DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 451

CF-AZW with Ilford Riverton Airways.
Photo: Unknown photographer © Circa 1971-1972 - Aviation Society of Antwerp - via Walter van Brempt
C-FAZW at La Ronge, Saskatchewan.
Photo: Anthony J. Hickey © July 1979 - Karl E. Hayes Collection
C-FAZW air-to-air.
Photo: Unknown photographer © Date unknown - Dale Tiedeman Collection
C-FAZW at La Ronge dock.
Photo: Unknown photographer © Date unknown - Karl E. Hayes Collection
Photo: Karl E. Hayes © May 2001
N636KT at Talkeetna, Alaska.
Photos: Anton Heumann © July 2022

c/n 451

(A703) • CF-AZW • C-FAZW



• (A703). Used with this serial (RCAF?) as a ground instructional airframe for training Tanzanian Air Force aircraftsmen at RCAF Camp Borden, ON, from Feb-1966. (See narrative below).

Note: Also quoted as 9101 On RCAF books for acceptance testing, training and delivery, with this serial number. And then as JW-9101 in Tanzania. But was it ever taken there. So there is differing comment on this one.

• CF-AZW Atlas Acceptance Corporation, Winnipeg, MB. Regd 20th January 1971.

• CF-AZW Ilford Riverton Airways Ltd., based at Winnipeg, MB. Dates currently unknown.

• CF-AZW Athabaska Airways Ltd., La Ronge, SK. Regd 24-Oct-1972.

Accident: Lac la Ronge, SK. 15-Jun-1973. Crashed attempting to take off in strong winds. See report below.

Accident: Lower Foster Lake, SK. 26-Aug-1974 Report described incident as “Final approach; selected unsuitable terrain; delayed initiating go-around; substantial damage”

• C-FAZW Re regd with Athabaska Airways Ltd, La Ronge, SK. Canx 08-Apr-1993.

Accident: La Ronge, SK. 12-Feb- 1981. On take off from a shortened runway the ski equipped aircraft suffered an engine failure, the pilot landed straight ahead, over ran the end of the runway and fell down a large ditch. Damage repaired. (See report below).

Accident: Wollaston Lake, Hidden Bay, SK. 16-Aug-1992. Shortly after becoming airborne in gusting wind conditions, the fully loaded aircraft descended and struck the shore of the lake. Both the pilot and passenger escaped without injury. (Further details below).

• C-FAZW 2621-7067 Québec-Inc, St Zenon, QC. Regd 26-May-1995. Canx 25-Jul-1975. (A possible Hunting lodge.)

• C-FAZW Cargair Ltée., St. Michel-des-Saintes (Lac Kaiagamac), QC, who rebuilt the aircraft after the above reported accident. Regd 26-Jul-1995. Canx 02-Jul-1996.

• C-FAZW Northern Lights Air Service Ltd., Goose Bay, NL. Regd 28-Jun-1996 & 27-Aug-1996. Canx 15-Sep-1997.

• C-FAZW Air Saguenay (1980) Inc., Jonquière, QC. Based Lac Sebastien, QC. Regd 15-Sep-1997 & 23-Apr-1999.

• C-FAZW Athabasca Airways Ltd., Prince Albert, SK. Based Lynn Lake, MB. Regd 22-Jun-2001. Canx 22-Aug-2001.

• C-FAZW Air Saguenay (1980) Inc., Jonquière, QC. Based Dorval, QC. Regd 20-Nov-2001. Later Chicoutimi 23-May-2003 and then Jonquiere 02-Sep-2003. Canx 24-Oct-2003

• C-FAZW Labrador Air Safari (1984) Inc., Jonquière. QC. (Same address as Air Saguenay). Based Dorval. Regd 24-Oct-2003 Canx 09-Mar-2010.

• C-FAZW Air Saguenay (1980) Inc., Jonquière, QC. Based Baie-Comeau, QC. Regd 09-Mar-2010. Canx and deleted 21-Aug-2015 on export to USA.

• N636KT Rustair Inc., Anchorage, AK. Regd 26-Aug-2015. K2 Aviation.

Power plant. Converted to PT-6A. Other details unknown.

Airworthiness date 18-Sep-2015.


Otter 451 is shown in the DHC records as delivered to the Tanzanian Air Force on 11th February 1966 with serial 9101, although in fact it never entered service and has quite a 'political' history. This started in December 1964 when the United Nations (UN) ordered 8 Otters new from DHC, for delivery in February 1965, intended for use in West Irian, a very under-developed part of Indonesia. The Otters were to have been used to develop air transportation in the region, so that UN officials could move around and assist with the development of the area. Otters number 451 to 454 and 458 to 461 were to be the eight aircraft, procured at a cost of $1,060,000. However, following strong diplomatic representations from Britain, concerned that the Otters might end up used for other purposes, used by Indonesia in its confrontation with Malaysia, the Canadian External Affairs Minister vetoed the sale.

Accordingly, another use had to be found for the eight Otters, and an opportunity presented itself in April 1965 when the Canadian government was requested to provide assistance to Tanzania in establishing an air wing. In September 1965 the Canadian government announced its proposals, for a five year programme costing nine million dollars. This included the eight Otters and four Caribous with support equipment and spares. The Canadians would also assist with the training of 400 air and ground crew, 200 of which would be trained in Canada. Training was provided to the Tanzanian personnel at Camp Borden, Ontario and RCAF Otter 3681 (39) was stationed there from October 1965 until March 1966 for this purpose. Otter 451 was delivered by DHC on 11th February 1966 and by 14th February had arrived at Camp Borden for use as a ground instructional airframe, number A703.

The Otter continued in use as such at Camp Borden until June 1969, when it went to Trenton and by 10th December 1969 it was at the Mountain View depot in Ontario. In May 1970 it was packed into a crate there, intended for shipment to Tanzania, but in the event was not shipped. It was one of three of the eight Tanzanian Otters that never left Canada, but were only used for the training of Tanzanian personnel at Camp Borden and then reverted to DHC which sold the aircraft. Number 451 was sold to Atlas Acceptance Corporation, Winnipeg and was registered to the company as CF-AZW on 20th January 1971. It was re-assembled at Winnipeg and then sold to Ilford Riverton Airways Ltd., based at Winnipeg. In October 1972 it was sold on to Athabaska Airways Ltd., of La Ronge, Saskatchewan.

AZW crashed at Lac la Ronge on 15th June 1973. Winds were out of the north east at 25 gusting to 40 mph. In order to position the Otter at a suitable take off point, the pilot had to manoeuvre the aircraft in the strong gusting wind conditions. An attempt to sail the craft to the intended point of departure failed because of the wind direction. The pilot applied power and attempted a turn to the right to taxi downwind. During the turn, the left wing lifted and the right wing dug into the water. Recovery action was ineffectual. The aircraft continued to nose down and then capsized. This manoeuvring had been attempted with flaps in the full down position. The findings of the accident report were that the pilot used incorrect taxying techniques and attempted to manoeuvre the aircraft in wind conditions that were beyond its capability.

The Otter was repaired and returned to service with Athabaska Airways. It was again damaged on 26th August 1974 at Lower Foster Lake, Saskatchewan, the report describing: “Final approach; selected unsuitable terrain; delayed initiating go-around; substantial damage”. Again, it was repaired, re-registered C-FAZW and continued in service with Athabaska Airways. It had another crash at La Ronge on12th February 1981. The engine failed when the aircraft was climbing out after take off and the pilot elected to land straight ahead on the remaining runway. He lowered the skis to assist in stopping. The skis made contact with the runway and slid onto the packed snow on the over-run area and the speed increased. The aircraft slid the full length of the over-run and into a fifteen foot deep ditch. Take off had been commenced from an intersection which had effectively cut the available runway in half. Had the full length been used, the aircraft probably could have been stopped. Again, the aircraft was repaired.

The Otter's fourth crash while flying for Athabaska Airways occurred on 16th August 1992 at Wollaston Lake, Hidden Bay, Saskatchewan. The accident report describes it thus: “Shortly after becoming airborne in gusting wind conditions, the fully loaded aircraft descended and struck the shore of the lake. Both the pilot and passenger escaped without injury. The pilot reported that the initial take-off and climb to 200 feet had been normal. Upon reaching 200 feet the pilot throttled the engine back to climb power and began to reduce the flap setting. At this point, the aircraft was approaching a high point of land and suddenly began to descend. The pilot re-applied engine power and flap, however the aircraft continued to sink. The pilot maintained a wings level attitude to avoid stalling the aircraft and crashed parallel to the shore line. The pilot believes he encountered a severe downdraft which he could not power out of. He believes that the accident could have been avoided had he accelerated to a higher airspeed, not reduced flap or power settings until the Otter had overflown the higher ground, and given himself a little more take off room and a lighter load to ensure clearance”.  The wreck of the Otter was noted in the Cargair hangar at Lac Kaiagmac, Québec in May 1993.

That was the end of AZW’s career with Athabaska Airways. The Otter had been badly damaged in the crash. Registration to Athabaska Airways was cancelled on 6 April 1993 and the wrecked Otter was sold by the insurers to Cargair Ltée of St.Michel-des-Saints, Québec being noted in their hangar at Lac Kaiagmac in May 1993. After a rebuild at Lac Kaiagmac, the Otter was registered to 2621-7067 Québec Inc., the company of Jacques Prud’homme, the owner of Cargair and was subsequently registered to Cargair Ltée and entered service with that company for summer 1995. For summer 1996 the Otter went on lease to Northern Lights Air Service Ltd.,to whom it was registered on 28 June 1996, based out of Goose Bay, Labrador. It was operated all white with small Northern Lights Air Service titles and flew again for that company in summer 1997. Its registration was cancelled on 15 September 1997 on which day it was registered to Air Saguenay (1980) Inc., Lac St .Sebastien, Québec, joining their fleet of Otters and was painted into the Air Saguenay colour scheme.

AZW was to fly for Air Saguenay for a number of years, although it was leased back to Athabaska Airways for summer 2001, before re-joining the Air Saguenay fleet, being registered back to Air Saguenay on 1 November 2001. During 2002 AZW was advertised for sale, with a total airframe time of 14,718 hours and an asking price of CAD$600,000. However it did not sell and continued in service with Air Saguenay. On 24 October 2003 it was transferred to Labrador Air Safari (1984) Inc., an associated company of Air Saguenay, under the same ownership. It moved base to Baie Comeau, Québec and was painted into the white and orange colour scheme of Labrador Air Safari. It would fly for this company for the next ten years, flying hunters, fishermen and tourists into the Québec bush country. On 20 March 2010 the Otter was again registered to Air Saguenay but continued in service as part of the Labrador Air Safari fleet of Otters. This continued until the end of the summer 2012 season, when AZW was parked at Baie Comeau with its engine removed.

AZW was advertised for sale in February 2013, with total time of 18,378 hours, on EDO 7170 floats. It was advertised for sale as “Excellent aircraft for turbine conversion, owner is motivated to sell”. It was still for sale in September 2014, with an asking price of $525,000. It was one of four Labrador Air Safari Otters which Air Saguenay had for sale at that time. AZW was sold to Rustair Inc., of Anchorage, Alaska in January 2015, on wheels and without engine. On 13 January 2015 Rustair reserved marks N636KT for their new acquisition, which was trucked from Baie Comeau, Québec to Geraldton, Ontario for rebuild and conversion to turbine by Recon Air at Geraldton.

Work started on the conversion at Geraldton, including fitting the PT-6A-34 engine. It had originally been intended that this would be completed by May 2015, so that the Otter could have been flown to Alaska for the summer season, but hidden damage delayed the completion of the work and put the project some months behind schedule. It was however completed during August, including painting into Rust’s attractive red colour scheme. It was the 97th Vazar conversion. Marks C-FAZW were cancelled on 21 August 2015 and the Otter registered to Rustair inc, Anchorage on 26 August 2015 as N636KT. The otter was still at Geraldton during September, awaiting US Certificate of Airworthiness, and when this had issued it was delivered as follows:

17.10.2015       Geraldton  -  Thunder Bay

18.10.2015       Thunder Bay-Atikokan-Fort Frances-St.Andrew

19.10.2015    St.Andrew-Fort Frances-Thunder Bay-Geraldton. Problems had been experienced during the delivery flight with the fuel pressure and the Otter had returned to Geraldton for a fix.

23.10.2015    Geraldton-Thunder Bay

24.10.2015    Thunder Bay-Fort Frances-St.Andrew

25.10.2015    St.Andrew-Dauphin-Saskatoon-Villeneuve

26.10.2015    Weathered in at Villeneuve

27.10.2015    Villeneuve-Fort St.John-Fort Nelson-Watson Lake-Whitehorse

28.10.2015    Whitehorse-Tok-Anchorage

N636KT entered service with Rustair for summer 2016, carrying the K2 logo on the tail and based at Talkeetna. It continues to fly for Rustair for summers of 2018 - 2022.

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.