TWINOTTERARCHIVE master index

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msn 414
DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 300
8Q-TAO
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msn 414

Ser 300

G-BDHC • N38535 • VQ-TGW • N38535 • DQ-PSD  VQ-TGW  N38535

8Q-TAO

• Registration • Activity and details of Owner/Operator and other historical information

• G-BDHC de Havilland Canada Inc., Downsview, ON. Rolled out date unknown. First flight 01-Apr-1974.

• G-BDHC Brymon Airways, Plymouth, UK 16-Apr-1974.

• G-BDHC Chubb Group - Transglobe Expedition, Feb-1979.

Note: See below for article regarding the use of the Twin Otter on this expedition.

• G-BDHC Leased to Loganair, Glasgow , Scotland. 07-Aug-1980.

• G-BDHC Returned to Chubb Group, Oct-1980.

• N38535 Sold to Lyons Holdings, Cranford, NJ., 23-Aug-1983.

• N38535 Leased to Trans East International, Farmingdale, NY., Oct-1983.

• N38535 Returned to Lyons Holdings, Cranford, NJ., 1984.

• N38535 Leased to Island Airlines, Farmingdale, NY., 21-Jul-1984.

• N38535 Returned to Lyons Holdings, Cranford, NJ., 1985.

• N38535 Sold to American Finance Group Inc., Boston, MA., 07-Oct-1985.

• N38535 Leased to Crown Airways (US Air Express), West Dubois, PA, Oct-1985.

• N38535 Sold to Lops Partnership, Billings ,MT., 24-Apr-1990.

• N38535 Leased to Corporate Air, Billings ,MT., Apr-1990.

• N38535 Returned to Lops Partnership, Billings, MT., 25-Aug-1999.

• N38535 Leased to Gulfstream International Airlines, Miami, FL., Ca. Feb-2000.

• N38535 Returned to Lops LLC., Billings, MT., May-2001.

• N38535 Sold to Ironwood Investments, Sedalia, CO, Regd 13-Jan-2002.

• N38535 Leased to Seaborne Airlines, Christiansted, St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands, by-Mar-2002.

• N38535 Change of name to Seaborne Virgin Islands, Christiansted, St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands Dates unknown.

• N38535 Sold to Deborah Aharon, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, 20-Jun-2007.

• N38535 Lease continued to Seaborne Virgin Islands, Christiansted, St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands 20-Jun-2007.

Ferried from Providenciales by Southern Cross Aviation Flight (SXA 501), to Subic Bay, Philippines, Jun-2008, via Clayton County Airport, GA – Alexandria, LA – San Angelo. TX – Deming, TX – Blythe, CA – Santa Ana, CA – Camarillo, CA – Honolulu, HI – Kumamoto, Japan – Saipan, N Mariana Islands – Subic Bay, Philippines. Sixty hours flying time.

• VQ-TGW Air Turks and Caicos Ltd., Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands. 07-May-2009.

• N38535 Restored to Deborah C. Aharon, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands Regd 16-May-2011 Canx 31-May-2011.

Ferried by Southern Cross Aviation as SXA834 from Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands to Nadi, Fiji May-2011 via Fort Lauderdale, FL, Decatur, Lake Charles, LA, Brownwood, TX, Deming, TX, Lake Havasu, AZ, Camarillo, CA, Honolulu, HI (24-May-2011), Christmas Island, Kiribati, and Apia, Samoa.

• DQ-PSD Pacific Sun, Nadi, Fiji. Regd 27-May-2011.

• DQ-PSD Fiji Link Nadi, Fiji.Regd date unknown.

• VQ-TGW Returned to InterCaribbean Airways, Turks and Caicos Islands.

• N38535 TVPX Aircraft Solutions Inc., Trustee, North Salt Lake, UT. 07-May-2018. Canx 11-Jul-2018 on export to Turks and Caicos Islands.

• VQ-TGW Returned to InterCaribbean Airways, Aircraft Investments Ltd.. Providenciales,Turks and Caicos Islands. Jul-2018.

Flew Providenciales – Nassau – Fort Pierce, FL 03-Dec-2019.

• N38535 Aircraft Investments Ltd., Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands. Regd 05-Dec-2019

• N38535 TVPX Aircraft Solutions Inc., Trustee, North Salt Lake, UT.Temporary regd 11-Dec-2019 Canx 30-Dec-2019 on export to Maldives.

Flew Fort Pierce, FL – Bermuda 14-Dec-2019. Then tried to fly Bernuda - Santa Maria on 15-Dec but returned for unknown reason . Departed again the next day and  successfully made it to Santa Maria. Continued to Tunis by 22-Dec-2019. See also msn 410. Possibly weather related.

• 8Q-TAO Trans Maldivian Airways, Male, Maldive Islands (SBI Leasing Services Ltd). Regd 31-Dec-2019.

• Current •

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Transglobe Expedition The Aircraft: Twin Otter

In selecting an aircraft for use on the Transglobe Expedition’s Antarctic and Arctic phases several important factors had to be taken into account. The aircraft had to be both mechanically reliable and well proved as it is a single aircraft operation. It also had to be able to withstand landing and take off in far from ideal ground and ice surface conditions.

It had to have sufficient range and payload to resupply the ice group during the crossings on both polar ice caps and, most importantly, the aircraft had to have a short take off and landing capability due to the lack of large flat areas in the regions in which the ice group operated. Taking all these points into consideration, it was decided that the de Havilland of Canada Twin Otter was the ideal aircraft. The Twin Otter is a light twin turbo-prop aircraft, powdered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-27 free turbine engines, and has an all up weight of 12,500 pounds (5,700 kgs). In its commuter role the Otter carries 20 passengers and two crew, whereas in the cargo role (as the expedition used it) the usual payload is about 2,000 pounds (900 kgs) depending on the range required. The greater the range, the less payload can be carried and surface conditions in the polar regions also governed take-off weight.

The Twin Otter used by the expedition was owned and was generously loaned by the Chubb Group. It was a 300 series and was the first Twin Otter on the British Aircraft Register, hence the registration G-BDHC. It was repainted red, white and blue, and all top surfaces were painted black to absorb as much heat as possible from the sun and to prevent ice from forming on the aircraft. It is a technique used with success by another operator of Twin Otters in the Antarctic at the time: The British Antarctic Survey. The Twin Otter was equipped in the wheel/ski configuration which means the pilot had the option of landing on wheels on prepared runways, such as the McMurdo ice runway in the Antarctic and during the ferry flight to the Antarctic, or he could select skis for field landings during the polar crossings.

The skis are operated by hydraulics, and a system of hydraulic rams moves the skis up and down around the fixed undercarriage. The undersurfaces of the skis are coated in a teflon-type finish which is designed to prevent the skis from sticking to the ice or snow when parked overnight.

As navigation by compass is difficult in the polar regions, one of the then latest navigation aids had been obtained: The Canadian Marconi “Omega” system, CMA734, which worked essentially on very low frequency global radio transmissions. Several stations throughout the world transmitted signals which were collected in the aircraft and, in conjunction with other information fed into it, the system computed the position of the aircraft. This type of navigational device was essential to enable the aircrew to locate the ice group during their polar crossings.

Another aid for locating the ice group to be carried by the aircraft was a very high frequency (VHF) homer. This was a system for tracking signals transmitted by the ice group when in reasonable proximity. An indicator in the cockpit told the pilot which way to go — left or right.

The two man crew of the aircraft consisted of Giles Kershaw, the pilot, who had been flying in the Antarctic for the previous five summer seasons with the British Antarctic Survey, and was a very experienced pilot on Twin Otters, especially in the ski configuration, and the engineer, Gerry Nicholson, who had just completed three summer seasons in the Antarctic working on Twin Otters. G-BDHC left England in early December, flying via Reykjavic (Iceland), Frobisher Bay (Canada), Toronto (Canada), Miami (USA), South Caicos (Turks & Caicos Islands), Trinidad (Caribbean), Manaus (Brazil), Asuncian (Paraguay), Salta & Mar Del Plata (Argentina), Comodoro Rivadavia (Brazil), Stanley (Falkland Islands), Rothera and Halley (two British Antarctic Survey bases in the Antarctic) and finally to Sanae (a South African base). Here the aircraft met the Expedition’s ship - MV Benjamin Bowring - and the main expedition. The ferry flight of some 12,000 miles (19,200 kms) took eleven flying days.

As the ship started unloading, the aircraft began to fly the expedition’s equipment and provisions to Borga where the party was to overwinter. Once these flights were completed and the base camp established the aircraft returned to England via the ferry route to go on charter in March 1980.

Later in the year as the Antarctic winter gave way to summer the aircraft returned to the Antarctic by the end of October 1980, ready to assist the ice group on its 2,600 mile (4,160 kms) journey to Scott Base on the Ross Ice Shelf via the South Pole. The aircraft was used for resupply of food and fuel and also to find alternative routes when obstacles confronted the ice group.

The resupply work was either done by landing near the ice group or, when no suitable areas were available, the stores were air dropped. During the crossing the aircraft operated first from Borga and then when the ice group neareed the South Pole it flew via the South Pole, to McMurdo on the Ross Ice Shelf from where it covered the second half of the crossing from Williams Airfield.

The base party from Borga travelled with the aircraft on this flight and established a new radio link at McMurdo. Once the ice group arrived the aircraft prepared to return to UK via South Pole, Rothera to via New Zealand and Australia to allow for visits to the trade exhibitions in these countries. On arrival back in the UK the aircraft again went on charter.

The next and last phase of the expedition which required air support was in the Arctic in early February 1982. Positioning the aircraft for this means a flight from the UK to Iceland, Labrador, Toronto, Winnipeg, Yellowknife, Resolute and finally to the base camp at Alert in Northern Canada. From Alert support was provided while the ice group travelled over the sea ice to the North Pole and then on to Spitsbergen. The pilot for this phase of the Expedition was Karl Zberg. As the ice group progressed from the North Pole towards Spitsbergen so the aircraft and the base camp crew changed to Cape Nord, Greenland and eventually to Longyearbyen, in Spitsbergen, to cover the last part of the ice group’s journey. During the crossing of the North Pole the Expedition’s ship sailed to the Spitsbergen area and then gather the ice group from the edge of the sea ice and returned to England. Once the ice group was safely aboard the ship the aircraft returned to the United Kingdom via Bodo in Norway, to await the ultimate arrival of the expedition team.

G-BDHC when operating with BRYMON.
Photo: Unknown photographer © April 1975 - Michael J. Ody Collection
G-BDHC getting fuelled up.
Photo: Unknown photographer © Date unknown - Michael J. Ody Collection
G-BDHC at Exeter - EGTE.
Photo: Danny Grew © 28 August 1978 - via AirHistory.net - AirdArchives
G-BDHC at Glasgow - EGPF after Loganair lease.
vPhoto: GAAEC Collection © October 1980 - Aird Archives
G-BDHC at Miami - KMIA, well sponsored.
Photo: Al Rodrigues © Date unknown - Erik Johannesson Collection
N38535 in TRANS EAST titles.
Photo: Peter Becker © December 1983 - Jay Sherlock Collection - Aird Archives
N38535 in ISLAND AIRLINES titles.
Photo: Tom Kaminski © August 1984 - Jay Sherlock Collection - Aird Archives
N38535 of ALLEGHENY COMMUTER at Pittsburgh - KPIT, Pennsylvania.
Photo: Elliot Greenman © May 1986 - Erik Johannesson Collection
N38535 at Fort Lauderdale - KFLL, Florida.
Photo: Unknown photographer © January 2001
N38535 without logo and titles.
Photo: Unknown photographer © December 2001 - Michael J. Ody Collection - Aird Archives
N38535 at Airdrie - CEF4, Alberta.
Photo: Dietmar Schreiber © 28 April 2007
VQ-TGW of Air Turks and Caicos.
Photo: Unknown photographer © May 2010 - Michael J. Ody Collection
DQ-PSD takes a short break at Matei, Fiji.
Photo: Vic Riley © 25 September 2015
DQ-PSD at Nadi - NFFN, Fiji.
Photo: Paul Howard © 29 November 2016
N38535 of interCarribean at Fort Pierce - KFPR, Florida.
Photo: Unknown photographer © 09 December 2019 - Erik Johannesson Collection