July 22, 2010
By Thomas A. Horne
Viking Air announced that its new Series 400 Twin Otter has received its Canadian type certificate.
The Series 400 Twin Otter, dubbed the DHC-6-400, may resemble its 60-year-old predecessor, but that’s where the similarities end. The Series 400 incorporates more than 800 changes that modernize and improve upon the original production models. Among the biggest upgrades are the airplane’s Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 engines, the use of composite materials, the lightweight interior, LED lighting systems, and improved de-ice and air conditioning systems.
Another major change is the Series 400’s Honeywell Primus Apex integrated avionics suite. The Apex uses two high-resolution primary flight displays (PFDs) and two multifunction displays (MFDs) instead of the “steam gauges” of yore, and features Honeywell’s Interactive Navigation (INAV) graphical presentations. These give pilots TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) and EGPWS (enhanced ground proximity warning system) information, plus additional overlays that can show datalinked Nexrad and other weather, terrain, and airspace information. The MFDs are also used to input and edit flight plan information.
The Series 400 Twin Otter is designed for operations at remote and unimproved airports, and a wide range of landing gear is available as options. These include straight or amphibious floats, skis, wheel skis, and Tundra tires. So far, Viking reports Series 400 sales backlogs worth more than $200 million. Recently, the Vietnamese navy purchased several of the new Twin Otters. In addition to selling Series 400s, Viking Air also provides support for the worldwide fleet of other de Havilland heritage airplanes, ranging from the DHC-1 Chipmunk through DHC-7 “Dash 7” four-engine turboprop regional aircraft.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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