Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Will a Vancouver Island Company Save the Buffalo?
It's been 23-years since the last de Havilland Twin Otter rolled out of the company's plant in Ontario. But a fine Canadian airplane isn't that easy to kill off and they're still coming off the production line at Viking Air of Victoria, B.C.
When de Havilland stopped production on the Beaver, Otter, Twin Otter, Caribou and Buffalo aircraft, Viking bought the type certificates for the entire DHC-1 to DHC-7 line from Bombardier. The company is now working on number 17 of 80-Twin Otter orders it has already booked.
Now Viking is hoping to bring back another De Havilland classic, the DHC-5 Buffalo, the Buffalo NG (next generation), to become the RCAF's next search and rescue aircraft.
Similar to Twin Otters, Buffalo aircraft are known as work horses. They are renowned for their ability to handle short take off and landings, useful in emergency situations. A Buffalo can carry a payload of 18,000 pounds and has a rear ramp, allowing vehicles to drive inside, Mauracher said. It can also accommodate NATO-size metal palettes to transport cargo.
He expects manufacturing would take place in Canada. "Right now all our employment is in Canada.
Everything we do is in Canada. I don't see that changing," Mauracher said. "Until we see what comes out, it's kind of hard to say which way we are going to go with our proposal but right now everything we do is all Canadian-based."