Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Bushplanes at Fort Frances, Ontario

In search of the bushplanes of North America, I made a roadtrip through Northwest Ontario.

Fort Frances, Ontario

Fort Frances, Ontario is located on the international border with Minnesota USA, where Rainy Lake narrows to become Rainy River.
From a beautiful scenic drive on highway 11, we entered a town which is distinctly industrial and unloved.
Its population in 2006 was 8,103. The main employer is a pulp and paper mill established in the early 1900s. The mill is now owned by Abitibi-Consolidated, which employes 700 Fort Frances residents.

Fort Frances was the first European settlement west of Lake Superior, French Canadian fur traders known as voyageurs including La Vérendrye who in 1732 stopped briefly at Fort St. Pierre before building Fort St Charles on Magnuson Island on the west side of Lake of the Woods. A later HBC fort was established here in 1817 and the subsequent settlement was named after Lady Frances Simpson, wife of then Hudson's Bay Company Governor George Simpson, who visited the fort many times.
Over 2,400 residents consider themselves of Ukrainian origin.
Photos courtesy Google Maps & Google Earth


First place we came to, marked -X- on the map above, is the location for
Lakeland Aviation and Northern Wilderness Outfitters.
First we'll have a look at Lakeland...

Lakeland Maintenance


This Beech 18 C-FHZA (c/n A-111) is a 1948 built Beech D18S of Chimo Air.
It was registered to Peter Hagedorn Investments Ltd (which, I assume, does business as Chimo Air) of Red Lake,ONT on 10Jun96.
The website of Ken Stoltzfus offers more photos and information.
Chimo Air is Red Lake-based, see my report of a visit there few days earlier.
I was told they have been doing maintenance on Twin Beeches here for over 50 years! Unfortunately I could find no website of this company.
Lying down on the job

Spring 2018 I read the following: "CHIMO AIR SERVICE and CHIMO LODGE AND OUTPOSTS have been purchased by Superior Air.
Watch for big changes in the near future for the air service.
After building 2 very successful businesses, Peter has decided to retire. Birgit Wilson will be working for another float plane business operating in the area.
Ian Partridge and Steve Rickli are staying on as pilots after the takeover. The rest of the staff have found other employment in the area.
The 2 turbine otters are painted blue and white, while 'SMS and Peter's plane, 'NPO will stay as they are. To all our friends and customers,it is so hard to say goodbye. We wish you well on all your adventures!"
./end quote


C-FCZP Dehavilland DHC-3 Otter C-FCZP c/n 69.

It was registered to Slate Falls Airways (see my page on Sioux Lookout, link at bottom page) 09Oct07 and can be seen in the midst of some heavy maintenance and conversion to turbine engine. It will also get a new coat of paint in a new colourscheme, that of Slate Falls A/W.

The history is from Karl E. Hayes monograph on the DHC-3 Otter:
Otter c/n 69 was delivered to Canadian Pacific Air Lines (CPA) on 1st April 1955 registered CF-CZP. On the same day the airline also took delivery of Otter number 71 which was registered CF-CZO and the careers of both these Otters were destined to move in tandem for many years. CPA had been formed in 1942 and represented a consolidation of many small airlines. One of these airlines which had gone into the formation of CPA was Mackenzie Air Services and in 1955 CPA was still operating in the Mackenzie District of the Northwest Territories. Although CPA was based at Vancouver and by 1955 was one of the most important Canadian airlines with a huge international network, it was also active in bush operations. It was to its bush division that the two Otters were delivered, based at Norman Wells, Northwest Territories.

It is often written that the Otter was one of the aircraft instrumental in opening up the Canadian North to development, and this is undoubtedly the case. The number of Otters so engaged however was relatively small, as the majority of Otter sales were actually to military customers worldwide. Foremost among the Canadian civil Otters engaged in the development of the northern part of their country were the Wardair aircraft, and also the two very hard working CPA Otters. Mail, cargo and passengers came up to Norman Wells on CPA's scheduled DC-3 flights from Edmonton, McMurray, Fort Smith, Hay River and Fort Simpson. From Norman Wells the loads were carried on by the Otters, south to Fort Norman and north to Fort Mc Pherson, Arctic Red River and Aklavik, by means of a twice weekly scheduled service. Charters were also flown by the Otters throughout the Mackenzie region.

To be converted to Turbine The Otters operated on wheel-skis in winter, on floats in summer. When on wheel-skis they flew out of the airport at Norman Wells. On floats they used the Mackenzie River when the ice went out and the river was high, then moved to Transmitter Lake, which was just south of the airport. Files on the Western SAR Area in the Canadian National Archives detail some of the comings and goings of the two Otters throughout the late 1950s, and they both feature quite frequently. Not that the aircraft were in any difficulty as such, but communications in this remote, mountainous region were difficult and often an alert was raised when the Otters could not establish radio contact. Norman Wells- Aklavik; Norman Wells-Fort McPherson; Fort Smith-Fort Simpson; Fort Norman-Aklavik; Aklavik-Fort Good Hope; Vermillion-Aklavik and Fort Simpson-Hay River, all these routings are mentioned many times over the years. Sometimes the Otters had very busy days, such as 28th June '58 when C-FCZP's routing for the day was Tuktoyaktuk-East Three-Aklavik-Norman Wells; or 30th August '58 when the day's tasking was Norman Wells-Fort Good Hope-Arctic Red River-Fort McPherson- Aklavik.

This activity in the Mackenzie region continued until 1959, when CPA relinquished its domestic routes in northern Alberta and the Mackenzie region and other Northwest Territories services to Pacific Western Airlines (PWA) as part of the government's policy of expanding routes for smaller airlines, and the two Otters were acquired by PWA. This was at the time the largest single transfer of scheduled services in Canadian aviation history, involving routes from Edmonton to eighteen points in northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. After the transfer was complete, in addition to its existing routes, PWA was licensed to provide scheduled services over approximately 7,000 miles throughout western and northern Canada. The two Otters were registered to Pacific Western Airlines (Alberta) Ltd of Edmonton, Alberta in March 1959. The aircraft were based at Edmonton, where they received their maintenance, but continued to provide service to remote northern parts.

On 9th September 1960 CF-CZP sustained substantial damage in an accident at Berry Creek in the Yukon Territory. At 1630 hours that day, the Otter took off from Fort McPherson on a freight flight to Old Crow in the Yukon. After an hour's flying and 60 miles from the destination, the engine began to run rough, failing completely before a suitable landing area could be reached. A forced landing was attempted in a slough. The engine was smoking badly and the pilot had to use the side window to line up on his approach. The landing was made with full flap, the aircraft hitting the water hard, bouncing off the side of the slough and landing on the bank. At this point the float struts broke and the Otter skidded a further 300 feet before coming to rest. There was no fire and the two on board exited the aircraft immediately. The pilot had been able to put out a distress call which was acknowledged by Inuvik Radio.

The underside of the fuselage, the main undercarriage attachment fittings and bulkhead, the fuel tanks, the left float and the propeller were substantially damaged. The float struts, wires, fittings and the right float were destroyed. The lower cowlings and augmenter tubes were crushed. The engine failure was due to a valve failing in one of the cylinders. History alas does not relate how the Otter was retrieved from this remote location, but retrieved it was, repaired and returned to service with PWA, continuing to fly alongside CF-CZO. The two Otters continued to fly for PWA until 1965, when PWA sold its bush operation to Northward Aviation Ltd of Edmonton. Included in the sale were four PWA Otters (CZO, CZP, IKK and JAO). Northward Aviation had been formed that year by the amalgamation of the feederline and charter divisions of PWA, Bow Valley Industries and Northward Air Services. Northward Aviation became one of the biggest bush operators in the country, its Otters and other aircraft flying throughout the Northwest Territories.

With Northward Aviation, CZP flew mostly out of Yellowknife and Cambridge Bay. In his muchrecommended book 'Bush and Arctic Pilot', Al Williams describes a flight he made in CZP from Cambridge Bay to Pelly Bay, four hundred miles to the east, in September 1967: “Departing Cambridge Bay, we climbed at only 50 feet per minute and passed just north of the DEW radar site on Jenny Lind Island. About 40 miles west of the Gladman Point radar site on King William Island, I could see a cloud deck at nearly our altitude of 5,000 feet. Having crossed King William Island we overflew Gjoa Haven, on the southeastern coast at 68 degrees 38 minutes North and 95 degrees 57 minutes West. We continued on to Pelly Bay where we off-loaded our cargo and refuelled CZP from the two 45 gallon drums we carried (since Pelly Bay had no fuel available). We were soon winging our way back to Cambridge Bay for a second trip”. After that, it was back to Yellowknife for CZP, some six hours flying away, typical of its work with Northward Aviation.

CZP continued in service with Northward Aviation until 1973, when both it and CZO were sold, as Northward disposed of its Otter fleet during the mid seventies. For nearly twenty years CZO and CZP had flown together, operated by the same carriers, but now they drifted apart, CZO being sold to Ontario Northern Airways of Jellicoe, Ontario in July 1973 and CZP being sold that same month to Carter Air Service Ltd of Hay River, Northwest territories, to whom it was registered as C-FCZP. Carter Air Service was a typical bush carrier, based at Hay River on the southern shore of Great Slave Lake, who already flew Otter C-FIOF. Otter CZP joined its fleet and continued to serve the Canadian north.

Soon to be 'as new' One accident was recorded while flying for Carter Air Service, on take-off from a wet, sticky snow surface in a strong cross-wind at Nahanni Butte, NWT on 30th January 1976. During a second attempted take-off, the pilot forced the aircraft into the air at low airspeed. It settled into the bushes and came to rest in the over-run area, 450 feet beyond the end of the strip. There were no injuries to the eight on board but the Otter had been badly damaged and was grounded for the next two years as a result of the accident. Repairs costing $130,000 were carried out during 1978 and CZP resumed service with Carter Air Service, until sold to Raecom Air Ltd of Yellowknife in May 1980. CZP moved across Great Slave Lake to its new base at Yellowknife and continued to serve the Northwest Territories. In September 1981 it was once again joined by its sister ship C-FCZO, when Raecom Air acquired that Otter. In 1983 a Polish PZL-3S engine of 600 horse power was installed in CZP but that engine did not work well with the Otter. It certainly did not work well in CZP, as on 16th August 1984 while cruising near Yellowknife, the engine failed and the pilot had to make a forced landing on a lake. The propeller and hub had left the aircraft when the engine disintegrated. The R- 1340 was re-installed and CZP continued in service alongside CZO and C-GGSC, the company's other Otters.

In May 1985 CZP was advertised for sale by Mike Hackman Aircraft Sales of Edmonton, as was CZO. CZP was advertised as having 19,000 hours total time on the airframe, certainly a high time machine, on EDO 7170 floats, and with an asking price of $149,000 Canadian. Although CZO was sold, CZP was not and continued in service with Raecom Air. During 1988 new management took over the company which, with effect from 1st November '88 was re-named Air Tindi Ltd. CZP was re-registered to Air Tindi in April 1989 and continued serving the Northwest Territories from its base at Yellowknife. It suffered another mishap at Indin Lake on 26th November 1992, which the accident report summarises as follows: "The Otter on skis was delivering fuel drums to a mining exploration camp. It broke through the ice while taxying towards the shore. The tail remained on the ice and the occupants escaped through the rear cabin door as the front of the aircraft settled and water entered the cockpit. The pilot activated the ELT and SARSAT picked up the signal. An RCC search found and communicated with the pilot that night".

While CZP was being repaired, Air Tindi leased Otter C-FIOF from Carter Air Service. CZP arrived back in Yellowknife on 22nd April 1993 after repair, and it was put up for sale, being replaced in service with Air Tindi by DHC-3T turbo Otter C-FXUY. A buyer did not immediately materialise and CZP remained parked at Yellowknife, in the open, and was noted there during May 1995. The Otter was then sold, the buyer being Williams Aero Service (164814 Canada Inc DBA) of Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, to whom the Otter was registered in July 1995. It returned to the Mackenzie region which it had originally served when flying for Canadian Pacific. CZP's remarkable 42 years of service in the Northwest Territories came to an end in August 1997 when it was sold to Cargair Ltee and moved east to its new base at St.Michel-des-Saints, Quebec. It was in service with Cargair for less than a year, being sold to Walsten Air Service (1986) Ltd of Kenora, Ontario in July 1998. The Otter was still in service with Walsten Air during 2004.

It was bought by Slate Falls Airways of Sioux Lookout during 2007 for turbine conversion.

Its radial days over

Rich Hulina wrote me on 28Jun08: "C-FCZP finally arrived a few weeks ago! "

See also Rich's winter 2010 images on Photos by Friends & Guests (28) and his Guestpage here


C-FUXG is a Piper PA.12 Super Cruiser (c/n 12-3077),
registered to Frederick Brown of Ft.Frances on 12Feb03.
I came across an earlier photo on Air-Britain Photographic Images Collection


C-FOCC Dehavilland DHC-2 Beaver C-FOCC has c/n 23, so indeed an old survivor!

The following information is from
Delivered on 23Oct48 as CF-OCC to Ontario Government, it served a faithful career until it crashed on landing 20Sep80 on the rocky shoreline of Lac La Croix, ONT., suffering substantial damage.
As C-FOCC it was registered to George R. Golder. No date.
And it was registered to Shebandowan Air Ltd. (of Thunder Bay but based at Shebandowan Lake,ONT) on 28Jun90.

Transport Canada offered: C-FOCC Sapawe Air Ltd. of Atikokan,ONT registered 15Jul99. Sapawe Air has 3 DHC-2 Beavers to its name (the others are C-FEYR & C-GKBW) and is based at Eva Lake,ONT with a postbox adress in Atikokan. Website Sapawe Air / Affiliated with Kashabowie Outposts

A 2012 photo update can be seen on Rich Hulina's page on my website.


This spot on Rainy Lake is shared by Fort Frances Sportsmen Airways Ltd / Northern Wilderness Outfitters.
DHC-3 Otter C-GBQC
Otter of Ft.Frances Sportmen Aws
C-GBQC is c/n 401 and was registered to Northern Wilderness Outfitters / Fort Frances Sportsmen Airways Ltd of Fort Frances,ONT on 12Jun84.
Here are some images on And this link has a 2004 image, 'BQC looking distinctly different.

This history is from Karl E. Hayes monograph on the DHC-3 Otter:

Otter c/n 401 was delivered to the RCAF on 14th November 1960 with serial 9420. It was assigned to 442 Squadron at RCAF Station Sea Island, Vancouver on amphibious floats. It was to serve the Squadron for over three years. In July 1961 it deployed to Yellowknife, to support a visit to the Northwest Territories by the Canadian prime minister. The visit was being arranged by 111 Communications & Rescue Flight at Winnipeg but they needed an amphibious Otter. Accordingly, a 111 C&R crew went to Vancouver and borrowed 9420 which, as far as they were concerned, was a “VIP Otter”. 9420 and 3671 (26) of 111 C&R Flight flew from Winnipeg to Yellowknife. On 19th July 1961 the Prime Minister and Mrs.Diefenbaker were flown in 9420 from Yellowknife to Snare River and back the next day. Its VIP duties over, 9420 returned to Sea Island.

On 13th October 1962, the Otter suffered some damage in high winds. On 12th December '62, 9420 force landed on the water ten miles from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Two Albatross aircraft, 9302 and 9305, from 121 Rescue Unit went to the assistance of the Otter, which was towed by boat to French Creek dock for repair. On 24th February 1963 an attempt to take off from the Fraser River was unsuccessful due to a blown cylinder. As darkness was falling, it was towed by boat to Steveston for the night and the following day it was towed to Kitsilano for repair. On 2nd May 1963, 9420 was involved in a 'C' category accident and sustained buckling damage to its starboard float, in the course of a training detail. The pilot was practicing rough water landings. The aircraft struck hard, bounced, and the captain took over from the student and applied full power. The aircraft stalled, but the power succeeded in cushioning the next touchdown, which was gentle. A normal take-off was made from calmer water and the Otter flown back to base, where a landing was safely made. The report found that the pilot had pulled the power off too early, let the aircraft settle, and buried the nose of the starboard float in an oncoming wave. 9420 was flown to the Canadian Pacific Airlines depot at Lincoln Park, Calgary for repair of the buckled float, before returning to 442 Squadron. On 21st February 1964, as 442 Squadron was winding down, the Otter was transferred to 411 Squadron and flew across the country to its new base at Downsview, where it was to serve for the next seventeen years. It suffered another 'C' category incident on 25th June 1966 on a training flight. The pilot was taxying on a lake when the floats came in contact with a shoal. The aircraft was beached and temporary repairs carried out. It was then flown out and returned to base. The water was dark brown, making it difficult to spot submerged objects. Another 'C' category incident occurred on 26th September 1974 during a flight out of Downsview. While on a low-level navigation exercise, the aircraft came in contact with some wires. Although three feet of the vertical stabilizer and the entire rudder were lost, the pilot managed to land the Otter at Kingston, Ontario. It was repaired and continued to serve 411 Squadron until 17th February 1981, when it was withdrawn from service and went into storage at the Mountain View depot, Ontario.

The Otter was put up for disposal through the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation and was one of a number of Otters for sale by auction in February 1982, advertised as having 5,458 hours on the airframe. The purchaser of the Otter was Ram Air Charter Ltd of Inuvik, Northwest Territories to whom the aircraft was registered C-GBQC in July 1982. The Otter flew for Ram Air during 1982 and '83 but by early 1984 was parked at Inuvik and for sale. It was sold to Fort Frances Sportsmen Airways Ltd of Fort Frances, Ontario to whom it was registered in June 1984. This company is associated with Northern Wilderness outfitters, serving fishing lodges in the Ontario outback, and over twenty years later, 'BQC is still flying for the company , still based at Fort Frances.


c-GMDG of Wilderness Outfitters
DHC-3 Otter C-GMDG c/n 302 is a Vietnam Vet!

Otter c/n 302 was delivered to the United States Army on 2nd December 1958 with serial 58-1692 (tail number 81692). It was allocated to the 17th Aviation Company, Fort Ord, California. It was delivered from Downsview to the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, California before continuing on to Fort Ord. In January 1962 it was assigned to the 18th Aviation Company for deployment to Vietnam, and entered service with the Company in Vietnam. It is mentioned in the history of the 339th Transportation Company: “Recovery at Pleiku 2nd January 1963. The first recovery of the period took place 2nd January 1963 after U-1A serial 81692 of the 18th Aviation Company had to make a forced landing at Pleiku because of power failure. In one day, a crew from the fixed wing section of the 339th TC returned the Otter to flyable status”. With the 18th Aviation Company, 81692 carried the code 'F' and continued flying for the Company until April 1966 when it returned to the United States for depot level overhaul at the ARADMAC Depot, Corpus Christi, Texas.

After overhaul, the Otter was returned to Vietnam in June 1966 and joined the 54th Aviation Company. It continued to fly for this unit until October 1970, when it was taken on charge by the 56th Transportation Company. By January 1971 it was with the 166th Aviation Maintenance Detachment, and in April 1971 it arrived back in the United States, at the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, California. It remained at the depot in storage until February 1973 when it was deleted from the Army inventory and put up for disposal as military surplus. The buyer of the Otter was Harold J. Hansen of Seattle, who purchased two 'Big Daddy' (54th Aviation Company) U-1As from Stockton, 53312 (174) and 81692 (302). Both aircraft were trucked to his facility at Boeing Field, Seattle where they were refurbished and civilianised. 53312 was registered N90574 and 81692 became N90575, registered in January 1975.

N90575 had been completed by May 1975 and was being painted at Boeing Field in a white colour scheme with blue trim. On 11th July '75 it was noted at Vancouver, receiving some work from Aeroflite Industries, on its way to Alaska where it joined the fleet of Frontier Flying Service at Fairbanks, on lease from Harold Hansen. It was unfortunately not long before N90575 was involved in an accident. On 23rd September 1975 the Otter was on a cargo run, taking off from the Kuskokwim River en route to Minchumina, in gusty wind conditions, with inoperative flaps. There was insufficient room for the take off, and the Otter collided with a dirt bank in the river, causing substantial damage. The pilot was an experienced individual, with 15,100 hours total flying time, including 3,600 hours on the Otter. Factors cited in the accident report, in addition to the flaps, were selecting unsuitable terrain, unfavourable wind conditions and failing to abort the take off. Harold Hansen travelled to Alaska to fix the Otter. He used Otter N98T (181) to fly a set of replacement wings (which were strapped to the outside of the aircraft) to the scene of the crash. Temporary repairs were made on site, and N90575 was flown back to Boeing Field for permanent repairs to be made. Coincidentally, N90574 also returned to Boeing Field for repair, it too having crashed in Alaska not long after it had been delivered there. N90575 was noted at Boeing Field during December '75 being repaired and on completion of the work it was sold to Buck Maxon/Maxon Aviation of Kotzebue, Alaska, who also operated Otter N26641 (134) which he had also acquired from Mr.Hansen. N90575 continued to fly for Maxon Aviation until an accident on 1st July 1979. The Otter had departed from its base at Kotzebue with a load of freight and was landing at Trail Creek, when the gear collapsed. Causes cited in the accident report were misjudged speed and distance and failure to initiate a go-around.

The damaged Otter was acquired by Air Park Aviation Ltd of Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba and taken to Calgary where it was repaired by Kimba Air Services and repainted in Air Park Aviation's colours. It was registered to Air Park Aviation Ltd in June 1980 as C-GMDG and delivered to their base at Lac du Bonnet. It replaced Otter C-GQOX (308) which had been destroyed in a hangar collapse at Lac du Bonnet in February 1980. Otter MDG was used by Air Park Aviation on mining and exploration charters and to support fly-in fishing camps around Manitoba. Five camps were operated by the company in eastern Manitoba, at Artery Lake, Bullmoose Lake, Bloodvein River and Sasaginnigak River East and West. It continued flying for Air Park Aviation until sold to LSD Aviation Ltd of Fort Frances, Ontario to whom it was registered in January 1983.


The Otter was sold on to Fort Frances Sportsmen Airways Ltd, who are associated with Northern Wilderness outfitters, of Fort Frances, to whom it was registered in April 1984, and it was converted to a Vazar turbine. 'MDG flies alongside Otters C-GUTL (365), also a turbine, and C-GBQC (401), a piston, in the Fort Frances Sportsmen fleet. The three Otters are used to service remote fishing camps during the summer months.
[Source: Dehavilland DHC-3 Otter by Karl E. Hayes ]


C-GUTL C-GUTL is c/n 365 and has the following history:

Otter c/n 365 was delivered to the RCAF on 16th June 1960 with serial 9406. It was allocated to 438 Squadron at St.Hubert, Montreal where it served until selected for duty with 117 Air Transport Unit, an RCAF unit formed to support a United Nations mission supervising a cease-fire between India and Pakistan. The Otter flew to Trenton on 23rd September '65, taking up temporary residence with 102 Communications Unit, and was then loaded on board an RCAF Hercules and flown to Lahore in Pakistan, where it arrived on 6th October 1965. Two other Otters served with 117 ATU, these being 9422 (404) and 9423 (405). The activities of 117 ATU are described in the Canadian military section. The three Otters were flown back to Canada in April 1966, again on board RCAF Hercules.

After re-assembly by No.6 Repair Depot, 9406 was assigned on 18th November 1966 to No.4 Operational Training Unit at Trenton. This unit was re-designated 424 Transport & Rescue Squadron in November 1968, remaining based at Trenton. The Otter was noted on detachment at Goose Bay during June 1969. 9406 continued to serve with 424 Squadron until transferred to 401 Squadron at St.Hubert on 22nd June 1970. On 28th June '72 it went into storage at the Mountain View Depot until 6th August 1974 when it was assigned to 402 Squadron at Winnipeg. On 22nd December '75 it was transferred back to St.Hubert and re-joined 401 Squadron. It continued to serve with 401 Squadron until 9th December 1981 when it was flown to the Mountain View Depot and put up for disposal by the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation.

Wilderness Outfitters9406 was sold in an auction in February 1982, with a total airframe time at that stage of 6,576 hours. The buyer was Nahanni Air Services Ltd of Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, to whom the Otter was registered in February 1983 as C-GUTL Nahanni Air Services had also purchased two other ex Canadian military Otters, 9421 (402) which became C-GUTQ and 9423 (405) which became C-GUTW. Otter C-GUTL went on lease to LSD Aviation Ltd of Fort Frances, Ontario for the summer of 1983. A company in Colombia then agreed to purchase all three of these Otters from Nahanni Air Services. The proposed purchaser had the exotic name of Aerolineas de la Orinoquia & Amazonia Limitada and early in 1984 paid a deposit for the Otters, and obtained Colombian registrations for the three aircraft. C-GUTL (365) was to become HK-3048X, C-GUTQ (402) was to become HK-3049X and C-GUTW (405) was to become HK-3050X.

The three Otters were made ready for delivery, but the final payment was never made and nothing more was heard from the would-be purchaser. After this sale had fallen through, C-GUTL was sold to Fort Frances Sportsmen Airways Ltd, to whom it was registered in April 1984, based at Fort Frances, Ontario. It was converted to Vazar turbine Otter and carries Northern Wilderness Outfitters Ltd titles, a company associated with Fort Frances Sportsmen Airways Ltd. It is used during the summer months to fly fishermen and tourists to remote parts of Ontario, and is still in service, over twenty years after first delivered to Fort Frances.
[Source: Dehavilland DHC-3 Otter by Karl E. Hayes ]




Crossing the bridge over Rainy Lake, towards town, on the left hand side, is the seaplane base of Rusty Myers Flying Service. Light was going fast at the end of the day, but almost all the aircraft (only DHC-2 C-FOBY was missing) were present here at homebase and I decided to shoot my photos.
The day before I had photographed Beech 3NM C-FRPL at Savant Lake (link at bottom page), but Fort Frances is obviously the homebase.
JP Airline Fleets (2007) lists the company as founded in 1956, though the sign (below) quotes 1941 . The present company name in full is Rusty Myers Flying Service (1986) Ltd and is run by Angela Korzinski.
Rusty Myers Flying Service


C-FRVL is a Beech 3T Expeditor (c/n 7835), formerly operated by RCAF (serial 1396), then to civil market as C-FRVL. More on Ken Stoltzfus' website.
Joe Baugher's website has: 44-47428 to Expeditor 3T RCAF 1396 in Oct 1944, then to civil market as C-FRVL May 13, 1971, current with Rusty Myers Flying Service(1986), Fort Frances, ONT. since Jun 14, 1991.
And here is a link to C-FRVL on

I was told that this one may never fly again and at some point it was considered to put 'RVL up on a pedestal at the side of the main road but that was Indian territory and no cooperation was met at that end. The city council offered a spot on the airport, but that was of obvious little use to the company.



Arny Silverman wrote me with a question:
One day I noticed the pilot getting in and out of the cockpit of a Beech 18 via an overhead hatch...
What is the purpose of the hatch in this location? Is it for easy escape in case of ditching or just for ease of getting into cockpit?
And is there access from the cockpit to the rest of the aircraft or are the pilots isolated from the passengers and cargo?

By posting this question on the (Yahoo) Beech18 forum, I have the following reply:

"Actually, the cockpit exit was an aftermarket kit originally stc'd by Lee Cameron of Aerospace Products. It allowed the cabin to be filled up with cargo.
For the seaplane versions it's invaluable to allow the pilot quick egress to enable docking, etc. It is usually noisy, as it is hard to seal and downgrades the airframes value since few still operate in that freight mode. Hamilton also provided one on his conversions, but might have used Lee's STC. Not sure...
Nothing changes as to cabin/cockpit access.
There is a story about one night on a freight run, with two pilots, they were was taking off and the right seater pulled the gear up prematurely... The airplane settled to the runway in a shower of sparks and one prop blade separated and punctured the nose tank which ignited! Both guys bailed out through the hatch on the left side while the airplane was still in motion and lost their lives..." (Reply by 'Beechs2010' Jan.2010)

Bob Parmerter added:
"Just a bit more on the floatplane roof hatch from the "Beech 18: A Civil & Military History" page 383:
Roof Hatch - Canadian floatplanes are required to have an exit route for the crew without going through the cabin. Pre-war Canadian Model 18s used pilot and co-pilot windows that were hinged at the top, while the early 1960s Bristol Floatplane kit included a cockpit roof hatch.
This roof hatch was no longer available, so VIA designed a similar hatch and it became part of the VIA Seawind, Limited Supplemental Type Certificate PLSA 95-193."


This Beech 3N is C-FERM (cn A-662 / CA-62). It has the shark teeth but not all Twin Beeches of Rusty Myers Flying Service have them, see below. Quite a sight though!
C-FERM was built in 1951 and is former RCAF 1487. It has been with the Fort Frances float-plane operator since 1967. It is now for sale having accumulated a total of 18807 flying hours.
I found this info provided by photographer Alain Rioux on


The Beechcraft Model 18, or "Twin Beech", as it was better known, is a 6-11 place, twin-engine, low-wing, conventional-gear aircraft that was manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. This model saw service during and after World War II in a number of versions including the United States Army Air Forces C-45 Expeditor, AT-7 Navigator, AT-11 Kansan, and for the United States Navy, UC-45J Navigator and the SNB-1 Kansan.
The Beech 18 is the most modified US-certified aircraft design, with over 200 FAA approved Supplemental Type Certificates on record for the aircraft.
The aircraft uses have included aerial spraying, sterile bug release, fish seeding, dry ice cloud seeding, aerial fire fighting, airborne mail pick up and drop, ambulance service, numerous movie productions, skydiving, freight, gun and drug smuggling, engine test bed, skywriting and banner tow. A number of Model 18s were operated as passenger aircraft. The Model 18 was also the first aircraft flown by Philippine Airlines, Asia's first and oldest airline. Many are now in private hands as highly prized collectibles.
[Source: Wikipedia]


Put on shore for the winter


C-FZRI (cn A-940) 1953 built Beech D18S, on floats. This aircraft has been flying in the Fort Frances area after being imported from the US in 1971.
The Twin Beech is the first one to be taken out of the water as it doesn't have a proper heater and the autumn can get quite chilly in these parts! During a short conversation I got the impression the days of the Twin Beech with Rusty Myers are numbered...
More info & photos on the website of Ken Stoltzfus


Reading this webpage, Dirk Septer wrote me:
"I remember flying in Rusty Meyer's Beaver CF-OBY (c/n 13)
The lowest Otter I've flown in was c/n 4. Also Green Airways Norseman, Twin Beeches, Otters and the odd MNR Turbo Beaver...
I was in the Red Cross hospital in Emo (the last of two hospitals operated in Canada by the RC), the only time I got hurt in the 20 years that I worked in the bush!
Flying out of Sioux Lookout in the middle of a white-out snowstorm on an Otter on skis was also a flight to remember.... Then there was that log castle at White Otter Lake. Some of the clearest water lakes I've seen from the air anywhere in Canada are here in these parts.
Boy, what a memories, only 30 years ago!
What a different fleet of aircraft now: all those turbines....."


At the dock of Rusrty Myers
Gradually the Cessna Caravans are taken the place of 'round engines' at the dock, I fear.




C-FKSJ is a Cessna 208 Caravan I (208-00035) with a PT6A turbine engine. Registered 28Jul03 for Rusty Myers Flying Service (ex/ N9382F).

C-GAGK is a Cessna Caravan 208 (20800342),
01Jun01 registered to Rusty Myers Flying Service .


C-FOBT is truly a vintage flyer: DHC-2 c/n 3 !!!

C/n 3 is the oldest in commercial use; c/n 1 is in Ottawa's Canada Aviation Museum and c/n 2 is preserved by the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.


Following info is from
Delivered 29Apr48 as CF-OBT to Ontario Government. As C-FOBT it was with Rainy Lake Airways Ltd. of Fort Frances,ONT. since at least 1964>
Rusty Meyers Flying Service (1986) Ltd. had it registered on 26Sep91.





When we left Fort Frances the next day, 04Oct07, I had a quick look at the small airport just outside town. At first it seemed deserted but indeed I 'found' this Turbo Beaver!




C-FOMJ was in the process of flight preparation, but unfortunately I did not have the time to await its departure.

C-FOMJ has c/n 1683TB51 and was delivered on 25Jul68 as CF-OMJ to the Minnesota Pulp & Paper Company, and as such registered on 26Jul68.
It became C-FOMJ for Boise Cascade Canada Ltd. of Fort Frances,ONT. This registration was cancelled on 22Aug95.
Next was Stone-Consolidated Corporation (again of Fort Frances,ONT.), reg'd 08Nov95. This was cancelled 27Nov95. That did not last long!
Next we see Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. of Montréal,QUE taking ownership on 11jun97. And now operated by Melaire Ltd (back to Fort Frances) since 01Mar2000.

Melaire Ltd was founded in 2000 and is owned & operated by Gordie Melville; this fine looking PWC PT6A-27 equipped DHC-2 Turbo Beaver Mk.III is the only aircraft. More can be learned through the website.

Michael Greenhill provided the following information in these Turbo Beavers:
"That Turbo Beaver C-FJOM is a factory Turbo Beaver, so that is the origional c/n. They made 60 turbo from new. Any turbo with a TB number after the c/n is a factory turbo."




Thanks to Lakeside Aviation, Northern Wilderness Outfitters, Rusty Myers Flying Service and Melaire



The Roads Goes On...Forever :
Vermilion Bay
Ear Falls
Red Lake
Sioux Lookout
Savant Lake
Nestor Falls

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Created: 19-Feb-2008