Army Orders Three Twin Otters

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The U.S. Army has ordered three new Twin Otters from Viking Air Limited, the Canadian company that is putting the venerable de Havilland twin turboprop back into production. The Army will use the high-wing Twin Otters as jump planes for its Golden Knights parachute team. The Army orders bring the total to more than 40 since Viking announced the launch of new production Twin Otters last year.

The Army has been using two Twin Otters as Golden Knight jump planes since 1997, but the airplanes began life in the Army as Alaska ski planes in 1979. The airplanes have nearly 10,000 hours, more than 18,000 landings, and have proven to be the perfect airplane to lift up to 16 jumpers at a time.

The new Twin Otters, which will be based with the Golden Knights at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will be delivered in 2010 and 2011. The contract for the three airplanes is valued at $14.3 million.