Viking Air has broken ground on a Series 400 Twin Otter training centre adjacent to its headquarters in Vancouver Island, Canada. The 10,000ft2 (920m2) facility, being built in partnership with Canadian training provider Pacific Sky Aviation, will house a single Series 400 Level D full flight simulator/seaplane trainer when its opens in the fourth quarter of 2016, and will be expanded as demand grows.

The announcement comes as Viking prepares to mark the 50th anniversary of the twin-engined turboprop’s first flight on 20 May 1965. The company is planning a two-and-a-half week tour of more than a dozen communities in Canada’s northern territories that the aircraft has served since it was introduced. Two Twin Otters will take part in the celebrations, which are set to begin on 1 July. “Residents in each of the communities will be invited to view the Series 400, share Twin Otter stories and sign a wing rib for the 100th Viking production aircraft scheduled to be built in 2016,” Viking says.

The Twin Otter entered service in 1966 and nearly 850 examples were built before production was halted 22 years later. Viking relaunched production in 2007 shortly after it acquired the type certificates to all the legacy de Havilland types, except the Dash 8, from Bombardier. The Series 400 features a host of improvements over the original including upgraded Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 engines and an integrated Honeywell Primus Apex digital avionics suite.

Source: Flight International