Juneau (Alaska), 2006

Photos © Ruud Leeuw

When I arrived in Juneau I was pleasantly surprised by two things: the weather was bright and sunny, while I had been warned to expect a lot of rain in these parts of Alaska.
The second thing I noticed was that my room in the Breakwater Inn had a good, though somewhat distant view over the harbour, which is also the approach path of the seaplanes into Juneau.
So my wife and I recovered from our early rise that morning for our Alaskan Airlines flight from Anchorage to Juneau, relaxing for a while on our balcony, holding a cold softdrink, enjoying the revitalizing sunrays and I enjoyed the passing of seaplanes...

Two maps will show you that the airport (PAJN) is a considerable distance from "downtown" where our accommodations were (some 20 US Dollars by cab). Overall view and Downtown where the cruiseboats and floatplanes are, at the Juneau Harbor Seaplane Base (5Z1).

N339AK N339AK is a DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter, modified with a turbine engine; one sees quite a number of these around.
N339AK has c/n 454 and has been registered to Alaska Coastal Airlines since 25Apr02.
FAA's website has its year of manufacturing for this DHC-3 Otter at 1965.

Karl Hayes wrote the authorative monograph on the DHC-3 from which I quote N339AK's history:

Otter 454 was delivered to the Tanzanian Air Force on 12th April 1966 with serial 9104. It remained in Canada under the care of the RCAF until May 1967, when it was crated and shipped to Tanzania, where it was re-assembled and entered service, based at Dar Es Salaam. 9104 continued in service there until April 1972, when this Otters was one of a batch purchased by Bannock Aerospace Ltd of Toronto.
The five Otters were flown from Dar Es Salaam to Nairobi-Wilson airfield in Kenya in April 1972 and during May were prepared for the long ferry flight back to Canada. They were registered to Bannock Aerospace Ltd 9104 became CF-DIY.
After overhaul, on 28th July 1972 CF-DIY was sold on to B.C.Yukon Air Service Ltd of Watson Lake, Yukon. It went on to fly for this company for seventeen years, later re-registered C-FDIY. In April 1989 it was sold to Temsco Helicopters Inc of Ketchikan, Alaska registered N28TH. It flew as part of Temsco's large fleet of Otters out of its Ketchikan base until October 1991, when Temsco announced abruptly that its final services would take place on 01Nov91 and that the airline's fixed wing division would close down on that date.
After a period lying idle, the Otter was sold in March 1993 to Alaska Juneau Aeronautics Inc, trading as “Wings of Alaska” and made the short move north from Ketchikan to Juneau, flying as part of the Wings of Alaska fleet.
For nearly 6 years it retained the registration N28TH but in Jan99 it was registered N339AK in the 'Wings of Alaska' sequence. In April 2002 it was registered to Alaska Coastal Airlines Inc, Juneau but continued flying as part of the Wings of Alaska fleet.
During 2004, Wings of Alaska arranged to convert its Otter fleet to the Texas Turbine conversion
with the Garrett TPE-331 engine. Some of this work was carried out at the company's Juneau base,
where personnel from Texas Turbine attended to assist. In the case of N339AK, its wings and piston
engine were removed at Juneau, and it was shipped in a crate (along with N338AK) to Vernon, BC
where both Otters arrived mid October 2004. Here Kal-Air carried out the actual installing of the
turbine engine, before the Otter was shipped back to Juneau where the conversion work would be
completed over the winter of 2004/05.

N338AK N338AK is a turbine-Otter too; this DHC-3 has c/n 262 and is registered to Alaska Coastal Airlines too (since 25Apr02).
FAA's website (N-inquiry) has N338AK's year of manufacturing listed as 1990..?

Otter 262 was delivered to Petrofina SA of Luanda, Angola, then the colony of Portuguese West
Africa, on 26Jun58, registered CR-LDA. It was later registered to Compagnie de Petroleos de Angola, still based in Luanda. Having served the oil industry in Angola for 12 years, the Otter was
purchased by Bannock Aerospace Ltd of Toronto in February 1971 and marks CF-ZYL allocated prior
to the very long ferry flight from Luanda to Toronto. The Otter passed through Shannon, Ireland on
30th April 1971 before setting off via Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland on the long Atlantic
It was overhauled on arrival and went on lease in June 1971 to Airexec Services Ltd of Fort
St.John, BC. It then returned off lease to Bannock Aerospace Ltd and on 02Jun72 was sold to
Newfoundland & Labrador Air Transport Ltd (NLAT) of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, later reregistered
C-FZYL. NLAT operated the Otter from South Brook, Newfoundland on floats during the
summer and out of Deer Lake in winter. In April 1974 this company became a subsidiary of Air
Labrador. In Jan77, NLAT was sold by Air Labrador but its two Otters ZYL and C-GNLA (424)
were retained as part of the Air Labrador fleet. Accordingly, in Jan77, Otter ZYL was
registered to Labrador Airways Ltd, based at Goose Bay. Labrador Airways gradually replaced its
single Otters with Twin Otters on it scheduled services, but Otter ZYL was retained in the fleet for
general charter work.
In May 1988, C-FZYL was transferred to Labrador Aviation Services Ltd of Goose Bay and
continued flying as part of the Labrador Airways fleet until it was sold in January 1989 and registered
to Ken Wilson Aircraft Sales Ltd of Toronto. It was sold on to Kenneth R. Ward, trading as Ward Air, of Juneau, Alaska, to whom it was registered in July 1990 as N62355. The Otter was flown al the way to Juneau on wheels by Ken Ward. Its floats were transported via truck and then barge to Alaska and N62355 became a floatplane, flying from Juneau as such on general charter work.
The Otter continued flying for Ward Air until March 1993, when it was sold to Alaska Juneau
Aeronautics Inc, trading as Wings of Alaska, also based at Juneau. This carrier operates scheduled
and charter flights out of Juneau, particularly catering for the cruise ship passengers who call into
Juneau during the summer months.
In April 1997 the Otter was re-registered N338AK, in the course of a re-paint with Victoria Air Maintenance at their facility at Victoria on Vancouver Island. On 25Apr02 the Otter was sold to Alaska Coastal Airlines Inc, a company formed by a group of employees of Alaska Juneau Aeronautics, and it continued to fly from Juneau as part of the Wings of Alaska fleet.
During 2004, Wings of Alaska arranged to convert its Otter fleet to the Texas Turbine conversion
with the Garrett TPE-331 engine. Some of this work was carried out at the company's Juneau base,
where personnel from Texas Turbine attended to assist. In the case of N338AK, its wings and piston
engine were removed at Juneau and it was shipped in a crate (along with N339AK) to Vernon, BC
where both Otters arrived mid October '04. Here Kal-Air carried out the actual installation of the
turbine engine before the Otter was shipped back to Juneau, where the conversion work would be
completed over the winter of 2004/05.

N336AK Sorry, I could not resist a bit of photoshopping here..

This is N336AK, DHC-3 c/n 333 and also flying for Alaska Coastal Airlines, which also seems to do business as Wings Airways.
It was registered on 26Mar03 to the present owner / operator.

Otter 333 was delivered to the United States Army on 26th June 1959 with serial 58-1715 (tail number 81715). 81715 continued to serve, at Fresno until December 1976, when it was deleted from the Army inventory.
The Otter was transferred to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). It was noted at Boeing Field, Seattle during
June 1977, still in its Army olive drab colours but registered N5352G, and was assigned to the CAP's
Pacific Region. In January 1980 it was sold on, being registered C-GBNJ to Silver Pine Air Services
Ltd of Silver Falls, Manitoba who refurbished the Otter, and it was then sold to Parsons Airways
Northern Ltd of Flin Flon, Manitoba to whom it was registered on 05Jun80. For the next 9 years it served the northern Manitoba bush country, one of a number of Otters flown by Parsons.
It was sold in May 1989 to Ketchum Air Service Inc of Anchorage, Alaska and was registered to its
new owners as N567KA. It arrived in Vancouver on 24th November 1989 to be worked on by
Aeroflite Industries prior to delivery to Anchorage. It was noted in Anchorage during July 1992 flying
for Ketchums, but still painted in the green/white colour scheme it had worn during its days with
Parsons Airways. Although it carried Ketchum titles, it never was painted in their blue/white house
The Otter was sold to Alaska Juneau Aeronautics Inc, trading as Wings of Alaska, in March
1993 and re-registered N336AK. It was noted at Vancouver in May93, repainted in full Wings of
Alaska colour scheme, about to be delivered to its new base at Juneau.
It went on to serve as part of the Wings of Alaska fleet for many years, flying countless cruise ship
passengers on sightseeing flights during the summer months. On 19Jul01 it was registered to Wings Airline Services Inc, Juneau, continuing to fly as part of the Wings of Alaska fleet. On 26Mar03 the Otter was registered to Alaska Coastal Airlines Inc of Juneau, but again continued to fly as part of the Wings of Alaska fleet.
During the winter of 2003/04, N336AK was converted to a Texas Turbine Otter at Juneau. A minor incident was recorded on 12May04 when N336AK ran into sister ship N337AK (418) while docking in Juneau Harbour. Only superficial damage was caused and both Otters were soon back in service.

N91AK serving Holland America Line It was only a twenty minute walk to the 'business center' of Juneau and the main docks, where the gigantic cruiseboats dock and these tiny seaplanes (a.k.a. floatplanes) wait for their passengers to take them swiftly on a spectacular flightseeing trip.

N91AK is a DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver, with c/n 737.
Its history saw a delivery on 10Dec54 as 53-7926 to the US Army.
It found its way to Germany because it was offered for sale at the Coleman Barracks of Mannheim in Feb74.
By then it had a total of 4,864.0 flying hours.
It went back to North America and was registered as C-GAEU for B-M Aviation Ltd. of Lachute in Sep74.
It was bought by Lindberg's Hunt & Fish Air Service of Cochrane / Lillabelle Lake,ONT (but I have no date of this).
Its present tailnumber N91AK was listed for Alaska Coastal Airlines of Juneau, AK (a.k.a. Wings of Alaska Airways) on 01Nov02 For more photos and its career, see DHC-2.com, which also lists that by 28May04 this Classic Bushplane had amassed a total of 20,647 flying hours.

In take off Classic take off: one float gets unstuck from the water and the other one is followed soon... airborne !


The Hangar is a nice place to have a meal or drinks; they have a view on the docks and large cruiseships.
The Hangar was home to Alaska aviation pioneer Shell Simmons' Alaska Air Transport in 1935, Marine Airways, Alaska Coastal Airlines in 1939, and Alaska Coastal-Ellis in 1962.

N337AK is another turbine-converted DHC-3 Otter (c/n 418), built in 1961. It is operated by the same company.

N90AK Another fine looking Beaver of the DeHavilland kind...
This is c/n 438, presently registered as N90AK for Wings Airways (d.b.a. Wings of Alaska too?).
It was delivered on 26Jan53 to the USAF as 52-6076.
its civilian career got started with registering it as N5158G in May71 for the Civil Air Patrol Inc. (Hq at Maxwell AFB in Alabama)
It became N90AK for Wings of Alaska / Alaska Juneau Aeronautics Inc., Juneau, AK during June 1988. All this and more at DHC-2.com

The Beaver was designed for flight in rugged and remote areas of the world. Because it often flies to remote locations (which often are in cold climates) its oil reservoir filling spout is located in the cockpit itself and the oil can be refilled while the aircraft is in flight.
Compared to this, flying around Juneau for cruise passengers can only be described as cozy!
Despite the fact that production ceased nearly 40 years ago, hundreds of Beavers are still flying—many of them with considerable modifications.

Although there have been rumours of Canadian companies manufacturing new Beavers, it remains an out-of-production aircraft. The remaining tooling was purchased by Viking Air of Victoria which manufactures replacement parts for most of the early de Havilland line. On February 24, 2006, Viking purchased the type certificates from Bombardier Aerospace for all the original De Havilland designs. The ownership of the certificates gives Viking the exclusive right to manufacture new Beavers.
From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L-20_Beaver

Ketchikan Sea Plane Base A nice view of the seaplane base for Alaska Coastal Airlines (a.k.a. Wings Airways, a.k.a. Wings of Alaska)
N91AK unloading passenger
N92AK and there she goes...

Passengers are being boarded on N92AK (c/n 1031)
It was delivered on 29Jan57 as 56-0356 for the US Army
It became registered N333CD during 1973, and Gary (below) provided all the details !
N92AK loading pax for another departure It became C-GNFR in Sep83 09/83 for Rog-Air Ltd. of Port Loring,ONT.

But disaster struck when it hit trees during take off on 23Jul88. It was reported written off and its registration was cancelled in May 1989.
But it was resurrected!
N92AK was registered to Robert N. Jacobsen of Juneau, AK and Wings of Alaska / Alaska Juneau Aeronautics Inc., Juneau,AK has been registered since 11Mar05.
Source of info and more photos on www.dhc-2.com

"On a Sunday morning in Florida I looked at your website and found my old Beaver: serial 1031 and flown as N333CD!
C/n 1031 was obtained from the Florida Air Nat. Guard in September 1973 for service with the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources. A complete retrofit for standard A/W certificate was completed by Clinton Aviation in Clinton, Indiana. Work done included the following: removal of all door jettisoning mechanisms, heavier Plexiglas in sky lights, removal of all military radios with exception of ADF, strip and and paint in Green and Yellow color scheme.
Aircraft was re weighed by the Indiana State Police for new weight and balance.
During this work it was noted that the aircraft was a composite of two airframes and that the fuselage and nose section numbers did not match. Nothing was noted in the logs that we got with the aircraft!
I was informed later that this was the result of a crash on the nose section while on duty with the Army. Never could be verified.
N 333 CD was chosen for the tail number. My lucky number was 33 and we had to only buy one stencil. CD for Conservation Dept., the forerunner of the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources.
I flew this aircraft over 700 hours the first year of service and brought the first Coho Salmon (via eggs) to Indiana for future stocking in Lake Michigan. I was the sole pilot on this Beaver until my retirement in 78. Replacement pilot was not too fond of the ol' bird and he had limited tail wheel experience.
Solution for that was to replace it with a helicopter and some other more modern aircraft...
In the years that I flew her she was a great airplane and went a lot of places doing a lot of different chores. Lots of off-airport landing and in some tight short spots. Pasture landings put some cowpie debris in the flaps....
This Beaver had all the options: dual controls, dual brakes, aux fuel tanks, camera port, cabin heat enhancer, and some seat options. Special fairings were incorporated into the elevator that were used for radio antennas. These made nice hand holds for pushing it around on the ground.
I think it is the only fixed wing aircraft that I know of that had a landing and takeoff from the bottom of a strip mine...
I've flow several other Beavers and while 1031 was not the fastest, it was rock solid and and tough. Earlier models with the engine air scoop on the bottom of the cowl seemed a bit faster but I think the airframes were also a bit cleaner and lighter than 1031. Thanks for preserving the history of great airplanes and especially this one...."
Gary L. Hoffman, Chief Pilot, IDNR, (Ret.)
N333CD DHC-2 MK-1 Ser. 1031

The following info was volunteerd on the Yahoo DHC-2 Beaver forum:
"I just ran across a photo of an L-20 cockpit. I did not keep track of the source, but it may be a DeHavilland Photo.
Across the bottom is the following text:
"The L-20 differed in a number of ways from the civil Beaver. It had four windows in the cabin roof, a Y-type dual control yoke instead of the "throw-over" control in the civil model, and foot brakes in left and right positions (optional on civil models). Seats were of standard fibre to facilitate the use of parachutes.
Due to a different carburetor, the L-20 primary quadrant controls were: (left to right) power, pitch and mixture. In the commercial model the controls were: pitch, power and mixture. Army-type radio equipment was used. (DH)"
Peter C

YouTube.com has some nice bushflying videos such as this one by Jared Leto

Our visit to Juneau was brief, less than 24 hours, but we had a very nice whale-watching trip (about which you can read on my travel report) and I did get to capture a nice amount of floatplanes.
We continued by boat to Sitka, of which (and the rest of the Alaska trip) can be read on...

Alaska 2006

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