Beaver Floatplane Crashes Kill Up To 13


The latest in a series of floatplane crashes in Alaska has created a notable statistic on the type of aircraft involved. On Friday a Rust’s Flying Services DHC-2 Beaver was involved in a takeoff mishap (it never got airborne) on Tutka Bay in southwest Alaska and one of the seven people aboard, a 57-year-old Maryland man whose family was also on board, was killed. Meanwhile in Canada, there have been three fatal Beaver crashes in the last two weeks and the Alaska accident brings the total death toll in Beaver floatplanes to as many as 13 since July 11.

So far, despite four hull losses in two weeks, no one appears to be blaming the airplane, which is a revered staple of bush operations all over the world and a fixture in northern operations. “Even if it’s 50 years old or more, there is no modern plane that can compare to the Beaver, and that’s why it’s still very popular among outfitters, seaplane operators and companies whose business is to fly people in the bush,” Gilles Lapierre, past president of Aviateurs Quebec, told the CBC. In the Canadian crashes, two people were killed in a crash in central Ontario July 11 and three more a day later in Quebec. The latest crash in Labrador killed at least three people but four people are missing and are not thought to have survived.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Last I checked there’s a pilot at the controls of all these aircraft. The DHC-2 Beaver has millions of hours and millions of flights without hurting anybody. Each accident has a story behind it, generalizing that the Beaver is the cause may not be productive to preventing future accidents.

    Maybe look a little harder at the “Pilot Shortage” as the common denominator? Just because a pilot has had a successful career in other types of aircraft does not necessarily prepare them for “Bush Flying”. Off pavement flying requires more then flight computers and graphs.