First Flight For New Twin Otter

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The last of the original Twin Otters flew off from the de Havilland factory back in 1988, but this week a new version, produced by Viking Air in Canada, flew for the first time.  "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," said Viking CEO David Curtis. He crewed on the first flight, along with Steve Stackhouse, manager of flight operations. "The aircraft performed exactly as expected," Curtis said. "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 airplane is equipped with Honeywell's Primus Apex IFR digital flight deck and configured with a commuter interior. It will be flown by Zimex Aviation, of Switzerland, throughout North Africa to service the oil and gas industry.

Viking acquired the type certificate from de Havilland and announced it would re-launch a modernized Twin Otter back in March 2007. The new DHC-6 Series 400 model features more than 400 modifications and improvements, with a modernized flight deck and added safety systems. Two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 turbines power the aircraft. Canadian certification is imminent, the company said this week, and first customer deliveries should start soon. Ten airplanes are now in production, with a projected build rate of about 20 airplanes per year. AVweb's editorial director Paul Bertorelli spoke with Curtis about his plans back in October 2008 and took a look at their demo airplane; click here for the video.