This gutted fuselage remnant was photographed by my mother at Whaler's Bay on Deception Island in Antarctica in 1994. Deception Island is directly south of the Falkland Islands in the narrow area between South America and Antarctica. Where the wing attached to the fuselage there is grey hand-printed writing that appears to be: 3G9SAY. Below the windows, also in grey printing are three lines of faded print. The first line appears to be something like: ESTACION JERASSIEN. The second line appears to be: BARDA HARE. And the third line appears to be: AGRVFACIAL PIORK. But I stress that I'm doing a lot of guessing at these letters so interpret them loosely. Thank you for your assistance in identifying this aircraft. enter image description here


1 Answer 1


That looks like the remains of a De Havilland DHC-3 Otter

It used to wear the registration VP-FAK.

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.

More information here

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    $\begingroup$ Salisbury Hall is a few miles from my house, and is now the de-Haviland aircraft museum. One of my favourite places to visit! I hope they survive with no visitors for over a year now. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Feb 9, 2021 at 12:52
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    $\begingroup$ They were replaced with Twin Otters which were far more suitable, having PT-6s in place of the R-1340, and are still in production today vikingair.com/twin-otter-versatility/twin-otter-stories. The R-1340 version used in the Otter was geared, with the engine turning faster than the direct drive version (as used on the T-6 for ex) and made more HP, but they had reliability problems in later years and were known for blowing jugs. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Feb 9, 2021 at 14:23
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    $\begingroup$ @DeltaLima - You nailed it. Thank you! That is exactly the very plane my mom photographed 10 years before it was recovered. And thank you for finding the story about its recovery. Restoring it "as far as possible" appears to be a monumental task. I wish my mother was still with us and knew about this. $\endgroup$ Feb 10, 2021 at 11:22

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