DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 255

CF-KLC of Shell Canada at Calgary - CYYC, Alberta.
Photo: Rod Digney © early 1960's - Aird Archives
Photo: John Kimberley © September 1988 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FKLC in blue Trans Provicial colours.
Photo: Andreas Durr © September 1991 - Aird Archives
C-FKLC at Vancouver - CYVR, British Columbia.
Photo: John Kimberley © June 1993 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FKLC as she sits today at Laval, Québec.
Photos: Connor McCue © September 2022

c/n 255




• CF-KLC Shell Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB. (Shell Avion). Delivered 14-Apr-1958.

Accident: Pocketknife Creek, BC, 16th June 1966.. The engine lost power and with no suitable landing site available the pilot put the aircraft down in 30ft trees in a valley at 3000ft ASL. The aircraft was subsequently recovered from its remote position and rebuilt.

• CF-KLC Omineca Air Services Ltd., Burns Lake, BC. Regd Mar-1967

• CF-KLC Trans Provincial Airlines Ltd., Prince Rupert, BC. Regd 1970 when bought out Omineca.

• C-FKLC Re regd to Trans Provincial Airlines Ltd., Prince Rupert, BC.

• C-FKLC Jim Pattison Industries Ltd., Prince Rupert, BC. Purchased 1980. Canx -02-Jun-1988.

• C-FKLC Flew as part of Air BC but retaining Trans Provincial Airlines Ltd., identity. Circa 1981.

• C-FKLC Trans Provincial Airlines Ltd., Prince Rupert, BC. Became an independent operator again 02-Jun-1988. Canx 02-Nov-1993.

Total time: 20,248hrs

• C-FKLC 972974 Ontario Ltd., Fort Frances, ON. Regd 20-Apr-1994. Canx 19-Dec-1995.

Note: This company was a mining and real estate company. CEO was Bruce DeVigne who is also Proprietor of Lac Seul Airways.

• C-FKLC Air Wilga, Laval, QC. Regd 19-Dec-1995. Canx 11-Jun-1996. (Note. A leasing Company).

• C-FKLC Leased to Air Saguenay (1980) Inc., Chicoutimi, QC. Based at Lac Margane, QC. Regd 11-Jun-1996. Canx 12-Jun-1998.

• C-FKLC Leased to Aero Golfe Ltée., Havre St.Pierre, QC Regd 12-June 1998. Re regd 04-Jun-2001. Canx 01-May-2002

Accident: Lac des Plaines at Havre St.Pierre, 13th June 1999. While taking off from, passing through 300 feet on initial climb, the engine lost power due to a broken cylinder. There was insufficient space left to land on the lake, so the pilot ditched the Otter into the marshland adjoining the lake. Damage was not too extensive and was repaired and aircraft returned to service.

• C-FKLC Returned to Air Wilga. Date unknown.

• C-FKLC Air Wemindji Inc., Radisson, QC. Regd 01-May-2002 & 29-May-2003. Canx 05-Jun-2003.

• C-FKLC Propair, Rouyn-Noranda. QC. Regd 05-Jun-2003. Canx 09-Jul-2003.

• C-FKLC Nordair Québec 2000 Inc., Radisson, QC. Based La Grande Rivière, QC. Regd 09-Jul-2003. Canx 16-Jun-2005.

Power plant. Converted to a Vazar turbo Otter in May 2003 at the AOG Air Support plant. It was also, fitted with a Baron STOL kit.

• C-FKLC Propair Inc., Rouyn-Noranda, QC. Regd 17-Jun-2005. Canx 14-Oct-2005.

• C-FKLC Nordair Québec 2000 Inc., Radisson, QC. Based La Grande Rivière, QC. Regd 17-Oct-2005. Re regd 13-Jan-2006.

Accident: Lagopède Lake QC. 19-Apr-2006 The aircraft was on the frozen, waiting for takeoff. Another DHC-3 Otter flying for Air Saguenay landed on the same lake. The pilot lost control of his aircraft which collided with the aircraft on ground. While the landing aircraft was slightly damaged, C-FKLC was damaged beyond repair as the right wing was torn off. The pilot, sole occupant, was uninjured. Also a helicopter brought in to recover the aircraft managed to drop it from a substantial height into the bush and it was deemed destroyed. However…………….

• C-FKLC Nordair Québec 2000 Inc., Radisson, QC. Based La Grande Rivière, QC Re regd.23-Mar-2010. Canx 18-Oct-2010.

• C-FKLC Air Wimindji Inc., Wemindji, QC. Regd 18-Oct-2010. Canx 08-Jul-2014.

• C-FKLC 9220-5079 Québec Inc., Laval QC. Regd 09-Sep-2014.


Otter 255 was delivered to Shell Canada Ltd., of Edmonton, Alberta on 14th April 1958, registered CF-KLC. It joined Otter CF-JFH (155) which had been delivered in September 1956. The two Otters were operated in support of Shell's exploration endeavours throughout western Canada. During the summer season, they were assigned to remote locations in the Yukon and to Inuvik, Northwest Territories where they transported men and materials in support of exploration camps.

The Western Area SAR file in the National Archives documents some of the comings and goings of CF-KLC during 1958. On 30th July it was en route from Stanton to East Three. As the file notes “Aircraft arrived but pilot did not file arrival. Pilot had camped five miles from the town without making any contact. Violation filed against the pilot”. On 24th November 1958 KLC was logged en route Peace River to Fox Creek - “aircraft advised off Valley View returning Edmonton, flight plan change due weather”. These remote operations by KLC continued until an accident on 16th June 1966 at Pocketknife Creek, BC. The location of the accident, northwest of Fort St. John, was a valley in mountainous terrain, three thousand feet above sea level, densely covered with thirty foot  trees. While climbing through 5,500 feet, the pilot heard a noise, felt a jar and the engine lost power. As there was no suitable landing area, the pilot had to put the Otter down in the trees. That crash brought Shell's DHC-3 operations to an end. In November of that year, they acquired DHC-6 Twin Otter CF-SCA as a replacement.

Unfortunately, history does not relate how this was done, but the Otter was recovered from the remote location where it had crashed, and was rebuilt. It was registered in March 1967 to Omineca Air Services Ltd., of Burns Lake, BC. It joined the fleet of Trans Provincial Airlines Ltd., in 1970 when Trans Provincial bought out Omineca Air Services, acquiring its two Otters (CF-XUY and CF-KLC) in the process. It was subsequently re-registered C-FKLC. Trans Provincial flew a number of Otters, some based at Prince Rupert, operating scheduled and charter services from there, and also based at Sandspit, operating services around the Queen Charlotte Islands. Between Prince Rupert and Sandspit, passengers were transported across the Hecate Straight by twin-engined Grumman Goose.

Otter KLC was to fly for Trans Provincial Airlines for more than twenty years. In 1981 Trans Provincial became part of Air BC, an amalgamation of many of the third level carriers on the BC coast with the intention of creating a unified, regional airline. Although the other carriers involved lost their identity, Trans Provincial continued to operate under its own name and colours, although as a subsidiary of Air BC.  Air BC went on to become a success insofar as its commuter aircraft operations were concerned, although the same did not happen for its bush aircraft division. Over the years that followed, the bush operation was sold off, and Trans Provincial Airlines again became an independent carrier. Otter KLC had been registered to Air BC from 1981 until it reverted to Trans Provincial in June 1988.

All the while, KLC continued to fly from Prince Rupert and around the Queen Charlottes until Trans Provincial ceased trading and went into receivership on 19th March 1993. By May 1993 KLC was parked at Vancouver on floats, together with sister ship C-FRHW (445). At that stage of its career, KLC had 20,248 hours on the airframe. It remained stored at Vancouver until sold the following year and it then headed out east, registered in April 1994 to 972974 Ontario Ltd., based at Fort Frances, Ontario. In December 1995 it was sold to Air Wilga Inc of Laval, Québec, a leasing company.    The Otter was leased to Air Saguenay of Lac St. Sebastien, Québec for the summers of 1996 and 1997, based at Lac Margane, Québec and then in June 1998 leased to Aero Golfe Ltée, based at Havre St. Pierre, Quebec on the north shore of the St. Lawrence.

While flying for Aero Golfe, one incident was recorded on 13th June 1999. While taking off from Lac des Plaines at Havre St. Pierre, passing through 300 feet on initial climb, the engine lost power due to a broken cylinder. There was insufficient space left to land on the lake, so the pilot ditched the Otter into the marshland adjoining the lake. Damage was not too extensive and was repaired. The Otter continued flying for Aero Golfe until returned to the lessor and put up for sale in March 2002. It was advertised for sale as having 20,000 hours total time, on EDO 7170 floats and with an asking price of $595,000 Canadian. The purchaser of the Otter was Air Wemindji Inc., of Radisson, Québec to whom KLC was registered on 1st May 2002. That company then arranged to trade in the Otter to Viking Air Ltd., of Victoria, BC in part payment for turbine Otter C-GVTO (393). Pending certification of Viking's turbo Otter design, KLC continued in service with Air Wemindji, serving the Québec bush country.

The Otter was noted operating from the Piche River seaplane base during August 2002, still in full Trans Provincial Airlines colour scheme and still with Aero Golfe titles. When the certification of the Viking turbo Otter was delayed, the trade-in of KLC to Viking Air did not proceed. Instead, KLC was noted at Kelowna, BC in May 2003 at the AOG Air Support plant, having been converted to a Vazar turbo Otter, fitted with a Baron STOL kit, and with a new type of double fuselage door fitted. It was devoid of titles, but still in basic Trans Provincial colour scheme. On 5th June 2003 it was placed on the AOC of and registered to Propair Inc., of Rouyn-Noranda, Québec but continued in use by Air Wemindji. On 9th July 2003 it was registered to Nordair Québec 2000 Inc of Radisson, Québec, a company associated with Air Wemindji. As well as the Otter, the company operates a Navajo and DC-3 C-FQBC, all based at Aeroport La Grande at Radisson.

Around this time the Cree Nation of Wemindji decided that they no longer wished to operate their own airline, and asked Jean Marie Arsenault, a well-known and long-standing Québec aviator, to take over the operation which they would fund. Jean Marie Arsenault at that time owned Aviation Boreal (1988) Inc., his own company, with bases at Val d’Or and La Grande, which operated Piper Navajo C-GDDX. He reached an agreement with the Cree people and for the new operation a new company was formed, called Nordair Québec 2000 Inc., run by Jean Marie Arsenault and his son Glen Arsenault. Aviation Boreal was shut down and Navajo C-GDDX transferred to the new company. Work on converting Otter KLC to turbine was also completed by May 2003 and it was noted at Kelowna now as a Vazar turbine, still in basic Trans Provincial Airlines colour scheme but without titles. It had been fitted with a BARON STOL kit during the conversion as well as a ‘Yukon door’. It then flew back east to Quebec.

On 5 June 2003 C-FKLC was registered to Propair Inc., as a temporary measure, part of the start-up of Nordair and entered service flying out of La Grande. At that stage Air Wemindji ceased operations and was closed down. The new company took over the operation in full and on 9 July 2003 KLC was registered to Nordair Québec 2000 Inc. It served the bush country of northern Québec. Its customers included mining and exploration projects in Labrador, Nunavik, Nunavut and in the James, Hudson and Ungava Bay regions, and also the native settlements in these regions. It also flew tourists, hunters and fishermen. It operated summer and winter, based at Aeroport La Grande at Radisson.

Quite a number of incidents were recorded on CADORS during the Otter’s operation in this most remote part of northern Québec:

24 September 2003.  KLC reported ten miles from the airport at La Grande, whereas the mandatory frequency area extended to fifteen miles.

23 January 2004.  KLC took off from runway 31 at La Grande when snow clearance equipment was on the threshold of the runway.

26 January 2004.  KLC was arriving La Grande from Reservoir Opinaca, 65 miles south-east of La Grande. It was 15 miles south east of La Grande at 19:20Z, approaching to land runway 31. At 19:23Z the Otter flew over the FSS from the north, a navigational error.

31 January 2004.  KLC landed on runway 13 at La Grande but was unable to taxi off the runway due to a problem with the rear wheel. A vehicle drove onto the runway to assist the Otter without authorisation.

2 February 2004 at La Grande.  KLC returned to the hangar after having received an advisory service warning of a problem with the rear wheel.

4 February 2004 at La Grande.  Exited the runway after landing on runway 31 and damaged a runway light.

5 February 2004. After deceleration after landing at La Grande, KLC turned to the right and ran off the runway. The loss of control may have come from the tailwheel. The Otter returned to the hangar after it had been removed from the snowbank.

6 February 2004.   While receiving advisory services, the pilot of KLC indicated he would use runway 04 at Kuujjuarapik for take-off. The Otter took off without warning from runway 22 because he was taxying in the wrong direction.

26 March 2004. After landing on runway 31 at La Grande, KLC suddenly swerved to the right and ran off the runway into the snow. It got out using its own power.

25 April 2004. On approach to La Grande the pilot requested the FSS specialist to check if his skis were properly retracted and if the tail wheel was properly aligned. It landed without incident after being told that everything seemed normal.

3 May 2004.  Upon approaching La Grande, the pilot of KLC made his first radio contact at ten miles out, when the mandatory frequency area was 15 miles in diameter.

3 July 2004.  KLC made its first call when it was only seven miles north-east of La Grande. Same on 10 July and on 17 July.

24 August 2004.  At 17:01Z after having landed on runway 31 at La Grande, flight APZ145 noticed debris on the runway, which had come from Otter KLC which had taken off at 16:01Z.

29 December 2004.  An ELT signal was heard for twenty minutes in the Montréal-Dorval area, before the source could be found, which was Otter KLC which was in the Aerotech hangar at Dorval Airport undergoing maintenance.

12 September 2005.   VFR flight from and back to La Grande. Following a microphone problem, the pilot of KLC spoke with the FSS by sat-phone to confirm he had left the mandatory frequency area. Coming back he again used the sat-phone to advise he had no radio and landed without incident.

15 October 2005.  VFR flight from 80 miles north-east to La Grande. KLC had radio failure and used the sat-phone to communicate with the FSS.

10 January 2006.   ELT signal heard on the emergency frequency by FSS at La Grande. The source was Otter KLC which was in the hangar at La Grande being worked on.

These operations by KLC continued until a most unfortunate accident on 19 April 2006 at Lac Lagopede, 250 miles north-east of Chibougamau. KLC was one of a number of aircraft operating from the ice runway on the frozen lake, supporting a mineral exploration camp (Camp Mirage) on behalf of the Ashton Mining Company. KLC was parked, awaiting its next flight. Turbine Otter C-FODT (218) of Air Saguenay was landing inbound from Chibougamau when it could not stop, and skidded into the stationary KLC, the first ever recorded accident of one Otter crashing into another.  ODT only suffered some damage to the leading edge of its wing, which was repaired, but KLC came out very much the worse. Its right wing was completely knocked off. Fortunately there were no injuries.

Worse however was to follow. Nordair hired a Bell 205 helicopter C-FSMI from Heli Inter Air to airlift KLC back to base for repair. This operation was carried out on 24 April 2006, the Bell lifting off from the Mirage camp with the underslung Otter en route to La Grande LG-4. Thirty one miles south of Mirage Camp, as the subsequent report puts it “the pilot of the helicopter felt a strong bump, followed by a second bump, and saw the Otter detach and fall to the ground. The pilot flew over the spot and returned to the mirage camp to report the event”. Photographs show the sorry sight of the wrecked Otter lying on its side in snow-covered terrain, with spruce trees sticking through it. The Otter had fallen from quite a height and was a complete wreck. The wreck was later retrieved from the site and dumped at the La Grande LG-2 base, where it lay for years. Nordair acquired turbine Otter C-FSVP (28) to replace KLC.

Nordair Québec 2000 Inc., subsequently ceased trading and was shut down.  On 18 October 2010 Otter C-FSVP was registered to Air Wemindji Inc., and on the same day C-FKLC was also registered to Air Wemindji, still in its wrecked state at LG-2. In November 2011 Air Wemindji sold the wreck of KLC to Donald Berube and he moved it to his own property at Radisson.  The registration was formally cancelled on 8 July 2014.  On 9 September 2014 KLC was registered to Donald Berube’s company 9220-5079 Québec Inc., of Laval, Québec.  As of 2018, as far as is known, nothing has been done with KLC. At some stage in the future it could either be rebuilt or parted out.

Currently at Laval, Québec , September 2022, with Simon Contant for future rebuild - some day eh?

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.