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de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter

Canada (1953)
National Flag Graphic
Origin: Canada
Year: 1953
Type: Floatplane Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): de Havilland Canada - Canada
Production: 466
Status: Active, In-Service


Despite its 1950s origins, the DHC-3 series floatplane is still in active service today.


Detailing the development and operational history of the de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter Floatplane Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 1/25/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The de Havilland Canada DHC-3 "Otter" became the evolutionary step for what was the earlier DHC-2 "Beaver" of 1948 (detailed elsewhere on this site). The DHC-3 was first-flown on December 12th, 1951 and introduced as soon as 1953. Production of the series, which reached 466 units, spanned from 1951 until 1967 with operators worldwide.

The Beaver had already proven itself a commercial success by this time with some 1,657 ultimately produced. This airframe utilized strong qualities allowing for excellent Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities. A braced, high-wing mainplane was fitted and the nose held the single engine installation. From this framework was born the dimensionally larger specimen, the DHC-3, that continued the excellent STOL traits with more power to boot. Work on the design began in January of 1951 and led to the aforementioned first-flight. Certification then followed in November of 1952.

Power was from a single Pratt & Whitney R-1340 air-cooled radial piston engine of 600 horsepower. The larger dimensions allowed for more passengers to be carrier (up to eleven) and the wider-spanning wing mainplane gave better control and additional lift/drag for short take-off and landing actions. The undercarriage was made to switch out wheeled legs, floats or even skis.
Seven named models of the Otter series ultimately emerged. DHC-3 was used for the initial production systems while the product was taken into service by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as the CSR-123 "Otter". The United States Army began their own evaluation of the platform and procured six of the type under the designation of YU-1. These became the U-1A in actual service. The United States Navy (USN) followed suit and adopted the series as the UC-1. These were later redesignated U-1B after the 1962 American military realignment. A PWC turbo-prop-powered form became the DHC-3-T "Turbo-Otter". Those Otter examples coming from Airtech Canada with Polish PZL "Kalisz ASz-62IR engines were designated DHC-3/1000.

There were a plethora of operators committed to the DHC-3 line ranging from Argentina and Australia to the United Kingdom and the United States. It served at both military and civilian levels where its qualities were put to the test. The DHC-3 went on to form the foundation for de Havilland Canada's next-in-line aircraft, the DHC-6 "Twin Otter" - a twin-engined offshoot of the original, detailed elsewhere on this site.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (160mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
466
466


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
Global Operators:
Argentina; Australia; Bangladesh; Burma; Cambodia; Canada; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ethiopia; Ghana; India; Indonesia; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Nigeria; Norway; Panama; Paraguay; Philippines; United Kingdom; United States
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
41.99 ft


Meters
12.8 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
58.04 ft


Meters
17.69 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
12.57 ft


Meters
3.83 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
4,431 lb


Kilograms
2,010 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
8,001 lb


Kilograms
3,629 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Pratt & Whitney R-1340-S1H1-G Wasp 9-cylinder, air-cooled radial piston engine developing 600 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
160 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
257 kph


Knots
139 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
944 mi


Kilometers
1,520 km


Nautical Miles
821 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
18,799 ft


Meters
5,730 m


Miles
3.56 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
850 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
259 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• DHC-3 - Base Series Designation
• DHC-3-T "Turbo-Otter" - Fitted with 1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 or -34 turboprop engines.
• CSR-123 - Royal Canadian Air Force utility model.
• YU-1 - U.S. Army evaluation aircraft; six examples.
• UC-1 - United States Navy utility model.
• U-1A - U.S. Army utility model.
• U-1B - 1962 redesignation of USN UC-1 models.
• DHC-3/1000 "Otter" - Airtech Canada models fitted with PZL ASz-62IR series engines.