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Letter to the Editor from Viking Air of Victoria, B.C.

picture_1Recent reports have suggested that the Canadian Government intends to spend $3 Billion for up to 17 new FWSAR aircraft to replace its aging CC-115 Buffalo fleet, which has long been utilized in search and rescue missions across the country.


December 22, 2008
By Carey Fredericks
 picture_1
 Canadian Forces DHC-5 Buffalo on ramp at Viking

Letter to the editor:

Recent reports have suggested that the Canadian Government intends to spend $3 Billion for up to 17 new FWSAR aircraft to replace its aging CC-115 Buffalo fleet, which has long been utilized in search and rescue missions across the
country. I am writing on behalf of Viking Air of Victoria BC, which holds the design and in-service support certificate for the
CC-115, to remind the Canadian Government that there is an effective, economical, and Canadian solution for this
replacement issue: a modernized CC-115 variant.

Viking is prepared to work with the DND to develop a staged approach to upgrading and modernizing the current fleet, as
well as investigate the potential of introducing newly manufactured Buffalos on a phased-in basis as follows:

  • upgrade existing General Electric engines to Canadian PW150 turbines, a proven, reliable and fuel efficient
    engine manufactured by Pratt & Whitney Canada;
  • introduce a modern integrated avionics and technology enhancement package with Synthetic View, FLIR and NVG capabilities similar to that currently being installed in the new Viking Series 400 Twin Otters;
  • re-start production of a modernized Buffalo at our manufacturing facilities in Calgary and Victoria, similar to the revitalized DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 program underway at Viking, which leveraged the engineering, research and development on the original de Havilland airframe and marries it with the improvements offered by modern technology engines, systems and avionics to create a commercial and military modern day success story.

Viking has already received serious interest from several governmental agencies around the world and is cognizant of the growing demand for the launch of new production DHC-5 Buffalo aircraft. By upgrading and modernizing the fleet and incorporating new build Buffalo aircraft, manufactured and supported in Canada, the cost savings over introduction of a completely new type is huge.

The requirement to replace the present fleet is not based on a lack of ability for the Buffalo to do the job, but simply due to
the aging of the aircraft. By breeding new life into the Program, the DND can continue to operate the best suited aircraft,
safely, reliably, and with a huge reduction in acquisition and direct operating costs. The Buffalo is the best suited aircraft for
its purpose, as noted on the Canadian National Defence website:

“The ‘Buff’ is able to fly in almost any weather, and into places other aircraft are incapable of reaching, making it ideal for
the mountainous regions of British Columbia.”

By continuing with the tradition of the Buffalo, Canadian taxpayers will receive a proven low-risk product with huge
economic benefits and cost savings, thus allowing the DND to either acquire more aircraft for search and rescue or
reallocate the funds to other projects within DND. Not to mention the continuing benefits of keeping the program Canadian
and further diversifying the Western Aerospace Industry.

We would welcome the chance to further discuss the merits of this proposal with you and we encourage you to speak to
Defence Minister Peter MacKay regarding this issue.

Sincerely,

David Curtis
President & CEO