Twin Otter Production May Resume

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A Canadian company is testing the waters to see if it makes sense to resume building Twin Otters. The last of 844 of the high-wing, twin turboprops rolled off deHavilland's assembly line in Toronto in 1989 and Viking Air Ltd., of Victoria, B.C., says the notoriously rugged and reliable STOL aircraft are in serious demand. "A decent 20-year-old 300 Series fetches well over $2 million USD on amphibious floats, making it a viable candidate for new manufacture," said Viking Air President David Curtis in a news release. Viking recently acquired type certificates for the Twin Otter, Single Otter and Beaver designs from Bombardier, which bought out deHavilland in the 1980s. Viking will hold an operator's forum in Victoria Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 to gauge demand. An undisclosed number of order commitments will be needed to get the project going. Curtis said the Twin Otter, which seats 19, "is in a class by itself in terms of size, speed, strength and versatility." Perhaps best known as the airplane that rescued a cancer-stricken researcher from the South Pole in the middle of winter with temperatures dipping to 60, the Twin Otter is also widely used for passenger, freight and even sightseeing operations. Curtis said he's already talked to Transport Canada and "can see no major obstacles that will prevent a production re-start."