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Fri, Oct 03, 2008

Viking's New Twin Otter Prototype Makes Its First Flight

"Series 400" Amphib Takes To The Skies In Front Of Cheering Employees

Perhaps it's not wholly accurate to call the inaugural flight of Viking's DHC-6 Series 400 a true "first flight;" after all, the plane's fundamental design is over 40 years old. But don't tell that to the dozens of cheering workers who watched the plane ascend for its first time this week.

Just days after initial power-on, the new Twin Otter Series 400 -- dubbed a "Technology Demonstrator" by the company -- took off at Victoria International Airport in the middle of a clear and sunny Wednesday afternoon, amid cheers and clapping from employees and onlookers.

"The aircraft performed beautifully," remarked Steve Stackhouse, Viking’s manager of flight Operations and pilot-in-command. Michael Moore, engineering test pilot and co-captain added "the first flight went smoothly and the aircraft handled exactly as expected."

Powered by two new Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 engines, outfitted on Wipline 13000 amphibious floats, and modernized with Honeywell Primus Apex avionics suite, the Technical Demonstrator took off from less than 1000 feet of runway, proving the type’s famed STOL performance.

"This is a special moment for all at Viking," said David Curtis, president & CEO, "and physically represents the many months of hard work by Viking employees since the announcement of Series 400 aircraft program late last year." He added, "while Viking has been in the aviation industry for many years, manufacturing new aircraft is a different avenue for the company and could not have been possible without the commitment and support of our stakeholders and Westerkirk Capital."

Viking employees and their families were given the opportunity to preview the aircraft prior to the first flight at a roll out event late last week, where she was officially dubbed "Viktoria" in honor of her home town and in keeping with tradition of Turbo Beaver predecessor "Olivia", of Immortal Beaver fame.

The best selling 19-passenger aircraft of all time, over 600 heritage Twin Otters still in active service... and Viking says demand is increasing by the minute for the versatile STOL turboprop.

Viking launched the Series 400 aircraft program in 2007 with customer deliveries scheduled to commence in Summer 2009. Viking provides OEM support for the worldwide fleet of de Havilland heritage aircraft (DHC-1 through DHC-7), and is part of Westerkirk Capital Inc., a Canadian private investment firm with substantial holdings in the hospitality, aviation and real estate sectors.

FMI: www.vikingair.com

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