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These aircraft were manufactured in Canada by DeHavilland. They were used to support US troops in Vietnam and pretty much around the world. The Caribou has twin Pratt & Whitney R-2000 engines rated at 1450 HP. The high tail allowed access to unload directly from trucks. Caribou's were configured in several ways: a basic crew of 4 and 32 to 40 passengers, or a crew of 4, 14 stretchers, and 8 passengers.
The Otter had a geared Pratt & Whitney R-1340 of 600 HP. Otter's carried light cargo and passengers, but some aircraft were modified into RU-1A electronic warfare support aircraft. The Otter was just not as big or fast as the Caribou, but both aircraft did close support and many times were shot at while dropping off supplies, most of the time on the way out as that made for an easier target.
Otter's were also received from the US Navy as UC-1's. Their Army designation became U-1B because of differing avionics. The aircraft was later reclassified by the Navy as a NU-1B. A link is established to the US Navy Museum below. Locate this brightly painted Otter via surfing through the Aircraft and names categories.
Both of these aircraft could take off and land on extremely short landing fields because of its STOL capabilities. The Caribou had one of the most robust set of retractable landing gear made at the time. The Otter's gear was fixed and extremely rugged. Because of their STOL capabilities, both aircraft were used on short, unimproved air strips.
Most of these planes have either been retired or gone on into private service. Some of both aircraft have been retro-fitted with turbine engines instead of radial engines. Four Caribou are up in Alaska doing work as cargo planes. The right plane for the job, eh?? Wonder how much they use the heaters??? The Association has found where, or what happened to all of the Caribou aircraft that the US Army purchased except ten. Many Caribou's are in Military Museums around the US. Otter's are in high demand, especially on floats in Alaska, where the vast majority are based. Both aircraft are still used all over the world.
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The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation purchased the 62-4149 in 1999. Floyd Burks, along with Hal Loyer, and Bob McGregor, and others from the Foundation did the acceptance inspection on in Long Beach Ca.
This Caribou saw service from the factory to Vietnam with the 61st Avn. Co. until it was turned over to the Air Force in January, 1967. It remained on duty with the Air Force until they ferried some of the 'Bous back in 1972. It was later returned to US Army control (after the AF didn't want them anymore) and was assigned to the Connecticut AVRAD Depot. After 10 Years or so, it was released to the civilian sector, sold, and was taken to Australia where it remained for two years. The aircraft returned to the US and sat in Colorado for an unknown amount of time until Catalina Flying Boat Co. of Long Beach bought it. They had plans for using it to ferry cargo to the small Islands off California. Due to runway deterioration, the airfield on the island restricted the landing weights below that of the 'Bous.
The AAHF purchased the aircraft and it is being maintained by volunteers of the Foundation and will be utilized in many airshows throughout the year 2000, even making Oshkosh in late July.
Following the transfer of the Caribou to the USAF on 1 Jan 1967, the 1st Aviation Company was redesignated the 1st Radio Research Company, and given a classified mission utilizing the Lockheed AP-2E. The aircraft were highly modified Navy patrol bombers obtained from the Navy Reserve. The aircraft was a composite type, having two Wright 3350 reciprocating engines and two Westinghouse turbojet engines slung underwing on plyons. Normal crew was up to 15, dependent on systems operators and mission length.
Six aircraft were stationed at Cam Ranh Bay SVN from July '67 to April '72. Five aircraft were returned to the Navy, with BuNo.131485 displayed at the Army Aviation Museum, Ft. Rucker, AL.
The Army Otter & Caribou Association recognizes the 1st RR Company as an extension of the 1st Aviation Company and has agreed to allow personnel assigned during it's existance to join the Association as regular members.
727 576-0480 or Email or Membership Application Form
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The Association is looking for men who were in units with these aircraft or in support units. Our numbers increase each year as we gather at a different location around the country to talk about old times (mostly lies) and old friends we served with. If this sounds like you, give us a shout! AOCA would love to hear from you! There are currently over 800 members and you can bet that old friend is probably there waiting to see you.
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