First Viking Twin Otter takes flight


The first new-production DHC-6 Series 400 Twin Otter has taken its initial flight from Viking’s final assembly facility in Calgary, Alberta.

The aircraft, manufacturers serial number (MSN) 845, Canadian registration C-FMJO, is the first new production Twin Otter since de Havilland Canada ended production in 1988 with the delivery of MSN 844. Sold to launch customer Zimex Aviation of Switzerland, MSN 845 is equipped with Honeywell’s Apex IFR digital flight deck. It is to be used throughout North Africa servicing the oil and gas industry.

Steve Stackhouse, manager of flight operations, along with Viking President and CEO David Curtis, piloted the aircraft on the initial flight, commenting, “the aircraft performed exactly as expected, it felt very stable, fast, and even with my thousands of hours on type, this new Series 400 Twin Otter brought a smile to my face.”

The first production aircraft has been registered C-FMJO in honour of Michael J. Orr, a former member of Viking’s Board of Directors, who was a supporter of the plan to re-start Twin Otter production and passed away in October 2006. In keeping with Viking tradition of naming aircraft, “Mikey” has been fondly added to the nose of MSN 845. Several of Mike’s family were in attendance to witness the first flight.

Viking announced the production re-launch of a modernized Twin Otter in March 2007 with the introduction of the DHC-6 Series 400 model, which features more than 400 modifications and improvements centered around a modernized flight deck and added safety systems while retaining the legacy aircraft’s famous robust airframe design, company officials said. Most notable of these changes is the incorporation of the fully integrated Honeywell Primus Apex digital avionics suite, and Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 turbines engines.

With Canadian certification imminent, Viking expects first customer deliveries to start shortly.

Manufacturing activities have continued through 400 Series development, with the first 10 serial numbered aircraft at various stages of final assembly, and production gearing up to reach a steady build rate of one and a half aircraft every four weeks, company officials said.

Viking, celebrating 40 years in business, provides OEM support for the worldwide fleet of de Havilland heritage line of aircraft (DHC-1 through DHC-7). Viking is part of Westerkirk Capital Inc., a Canadian private investment firm with substantial holdings in the hospitality, aviation and real estate sectors.

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