DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 371

N83U waiting in the Kenmore yard, behind DHC-2 ex-Zambian twins.
Photo: John Kimberley © Circa 1990 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N83U some progress on the rebuild.
Photo: Karl E. Hayes © 13 September 1995
C-GEND of WHISTLER AIR at Green Lake base, British Columbia.
Photo: Kenneth I. Swartz © 21 August 1999
Photo: Karl E. Hayes © September 1999
C-GEND one year later, at the Whistler base.
Photo: Anthony J. Hickey © September 2000
C-GEND at CAE5 in newer livery.
Photo: John W. Olafson © 11 May 2007
C-GEND at Vancouver - CYVR, British Columbia.
Photo: Andreas Dürr © July 2008 - Aird Archives
C-GEND at CXH - Vancouver Harbour.
Photo: Ron Kosys © 05 June 2013
C-GEND new livery, at Vancouver's Coal Harbour.
Photo: Ron Kosys © 09 September 2017
Photo: Ron Kosys © 11 September 2017
C-GEND at Vancouver's Coal Harbour.
Photo: Lenn Bayliss © 12 August 2017
Photo: Anton Heumann © October 2019

c/n 371

59-2224 • N94469 • (N8HH) • N83U • C-GHYJ • N83U



• 59-2224 United States Army. Delivered 12-May-1960. Designated U-1A.

Initially delivered to Fort Knox, KY., where it served as an operational support aircraft.

Jul-1968. To Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, CA., for overhaul.

Mar-1969. To Vietnam with the 388th Transportation Company.

Accident. Tan An Vietnam. May 1969. Following an aborted take off, due to strong cross wind  the aircraft rolled into a ditch at the side of the runway and was seriously damaged. Full story below.

Nov-1969 Wreckage shipped back to US arriving at Sharpe Depot, Stockton, CA., and placed in storage.

Mar-1973. Deleted from Army inventory and awaited disposal.

General Aircraft Supplies, Boeing Field, Seattle, (Harold J. Hansen). Purchased on 13-Jul-1973. Purchase price $273.

• N94469 Initially issued as registration. Regd 8th September 1973.

• (N8HH) Re regd 30-Nov-1973. NTU.

Total airframe time: 3,544 hours.

• N83U Kodiak Western Airlines, Kodiak, Alaska, Regd Mar-1974.

• N83U Beaver Leasing Inc., Seattle, WA. Regd 21-Dec-1977.

Entries preceded by date are extracts from Canadian Department of Transport archives.

18-Apr-1978 Bill of Sale; Beaver Leasing Inc., Seattle W.,A to Exeter Developments Ltd.

18-Apr-1978 W.R. Perrey / Exeter Developments Ltd., Madeira Park, BC., advises Department of Transport he is importing DHC-3 N83U msn 371.

19-Apr-1978 Allotment C-GHYJ to Exeter Developments Ltd., Madeira Park BC.

19-Apr-1978 Provisional Certificate of Registration & Flight Permit For Importation Flight, Seattle WA - Vancouver BC and test flights issued, valid to 19-May-1978.

• C-GHYJ Exeter Developments Ltd., Madeira Park, BC. 19th April 1978.

01-Jun-1978 Lease Agreement; Exeter Developments Ltd., to Taylor Airways Ltd., Gods Lake Narrows, MB 01-Jun-1978 – 01-Jun-1979.

23-Jun-1978 Application for Certificate of Registration by Taylor Airways Ltd.

00-Jun-1978 Provisional Certificate of Registration for test flights, valid to 23-Jun-1978.

• C-GHYJ Taylor Airways Ltd, Gods Lake Narrows MB 28-Jun-1978.

Authority to ferry Vancouver to Gods Lake Narrows, valid to 12-Jul-1978.

05-Jul-1978 Exeter Developments authorizes assignment of lease to Ilford-Riverton Airways Ltd.

06-Jul-1978 Lease Agreement; Taylor Airways Ltd to Ilford-Riverton Airways Ltd 06-Jul-1978 – 06-Aug-1978.

06-Jul-1978 Application for Certificate of Registration by Ilford-Riverton Airways Ltd.

19-Jul-1978 Certificate of Registration issued to Ilford-Riverton Airways Ltd., Winnipeg, MB.

03-Aug-1978 Lease Agreement; Taylor Airways Ltd., to Ilford-Riverton Airways Ltd., 06-Aug-1978 – 31-Oct-1978.

• C-GHYJ Sub leased to Ilford-Riverton Airways Ltd., Winnipeg, MB. Regd 06-Aug-1978.

01-Jan-1979 Lease Agreement; Taylor Airways Ltd., to Ilford-Riverton Airways Ltd. 01-Jan-1979 – 31-May-1979.

10-Sep-1979 Exeter Developments advise Department of Transport lease to Taylor Airways extended to 15-Nov-1979.

24-Sep-1979 Application for Certificate of Registration by Taylor Airways Ltd.

17-Oct-1979 Certificate of Registration issued to Taylor Airways Ltd., Gods Lake Narrows MB.

Illegible-1979 Bill of Sale; Exeter Developments to Contact Airways Ltd., Fort McMurray AB.

• C-GHYJ Contact Airways Ltd, Fort McMurray AB Regd date unknown Circa 1979.

25-Jan-1980 Application for Certificate of Registration by Buffalo Airways Ltd., Fort Smith, NT.

13-Feb-1980 Certificate of Registration issued to Buffalo Airways Ltd., (under lease).

• C-GHYJ Leased to Buffalo Airways Ltd., Fort Smith, NT Regd 13-Feb-1980.

27-May-1980 application for Certificate of Registration by Contact Airways Ltd.

10-Jun-1980 Lease to Buffalo Airways cancelled.

18-Jun-1980 Certificate of Registration issued to Contact Airways Ltd., Fort McMurray, AB.

• C-GHYJ Returned to Contact Airways Ltd., Fort McMurray, AB. 18-Jun-1980.

26-Jun-1980 Lease Agreement; Contact Airways Ltd., to Buffalo Airways Ltd., for one year.

• C-GHYJ Leased to Buffalo Airways Ltd., Fort Smith, NT. Regd 26-Jun-1960.

27-Sep-1983 Bill of Sale; Contact Airways Ltd., to Hermens Air, St Marys, AK. $CAD125,000.

29-Sep-1983 Cancelled on Canadian Civil Aircraft Register.

30-Sep-1983 Certificate of Airworthiness for export #XDX-16 issued.

30 -Sep-1983 Department of Transport authorize Hermens Air to operate DHC-3 N83U msn 371 in Canadian airspace.

Total time since new as recorded in Canadian Department of Transport records.

12-Jun-1978 - 5,668 hours.

20-May-1979 - 6,016 hours.

21-Jun-1980 - 6,527 hours.

07-Jun-1981 - 7,040 hours.

27-Jun-1982 - 7,350 hours.

30-Sep-1983 - 7,571 hours.

• N83U Hermens Air, St Marys, AK. 27th September 1983.

• N83U Bering Air Inc., of Nome, AK. Regd 15th May 1986.

Accident: American River, AK. Crashed on take-off from a gravel bar on the river. Minor injuries to five on board and substantial damage to aircraft.

• N83U Kenmore Air Harbor Inc. 10-May-1988. Remained as a wreck.

• N83U Randy D'Aoust, dba Quality Aircraft Sales, St. Albert,  AB. Again remained as a wreck.

• C-GEND Aviation V. L. Inc., St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu. Who rebuilt it. Regd10-Mar-1999 & 08-Mar-1999. Canx 24-May-1999.

Power-plant: Converted to Vazar turbine by Aeroflite Industries, Vancouver, BC.

• C-GEND Whistler Air Services Ltd., Whistler, BC. Regd 08-Jul-1999.

• C-GEND Leased to Adventure Networks International, for use in the Antarctic. Between Dec-2002 and Jan-2003. Further information below.

• C-GEND Whistler Air Services Ltd., Whistler, BC. Regd 10-Jan-2003 & 20-Mar-2003. Canx 11-May-2012.

• C-GEND Harbour Air Ltd., Richmond, BC.  Regd. 15-May-2012. Whistler Air livery. f/n 321.


Otter 371 was delivered to the United States Army on 12th May 1960 with serial 59-2224 (tail number 92224). It was delivered from Downsview to Fort Knox, Kentucky where it served as an operational support aircraft until July 1968, when it arrived at the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, California for overhaul, after which it was taken to Vietnam, arriving with the 388th Transportation Company in March 1969. It was then assigned to the 54th Aviation Company, where it served for only two months before being badly damaged in an accident in May 1969.

On the morning of the accident, “Big Daddy 224” had flown from its base at Vung Tau to Tan Son Nhut airfield, Saigon and then took a passenger to Tan An. On landing, the pilot noticed that runway lights were being installed and deep trenches had been dug at each side of the runway. On take-ff that afternoon from Tan An, there was a crosswind of ten knots, gusting to 15 knots. The Otter drifted to the left side of the runway. Fighting the crosswind and inadequate tail wheel steering, the pilot was unable to stop the drift to the left and decided to abort the take-off. When he did this, the Otter immediately yawed to the left, the wheels rolled over the ditch and the aircraft came to rest in a seriously damaged condition twenty feet to the left of the runway and only a short distance from a minefield. There were no injuries but 92224 had suffered major damage. It was subsequently ascertained that the tail-wheel steering was off five degrees before flight and that the aircraft should not have been released for the mission.

The wrecked Otter was shipped back to the United States, where it arrived back at the Sharpe Depot, Stockton, California in November 1969. It remained in storage there until deleted from the Army inventory in March 1973 and was then put up for disposal. It was sold on 13th July 1973 by the Defence Property Disposal Office to General Aircraft Supplies of 7149 Perimeter Road, Boeing Field, Seattle, the company of that well known Otter rebuilder Harold J. Hansen. Such was the state of the aircraft, described as “aircraft fuselage and components”, that the purchase price was a mere $272. The wrecked Otter was trucked by Harold Hansen from Stockton to his facility at Boeing Field, where the rebuilding commenced. On 8th September 1973 he was allocated registration N94469 for the aircraft. However, on 30th November 1973 he made application for a “special registration” for the Otter and was allocated N8HH. On completion of the rebuild, on 23rd March 1974, Mr Hansen applied for a Certificate of Airworthiness for Otter 371. At that stage, it had total airframe hours of 3,544. By Bill of Sale dated 25th March 1974 the Otter was sold to Kodiak Western Airlines of Kodiak, Alaska, registered N83U.

For more than three years, N83U flew for Kodiak Western, until sold on 21st December 1977 to Beaver Leasing Inc., of Seattle. It was sold on by Bill of Sale dated 18th April 1978 to Exeter Developments Ltd., of Madeira Park, BC. That month, it was refurbished by Aeroflite Industries at Vancouver. Its total time had by then increased to 5,668 hours, testifying to heavy utilisation while based at Kodiak. Marks C-GHYJ were allocated and on 1st June 1978 it was leased by Exeter Developments to Taylor Airways Ltd., of God's Lake Narrows, Manitoba. On 26th June 1978 a ferry permit was issued for a flight from Vancouver to God's Lake Narrows.

On 5th July 1978 the lease was taken over by Ilford Riverton Airways Ltd., of Winnipeg, and the Otter was registered C-GHYJ to Ilford Riverton on 19th July 1978. It was used to serve points in northern Manitoba. By Bill of Sale dated December 1979 Exeter Developments Ltd sold the Otter to Contact Airways Ltd., of Fort McMurray, Alberta, who proceeded to operate the aircraft. Contact Airways then leased the Otter to Buffalo Airways Ltd., Fort Smith, Northwest Territories from January to June 1980 and it then returned to the Contact Airways fleet. They continued to fly the Otter until it was sold to Hermens Air Inc., of St. Mary's Alaska by Bill of Sale dated 27th September 1983.

Registration N83U was re-issued for the Otter and a flight permit to Alaska on 30th September 1983. By that stage, its total time had increased to 7,571 hours.

Hermens Air Inc operated N83U from September 1983 to May 1986, until it was sold to Bering Air Inc., of Nome, Alaska by Bill of Sale dated 15th May 1986. A few months later, on 19th September 1986, it met with an accident. After landing on a 1,200 foot gravel bar on American River, Alaska the pilot paced off the available area, estimated the load to pick up, then loaded the aircraft. Due to a cross wind, he used less than take-off flaps. The terrain was rough and uneven, sandy, and with loose gravel. After lift off, the Otter “seemed to hit a downdraft”. The pilot selected take-off flaps and began a slight turn to get more room to clear a twenty foot bank earth. However, the aircraft impacted the bank and came to rest on the tundra. There were minor injuries to two of the five occupants and substantial damage to the aircraft.

The wreck was retrieved from the crash site and taken to Kenmore Air Harbour, Seattle, where it lay for some years. By Bill of Sale dated 10th May 1988 it was sold by Bering Air to Kenmore Air Harbor Inc., but it continued to languish at Kenmore. In 1994 it was sold to Randy D'Aout, trading as Quality Aircraft Sales, and was trucked to his facility at St. Albert near Edmonton. It lay there for some years until he sold it to another Otter rebuilder, Aviation V. L. Inc., of St. Jean, Québec, who rebuilt the aircraft during January/March 1999. The front section of another Otter was used in the rebuild. The Otter was registered to Aviation V. L. Inc., in March 1999 as C-GEND. The rebuilt aircraft was then put on board a rail car and taken across the country to the Aeroflite Industries facility at the Vancouver International Airport, having been acquired by Whistler Air Services Ltd., of Whistler, BC. Aeroflite converted the Otter to a Vazar turbine and it was repainted in a striking all-yellow paint scheme.  It was at Vancouver on 1st July 1999 about to be delivered to its new owners, to whom it was registered that month and entered service.

Whistler is an important ski and leisure resort in the mountains north of Vancouver. Here C-GEND was based on floats, primarily serving the tourist industry during the summer months.  Little opportunity for flying exists during the winter months due to the weather, and like many northern operators, Whistler Air sought other work for the winter. During the winter of 2002 / 2003 an opportunity arose to use the Otter in the Antarctic. It would be the first time a “Single Otter” was used in the Antarctic since N58JH (131) was used there during 1991 and 1992 and had crashed. Adventure Networks International, the company which organised the tourist trips to the Antarctic, were using Basler Turbo Dakota C-GEAI, operated by Enterprise Air of Oshawa, Ontario for transport around the Antarctic area. This aircraft had been damaged in a storm at Patriot Hills soon after its arrival there in mid October 2002, and replacement capacity was required, a task which was entrusted to C-GEND, as well as a leased Twin Otter.

Departing Vancouver on 1st November 2002 on wheels, another epic Otter ferry flight ensued, the aircraft routing Vancouver-Reno, Nevada-Phoenix, Arizona-Brownsville, Texas-Vera Cruz, Mexico- Belize City, Belize (held up here for days awaiting onward flight permits)-Panama City, Panama- Guayaquil, Ecuador-Lima, Peru-Antofagasta, Chile-Concepcion, Chile-Puerto Montt, Chile-Punta Arenas, Chile (where it was weathered in for days)-King George Island (where the wheels were replaced with skis)-Rothera, Adelaide Island (the British Antarctic Survey base)-Patriot Hills, Antarctica, arriving 2nd December 2002. The trip had taken four weeks, with ten days flying, the rest of the time spent awaiting onward clearances or weathered in. The Otter flew in Antarctica during the rest of the tourist season down there, December 2002 and January 2003. It flew alongside Twin Otter CF-UGT which was also flying for Adventure Networks. The Otter flew to many points on the Antarctic continent from the Patriot Hills base, including several visits to the Amudsen-Scott South Pole Station. The first of these is recorded on 21st December 2002, and C-GEND was accompanied on that day by the Twin Otter, which between the two aircraft carried nine clients of Adventure Networks, five crew members and two company staff. All these people were forced to remain at the South Geographic Pole for eighteen hours when the weather deteriorated. The sixteen camped a short distance from the Admudsen-Scott station during their enforced stay. The Otter made many more visits to the Pole, the final one on 27th January 2003.

The Twin Otter and the Single Otter left the Patriot Hills base together on 19th February 2003, at the end of the season, to return home. They flew north via a fuel cache the company had near the Sky Hi Nunataks, and where they had to wait for two days for weather. They then flew on to the Chilean base, Teniente Marsh airfield on King George Island. They had to wait there for a week for suitable weather before crossing the Drake Passage and arrived at Punta Arenas on 1st March 2003. The Otter then continued on its long trek back to British Columbia, re-entering service with Whistler Air.

C-GEND flew for Whistler Air for summer 2003. As well as flying tourists, it also commenced a regular service between Whistler and Vancouver. An airprox incident was recorded on CADORS on 20 September 2003. The Otter departed the Vancouver International Airport water aerodrome and followed the Salmon VFR departure procedure westbound at 500 feet. Approximately ten miles west of Vancouver the pilot requested higher and was advised by Vancouver Tower that he could climb to 4,500 feet, a clearance that was in error. At fifteen miles north-west of Vancouver the Otter climbed through 2,500 feet and entered the TRSA without authorization. At 1853Z C-GEND was at 4,000 feet some twenty miles west of Vancouver. At this time the Otter became traffic for Air Canada flight 038, a Boeing 767 level at 5,000 feet IFR inbound, established on the Vancouver runway 08 Left localiser. Vancouver Terminal  passed the unknown VFR traffic to Air Canada 038 and once sighted the 767 avoided the Otter by turning left.

C-GEND was over-hauled at Paine Field, Everett, Washington during the winter of 2006 / 2007 and received a new colour scheme. The former pale yellow with a light blue cheatline was brightened up and an attractive ‘sky and mountains’ image added to the tail. The work was finished at the end of February 2007, when the Otter returned to service with Whistler Air.  Another incident was recorded on 6 May 2007 when the Otter, on floats, became trapped above cloud on a flight from Whistler to Victoria Harbour. The Otter had taken off from Whistler and was on the ORCA transit VFR at 700 feet en route to Victoria Harbour. The latest METAR for the destination gave a ceiling of 800 feet broken and pireps indicated the visibility was six miles. At ten miles north of Active Pass the Otter flew into IMC conditions. As the aircraft was flying in mist and rain and glassy water conditions existed, the pilot began a climb to 3,000 feet and contacted Victoria Terminal for assistance. The aircraft was issued vectors to the south and after about ten minutes in IMC was advised of improving weather conditions in the area. The pilot descended and at about 600 feet encountered VMC. The Otter continued to Victoria Harbour where it landed without further difficulty.

Whistler Air Services continued in business until 1 May 2012, when it was announced that the company had been acquired by Harbour Air of Vancouver, to include its business and assets. Harbour Air announced that it was starting direct scheduled services from Victoria Harbour to Whistler and that the Whistler Air Otter would be added to Harbour Air’s large fleet of turbine Otters. The registration of C-GEND to Whistler Air was cancelled on 11 May 2012 and the Otter registered to Harbour Air on 15 May 2012 and given Fleet Number 321.

For the time being Whistler Air Services continued in business as a subsidiary company of Harbour Air.  Otter C-GEND remained in full Whistler Air colours, although now flying on Harbour Air services. Daily scheduled services were flown with C-GEND and two Beavers, connecting Whistler with Vancouver Harbour and Whistler with Victoria Harbour. By August 2015 C-GEND was in a revised colour scheme, a version of the Harbour Air scheme, with white forward fuselage, blue rear fuselage and tail and a sun logo on the tail, and the Otter was flying as part of the general Harbour Air Otter fleet and this continued in the years that followed.

An incident was recorded on CADORS on 26 January 2018. C-GEND, en route from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria Harbour, executed a missed approach due to a boat crossing the landing area. On 2 April 2018 the Otter was again en route from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria Harbour. It lost radio communications and transponder at Beaver Point in Victoria Class C airspace. The pilot made contact with Victoria Tower and Harbour Flight Service on his cell phone and advised them, and landed safely at Victoria. As at summer 2018 C-GEND remained in service with Harbour Air.

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.