"Tell me about Twin Otters," I asked him. He loves to talk about airplanes.

"We flew on one on our honeymoon," he said.

I smiled, remembering the trip from Boston to San Juan to Virgin Gorda, where a chicken raced the plane down the grass runway where we landed. A snore interrupted my reverie, and I resorted to looking for useful information about this versatile twin-engine aircraft on the web. Here is what I found.

The Twin Otter was developed by deHavilland Canada in the early 1960s. It made its debut in 1965, and 844 of them were built before production ceased in 1988.

It's a modified and enlarged version of deHavilland's single-engine Otter, made for supply runs to remote areas. A Twin Otter is usually equipped with two Pratt & Whitney turbo-prop engines. ("Good engines," mutters my snoozing husband). Its high wings, with full-span flaps, and its drooped ailerons, contribute to its short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities. Twin Otters are as likely to be fitted with floats or skis as with wheels, making it possible to land them on water or snow, as well as unpaved airstrips.

The plane's versatility, ruggedness, and reliability have made it popular for use in surveying, atmospheric sampling, medevac, search and rescue, and intercity commuter applications, as well as its original purpose as a supply plane.


Crew: 2 pilots

Passengers: 18-20



  • Empty: 7,415 lb (3,365 kg)
  • Max Takeoff: 12,500 lb (5,670 kg)
  • Fuel Capacity: 2,500 lb (1,135 kg)
  • Max Payload: 2,500 lb (1,135 kg)


  • Max Level Speed at altitude: 215 mph (340 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
  • Initial Climb Rate: 1,600 ft (490 m) / min
  • Service Ceiling: 26,700 ft (8,140 m)
  • Range: 700 nm (1,295 km)

Known Variants:

  • Series 100: First production model with short nose; 115 built
  • Series 200: Model with longer nose, increased baggage capacity, and higher maximum takeoff weight; 115 built
  • Series 300: Improved Series 200 model with uprated engines and greater maximum takeoff weight, later models able to carry up to 20 passengers
  • Series 300M: Military transport in two versions: basic model and counter-insurgency model equipped with machine guns and underwing pylons
  • Series 300MR: Maritime reconnaissance model featuring a search radar; 1 built for Senegal
  • Series 300S: Model with 11 seats and improved STOL features for use in small inner-city airports; 6 built
  • Series 400: Proposed improved model to meet more stringent US noise requirements; not built
  • UV-18A: Command transport based on 300 model and used by US Army; 6 built
  • UV-18B Parachuting model based on Series 300 and used by US Air Force Academy; 2 built


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