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De Havilland Canada
DHC-3 Otter

A very successful STOL aircraft for civil and military use.

De Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter RCAF 3662 Air to air photograph of RCAF DHC-3 Otter 3662
 
The DHC-3 Otter is a single engine, high-wing propeller aircraft designed and built by De Havilland Canada as a larger aircraft to fulfil similar roles to the DHC-2 Beaver.
 
Like the Beaver, it is a rugged short take-off and landing (STOL) utility aircraft ideally suited for bush operations from unprepared airfields.  Built near at Downsview near Toronto during the 1950's, it was initially designated as a 'King Beaver' in order to extend the company's portfolio of rugged, utility aircraft.
 
Passenger capacity had been increased to around 10 seats, plus two crew, and power is provided by the 600hp Pratt and Whitney Twin Wasp radial engine. It can be equipped with wheels, skis, floats or amphibious floats to suit operating conditions.
 
De Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter G-ANCM A fine air-to-air photograph of DHC-3 Otter G-ANCM
 
The prototype (CF-SKX-X) was flown for the first time on 12th December 1951 and overall some 466 were built, finding a ready market with both civilian and military users.
 
Military users included the US Army (200 aircraft as U-1A); Canada (66 as CSR-123); US Navy (four aircraft as UC-1 (later U-1C)) together with many other nations, including Australia, Burma, Chile, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, and Norway. Production ceased in 1967.
 
De Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter US Navy Two of the DHC-3 Otters supplied to the US Navy as the UC-1 Otter
 
A number of aircraft have been modified to turbo-prop power or fitted with larger piston engines such as the 1,000hp PZL ASz-62 radial engine.
 
A reasonable number of aircraft continue in service, particularly in Canada and Alaska and 67 were still listed on the FAA register in 2017, most of these being based in Alaska.
 
The US Army became the largest operator of the Otter (designated U-1A Otter) when delivery numbers reached 184 aircraft.  Additional military users included Australia and India, operating in its primary role as a rugged 'bush' plane which it still continues to this day.  A more unusual application is as a Skydiving platform where it proved popular due to its stability even at low airspeeds. 
 
117 were still listed on the Canadian Civil register in 2017, these numbers representing some 40% the fleet still registered and an amazing 65-years after the type’s first flight (although not all of these aircraft are likely to be active).

 

 

Specification

 Powerplant  One 600hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Twin Wasp radial piston engine 
 Span  58 ft 0 in
 Maximum Weight  7,981 lb
 Capacity   Two crew and up to 10 passengers
 Maximum Speed  160 mph
 Cruise Speed  138 mph
 Range  820 nm with reserves; 720 nm with reserves with 2,100 lb payload

Number built and Survivors

 466                           De Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter                                                                   
 
There are a huge number of aircraft on display at museums around the world