Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 5: de Havilland CC-123 Otter

de Havilland CC-123 Otter

Data current to 14 Jan 2021.

 (RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, RCAF (Serial No. 3691), on floats under a Canso wing at RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

The de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter is a single-engined, high-wing, porpeller-driven, short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft.  It was conceived to be capable of performing the same roles as the earlier and highly successful Beaver, including as a bushplane, but is overall a larger aircraft.

The DHC-3/CC-123/CSR-123 Otter was used until 1980 by the RCAF and its successor, CF Air Command.  It was used in Search and Rescue, as the "CSR" denotes Canadian Search (and) Rescue (type 123) and as a light utility transport, "CC" denoting Canadian Cargo.  During the Suex Crisis, the Canadian government provided assistance to the UN Emergency Force (UNEF).  HMCS Magnificent carried 4 Otters from Halifax to Port Said, Egypt, early in 1957, with all four flying off unassisted while the ship was at anchor.  This was the only occasion when RCAF fixed wing aircraft operated from a Canadian warship.  It was also operated on floats on water and skis for winter operations on snow.  The EDO floats also had wheels for use on runways (amphibious).  It was used as army support dropping supplies by parachute, and also non-parachute low-speed, low-altitude air drops, to support the Canadian Army on manoeuvres.  In the end it was operated by the Primary Air Reserve in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Winnipeg, with approximately 10 aircraft at each base, as well as by the RSU (Regular (Forces) Support Units) at those bases.  It was usually flown with a single pilot (Commissioned Officer) in the left seat and a Technical Air Crewman (NCO) in the right seat.  The Kiowa helicopter replaced it in Air Reserve squadrons.

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, and India, but the primary role of the aircraft as a rugged bush plane continues to this day.

An Otter crossed the South Pole in 1957 (see Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition).  The Otter is also popular in the skydiving community and can be found in many dropzones throughout the world.

de Havilland DHC-3, CC-123 Otter (69), (Serial Nos. 3661-3699, 3743-3745, 9401-9427).

 (DND Photo)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, RCAF (Serial No. 3674), floatplane, 1 Wing.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3585033)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, RCAF (Serial No. 3663), coded AB, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 29 Sep 1954. 

(DND Photo PCN 70-493)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, RCAF (Serial No. 9403), floatplane version, Mobile Command. 

 (DND Photo)

As a Sky Hawk, we took the oportunity to jump out of one at Mountainview, Ontario (yes, that's me, back in the day).  We all thought it would be fun to climb down the ladder and sit on the pontoon.  We were wrong, the propblast was ferocious and by the time we got to the pontoon the DZ was a VERY long way behind us.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3585120)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, RCAF (Serial No. 3674), Public Address installation, 20 May 1955. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3585070)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, RCAF (Serial No. 3683), coded VR683, Aircrew survival and clothing test, N. of Cold Lake. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584765)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, RCAF (Serial No. 3664), AB, 14 Apr 1953. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584764)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, RCAF (Serial No. 3664), AB, 14 Apr 1953. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234760)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, RCAF, UNEF, Middle East, ca 1960s.  

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234765)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, RCAF, UNEF, Middle East, ca 1960s.  

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234757)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, UNEF in the Middle East, ca. 1956.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234755)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, UN duty in the Middle East, ca. 1956. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234764)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, UN duty in the Middle East, ca. 1956. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234761)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, UN duty in the Middle East, ca. 1956. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234763)

de Havilland DHC-3, CC-123 Otter, UN duty in the Middle East, ca. 1956. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4276753)

de Havilland Otter, RCMP, NWT ca 1969. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3560890)

de Havilland Otter, RCMP, NWT, March 1969. 

  (RCAF Photo)

de Havilland DHC-3, CC-123 Otter floatplane (Serial No. 9407). 

(RCAF Photo)

de Havilland DHC-3, CC-123 Otter floatplane (Serial No. 3674), right. 

 (RCAF Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Aviation Museum)

de Havilland Canada DHC-3, CC-123 Otter on floats, RCAF. 

(RCAF Photo PC-2605)

de Havilland Otter (Serial No. 3690) on floats on 7 June 1962.

(RCAF Photo)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter floatplane (Serial No. 3662), AB, in flight. 

 (RCAF Photo)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter (Serial No. 9402) in flight.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4235509)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter, ca 1960s, Camp Gagetown, New Brunswick. 

 (Author Photo)

 (Author Photo)

The Canadian Forces Parachute Team did a lot of Airshows jumping out of the single-engined de Havilland DHC-3, CC-123 Otter, including this one from No. 400 Squadron based in Toronto, shown here at Gananoque in 1977.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

de Havilland CC-123 Otter (Serial No. 3689). 

 (aeroprints Photo )

de Havilland CC-123 Otter (Serial No. 9408), Canada Air and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.