DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 392

A100-392 in a fine air-to-air RAAF image.
Photo: RAAF © date unknown
C-FQOR after import, at Vancouver - CYVR, British Columbia.
Photo: John Kimberley © May 1981 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FQOR still showing temporary marks.
Photo: Unknown photographer © May 1981 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
CF-QOR (2) in Buffalo Airways hall-mark green, at Edmonton, Alberta.
Photo: John Kimberley © 25 May 1981 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N1018B in her blue period, on wheels.
Photo: John Kimberley © June 1984 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
N1018B over Gravina Island, Alaska.
Photo: Don Dwason © June 1984 - KPhoto: Don Dawson © © June 1984 - Karl E. Hayes Collection Collection
N1018B on dolly at Ketchikan, Alaska.
Photo: Karl E. Hayes © September 1994
N1018B landing at the pullout, Ketchikan, Alaska.
Photo: Charles "Chip" Wisner © 1997
N1018B landing back at Beluga Bay, Homer, Alaska.
Photo: Keith Burton © 09 June 2005
N1018B at Redoubt Bay, Alaska.
Photos: Warwick Bigsworth © 25 June 2013
N1018B on a visit to Lake Hood, Anchorage, Alaska.
Photo: Jens Brokuf © 01 June 2022

c/n 392

A100-392 • VH-UPM • C-GSYX • C-FQOR • CF-QOR



• A100-392 Royal Australian Air Force. Delivered 17-Oct-1960. Assembled in Bankstown, Australia by de Havilland and powered by left over Wirraway Engines. Different!

Operated by No.1 Air Trials Unit, who operated what was known as the Range Air Taxi Service (RATS), supporting the Weapons Research Establishment at Woomera, South Australia.

• VH-UPM  Australian Department of Supply. Operated by Shorts Air Service on behalf of the Range Ferry and Recovery Service, at Woomera until late-1978. Canx 25-Aug-1980.

Total time: 5,815 hrs at Aug-1980.

• C-GSYX Purchased by Bannock Aerospace Ltd., Toronto, ON. Aug-1980.

• C-FQOR Bannock Aerospace Ltd., Toronto, ON.

• CF-QOR Leased to Buffalo Airways Ltd., Fort Smith, NT. Regd 05-May-1981. Canx 02-Jun-1982.

• CF-QOR Bannock Aerospace Ltd., Toronto, ON. Returned Feb-1982. Canx 12-Apr-1984.

• N1018B Aviation Associates Inc., Ketchikan, AK. Operated by Westflight Aviation Inc. Regd 12- Apr-1984.

Airworthiness date: 23-May-1984.

• N1018B Temsco Helicopters Inc. Operating as Temsco Airlines Ltd., Ketchikan, AK. Dec-1986.

• N1018B Gerald O. Salazar, dba Ketchikan Air Service Inc., Ketchikan, AK. Regd Mar-1992. Closed down Mar-1997.

Incident: 24-Apr-1993. Exhaust valve in nr 3 cylinder separated in flight. The cylinder head and piston were damaged by head of valve being injested into combustion chamber of cylinder. Piston pin and rod were inspected and found not damaged. Cylinder and piston assembly were replaced with serviceable / overhauled assembly.

Incident: 15-May-1993. Engine lost power and threw oil over windscreen. Upon removal of engine sump drain, found bearing material, piston material, ring material and other unidentifiable ferrous and non-ferrous metal. Submitter recommended engine replacement.

• N1018B Taquan Air Service Inc.. Ketchikan, AK. Regd May-1997. Closed down Dec-1999.

• N1018B Kenneth Day operating as Emerald Air Service Inc., Homer-Beluga Lake, AK. Regd Jul-2000.

• N1018B Michael K. Schilling, Kenai, AK. Regd 17-Mar-2011

• N1018B Summit Leasing LLC., Kenai, AK. Regd 17-Jul-2012.


Otter 392 was delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force on 17th October 1960 with serial A100-392. On the same day, Otter 390 was also delivered, with serial A100-390. Both Otters were packed into crates and shipped to Australia, where they arrived during February 1961 at Bankstown airfield near Sydney, where they were re-assembled.  The career of Otter 392 in Australia paralleled that of 390 already described. It too was operated as a range support aircraft at Woomera, South Australia, first by the RATS and from October 1967 by Shorts Air Services on behalf of the Range Ferry and Recovery Service, registered VH-UPM on 16th October 1967. The operation of this service by both Otters continued until late 1978, when they were put into storage at Woomera, being put up for sale in June 1980. At that time, 392 had 5,815 hours on the airframe.

The two Otters were purchased by Bannock Aerospace Ltd.,of Toronto for $61,592 (Australian dollars) each and on 7th August 1980 were flown from Woomera to the Hawker Pacific facility at Bankstown to be crated for shipping to Canada. The Australian serials were cancelled on 25th August 1980 and twenty years after they had left, both aircraft arrived back in Canada on 4th November 1980 at Vancouver harbour on board the ship 'Austral Rainbow'. The two Otters were taken to the Vancouver International Airport where they were re-assembled by West Coast Air Services. Otter 392 was registered to Bannock Aerospace Ltd., as C-GSYX. Bannock arranged to lease the Otter to Buffalo Airways Ltd., on 5th May 1981 and the Otter was then registered to Buffalo Airways as C-FQOR. This was the second use of marks QOR for Buffalo Airways on an Otter, DHC-3 number 375 having been registered to Buffalo as CF-QOR until it crashed on 17th April 1977.

On 13th May 1981 the Otter landed at Calgary in an all white scheme, with marks C-FQOR roughly daubed on the side. According to the pilot, he was ferrying it from Vancouver via Calgary to Red Deer for painting for Buffalo Airways. On 25th May 1981 the Otter passed through Edmonton in full Buffalo colours, painted as CF-QOR, en route from Red Deer on delivery to Buffalo's base at Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. QOR continued flying for Buffalo Airways until February 1982, when it returned off lease to Bannock Aerospace. Its Canadian registration was cancelled 12th April 1984 when it was sold to Aviation Associates Inc., of Ketchikan, Alaska, to whom it was registered N1018B. It was to be operated by Westflight Aviation Inc., and it was painted in their colours at Vancouver during June 1984. It then flew north to Ketchikan and for two years it flew for for Westflight, painted in the carrier's attractive blue and white colour scheme. It flew alongside the other aircraft in Westflight's fleet, four Beavers, a Goose and some Cessnas. These aircraft were used on scheduled and charter services, in competition with the other major Ketchikan-based operator, Temsco Helicopters Inc., trading as Temsco Airlines.

In October 1986, Temsco Helicopters got rid of its competition by buying Westflight Aviation and merging its fleet and operation into Temsco Airlines. Otter N1018B was registered to Temsco Helicopters Inc., in December 1986. The Otter flew for Temsco for several years, part of its large Otter fleet, but all did not go well and in October 1991 Temsco announced abruptly that it was shutting down its fixed wing division, and would henceforth concentrate on helicopter operations only. The Temsco Otters were placed into storage at their Peninsula Point hangar near Ketchikan for the winter.  One of the operators to take over scheduled services from Temsco was Ketchikan Air Service  Inc., who acquired Otter N1018B, which was registered to them in March 1992, and operated alongside several other Otters. This company continued operations from Ketchikan until March 1997, when  it too closed down. The company which took over was Taquan Air Service Inc., to whom N1018B was registered in May 1997 and it flew for Taquan until that company collapsed in December 1999 and its aircraft were put up for sale. N1018B was sold to Kenneth Day / Emerald Air Service Inc., of Homer - Beluga Lake, Alaska to whom it was registered in July 2000.

N1018B joined several other Otters based at Homer, supporting the tourist industry, particularly for bear viewing flights. Other Otter operators based at Homer engaged in this activity were Kachemak Air Service (N3904) and Bald Mountain Air Service (N103SY and N104BM). As the Emerald Air Service website proclaims: “Fly in the classic De Havilland Otter floatplane, the ultimate mode of Alaskan bush travel. Depart from Beluga Lake in Homer, flying west over Cook Inlet, then watch the snowy Alaska Range, which rings the Alaska Peninsula, loom into view. Five active volcanoes are the crown jewels of this mountain range. Reaching the Alaska Peninsula, the terrain turns to the stark reality of mountainous peaks and undulating tundra. Your destination will vary with the season. June finds us along the coastal sedge flats, watching as the bears beach comb and graze on succulent spring grasses. In late June and early July many of the streams and rivers along the Alaska Range fill with salmon and waiting for the salmon are the bears. Mid August through September finds the bears fat and slick, moving between the salmon streams and the abundant ripe berries on the hillsides”.  Otter N1018B is used throughout the summer months to bring its passengers to where the bears are to be found. A set of bear paws painted on the tail of N1018B clearly indicate its main purpose. The Otter, like the bears, hibernates each winter.

The Otter was advertised for sale in October 2008. It was on EDO7490 floats, had total time of 20,449 hours and an asking price of $800,000. It did not sell and flew again for Emerald Air Service for summer 2009 and was again advertised for sale in September 2009. The total time was now 20,650 hours, giving a usage of 201 hours during the summer 2009 season, and asking price had been reduced to $750,000.

Early in 2010 Kenneth Day sold the Emerald Air Service name and business to Craig Elg, who continued the bear viewing flights during summer 2010 with a DHC-2 Beaver. Kenneth Day kept Otter N1018B, which remained in store at Homer. He sold the Otter on 17 March 2011 to Michael Schilling of Kenai, Alaska, who has traded in many Otters over the years. The new owner again advertised the Otter for sale in May 2011, still quoting the total time of 20,650 hours (the Otter had not flown since the end of the summer 2009 season) and a reduced asking price of $685,000. The Otter was sold that month to the owners of Alaska West Air of Kenai.

N1018B was seen flying during July 2011 but spent the rest of the summer of 2011 parked at Lake Hood, Anchorage minus its propeller. It was then flown to Soldotna where over the winter of 2011 / 2012 it was converted to a Texas Turbine Otter, with the Garret TPE-331 engine, being conversion # 42. The work was carried out by Jim’s Airplane Shop in Soldotna. It was registered as N1018B to Summit Leasing LLC., of Kenai on 17 July 2012, for operation by Alaska West Air, for whom it would fly in the years that followed, based out of Kenai alongside the company’s other two turbine Otters, N49AW and N87AW. That remained the position during summer 2018.

The Alaska West Air website quotes a daily charter rate of $6,000 for the Otter, or an hourly rate of $1,288. The company also flies the DHC-2 Beaver and its floatplanes are used to transport hunters, fishermen and tourists to the wilderness area, as well as for sightseeing and bear viewing and general charters.

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.