Twinotter: The multipurpose aircraft

Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The plane’s fixed tricycle undercarriage, STOL abilities and high rate of climb have made it a successful cargo, regional passenger airliner and Medevac aircraft

he de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, currently marketed as the Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter, is a Canadian 19-passenger short takeoff and landing utility aircraft.

The aircraft’s fixed tricycle under-carriage, STOL abilities and high rate of climb have made it a successful cargo, regional passenger airliner and Medevac aircraft.

In addition, it has been popular with commercial skydiving operations and is used by the US Army Parachute team and the US Air Force.

It has the capacity to carry up to 22 skydivers to over 17,000 feet.

Considering the market potential, in May this year, JetHQ of Dubai, UAE and Arrow Aircraft Sales announced a partnership for the latter to represent Viking Twin Otter series 400 in India and Sri Lanka.

In January 2015, Viking Air had assigned JetHQ to become the regional sales representative for the aircraft for seven South Asian countries, including India, Bangla-desh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan and the Maldives.

JetHQ strengthens its sales network by partnering with Arrow Aircraft Sales and Charters of New Delhi, India, to familiarize potential customers in India and Sri Lanka with the versatile Twin Otter’s proven capabilities and Viking’s exceptional customer service.

Founded in 2009, Arrow is a significant provider of business aviation services, including sales, charters and operational manage-ment programs.

Headquartered in New Delhi, with additional offices in Mumbai, Kolkata and in Sharjah, UAE, Arrow is well positioned to meet with prospective operators in the region.

“Our companies share a common business philosophy based on trust, integrity and dependability, combi-ned with a love of aviation,” said Garett Jerde, Managing Director of JetHQ. “Arrow is ideally poised to enhance the Twin Otter’s position in India and Sri Lanka and we are delighted to be working together to promote the Series 400 Twin Otter, the best-selling next generation turbo-prop in its class.”

JetHQ is centrally located in Dubai, UAE with a secondary location in Wichita, Kansas.

It provides aviation consultation services that build trusted partner-ships and maximize value for all the client’s requirements for the duration of the aircraft lifecycle.

It specializes in emerging markets, identifying a niche where previously customers had been at a disad-vantage, working directly with major aircraft OEMs to satisfy their needs.

In an interview with Air Cargo Update, the Marketing Associate (Business Development) Angie Murray, explains the capabilities of the Twin Otter and its market.

Could you tell us about cargo configuration of Twin Otter as to what kind of cargo can it take and what tonnage?

With the Twin Otter, the entire cabin can be configured to carry cargo as the cockpit has egress doors for the flight crew. The standard Twin Otter has a useful load of 5,180 lbs. and a usable cargo volume of 508 cu. ft., however Viking is currently evaluating potential development of the “Twin Otter 400F Freighter”, which would have a longer fuselage providing an increased cargo volume of 832 cu ft. with a useful load of 5,780 lbs.

What are the advantages of a Twin Otter cargo aircraft over other aircraft?

The Twin Otter design has separate pilot doors to allow the entire cabin to be utilized for cargo, and has the largest loading door in its class. The Twin Otter’s performance capab-ilities, combined with a rugged and versatile design, allows it to land on multiple surface types and operate in extreme conditions to remote and unimproved airfields. It features extremely low operating costs and ease of maintenance for remote operations, so is an economical choice for multi-purpose use to service remote communities.

Have you sold any Twin Otter cargo airplane to any operator?

While we haven’t sold any aircraft dedicated solely for cargo operations to date, many of our operators take advantage of the aircraft’s versatility to operate with adjustable interior configurations featuring a combi-nation of seats and cargo.

The seats can be quickly removed or added to allow for maximum flexibility, and cargo nets are easily attached to rails along the floor and sidewalls throughout the length of the cabin.

For operators that provide regular infrastructure support to remote communities, a utility interior option is available allowing passenger seats to fold up within minutes and be stowed along the cabin walls. For aerial drop operations, an air-operable roll up door and static lines are available options.

What are the prospects in South Asia, in countries like India, which has a vast coastline?

The Twin Otter’s ability to be configured with seaplane floats expands the list of potential customers that might be using the more conventional method of shipping by boat. For example, the amphibious Twin Otter can carry cargo from a seaport to an inland location in a matter of hours, where shipping by boat or over land would take days.

Isn’t it economical to move goods by surface or sea transport within countries such as India rather than go for Twin Otter aircraft?

The economics of moving cargo are hugely dependent on time to ship versus expense. With its ability to access remote areas, the Twin Otter can offer delivery options simply unavailable via road or water.

What goods are suitable for transportation in Twin Otter? What about perishable goods?

The Twin Otter is suitable for a wide-range of goods – basically, if the package fits through the cargo door, the aircraft is capable of transporting it. Fuel drums, small motorcycles and ATV vehicles, mining equipment, and live animals have all been known to be transported in a Twin Otter.

In the case of perishables, the Twin Otter is ideal for transport where alternative methods of shipping to remote communities cause untimely delays putting the cargo at risk.

What kind of market exists for the cargo version in Asia?

As mentioned above, Viking is currently evaluating market potential for a cargo-specific model of the Twin Otter, however initial indications show use of the Twin Otter for small cargo operations is strong.