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Skydiving Otters find a home in Qatar

Posted 1 July 2019 · Add Comment

Qatar has taken delivery of a pair of Viking Air DHC-6 Series 400 (DHC-6-400) Twin Otter aircraft, writes Jon Lake.

The aircraft will be used to support the Joint Special Forces skydiving team.
No details were released as to the number of aircraft being purchased or the value of the contract when it was signed by Major General Mubarak Mohammed Al Kamit Al Khayarin, commander of the Amiri Air Force, and Peter Walker, Viking’s regional sales director for Africa, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, at Doha Airbase in June 2018. There has been speculation that four aircraft will be delivered.
Flight Lieutenant Abdullah Al Hadfah, the vice-chairman of Qatar’s skydiving committee, said that the Twin Otter purchase had been ordered by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, HE Dr Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah.
The aircraft are finished in a quasi-civil colour scheme, like Qatar’s first C-17, but wear Qatar Air Force roundels and code letters.
Viking Air of Victoria, British Columbia, purchased the type certificates for all out-of-production de Havilland Canada aircraft (DHC-1 through DHC-7) from Bombardier Aerospace on February 24 2006, and put the Twin Otter back into production in 2007, establishing a new final assembly plant in Calgary, Alberta. Bombardier had ceased production of the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 300 in 1988.
Viking Air introduced a new Series 400 Twin Otter, equipped with Honeywell Primus Apex fully integrated avionics and more powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 engines. The aircraft can be fitted with intermediate flotation gear (IFG) to enable it to operate on the loose sand found in the Arabian Gulf region.
Qatar is not the first military Twin Otter user in the region. Viking Air delivered nine Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft to Abu Dhabi’s Global Aerospace Logistics (GAL) between 2013 and 2015, for use by the UAE Government under a multi-year service contract.
Some of these have been used for covert transport and special forces support missions by Group 18, the UAE’s special operations aviation component, which is now part of the UAE Presidential Guard. Others are used for parachute training and even civilian skydiving.
 

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