Viking Air and Wipaire displayed their latest joint project at the 2013 NBAA convention in Las Vegas. The specially airbrushed 400 Series Twin Otter on Wipaire 13000 amphibian floats was available for viewing at the NBAA static display.
If you saw it one day and then saw it from the other side the next day you might think it was two aircraft. The port and starboard have different images and vividly different colors. Sunset orange on the port and vivid aqua blue on the starboard.
The airbrush painter John Stahr, owner and creative artist of Stahr Design and Artistic Aviation in Eugene Oregon, was brought in to do the exterior paint with the symbolic sea-life theme. The breaching humpback, fittingly, was the largest feature creature.
With the Orca ‘Killer Whale’ close behind.
Besides the exterior Viking and Wipaire worked together to design, produce and install an executive leather interior.
Interior options include installation of wall mounted passenger radio jacks, data ports, auxiliary audio inputs for each passenger, custom hard wall materials and carpeting.
The avionics package installed on this aircraft is the up-gradable 4 panel Honeywell Primus Apex Suite available on all new Twin Otters.
Wipaire and Viking were tight lipped about the “undisclosed” owner but a quick search on the FAA registry shows it to be billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones, the founder of Tudor Investment Corporation. Money well spent.
I had one of the sales team take our picture with Viking Air’s President and CEO Dave Curtis who has been at the helm of Viking’s phenomenal climb to success. Joining us was President and CEO Chuck Wiplinger who took over from his father Bob Wiplinger in late 2010. Bob, also known as ‘Wip”, had bought the company from his father, Ben, who built the first Wipliner floats known for 3m bonding to replace rivets for less weight and flat topped decks for safer handling. Ben sold his first set of floats to Barney Lamm of Ontario Central Airways who I flew for in 1975-76. General Aviation News did a great article on the family story.
Right after the NBAA convention Dave Curtis was heading off to the Seychelles to sign a new deal.
Mahe, Seychelles, October 30th, 2013: Viking Air Limited of Victoria, BC, Canada and Air Seychelles, the national airline of Seychelles, have this week signed an agreement for three additional Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft to expand the regional carrier’s fleet. Air Seychelles Adds Viking Series 400 Twin Otters to Expanding Fleet.
The Series 400 Twin Otter is now confirmed as the best-selling next generation turbo-prop aircraft in its class which must make investment companies stand up and take notice. Westerkirk Capital, a Canadian private investment firm, bought into Viking Air in 2003 and have never looked back.