What do France, Asia, Russia, and the United States (by way of California) all have in common? Well, this week it is Viking Air Limited — the Victoria-based manufacturer of aeronautical products has made several contract announcements during the Paris International Air Show with regards to clients around the world.
The latest announcement confirmed a new client in Aerostar Leasing Group, who signed an agreement for four DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 for commercial operations in Asia.
David Curtis, Viking president & CEO, confirmed the deal from Paris.
“We are pleased to welcome another customer to the growing Twin Otter Series 400 family, and trust Aerostar Leasing will be as satisfied with their new aircraft as our repeat customers are,” Curtis says.
During the Western Canada reception at the air show, Curtis also announced that Viking has signed another agreement with Vityaz Avia Corporation of Moscow, Russia, for seven of the DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400.
“We believe the Series 400 Twin Otter aircraft is ideally suited for the harsh operating environments in Russia, and have been working with Vityaz since 2010 to develop the Russian market potential,” Curtis says. ‘We are pleased to see with this new order that the demand for the aircraft is strong and proving that our initial business case was valid.”
Viking received Russian Interstate Aviation Committee (IACAR) Type Certification in July 2012 in conjunction with the delivery of the first two Russian aircraft in October 2012. Those aircraft marked the first Twin Otters in history to be delivered to Russia.
The seven new Series 400 Twin Otters are scheduled for delivery through 2015, and will be utilized as utility aircraft to support remote communities throughout the northern regions of Russia. The first aircraft is scheduled for delivery in time for the MAKS International Air Show in Moscow in August, where the aircraft will be available for the first time on static display for viewing by the Russian aviation
The multi-aircraft deal brings the Vityaz aircraft order total to 11, making Vityaz Viking’s largest single non-military customer to date.
With respect to military clients, Viking Air also announced this week that they are delivering the third Twin Otter Guardian 400 aircraft to the US Army Golden Knights Parachute Demonstration Team, completing a multi-aircraft purchase contract from February, 2008. The US Army Series 400 Twin Otters are configured with special mission equipment specific to the Golden Knights parachute jumping requirements, including air-operable roll up door, external jump step and hand holds, wall mounted bench seating, and crew relief station.
Viking executive vice president Dan Tharp will be attending the handover of the third aircraft at a small delivery event this week in Murrieta, California, where the Golden Knights and US Army Fixed Wing Project Office delegates will be conducting the final acceptance inspection.
“Viking greatly appreciates the relationship we have developed with the US Army over the past five years, and we hope to collaborate on future projects where the Twin Otter Series 400 is a suitable candidate for their requirements,” Sharp says.
With respect to another military customer, Viking Air Limited and affiliate Pacific Sky Aviation Inc. of Victoria confirmed this week that the first contingent of Vietnam Navy pilot delegates training is nearing completion.
As part of Viking’s deal with the Vietnam Nay for six new Guardian 400 Twin Otters announced in May 2010, pilot trainees have traveled from Vietnam to Canada to receive English language, flight and technical training. The unique flight and maintenance training program provided by Viking’s sister organization, Pacific Sky Aviation, encompasses English Second Language (ESL), ab-initio, private and commercial pilot licensing, multi-engine, night, and amphibious float training. Other partners on the program included Camosun College and FlightSafety International of Toronto.
According to Michael Coughlin, CEO at Pacific Sky Aviation, this program has been specially tailored to the requirements of the Vietnam Navy, and is quite unlike any other training program in the world.
“A significant amount of the Twin Otter training focused on seaplane operations with the students completing over 2100 landings on lakes and the rugged coastline of British Columbia; this will be instrumental to their success in operating the aircraft for maritime patrol operations in Vietnam,” Coughlin says.