Engineering modification house Ikhana Aircraft Services (Booth No. C7116) expected to receive FAA supplemental type certification (STC) of its DH-6 Twin Otter fuselage life extension by the time the NBAA show began, adding to a range of other upgrades the company offers for the twin-engine turboprop.
DHC-6 airframes are fatigue-life limited at 66,000 hours or 132,000 flights, whichever occurs first, according to Ikhana. The wing-box life limit is 33,000 hours or 66,000 flight cycles, about the half-life of the aircraft. Ikhana’s RWMI DHC-6 re-life fuselage, developed by its formerly named RW Martin, Inc. subsidiary, extends the life of the rugged commuter plane. The fuselage modification, combined with other Ikhana STCs for the Twin Otter including the RWMI DHC-6 re-life wing box and DHC-6-200HG increased gross weight product “essentially transforms a DHC-6-200 into a DHC-6-300,” the company says.
Ikhana, based in Murrieta, Calif., also offers DHC-6 modifications for camera hatches, wing hard points, air-conditioning, enhanced-vision system, bubble windows and Vistaliner enlarged windows as used by scenic tour operator Grand Canyon Airlines.
The company says it has seen demand for upgraded Twin Otters from markets including VIP transport, business shuttle, scientific missions cargo, skydiving and resupply of remote outposts such as oilfield rigs and Arctic research stations. Ikhana recently accomplished its 100th wing-box life extension.
Viking Air of Sidney, B.C., Canada, which owns the DHC-6 type certificate, says more than 800 aircraft have been built. Viking launched the Twin Otter Series 400 production program in 2007, and reports a backlog worth more than $300 million through 2014. Ikhana, formed in 2007, changed the names of its RW Martin and Total Aircraft Services subsidiaries last October, bringing them under the umbrella of Ikhana Group.
The company also has experience with Beechcraft King Air and Gulfstream airframes. Its headquarters is located at French Valley Airport in Murrieta, where a 45,000-sq-ft facility supports aircraft modifications, heavy maintenance and major repairs. The former RWMI operates as an FAA-approved Part 145 certified repair station and is an official Viking factory-endorsed service center for DHC-6 and DHC-7 aircraft.
The factory designation allows the facility to provide support of legacy de Havilland aircraft as well as the Twin Otter Series 400. Ikhana’s aircraft engineering services are based in a 6,000-sq-ft facility adjacent to Van Nuys Airport in California. The former Total Aircraft Services staff consists of senior design and analytical engineers and FAA designated engineering representatives specializing in aircraft systems, damage tolerance and aircraft interior certification.