.
Photo: Airtceh © Date unknown - Karl E. hayes Collection
"O-AM" at the Norsk Luftfartsmuseum, Bodø, Norway.
Photo: Guri Dahl © The Norwegian Aviation Museum - Norsk Luftfarts-Museum

c/n 81

CF-IKT

C-FIKT

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• CF-IKT Canadian Aircraft Renters Ltd., Toronto Island Airport, ON. Delivered 18-Jan-1956.

Accident: Knob Lake, ON. 12th January 1957. The aircraft, crashed on take off and was extensively damaged although the crew of two and six passengers had a “miraculous escape”. The wrecked Otter lay at Knob Lake for some months, until 8th May 1957 recovered and airlifted to Downsview for rebuild by DHC.

• CF-IKT Superior Airways Ltd., Fort William, ON. Regd 17-Dec-1957.

• CF-IKT Saskatchewan Government Airways (Saskair), Prince Albert, SK. Regd 13-May-1964.

• CF-IKT North Canada Air Ltd., (Norcanair), Prince Albert, SK. Regd 03-Sep-1965.

• CF-IKT Leased to Austin Airways Ltd., Timmins, ON. Dates unknown.

• CF-IKT Returned to North Canada Air Ltd., (Norcanair), Prince Albert, SK. Canx Dec 1973.

• CF-IKT Sold to unknown leasing Company via Bannock Aerospace acting as Agent. Other details currently unknown.

• CF-IKT Leased to Moose Nose Airways, Ilford, MB. Regd 20-Dec-1973.

• CF-IKT Labrador Airways Ltd., Goose Bay, NL.  Purchased and regd 03-May-1977.

• C-FIKT Re regd Labrador Airways Ltd., Goose Bay, NL.

Accident: Border Beacon, NL. 26-Feb-1979. After the Otter touched down on an unprepared ice/snow strip, the skis struck a hard packed snow ridge. IKT bounced back into the air and landed heavily. The left landing gear and attachment area was severely damaged, although neither the pilot nor his eight passengers were injured. Partial white out conditions existed, making the snow ridge difficult to see. The Otter was repaired and returned to service.

• C-FIKT Newfoundland Labrador Air Transport (NLAT), Corner Brook, NL. Regd 16-Jul-1981.

Note: Re engined with 600hp Polish PZL-3S engine at Airtech, Peterborough, ON after which the aircraft returned  to Goose Bay. This engine however did not work well and gave nothing but trouble.  The aircraft was converted back to the P&W Wasp engine.

• C-FIKT Goose Bay Air Services, Goose Bay, NL. Regd 03-Mar-1983. Canx 14-Aug 1986

• C-FIKT Labrador Airways Ltd., Goose Bay, NL Regd 04-Nov-1987. Canx 08-Nov-1989.

Total time: 19,651 hours at Jun-1988.

Reported as sold to Significant Military Aircraft Sales however no detail on CCAR and possibly just acting as a Sales Agent.

• Unregistered Royal Norwegian Air Force Museum at Gardermoen. Later at the Norsk Luftfartsmuseum, Bodø wearing fictitious code 0-AM.

Note: It was partially restored and painted as one of the two Otters which took part in the Norwegian South Pole Expedition during the International Geophysical Year of 1958 / 1959 in 'Operation Penguin'.

Museum

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Otter 81 was delivered to Canadian Aircraft Renters Ltd., of Toronto Island Airport, Ontario on 18 January 1956 registered CF-IKT. This company also included a DC-3 and Norseman in its fleet and operated its aircraft itself, as well as leasing them to other operators. The Otter carried a “CAR” logo on the fuselage side under the cockpit window. Colour scheme comprised of red lower fuselage and lower tail, black cheatline and white upper fuselage and upper tail. The Otter was noted at Québec City in late 1956 before embarking on a contract to support the construction of the Mid Canada Line of radar sites, based out of Knob Lake (Schefferville) in northern Quebec.

On 12 January 1957 IKT crashed on take-off at Knob Lake and was extensively damaged, although the crew of two and six passengers had a “miraculous escape”.  It was taking off from runway 19 when a severe gust of wind caused it to become airborne prematurely and its wing hit a radio mast to the left of the runway, the Otter crashing down beside the runway. The port wing tip was bent and the leading edge badly torn and the aileron damaged. The port undercarriage leg attachment point was torn from the fuselage and the propeller damaged. The wrecked Otter lay at Knob Lake for some months, until 8 May 1957 when RCAF Fairchild C-119 Packet 22121 came to collect it, arriving from Goose Bay. The Otter was loaded into the ‘Dollar Nineteen’ and flown to Downsview for rebuild by DHC. On completion of the repairs IKT was sold to Superior Airways Ltd., of Fort William, Ontario to whom it was registered on 17 December 1957. It retained its previous colour scheme but the ‘CAR’ logo was deleted and ‘Superior Airways Ltd, Fort William’ fuselage titles were added.

Superior Airways was an important bush operator, with bases at Fort William, Sioux Lookout and Pickle Lake and for the next six years Otter IKT served the bush country of Northwest Ontario. Pat Donaghy flew as a pilot for Superior Airways and recalls a trip in IKT to Cambridge Bay to support the Tellurometer survey around the coasts of Victoria and Banks Islands: “Departed Thunder Bay 6 May 1959 en route to Cambridge Bay, NWT. Weathered in overnight at Big Trout Lake, Ontario after five hours and the next day three hours 20 minutes and a GCA approach got myself and a crewman into Churchill. There we sat for seven days while an ice storm blew through. It wiped off our antennae and covered the Otter with ice. After we got that mess cleaned, on 14 May we went to Baker Lake, another five hours. Hand pumped in full tanks and loaded three 45 gallon drums of avgas. Two days later the weather cleared a bit. We flew for four hours and landed on an un-named lake to pump in the drummed gas. An hour and fifteen minutes later, while homing in on the Cambridge beacon, we had to land on the sea ice because of dense fog. We pitched the engine cover tent-like under a wing and spent the night there, keeping warm with a Coleman Lamp. The next day dawned clear and thirty five minutes flying put us on the strip at Cambridge, which at the time was a DEW Line site manned by the USAF. It had been an eleven day flight taking over 19 hours of flying.”

“The operation I was to fly for was run by the Canadian Mines and Technical Surveys Department, Geodetic Branch. They were conducting a tellurometer survey along the coasts of Victoria and Banks Islands and then a lateral and vertical traverse of both Islands. My job was to fly support for two S-55 and one S-58 helicopters supplied by Okanagan Helicopters. The day we arrived it was minus 28F and accommodation was in tents! Navigation was often a problem. We were given photo-mosaic maps. The photos had been taken during the brief summer but flying over now snow-covered terrain there were only some prominent gravel eskers we could use for reference. Magnetic compasses were useless and we relied on a window mounted astro compass and a good directional gyro instrument. Our ADF and the Cambridge NDB were invaluable. We also flew out of Sachs Harbour on Banks Island. We flew 118 hours on wheel-skis until the ice started to break up and then returned to Thunder Bay on 3 July 1959 to change over to floats. The return routing was Cambridge Bay-Yellowknife-Winnipeg-Thunder Bay in 15 hours 50 minutes flying time.”

“After a week’s vacation I returned to Thunder Bay.  IKT was mounted on floats and set on a four-wheeled dolly was towed out to the runway and lined up. After a brief run-up, the chocks were pulled and I rolled down the runway and lifted off the dolly and flew a short hop to Kaministiqua River where Superior Airways had their water base. I left there on 18 July and stopped at Red Lake, Flin Flon and Stanley Mission. There was a badly damaged Cessna 180 CF-CJV that had flipped over landing on the river. Superior had bought the salvage on the Cessna and I made four flights to Lac La Ronge ferrying out the pieces, from where the Cessna was trucked to Thunder Bay for rebuild. From La Ronge I continued via Uranium City and an un-named lake for refuelling and finally back to Cambridge Bay. The survey was now being conducted out of Holman Island. Most flights were from Cambridge Bay to the Holman survey camp. One day en route to the camp I had to land on the salt at Holman Mission because of fog. There was also a trip to Sachs Harbour on Banks Island”.

“Float operations continued until 11 August 1959. Ice was starting to form on small lakes and on our floats. We flew to Kasba Lake in five hours 45 minutes and landed to refuel from drums we carried, then on to Flin Flon, Sioux Lookout and Pickle Lake. That ended the deployment to the High Arctic. I continued with IKT flying loads of fish and mining exploration equipment and hunting parties from Pickle Lake and Thunder Bay for the remainder of that summer season.  The owner of Superior Airways was a Mr Orville Wieben and I also flew his fish to a filleting plant at Pickle Lake”.  After that adventurous trip to the High Arctic IKT continued to fly for Superior Airways serving Northwest Ontario until it was sold in May 1964. It was replaced in service with Superior Airways by Otter CF-GBX (4).

The buyer of the Otter was Saskatchewan Government Airways (Saskair) of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to whom it was registered on 13 May 1964. It joined Otters CF-SME (64) and CF-JFJ (147) in service with Saskair, on government work around the Province. Later in in 1964 however, the free-enterprise Liberal Party took over government in Saskatchewan. It had no use for government “interfering” in business and sold Saskair to a group of investors, who formed a new company, North Canada Air Ltd., (Norcanair) to take over the operation. This company acquired the Saskair fleet, including its three Otters. On 3 September 1965 IKT was registered to Norcanair of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Norcanair leased Otter IKT to Austin Airways Ltd., of Timmins, Ontario for a time. It still retained the original colour scheme which it had carried with Canadian Aircraft Renters and Superior Airways, but acquired Austin Airways titled for the lease. It was based at Moosonee in northern Ontario and flew on scheduled services Moosonee-Fort Albany-Attawapiskat-Winisk and return. It also flew charters out of Moosonee to goose hunting camps. On completion of the lease it went into operation with Norcanair on charter work in Saskatchewan, until it was sold in December 1973. The sale was through brokers Bannock Aerospace to a leasing company, who leased it to Moose Nose Lake Airways of Ilford, Manitoba, to whom it was registered on 20 December 1973. Ilford is an Indian settlement in remote northern Manitoba. The company was owned by Norman Rondeau and the Otter joined two Beavers, a Cessna 185 and an Apache in the Moose Nose Lake Airways fleet.  The Otter was used to support the Ilford Fish Co-Op, flying fish and fishermen’s supplies out of Ilford. After more than three years with this operator it was acquired by Labrador Airways Ltd, to whom it was registered on 3 May 1977 as C-FIKT and it moved north to its new base at Goose Bay, Labrador. It was painted into Labrador Airways colour scheme of red overall with a yellow cheatline. Labrador Airways used its fleet of Otters to provide scheduled passenger services linking Goose Bay with the coastal communities along Labrador’s Atlantic coast.

The Otter met with an accident at Border Beacon, Labrador on 26 February 1979, a cold day with a temperature of minus 25. After IKT touched down on an unprepared ice-snow strip, the skis struck a hard packed snow ridge. IKT bounced back into the air and landed heavily. The left landing gear and attachment area was severely damaged, although neither the pilot nor his eight passengers were injured. Partial white-out conditions existed, making the snow ridge difficult to see. The Otter was repaired and returned to service. There was another incident when the landing gear collapsed as the aircraft was being towed out of a hangar at Goose Bay but again the damage was repaired.

In June 1981 Labrador Airways divested itself of most of its single-engined fleet to concentrate on DHC-6 Twin Otter services, which had taken over the scheduled services. IKT was one of five otters sold to Newfoundland Labrador Air Transport (NLAT) of Corner Brook, Newfoundland. IKT was registered to NLAT on 16 July 1981 but remained based at Goose Bay with its new owners. It was one of four Otters (AGM, EYO, IKT and LJH) which NLAT decided to have converted to the 600 horse power Polish PZL-3S engine. This work was undertaken at the Airtech facility at Peterborough, Ontario after which IKT returned to Goose Bay, used on charter work around Labrador. This PZL engine however did not work well with the Otter and gave nothing but trouble. All four aircraft were converted back to the P&W R-1340 Wasp engine.

A re-structuring took place in 1983 which saw NLAT operating in Newfoundland only, and in a management buy-out by staff based at Goose Bay, a new company was formed called Goose Bay Air Services Ltd which would carry on operations in Labrador, based at Goose Bay. All five of the NLAT Otters were transferred to the new company. C-FIKT was registered to Goose Bay Air Services on 3 March 1983. It continued flying for this company on charter work around Labrador until 1987 when Labrador Airways Ltd took over Goose Bay Air Services, and it was registered to Labrador Airways Ltd  on 10 June 1987. As Labrador Airways no longer required the Otter it was put up for sale. It was by then quite a high-time aircraft , its total airframe time at that stage was 19,651 hours.

The purchaser of the Otter was a ‘warbird’ company, Significant Military Aircraft Sales, who brokered a somewhat complex deal.  A client of theirs called Flight International of Florida Inc., wanted a Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter, so the company arranged to acquire such an aircraft from the Royal Norwegian Air Force, in exchange for the Otter.  The Freedom Fighter was in fact an RF-5A version, serial 68-9108, which had last been operated by 336 Squadron at Rygge until December 1983, when it went into storage at Rygge.   For the sale the RF-5A was transported to Sola Air Base where on 17 December 1987 it was loaded on board a Norwegian Air Force C-130 Hercules and flown to Jacksonville, where it was later registered to Flight International of Florida Inc as N75T. On the journey home, the Hercules collected Otter IKT at Goose Bay and flew it to Gardermoen Air Base, Oslo. On arrival the Otter was put into the storage facility of the Royal Norwegian Air Force Museum at Gardermoen. It was partially restored and painted as one of the two Otters taking part in the Norwegian South Pole Expedition of 1958 / 1959 and put on display in the Museum.

In 1994 a somewhat bold decision was taken to re-locate the Museum from Gardermoen, near to the capital Oslo, to Bodø which is a fourteen hour drive to the north, just above the Arctic Circle. The Otter and other exhibits were trucked all the way up to Bodø and since May 1994 the Otter has been on public display at the Norsk Luftfarts-Museum, Bodø. It has been repainted with the code O-AM, although no actual Royal Norwegian Air Force Otter ever carried this code. It follows on from Otter 441, which had the code of O-AL until it had been struck off charge in November 1967. Otter IKT remains on display at the Bodø museum to this day.

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.