Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Vancouver-South Seaplane Base, 2006

C-GOPP The light was low but I had a quick look at the Vancouver Seaplane base, near the South terminal of the international airport and on the Fraser River.

I noticed this DeHavilland DHC-3 Turbo Otter C-GOPP, which has c/n 355 and was registered to Harbour Air Ltd on 02Jun04. It was built in 1959.

C-FJFQ We see here C-FJFQ being towed from the river to the maintenance area; note the half-truck !!
C-FJFQ and C-FMXS I took this photo mainly for the hangar in the background...
But there are 2 Beavers parked here. One is c/n 963 C-FJFQ.
It was delivered on 25Jul56. Operators include Granduc Mines Ltd (CF-JFQ) and Air B.C.
Gulf Air Aviation bought it in 1979.
It crashed on 13Apr81 at Knight Inlet,BC during take off from a river, when it struck shore...
But she wasn't written off and C-FJFQ she reappeared with Pacific Coastal Airlines Ltd. of Richmond,BC (06Sep89).
Next operator became Coast Western Airlines Ltd. of Garden Bay,BC (18May94).
Present owner / operator Harbour Air Ltd. of Richmond,BC had C-FJFQ registered on 30May95.
Source and more photos:

C/n 1010 is C-FMXS these days.
History started on 07Dec56 when it was delivered as 55-4609 to the US Army.
Its career came to an end in 1975 and it was stored at Davis Monthan AFB from 03Feb75 to 19Nov76.
Its first tailnumber was N43882 for the Department of Agriculture of Mission,TX but I have no date for this; it was cancelled during Feb92.
N300KU became it snext identification, for the Kansas Geological Survey (University of Kansas) of Lawrence,KS except... it wasn't taken up!
It underwent a Shawano conversion.
It was entered in Canadian's Registry as C-FMXS on 25Feb92, probably for John Racey of White Rock,BC. But also states that same date as being registered to Baxter Airlines Ltd. of Nanaimo,BC.
Regd 14/05/92 Harbour Air Ltd. became owner on 14May92 Richmond,BC. And Vancouver Airport South, is its homebase.

C-FSKZ in foreground and C-FPCG The following morning I returned here and witnessed the early morning rush hour (07:30 am). The weather was a bit dull, but it was heartwarming to see all the action on the Fraser River.

The yellow/blue Beaver is c/n 1594 C-FSKZ.
It came off the production line in 1965. As CF-SKZ it joined Hull Air Service.
C-FSKZ 497041 became its identification for Ontario Ltd. of Saulte Ste.Marie,ONT (based at Brown's Island).
On 22Apr93 it was registered to Plaunt & Son of Sudbury,ONT.
Since 26Apr94 it has been faithfully serving Whistler Air Services Ltd. of Whistler,BC.


And here we see "Kilo Zulu" gaining speed, seconds from lift off.

Source and more photos from:

Meanwhile, on the Canadian eastcoast, the Toronto Aerospace Museum and Parc Downsview Park Inc. posted the message they would host the second annual "Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival" (WWHF) at Downsview Park, Toronto, Ont., Canada on May 26&27th, 2007.
The 2007 festival will celebrate the 60th anniversary of birth of the DeHavilland Canada DHC-2 aircraft which was developed at Downsview, a suburb of Toronto, and first flew on 16Aug47.
Yep, the Beaver is a true classic, and a worthy festivity to attend.
More (by early 2007):

C-FGQF High and dry.... This is c/n 81 C-FGQF.
First delivery was on 03Jun53 and as CF-GQF Gulf Aviation Inc became the first operator.
Next identity became C-FGQF for North Coast Air Services Ltd. of Prince Rupert,BC (15Nov90).
From North Central it went to Air Rainbow Ltd. (of Nanaimo,BC 1993) and Tsayta Aviaton Ltd. (Fort St James,BC 06Aug93).
Aero Aviation operated this Beaver (period?) and it became registered to Castle Rock Exploration Corporation (Richmond,BC 23Jun95).
Who or what is 839901 Alberta Inc. (of Calgary,AB) who had C-FGQF registered on 28Aug00 (and again 08Mar06).
Info and photos:
UPDATE: same across C-FGQF in a similar condition in 2019, see my Vancouver Seaplanes 2019.


C-GHAS is a Dehavilland DHC-3 Otter, c/n 284, registered 24Mar03 to Harbour Air; it was manufactured in 1958 and has since been modified to Turbine Otter.
More info on this aircraft will be welcomed.

C/n 1392 is these days registered as C-GOLC.
C-GOLC DeHavilland delivered this DHC-2/L-20 on 02Nov59 as 58-2060 to the US Army.
N62354 entered the books but details are missing.
It was imported to Canada in 1975. Its first tailnumber here was C-GOLC for Belize Forest & Pack Log of Vancouver,BC (in Sep75). It was noted at Vancouver,BC in June 1984: mistakenly painted as C-GOCL !
Thunderbird Air (1987) Inc became owner, followed by Tyee Airways Ltd. of Sechelt,BC. A familiar name appeared on the scene: Harbour Air Ltd., who had it registered on 26May92.
Two years later C-GOLC moved to Baxter Aviation Ltd. of Nanaimo,BC, on 31Oct94.
Photos and more:

Strong colours fit the Beaver well, I think...

C-GOLC in take off A clean lift off by C-GOLC.

I have John Olafson to thank for forwarding this news in April 2007, published by the Vancouver Sun:
Vancouver-based floatplane operator West Coast Air has purchased Nanaimo-based Baxter Aviation for an undisclosed price, the companies announced today.
West Coast Air president Rick Baxter bought Baxter Aviation from his father, Tom, who launched the airline in 1985. Baxter Aviation provides daily Vancouver-to-Nanaimo service while West Coast Air focuses on Vancouver to Victoria.
The acquisition was completed late last week and the expanded West Coast Air operation now has more than 150 employees and 20 aircraft - including six deHavilland Twin Otters, 13 deHavilland Beavers and one Cessna 180.

April 2010 saw tables reversed for West Coast Air, being gobbled up by another seaplane operator>>>
Harbour Air Seaplanes is in final negotiations to acquire West Coast Air, and expects to close a deal by April 30.
West Coast Air is said to continue to operate under its own brand, and that terminals in both Victoria and Vancouver harbours would remain for the time being.
Harbour Air is owned by Greg McDougall of Vancouver, who is majority shareholder, and restaurateur Brent Davies, a minority partner. West Coast Air — formerly known as Baxter Air — is operated by the Baxter family, who have run scheduled and chartered service on the West Coast for 35 years.
West Coast Air has six 18-passenger Twin Otter aircraft and nine Beaver planes, each holding six passengers. All are amphibious craft.
Harbour Air calls itself the largest seaplane company in the world, with 34 aircraft.
"The economy being down, they were seeing reduced passenger loads," Wright said. In this business there are plenty of synergies, so it made a lot of sense to get together and do things like accounting, marketing. ... It's a high-cost business with fuel, wages and maintenance costing a lot of money, and I think both sides see a lot of savings."
West Coast Air also operates out of Nanaimo, Comox and Sechelt, adding the latter after buying Pacific Wings two years ago. It lost some market share during the economic downturn.
Government travel — with business clients the lion's share of passengers in the off-season — was reportedly down 15 to 20 per cent this year after the Campbell government cut back on travel budgets.
West Coast Air operates six terminals — two in the Lower Mainland, one at Coal Harbour near Canada Place and the other on the Fraser River at Sea Air on Inglis Drive, as well as terminals in Victoria's Inner Harbour, Nanaimo, Comox and Sechelt.
[Canwest News Service April 2010]

C-FAOPWe see here C-FAOP (c/n 1249) shortly before and during departure. C-FAOP was first delivered on 31Oct58 as CF-AOP to Algoma Steel Corporation Ltd; as C-FAOP Air BC leased it until 1982 (starting?). Framer Aviation Ltd. of Campbell River,BC was owner and/or operator, but this was cancelled on 27May82. Next was Tyee Airways Ltd. (Sechelt,BC), in turn cancelling on 17May83. C-FAOP went to Brenco Investments Ltd (date?) and possibly Air Rainbow, in early 1993.
Thunderbird Air (1987) Inc. (again of Sechelt,BC) was next (date?) and on 08Mar90 Baxter Aviation Inc. (Nanaimo,BC) purchased it...
Moving out...

...Six year later it went to Harbour Air Ltd. (Richmond,BC), on 20Mar96 to be precise.
Salt Spring Island Air Ltd. of Salt Spring Island,BC became the proud owner of C-FAOP on 28May04.
Photos & info:

C-FJIM C-FJIM of Tofino Air is put-putting to its take off point...
Construction number is 461 and it was first delivered on 10Mar53 as L-20 with serial 52-6092 to the USAF.
Tailnumber N65035 was quoted as its first civilian identity, but no details.
It was reported sold during 1990. Tailnumber C-FJIM was assigned on 19Dec90.
Next we see Ts'Ang Aero Marine Ltd. of Delta,BC named as owner (Ts'Ang means Beaver). And on 07Jul00 it was registered to Tofino Air Lines Ltd. (of Tofino,BC).
Info and more:

A good look on the modest dock facilities here.
The Flying Beaver Bar & Grill is located here too, but not open for breakfast or morning coffee, much to my regret (later, dinner failed here too, since it is popular hangout and packed on most nights).
Pretty busy !
This intriguingly painted Beaver is c/n 1203 C-FHRT.

Its career started with delivery on 07Mar58 with serial 57-2562 for the US Army.
Some of the data appears lost as history restarts with a cancellation of tailnumber N64390 in Apr73. That year it was imported into Canada and registered as C-FHRT for Tyee Airways Ltd. of Sechelt,BC on 26Apr91.
Air Rainbow (what a great name? did they find the pot of gold I wonder?!) of Nanaimo,BC registered it to its name on 05Mar93.
A more functional name appeared on the scene: Island Hopper Aviation Inc. (again of Nanaimo,BC) became owner on 05Mar93

C-FHRT soon seen moving out

On 27Jan95 we see a previous owner (? name slight differs): Air Rainbow Mid-Coast, this time of Port McNeill,BC.
And the present owner Tofino Air Lines Ltd. (Gibsons,BC) had it registered to its name on 25Jan01 and again on 24Jul02.
All this (and more photos):

C-FPCG It was very entertaining to witness the hustle and bustle here on the Fraser River...

C/n 1000 C-FPCG is seen here gaining speed for lift off.
It cam off the production line on 14Nov56 and first toured as CF-PCG, as a De Havilland demonstrator.
It was purchased by Collingwood Air Service in 1981 (as N9775S?). It wore at some point tailnumber N188JM, but it was cancelled during Jul88.


C-FPCG became its new identity on 11Jul88 for Pacific Aircraft Salvage Inc. of Vancouver,BC. Oakley Air Ltd. (Vancouver,BC) became owner (date?) and next we see it with Seair Services 1990 Ltd. (of Richmond,BC - registered 17May93), operating from Vancouver,BC.
Source and more:

Arriving at homebase, this is DHC-2 c/n 1171 C-GTMC.

It was delivered on 29Nov57 as 56-0416 for the US Army.
It had found its way over to Europe as it was put up for sale at the Coleman Barracks in Germany during Feb74 (with a ttl 4,382.0 hours).
Its civilian registration became C-GUJZ for Laurentian Air Services Ltd. of Ottawa,ONT during 1978 - 1979.
Airnat Ltée,PQ was named as owner in 1984. While in use with Granite Air Inc it sank on 11Jun88, while on a take off run; tailnumber C-GUJZ was cancelled in Aug90.
But you cannot hold a good Beaver down: it was restored and on 05May95 registered to Ingrid Pearce of Surrey,BC.
It became for sale in Apr97 with a grand total of 6,600 hours for 310,000 dollars (on floats $360K). During May97 its registration was cancelled, unloved and unwanted...again.
Next identity became N100HF, assigned on 21May97 for Maketea Productions Inc. of Burbank,CA.
And LHF Holdings Inc. (c/o TAG Aviation) of Burlingame,CA owned it afterwards (no date).
Its present identity C-GTMC for Seair Seaplanes Limited (Richmond,BC) came in effect on 26Jan98.

Sadly, C-GTMC was involved in an accident on 29Nov09 and sank in Lyall Harbour, Saturna Island,BC resulting in 6 killed + 2 injured.--> see photo right, by Associated Press


C-GTMC crash by Associated Press

C-FJOM After I got in the car and started to drive off to find a place for breakfast, I noticed one more Beaver, sitting on a desolate ramp of the airport.
This is c/n 1024 C-FJOM.
deHavilland Canada delivered it on 08May57 as CF-JOM to J. K. Springer.
Operators include Pacific Western Airlines Ltd. (Vancouver,BC) and N.T. Air (but dates missing).
It crashed into lake but was salvaged; pity I have no details (where? when? details?).
Hope for a new lease on life took shape upon its delivery on 04Nov76 to Vancouver, BC., for storage and rebuild; it was noted at Vancouver 22Jul82 after complete rebuild.
Orca Air Ltd. was reported as operator during 1983.
C-FJOM became registered on 22Apr88 to Amiskwi Air Ltd. of Golden,BC and again on 25May95 to Amiskwi Air Ltd. (this time of Vernon,BC).

David Wiebe wrote me in Aug.2017: "That yellow and green Beaver you have pictured is in the livery of Wag Air.
That company went defunct in the mid to late-1990's after losing one of their newly rebuilt DHC-2s just south of Porcher Island."

Vancouver South Seaplane Base location
South Terminal and operators, including regularly scheduled floatplane operators


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