DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX   click on arrows to navigate page by page

c/n 324

CF-MPY in first uniform.
Photo: Library and Archives Canada / RCMP © c.1962 - via Peter C. Hill
CF-MPY about to leave Frobisher Bay for Cape Dorset.
Photos: Library and Archives Canada / RCMP © c.1964 - via Peter C. Hill
CF-MPY over coastline.
Photo: RCMP © early 1970's - Doug Stene Collection
C-FMPY at Vancouver - CYVR, British Columbia.
Photo: John Kimberley © November 1988 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FMPY still at Vancouver, just before leaving for Central Mountain Air.
Photo: Michael J. Ody © 22 April 1989
C-FMPY at Vancouver with Wagair titles.
Photo: Fred Barnes © 14 October 1994 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FMPY with NAKINA at Cordingley Lake - CNE7, Nakina, Ontario.
Photo: David A. Mongomery © 30 July 2011
C-FMPY on wheel-skis, at Nakina - CYQN, Ontario.
Photo: Rich Hulina © 10 April 2013

c/n 324




• CF-MPY Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Air Division. Delivered 28th July 1959.

Initially based at Frobisher Bay, NT.

Purchased by Bannock Aerospace Ltd., Toronto, ON. 10th October 1979

• C-FMPY Wardair Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB. Regd 12-Dec-1979. Operated on behalf of Maxwell Ward, the company’s founder.

• C-FMPY Loon Air Ltd., Fort Smith, NT, Regd 21-April-1987. Canx 01-Nov-1988.

• C-FMPY Irvin Olsen, Edmonton, AB. Regd 01-Nov-1988. Canx 23-Jun-1989.

• C-FMPY Central Mountain Air Ltd., Smithers, BC. Regd 23-Jun-1989. Canx 28-May-1991.

• C-FMPY Leased to Waglisla Air Inc., dba Wagair, Bella Bella, BC. Reggd May-1991.

• C-FMPY Poss leased to Gynn Bay Logging Ltd, Campbell River, BC.dba Western Straits Air Regd 23-Mar-1995. Canx 23-May-1995.

• C-FMPY Central Mountain Air Ltd., Smithers, BC. Regd 25-Sep-1995. Canx 20-Oct-1995.

• C-FMPY Northern Lights Air Ltd., Smithers, BC. Regd 20-Oct-1995. Canx 27-Sep-1996. Regd 17-Jul-1997. Canx 27-Apr-2000.

• C-FMPY Saltwater West Enterprises Ltd., Smithers, BC. Regd 27-Apr-2000. Canx 11-Mar-2004.

Note operated by Alpine Lakes Air Ltd., based at Smithers-Tyhee Lake, BC.

Power plant. Converted to Vazar Turbine by Guardian Aerospace at Vanderhoof, BC.

• C-FMPY Nakina Outpost Camps & Air Service Ltd., Nakina, ON. Regd 12-Mar-2004.


Otter 324 was delivered to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Air Division on 28 July 1959, with registration CF-MPY.   RCMP Norseman CF-MPL was traded in to DHC in part payment for the Otter. Otter MPY was assigned initially to Frobisher Bay, Northwest Territories (NWT), where it replaced Otter CF-MPU (44) which was then returned off loan to the RCAF.   CF-MPY was to faithfully serve the RCMP for twenty years during which it appears it was mostly based at Frobisher Bay, occasionally at Goose Bay, until it was put up for disposal through the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation and purchased by Bannock Aerospace Ltd .,of Toronto on 10 October 1979. This was the company formed by Russ Bannock, a former director of DHC, to trade in DHC aircraft, and it was soon sold on, to Wardair Canada Ltd., on 12 December 1979, registered C-FMPY.

Unlike the Otters operated by Wardair during the late 1950s and the 1960s, in the early days of the airline, by 1979 Wardair had evolved into a major carrier operating Boeing 747s and DC-10s on international services, and had by then sold off its bush operation.  Otter MPY was acquired for the personal use of Maxwell Ward, the company’s founder, although it was painted in the same colour scheme as the original Otters, blue overall with a red cheatline outlined in white. The Otter was based in the company’s huge jet hangar at the Edmonton International Airport and was used each summer by Max Ward to fly to his cabin north of Yellowknife and for fishing and recreational trips up north. This use of the Otter continued until its registration to Wardair was cancelled 11 June 1985 and the Otter put up for sale.

It was sold to Loon Air Ltd., of Fort Smith, NWT and had joined its fleet by April 1986, flying alongside a number of Cessnas. It was flown in its Wardair colour scheme with Loon Air titles. It continued flying for Loon Air until the end of the summer 1988 season, being replaced by a Turbo Beaver. By the end of October 1988 MPY had arrived at Vancouver. Its registration to Loon Air was cancelled on 1 November 1988 and it was registered to an Irvin Olsen of Edmonton that day, although it remained in storage at the Vancouver International Airport during the winter of 1988/89 and spring 1989.

The registration to Irvin Olsen was cancelled on 23 June 1989. The Loon Air titles were removed and the Otter departed Vancouver on delivery to its next operator, Central Mountain Air Ltd., of Smithers, BC, to whom it was registered on 23 June 1989 and entered service, still in its basic Wardair colour scheme. It was one of a number of Otters flown by Central Mountain Air on charter work out of Smithers, flying alongside Otters XUY and SVP. In May 1991 Otter MPY went to Wagisla Air Inc., trading as Wagair of Bella Bella, BC, who also flew Otters RHW and WAF. With Wagair Otter MPY still retained its Wardair colour scheme but with Wagair titles. Wagair operated its Otters on floats on scheduled and charter services along the BC Pacific Coast, to points such as Bella Bella, Port Hardy, Prince Rupert and Vancouver. The registration of MPY to Wagair was cancelled on 29 November 1994, by which stage the company was in financial difficulties and it closed down the following year.

The next operator of MPY was Gynn Bay Logging Ltd., trading as Western Straits Air of Campbell River, BC to whom the Otter was registered on 23 March 1995. It was noted at Prince Rupert during May 1995, still with Wagair titles. It then returned to Central Mountain Air at Smithers and flew for them for the summer of 1995, being registered to Central Mountain Air between 29 May and 20 October 1995. It was used on charter work supporting mineral exploration and flying fishermen to lodges. On 20 October 1995 MPY was registered to Northern Lights Air Ltd., also based at Smithers. This was a newly formed operator and as well as the Otter it also flew single Cessnas, a Cessna Caravan and a Beech KingAir.   MPY continued flying for Northern Lights Air for over four years, until its registration to that company was cancelled on 27 April 2000 and it was registered that day to its new owners, Saltwater West Enterprises Ltd., trading as Alpine Lakes Air, also of Smithers, BC.

Its new owners arranged for MPY to be converted to a Vazar turbine DHC-3T, the work being carried out by Guardian Aerospace of Vanderhoof, BC. After many years flying in Wardair colour scheme, MPY was also given a complete repaint, now with a white upper fuselage and all red lower fuselage, with Alpine Lakes Air titles. It then entered service with Alpine Lakes Air for summer 2000, based at Smithers-Tyhee Lake on floats. It replaced a Beech 18 and joined a Cessna 185. As its website explained, the company operated a specialty air service, providing transportation into the rugged back-country of northern BC. The Otter was used for general charter work, especially for tourists, canoers, fishermen and also providing air tours over this most scenic part of the world.

In March 2002 Otter MPY was advertised for sale, on EDO 7490 amphibious floats, BARON STOL modified, a new interior, new paint scheme, ten new high-back seats, 16,000 hours total time, with an asking price of US$1,150,000. It took a while for a sale to be achieved but in March 2004 the Otter was sold. It was replaced in service with Alpine Lakes Air by another turbine Otter, C-GFTZ (174).

The buyer of the Otter was Nakina Outpost Camps & Air Service Ltd., of Nakina, Ontario to whom C-FMPY was registered on 12 March 2004. Having operated “out West” for the previous 25 years, MPY now headed east to Ontario for the next stage of its career. Nakina Air Service already operated Vazar turbine Otter CF-MIQ (336) which was in a blue and white colour scheme but they retained MPY’s existing red and white scheme, with Nakina Air Service titles. Also in the fleet was a Cessna 185, a pair of Cessna 208 Caravans and a Twin Otter, the company providing the usual range of bush services throughout northern Ontario. These include flying fishermen to lodges, tourists and general charter work including supporting mineral exploration. An example of this work occurred in February 2011 when MPY was chartered by Canterra Mineral Corporation to fly a team of surveyors prospecting for diamonds from Nakina to the James Bay lowlands of northern Ontario, 380 kms north-east of Nakina, a flight of one hour forty five minutes, returning that evening.

As of July 2023 Otter MPY was still in service with Nakina Air Service.

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.