Of the original 844 Twin Otters built more than 600 remain in service today, and considering that production of the aircraft ceased in 1988 (that's 20 years ago) it shows that this truly amazing aircraft is still fulfilling a role in aviation today. In order to keep all of those aircraft flying, Viking Air of Sidney, British Columbia, Canada, has been making parts for the Twin Otter and other DeHavilland aircraft still in service around the globe.
After 15 years of providing replacement parts for the Twin Otter Viking Air hired consulting firm Conklin & de Decker to figure out whether there was enough demand in the marketplace to justify producing an updated and more modern version of the Twin Otter. That study suggested that there would be enough demand for 400 of the new Twin Otter over the next ten years, and Viking Air decided that if it could get 20 orders for the new -400 version of the Twin Otter they would produce it.
Well, backorders now stand at over 50, so on October 1st this year the first prototype of the DHC-6-400 aircraft (on amphibious floats) took to the skies with the Primus Apex avionics suite from Honeywell and the more powerful Pratt & Whitney P6A-34 engines. Aircraft performance remains the same as the -300; however, it has a lower empty weight and therefore an increased useful load.
The new aircraft is on display at the NBAA Convention in Orlando, Fl, if you care to take a look see.
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds...and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up, the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew.
And while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space...
...put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.