DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 147

CF-JFJ just after delivery, at La Ronge, Saskatchewan.
Photo: Doug Stene © August 1956 - via Dale Tiedeman
C-FJFJ serving with NORCANAIR.
Photo: Unknown photographer © Date unknown - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FJFJ with small Wollaston Lake titles, at St. Matthias, Québec.
Photo: Michael J. Ody © 16 March 1987 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FJFJ being converted to turbine power, at Sept Îles.
Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © 18 November 1992 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FJFJ at Sept Îles - CYZV, Québec.
Photo: Anthony J. Hickey © April 1993 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-GLPM on Lac la Ronge.
Photo: Martijn Koetsier © 17 June 2018
C-GLPM at Rapid River Dam.
Photos: Dale Tiedeman © 19 June 2023

c/n 147




• CF-JFJ Saskatchewan Government Airways, Prince Albert, SK. Delivered 02-Aug-1956.

• CF-JFJ Company renamed Sask Air during 1962.

• CF-JFJ North Canada Air Ltd., (Norcanair). Circa Mar-1965.

Accident: La Ronge, SK. 29-Feb-1972. Suffered substantial damage in a hard landing. Repaired and returned to service.

• C-FJFJ Re-regd possibly following above mentioned accident. Canx 27-May-1982.

• C-FJFJ Nipawin Air Services Ltd., La Ronge. SK. Regd circa 1983. Canx 28-Jun-1984.

• C-FJFJ Wollaston Lake Air Service Ltd., Wollaston Lake, SK. Canx 22-Jul-1986.

• C-FJFJ Possible lease to Vincent Courville. Montréal, QC. Regd 09-Mar-1987. Canx 04-Jan-1989.

• C-FJFJ Possible lease to 2633-3898 Québec Inc. (Vincent Courville), Montréal Nord. Regd 05-Jan-1989. Canx 31-May-1989.

• C-FJFJ Possible lease to T.N Air Inc., Val D’Or, QC. Regd 31-May-1989. Canx 17-Aug-1989.

• C-FJFJ Returned to Wollaston Lake Air Service Ltd., Wollaston Lake, SK. Reported sold Nov-1989.

• C-FJFJ Air Wilga Inc., Laval, QC.  Date unknown. (Not on CCAR).

Power plant. Converted to Turbine power with installation of a PT-6 engine.

• C-FJFJ Leased to Aviation Boreal (1988) Inc., Val D’Or, QC. Regd 29-Nov-1989. Canx 27-Sep-1991.

Incident. 17-Oct 1990. Detail unknown but on a flight from the LG-2 Hydro Station in Northern Québec en route to Montréal-Dorval appears to have made a precautionary landing on level ground twenty miles south of Parent, Québec. No report of any damage.

• C-FJFJ Alexandair Inc., Sept Îles, QC, Regd 27-Sep-1991. Canx 28-Apr-1994 following demise of the company.

Note: A couple of small incidents around this time recorded in the history below.

• C-GLPM Somiper Aviation Inc., Montréal, QC. Regd 28-Apr-1994. Canx 12-May-1999.

• C-GLPM Propair Inc., Rouyn-Noranda, QC. Based Matagami, QC. Regd 12-May-1999. Canx 08-Jul-1999. Re regd 09-Jun-2003. Canx 07-Aug-2009.

Total time 24,803 hours at 2003.

• C-GLPM Les Oies du Nord Aviation Inc., Based Lac Polaris, QC. Regd 07-Aug-2009. & 07-Sep-2010. Canx 22-Mar-2011.

• C-GLPM Air Roberval Ltée., Roberval, QC. Based Témiscami, QC. Regd 18-Jul-2011. Canx 08-Mar-2013. Regd 05-Jun-2013. Canx 08-Jan-2014.

• C-GLPM Mirage Aviation Inc., Poularies, QC. Based Pouvoirie Mirage (CPM3), QC. Regd 08-Sep-2014. Canx 01-May-2015.

• C-GLPM Osprey Wings Ltd., La Ronge, SK. Regd 22-May-2015.


Otter 147 was delivered to Saskatchewan Government Airways of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on 2 August 1956 registered CF-JFJ. It was delivered on floats. As a contemporary report described: “Year round transportation in the Province’s fabulous northland for prospectors, construction crews, mining men and business men is provided by Saskatchewan Government Airways. Mail, supplies and freight are carried to remotely located communities, the tourist industry is served and fire fighting, photographic and survey missions carried out for government agencies”. The airline had four major bases, at Prince Albert, Lac La Ronge, Stoney Rapids and Uranium City. The fleet comprised, as well as the Otter, two DC-3s, four Norsemen, five Beavers and nine Cessna 180s. A separate air ambulance fleet included four Cessna 195s and two Beech 18s. In 1962 Saskatchewan Government Airways was re-named Sask Air.

During 1963 Otter JFJ went on lease to McMurray Air Services, painted into their silver and red colours, and operated for McMurray A/S out of Uranium City and Resolute Bay, before returning to the Sask Air fleet. In 1964 the free-enterprise Liberal party took over government in Saskatchewan. It had no use for government “interfering” in business and sold Sask Air to private investors. North Canada Air Ltd., (Norcanair) acquired the Sask Air fleet, including the three Otters it then had, JFJ, SME (64) and IKT (81) under an Agreement for Sale dated 20 March 1965. Business continued as before, with services in northern Saskatchewan and support of government operations.

Otter JFJ was painted into full Norcanair white and blue colour scheme, with titles. During 1966 it was flying out of Fort George (now Wemindji), Québec on lease to A.Fecteau Transport Aérien when it suffered some minor damage, being blown up against the dock in a storm. It sustained substantial damage in a hard landing at La Ronge on 29 February 1972. During practice circuits, it touched down heavily in a tail high attitude. One undercarriage leg collapsed and folded under the fuselage. It was repaired and continued in service, being re-registered C-FJFJ. During the late 1970s/early 1980s, Norcanair had three Otters – JFJ, IGM (75) and YLZ (247) and as well as charter work out of La Ronge, they were used on a scheduled service connecting Stony Rapids, Fond de Lac and Uranium City. The March 1981 timetable showed Flight 51 departing Uranium City at 09:00 hours each Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, passing through Fond du Lac at 0935/0950 and arriving Stony Rapids at 10:20, with the return Flight 52 departing from Stony Rapids at 10:35, through Fond du Lac at 11:10/20 and back into Uranium City at 11:55. The schedule connected points along the north shore of Lake Athabasca and was known as the “Lake Sched”. The flight picked up traffic from Norcanair   F-27s which flew passengers and freight into Uranium City and Stony Rapids from La Ronge, Prince Albert and Saskatoon. The Otters on this scheduled run carried native peoples, drums of fuel, equipment and food. Otter JFJ flew the “Lake Sched”, as did Norcanair’s other Otters.

JFJ continued in service with Norcanair until it was sold and registered to its new owner, Nipawin Air Services, on 27 May 1982. At that time, Norcanair was disposing of its bush fleet to concentrate on larger aircraft. Nipawin Air Services were based at La Ronge, providing bush services to northern Saskatchewan and as well as the Otter flew Cessnas, Beavers and Twin Otters. JFJ was painted into a new colour scheme of white overall with a red/black cheatline. It flew for Nipawin Air Services for the summers of 1982 and 1983 and was then sold. Its new owner was Wollaston Lake Air Service, to whom it was registered on 28 June 1984, based much further north at Wollaston Lake in north-eastern Saskatchewan. It retained the same colour scheme but acquired small Wollaston Lake Air Service titles on the tail. As well as the Otter, this company also flew a Beaver and two Cessnas. JFJ flew for this company for the summers of 1984, 1985 and 1986 and was then sold. Having spent the first 30 years of its existence flying for operators in Saskatchewan, it was time for JFJ to move on, to Québec in fact, where it was destined also to spend a very long time.

The buyer of the Otter was Vincent Courville, an aircraft broker from Montreal. JFJ was registered to him on 9 March 1987, by which stage the Otter had already arrived at St.Mathias-sur-Richelieu Airfield in Québec where it was in outside storage. Mr Courville had recently bought and sold Otter C-FEBX (38). He had also over the years traded in many Beavers and Norsemen. On 5 January 1989 Otter JFJ was registered to 2633389 Québec Inc., which was Vincent Courville’s company, at which stage the Otter was made ready for a return to service. The Otter was sold to Air Wilga Inc, a leasing company, which arranged to lease the aircraft to TN Air Inc, trading as Transport Nord-Ouest, to whom it was registered on 31 May 1989 and it set off for its new base at Val D’Or, Québec. This company changed its name to Aviation Boreal (1988) Inc., to whom the Otter was registered on 29 November 1989. The company’s operations were expanded, with bases at both Val D’Or and La  Grande, serving the very remote bush country of northern Québec. The head of the company was Jean-Marie Arsenault, a very famous French Canadian aviator. As well as the Otter, Aviation Boreal flew two Piper Navajos and two DC-3s.

Otter JFJ features in an incident report on 17 October 1990 while operated by Aviation Boreal. The Otter, on amphibious floats, had departed from the LG2A hydro-power station en route to Dorval with a planned flight time of three and a half hours. It suffered engine failure but made a successful landing on level ground 20 miles south of Parent, Québec. Perhaps because of this incident, it was decided to convert the Otter to turbine power. It was flown to St.Francois Airfield at Laval, home base of Air Wilga, who over the winter of 1990/91 installed a PT-6A turbine engine and it was then delivered back to Aviation Boreal, to continue its lease, as a Vazar DHC-3T.

Otter JFJ flew for Aviation Boreal for the summer of 1991 and its lease came to an end at the end of the summer season. Air Wilga then sold the turbine Otter in September 1991 to Alexandair Inc., of Sept Îles, Lac des Rapides, Québec to whom it was registered on 27 September 1991. It replaced Otter C-FEYY (19) which had crashed and which was traded in to Air Wilga as part payment for JFJ. With Alexandair it retained the same style of colour scheme it had before, but was painted blue and black (instead of red and black) and acquired Alexandair titles. It was flown on amphibious floats.

Alexandair flew a number of Otters, which they used to operate scheduled commuter and feeder services along the North Shore of the St.Lawrence Seaway on behalf of Inter Canadian Airlines. The Otters flew to the several villages dotted along the North Shore, feeding the traffic from and to Sept Iles, where passengers availed of the larger airliners of Inter Canadian to fly to Montréal and Québec City. Other Otters flown by Alexandair at this time were AZX, IPC, JZN and YKO. In the course of these services there were a few incidents with JFJ. On 20 December 1991, on landing at Natashquan, JFJ skidded in the snow due to a defective tail wheel. On 4 February 1992 at Chevery, while the Otter was being taxied to the terminal, a gust of wind swung it around and the propeller contacted the wing of parked Piper Navajo C-GDOU. The surface of the ramp was iced over and covered with snow at the time.

JFJ continued to fly for Alexandair but by 1993 the company was in financial difficulties. Airfields had been constructed at many of the villages and several other airlines had appeared on the scene, so there wasn’t the same demand for the Otters. A liquidator was appointed and he sold the Otters, including JFJ, whose registration to Alexandair Inc was cancelled on 28 April 1994. The buyer of the Otter was Somiper Aviation Inc of Montréal-Dorval, who re-registered the Otter as C-GLPM. It joined their Beaver, a Cessna 206 and a fleet of Metros, Citations and Lear Jets, serving French Canadian entrepreneurs. LPM was painted into a new colour scheme of overall white with red and blue stripes. Its new base was Rouyn-Noranada. From then on, it would fly as a private aircraft for Michel Perron, the owner of Somiper Aviation, and for the company’s clients, mostly on fishing and tourism trips in northern Québec.

On 8 September 1995, during the landing roll at Roberval Airport, the left wheel on the amphibian Otter retracted due to a defective oleo, the aircraft coming to rest at the side of the runway. The damage was repaired. The following year Somiper Aviation was taken over by Propair Inc. The Otter remained registered to Somiper Aviation until 12 May 1999 when it was registered to Propair Inc. All the while it remained based at Rouyn-Noranda in use as before, flying the company’s clients to northern fishing and hunting lodges.

C-GLPM was advertised for sale in May 2003. It was on EDO 7470 amphibious floats, having operated on “fresh water since new” and having had “impeccable maintenance”. Exterior paint was white with red and blue stripes. Interior had a “clean, corporate interior” with nine passenger seats. Total airframe time was given as 24,803 hours and the asking price was CAD$1.14m. The Otter did not sell however and continued in operation with Propair. As the Otter was based at a somewhat remote location of Rouyn-Noranda and operated privately by Propair, little was reported on its activities, although a few CADORS incident reports give some information of its activities in northern Québec, mostly involving Kuujjuarapik, located on the east shore of Hudson Bay:

4 October 2002.  On approach to Kuujjuarapik, LPM advised the FSS of a bad nose gear indication on the amphibious floats. It landed without incident.

19 September 2003.  LPM landing at Kuujjuarapik. Advised there were children on the runway but they had gone when security arrived. The Otter landed safely.

1 October 2003.   Forced landing at Lac Andrews, three miles south of Kuujjuarapik.

28 June 2005.  Advisory ATC service provided to LPM. Aircraft reported when it was over Kuujjuarapik and on final but did not report once it had landed on the river. The police confirmed that LPM had landed safely on the river.

16 March 2006.  LPM on a VFR flight from LG-4 to Rouyn-Noranda. The first call to the FSS at Rouyn was made when the aircraft was over the airfield, due to a radio problem.

25 May 2006.  LPM was IFR from the Kinogevis River to La Sarre and experienced problems with its radio.

C-GLPM remained registered to and operated by Propair Inc and engaged on these northern sorties for private clients until 7 August 2009. On that day the registered owner was changed to Les Oies du Nord Aviation Inc., who had a base at Lac Polaris on the La Grande Rivière near LG-4 and who also operated Turbo Beaver C-GUNF on amphibious floats, in the same colour scheme as the Otter. At Lac Polaris was Pourvoirie Mirage, a hunting, fishing and leisure lodge. The Beaver and the Otter were used to fly guests from Rouyn to Lac Polaris and back and for fly-out fishing and hunting.

This operation continued until C-GLPM was leased to Air Roberval of Roberval, Québec to whom it was registered on 18 July 2011. Air Roberval also flew Otters C-FDIO, C-FNFI and C-FVVY as well as four Cessna 208s. The company had a number of bases around Quebec, in addition to its main base at Roberval. These bases were at Temiscamie and Schefferville and also the base at Lac Polaris / Pourvoirie Mirage, which Air Roberval took over along with Otter LPM when Les Oies du Nord Aviation closed down. An important part of Air Roberval’s business was supporting mineral exploration in the Québec outback and when this activity went into decline during 2013, its four Otters were returned off lease to the lessors, including LPM.

Otter LPM was advertised for sale by its owner in November 2013, with total time of 31,264 hours, with an asking price of US$1,150,000. Its PT-6A-34 engine had 1,853 hours since major overhaul. Its registration was cancelled on 8 January 2014 and the Otter was parked. A buyer did not materialise however and on 8 September 2014 the Otter was registered to Mirage Aviation Inc of Poularies, Québec to whom it went on lease. This company was the aviation arm of Mirage Outfitters Inc, which had taken over operation of the Pourvoirie Mirage at Lac Polaris, so C-GLPM headed back north to the La Grande Riviere for the caribou hunting season, after which it was parked at Laval. It continued to be advertised for sale by its owner, still with an asking price of US$1,150,000.

A sale was eventually achieved and on 22 May 2015 C-GLPM was registered to its new owners, Osprey Wings Ltd of La Ronge, Saskatchewan who already operated four turbine Otters (ASZ, DIZ, PHD and XRI).   Otter LPM had spent the last 28 years in Québec. Now it was returning to Saskatchewan, where this long-serving machine had spent the first 30 years of its existence. It was painted into full Osprey Wings colours, with red tail and cheatline and company titles on the fuselage.  Despite its many years and high time, this Otter looks pristine. It is based at Otter Lake, Missinipe to the north of La Ronge, serving the surrounding bush country and continued on this business during summer 2018.

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