Victoria, British Columbia-based Viking Air (Booth 330) is a Canadian success story. Having acquired the type certificate of the de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter from Bombardier in 2006, Viking has considerably upgraded this sought-after utility twin, which is evident from having sold close to 100, designated the Twin Otter 400, to some 26 countries since the start of production in 2010.
The most recent example of product development is the Phase II Avionics upgrade to the Twin Otter’s Honeywell Primus Apex fully integrated digital avionics suite. The upgrade package will provide increased functionality of the Primus Apex system, including: three-axis autopilot, traffic collision avoidance system II, FAA-compatible engine instrument display, wide area augmentation system, coupled vertical navigation, localiser performance with vertical guidance, automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast out, SmartView synthetic vision system, and a 512-word flight data recorder.
Earlier this year, the company announced its intention to move into the relatively untapped seaplane market by introducing the world’s first dedicated seaplane in the 15- to 19-passenger category, the Twin Otter 400S Seaplane.
The Viking 400S is specifically designed as an economical seaplane for commercial operation on short to medium flight segments, and will be offered at a list price of less than US$6 million.
Adapted for a quick turnaround between cycles, the 400S is said to have a breakeven load factor of about eight passengers under typical operating conditions.
The Viking 400S Seaplane features the Honeywell Super-Lite integrated digital avionics suite adapted for VFR operations, and comes equipped with 17-passenger seating configuration, new-generation composite floats, and Pratt & Whitney PT6A-27 engines incorporating platinum-coated CT blades. Upgrades for IFR operation, 19-passenger seating, or a 15-passenger/cargo combi configuration, are available options.
Viking Air expects customer deliveries for the 400S to commence in first quarter of 2017.
While the Twin Otter’s reputation in commercial operations is unchallenged, Viking Air has also achieved considerable success with the Guardian 400 Special Missions variant, whose impressive multirole capability extends to surveillance, search and rescue, critical infrastructure, air ambulance, parachuting, cloud seeding, and a range of other government and military missions, capable of landing on wheels, floats and skis.
The 400 Guardian is equipped with an electro-optical and infrared imaging turret, 360° digital colour radar system, extended-range fuel tanks, crew observation station and lavatory.
The aircraft is operated in 12 countries in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia, and with the British Antarctic Survey, supporting 15 field projects in the Antarctic every season.