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de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter

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DHC-3 Otter
Turbo Otter in Harbour Air livery
Type STOL utility transport
Manufacturer de Havilland Canada
Designed by Richard D. Hiscocks and Frederick H. Buller
Maiden flight 12 December 1951
Introduced 1953
Status Still active
Primary user regional and remote air carriers
Produced 1951-1967
Number built 466

The de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter is a single engined, high wing, propeller-driven, STOL aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada. It was conceived to be capable of performing the same roles as the earlier and highly successful Beaver, but was overall a larger plane.

Design and development

When de Havilland Canada began design work on the King Beaver (the Otter's original name) in January 1951, it was trying to extend the company's line of rugged STOL utility transports, begun with the Beaver. The single engined, high wing, propeller-driven DHC-3 Otter was conceived to be capable of performing the same roles as the Beaver, but was considerably larger, the veritable "one-ton truck" (in company parlance, the Beaver was the "half-ton truck").[1]

Using the same overall configuration of the earlier and highly successful DHC2 Beaver, the new design incorporated a longer fuselage, greater span wings, and was much heavier. Seating in the main cabin is for 10 or 11, whereas the Beaver could seat six. Power is supplied by a 450kW (600 hp) Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial. Like the Beaver, the Otter can be fitted with skis and floats. The amphibious floatplane Otter features a unique four unit retractable undercarriage, with the wheels retracting into the floats. The Otter served as the basis for the very successful Twin Otter, which featured two wing mounted Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprops.

The Otter received Canadian certification in November 1952 and entered production shortly after.

Operational use

Although the Otter found ready acceptance in bush airlines, as in a similar scenario to the DHC-2 Beaver, the US Army soon became the largest operator of the aircraft (184 delivered as the U-1A Otter). Other military users included Australia, Canada, and India but the primary role of the aircraft as a rugged bush plane continues to this day.

The Otter is also popular in the skydiving community and can be found in many dropzones throughout the world.

Military operators


  • DHC-3 Otter : Single-engined STOL utility transport aircraft.
    • CSR-123 Otter : STOL utility transport aircraft for the RCAF.
    • YU-1 Otter : Six test and evaluation aircraft for the US Army.
    • U-1A Otter : STOL utility transport aircraft for the US Army.
    • UC-1 Otter : STOL utility transport aircraft for the US Navy. Later redesignated U-1B Otter in 1962.
  • DHC-3-T Turbo-Otter : Otter fitted with a 494-kW (662-hp) PT6A-27 turboprop engine.


File:Turbo Otter on Wheel-Skiis.JPG
Turbo Otter on wheel-skiis

Some aircraft were converted to turbine power using a PT6A,[1] Walter 601 (manufactured in the Czech Republic),[2], or Garrett/Honeywell TPE331-10, by Texas Turbine Conversions.[3] A Polish Pezetel radial engine has also been fitted.[4]. Re-engined aircraft have been offered since the 1980s by Airtech Canada as the DHC-3/1000 using current-production 1,000 hp (745 kW) PZL ASz-62IR radials.


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 41 ft in (12.5 m)
  • Wingspan: 58 ft in (17.7 m)
  • Height: 13 ft in (4 m)
  • Empty weight: 5,287 lb (2,398 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 8,000 lb (3,628 kg)
  • Powerplant:Pratt & Whitney R-1340-S1H1-G Wasp radial, 600 hp (447 kW)


See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists


  1. Rossiter, Sean. Otter & Twin Otter: The Universal Airplanes. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1998. ISBN 1-55054-637-6. p.55.
  • Hayes, Karl E. DHC-3 Otter(CD-ROM.). Crakaig, Killiney Hill Road, Killiney, Co. Dublin, Ireland: Karl E. Hayes Publisher, 2006. (also available via CANAV Books, Toronto)
  • Hotson, Fred W. The de Havilland Canada Story. Toronto: CANAV Books, 1983. ISBN 0-07-549483-3.
  • Milberry, Larry. Aviation In Canada. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-07-082778-8.
  • Molson, Ken M. and Taylor, Harold A. Canadian Aircraft Since 1909. Stittsville, Ontario: Canada's Wings, Inc., 1982. ISBN 0-920002-11-0.
  • Rossiter, Sean. The Immortal Beaver: The World's Greatest Bush Plane. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1999. ISBN 1-55054-724-0.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Template:De Havilland Canada Template:USN utility aircraft 1955 Template:US utility aircraft

de:De Havilland Canada DHC-3 fr:DHC-3 ja:デハビランド・カナダ DHC-3 no:De Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "De Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter".