Of the 70 aircraft scheduled to be parked in the LABACE 2014 static display here at Congonhas Airport in São Paulo, the Viking Twin Otter was the only one that didn’t make it to the big stage. The company got its display aircraft here all the way from Canada (a customer aircraft, to be delivered after the show), but that wasn’t enough. “We got the aircraft here in time, but not through Customs,” Viking’s international sales and marketing v-p Evan McCorry told AIN, “It was more of a timing issue than anything else, a combination of circumstances.” This left a space in front of Viking’s chalet, which it duly filled with tables and a model of the aircraft. Interested parties still got to see the Twin Otter, at Líder Aviação’s hangar.
Despite the disappointment this year, Viking is planning on coming to future LABACEs (this is its first), as it sees a firm fit between Latin America and its new Twin Otter Series 400, of which it has sold 110 worldwide, with deliveries in the 50s. It already has what it describes as an outstanding customer in the Peruvian Air Force, which uses the versatile twin turboprop to bring services to regions that are otherwise unreachable. “If you take what they’re doing with the Otter in the Peruvian Amazon, and just flip that over to the Brazilian Amazon, that’s a fit,” remarked McCorry.
This may be Viking’s first LABACE, but it is the seventh for Evan McCorry, who came to Viking after heading international sales for Beechcraft. “We’ve identified Latin America as a strategic market moving forward. If you look at our kinds of operations, we’re on the fringe of what others are capable of. The Twin Otter 400 can land on grass, on gravel, on sand, on dirt, on mud and on water. And it can carry more than a King Air.”
The Viking Twin Otter can be fitted with a variety of landing gear: wheels, banana floats, amphibious floats, and even skis for landing on snow. ABAG’s new Yearbook of Brazilian General Aviation shows that Brazil has only 36 amphibious or float-equipped aircraft (among some 14,000 GA aircraft in total), despite its vast areas with many rivers but few roads.