VP-FAK (294)

British Antarctic Survey DHC3 Otter joins the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre 


British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre at Salisbury Hall, London Colney have agreed on a long term loan for BAS DHC-3 Otter VP-FAK.  This historic artefact was recovered from Deception Island, Antarctica in April 2004 where it had lain for nearly 40 years since the aircraft was grounded due to structural problems.

De Havilland Canada Otter VP-FAK c/n 294 made its maiden flight in Canada on 17 October, 1959.  It was shipped to Deception Island arriving on 26 January 1960 before assembly and flying on 3 February.  The aircraft was flown by aircrew seconded from the RAF to BAS when it carried the identity 294 with RAF roundels.  Flying conditions in the Antarctic are very demanding and the aircraft was damaged a number of times, the last time at Adelaide, making its last flight from there to Deception Island on 7 March 1967.  Following an inspection it was grounded due to structural problems, having flown 981.30 hours and made 853 landings.  The aircraft was stored outside at Deception Island in a dismantled state until recovery to Rothera ready for shipping to Britain, where it arrived at Grimsby on 8 May 2005.

With the full co-operation of BAS this Otter will become the launch next Spring of the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Learning Experience.  It will be the centre-piece of a diorama illustrating the world-class scientific achievements of BAS in the Antarctic, and the key role played by de Havilland Aircraft for 50 years in supporting this vital work.  British Antarctic Survey is a world leader in research into global issues in an Antarctic context.  It is the
UKís national operator and is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council. 


With an annual budget of around £40 million, it runs eight research programmes and operates five research stations, two Royal Research Ships and five aircraft in and around Antarctica.  The current fleet of four de Havilland Canada Twin Otters and one Dash-7 provide close support and are capable of undertaking a wide variety of transport and scientific missions. The de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre (DHAHC), incorporating the Mosquito Aircraft Museum, major aim is to preserve the products of the de Havilland World Enterprise, one of the first global manufacturing organisations. The DHAHC aims to achieve a centre of excellence in the restoration and conservation of aerospace artefacts for the benefit of future generations. With the Otter having completed its journey from Antarctica, plans will be put in hand to prepare the aircraft for public display, supported by artefacts and materials supplied from the BAS archives, while the restoration to static condition continues as far as possible.

The Otter comes in from the Cold, VP-FAK arrives at DHAMT