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  • Writer's pictureAvaitors Maldives

The Maiden Twin Otter Flight Took Place 59 Years Ago Today

The DHC-6 Twin Otter took its maiden flight on May 20, 1965. Developed by de Havilland Canada, this versatile utility aircraft was designed to excel in short takeoff and landing (STOL) operations.

The Twin Otter aimed to replace the single-engine DHC-3 Otter while retaining the STOL capabilities that made the Otter popular among bush plane operators. The aircraft featured double-slotted trailing-edge flaps and ailerons that worked in unison with the flaps to enhance STOL performance.

The availability of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-20 turboprop engine in the early 1960s made the concept of a twin-engine aircraft feasible. The initial production run included six prototype aircraft designated as Series 1. Series 100 and Beyond: The subsequent production consisted of Series 100 aircraft (serial numbers seven to 115). The Twin Otter quickly gained popularity as a reliable alternative to piston-powered planes.

The Twin Otter’s fixed tricycle undercarriage, twin turboprop engines, and impressive rate of climb made it a successful commuter airliner. It typically seats 18–20 passengers and serves as both a cargo transport and a medical evacuation aircraft. Notably, it has been embraced by commercial skydiving operations and even finds use with the United States Army Parachute Team and the 98th Flying Training Squadron of the United States Air Force.

While de Havilland Canada produced the Twin Otter until 1988, Viking Air acquired the type certificate and resumed production in 2008. In 2022, Viking Air re-adopted the DHC name, and in 2023, DHC restarted production of the 300 series alongside the Series 400.

The Twin Otter’s enduring legacy lies in its adaptability, reliability, and ability to conquer challenging terrains. From remote airstrips to bustling commuter routes, this remarkable aircraft continues to soar.

The de Havilland Twin Otter holds a special place in the Maldives, where it serves as a vital seaplane for transporting tourists to resorts. With three different operators utilizing these seaplanes, Maldives is also home to worlds largest seaplane operator, Trans Maldivian Airways.



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