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Viking Air manufacturing new DHC-6 Twin Otters


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#1 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 10:57 AM

Island company bringing back Canadian aviation icon
Carla Wilson, Times Colonist
Published: Friday, April 20, 2007


Almost two decades ago, the last Twin Otter rolled off Bombardier’s assembly line in Downsview, Ont.

Now, an Island company is taking over where Bombardier left off, producing the venerable piece of Canadiana for the first time in 19 years.

North Saanich’s Viking Air already has orders for almost 30 of the planes, known for their performance and reliability in rugged conditions. Parts will be manufactured here and the aircraft assembled in Viking’s 60,000-square-foot plant at Calgary Airport.

“We will be the only manufacturer of complete aircraft west of Ontario,” Viking president Dave Curtis said yesterday. “It is a huge deal.”

The new Twin Otter Series 400 planes are being built in batches, with the first six scheduled to be ready in early 2009, he said.

The new planes will look similar to the old Twin Otter — technical improvements are mainly internal and include a different engine for improved performance.

Excited employees cheered and clapped at news that production was starting again on the planes, which sell for a base price of $3.2 million. “Everybody is pretty pumped about it. Pumped and awestruck,” Curtis said. “We are getting e-mails from around the world congratulating us.”

The number of Twin Otter orders surprised the firm, which initially expected about a dozen. Buyers come from the Maldives, Seychelles, Tahiti and Palm Beach, Fla. Curtis leaves Tuesday to meet more in Singapore and Australia.

The new line has meant Viking has had to beef up its staff of 150 in North Saanich. Twenty-two additional workers have been hired in the past month, after a cross-country recruiting drive, but the company needs a total of 225.

It also needs a bigger space. Viking has tenders out for a 6,500-square-metre building adjacent to its current facility that’s expected to cost more than $5 million. Calgary’s staff will grow to 75 from four.

Production will ramp up to seven planes in 2009, 12 in 2010 and 18 in 2011, Curtis said. Market research indicates there’s a demand for more than 400 in the next decade, but the company is proceeding cautiously.

The world’s best-selling 19-passenger aircraft, Twin Otters are respected for their capabilities, reliability and safety, Curtis said. De Havilland began construction of the planes in 1965, and was later bought out by Bombardier. A total of 844 Twin Otters were manufactured over two decades, more than 600 of which still fly in all kinds of conditions, from the Arctic to the tropics.

Owned by Westerkirk Capital, a private investment firm in Toronto, Viking secured ownership last year of the design of seven de Havilland aircraft, for which it already held exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute parts.
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#2 Holden West

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 01:31 PM

Update on the Twin Otter saga:

Viking Air’s relaunch of the fabled Twin Otter is progressing on schedule, and the first modified airplane incorporating all the planned new features of the production airplane should fly in the fourth quarter. Delivery of the first newly manufactured and recertified Twin Otter to Swiss customer Zimex Aviation is planned for next year’s first quarter.


"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#3 Caramia

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 07:05 AM

Oooh I missed this somehow until just now! Awesome! I can't wait to see pictures of the finished product!

#4 Coreyburger

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:12 PM

They had a short-lived joint venture with Camosun to train metal workers, but that that ended. Unknown why. They are also hiring like mad. I understand that they were forced to moved final work on the aircraft to Calgary due to lack of trained staff here. After all, they not only need trained metal workers, they need aircraft certified ones.

#5 amor de cosmos

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:59 PM

Yes this is very cool

#6 Holden West

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 10:36 AM

What are the chances that Bombardier (who bought De Havilland) might eventually buy Viking, bringing the Twin Otter back "home"?
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#7 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 10:43 AM

What are the chances that Bombardier (who bought De Havilland) might eventually buy Viking, bringing the Twin Otter back "home"?


79%

I think if it picks up momentum, it's a buy-out candidate by a bigger entity for sure. If you put out another 400 new planes, that maintenance contract can be very lucrative down the road. No doubt the entire world aviation industry is looking closely at how they do.

#8 Holden West

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 10:55 AM

I imagine Boeing might be interested even though they're not as Seattle-centric as they used to be. It would be cool if they kept the Viking plant and had them producing Boeing product as well.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#9 G-Man

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 11:18 AM

What do we mean by home?

The Twin Otter is going to be built here and in Calgary so it will be "home" IMO.

#10 Holden West

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 11:29 AM

I should have said "birthplace", although it's the storied manufacturer that died, was ripped up, divided out and scattered to the winds. Still, Bombardier inherited the remnants of De Havilland, just like Boeing did with McDonnell-Douglas.

I'm not saying this would be a good thing, in fact it would probably be bad for Victoria as it would make it easier to relocate operations elsewhere in the world. As long as Viking is owned by an investment company, anything is possible.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#11 G-Man

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:01 PM

Where is the birthplace of de havilland?

#12 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:54 PM

Where is the birthplace of de havilland?


England.

#13 Mike K.

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:55 PM

I suppose this would be the more appropriate thread for this info.

Victoria-based aircraft manufacturer anticipating certification for twin engine plane
By VibrantVictoria.ca
http://vibrantvictoria.ca/?p=1416

Victoria-based Viking Air, a plane manufacturing company specializing in restoration and new production of de Havilland Canada aircraft, is expecting Transport Canada and European Aviation Safety Agency certification by early 2010 for it’s Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft. The 19-seat twin engined passenger and freight plane, a reintroduction of de Havilland’s DHC-6 Twin Otter, is capable of amphibious (meaning if equipped properly, the plane can land on both water and on airport runways), standard landplane, tundra tire, ski-plane, and float plane operations. [...]

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#14 amor de cosmos

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 03:35 PM

man this is cool. so now victoria is going to be an aerospace, manufacturing, high-tech & tourism powerhouse? :cool:

#15 spanky123

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 10:11 PM

Viking has been making parts for the Beaver and Otter for years. They originally did this under sub-contract for Bombardier and then took over distribution a few years back.

The plan to license and build the Otter and Beaver is a logical one but I wouldn't count on Bombardier wanting to bring this operation back in house (ie buy Viking). From what I have heard there is still some progress to be made towards certification and Viking has experienced some delays.

#16 LJ

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 08:09 PM

The only down side of the new Twotter is the fact they are making it with a glass cockpit. The beauty of the original was it's rock solid reliability in any climate, from north pole to south pole and everywhere in between. Glass cockpits don't do real well in extreme climates and you sure don't want to get stuck at the south pole because none of your instruments are functioning.
Life's a journey......so roll down the window and enjoy the breeze.

#17 Mike K.

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 09:29 PM

I'm curious, why would modern glass cockpits malfunction or just not work in extreme weather?

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#18 Holden West

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 10:16 PM

BTW, by "glass cockpit" he's referring to the use of electronic displays as opposed to the old-fashioned analog gauges and dials.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#19 mat

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 10:37 PM

Glass cockpits - I would imagine it depends on the operational territory of a particular aircraft.

Otters and Beavers were originally designed to be robust, easy to repair, hard landing airplanes with few electronic/mechanical elements that required offsite expertise. Installing a 'glass cockpit' raises the training level for pilots, and maintenance. Might be good for tourist flights in Mexico - not best (currently) for the Canadian North.

#20 Bingo

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 10:53 PM

The only down side of the new Twotter is the fact they are making it with a glass cockpit. The beauty of the original was it's rock solid reliability in any climate, from north pole to south pole and everywhere in between. Glass cockpits don't do real well in extreme climates and you sure don't want to get stuck at the south pole because none of your instruments are functioning.

Check out Mat's link to "glass cockpits" because everyone is using them from the military to the space shuttle. I would say those uses are a bit extreeeme.

"I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance" - Socrates


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