Posted on: 18 February 2010
With Transport Canada certification due shortly, the first new-production DHC-6 Series 400 Twin Otter has taken its initial flight from Viking Air’s final assembly facility in Calgary, Alberta.
The aircraft, serial number MSN 845, with 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, including FDR and CVR and configured with a commuter interior, the aircraft 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. “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,” reported Stackhouse.
“This is a significant milestone, not only for Viking and our entire team, but also for our many customers,” commented David Curtis. “Flying the first new Twin Otter in 22 years is the culmination of many months of hard work and determination by our staff and supply chain partners.”
The first production aircraft has been registered C-FMJO in honour of Michael J. Orr, a former member of Viking’s board of directors. Orr was a keen supporter of the plan to re-start Twin Otter production and sadly passed away on 10 October 2006. In keeping with Viking tradition of naming aircraft, “Mikey” has been fondly added to the nose of MSN 845. Several of Orr’s family were in attendance to witness the first flight.
With Canadian certification imminent, Viking expects first customer deliveries to start shortly. Manufacturing activities have continued through 400 Series development, with the first ten 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.
See the February-March 2010 issue of Low-Fare & Regional Airlines for the story of the Twin Otter Series 400’s development.