On July 1st, the Twin Otter 50th Anniversary Celebration started off in flying fashion, joining the City of Victoria Canada Day Celebrations with a flyover of the Legislature to film the living flag, followed by aircraft display in the Inner Harbour. Viking Twin Otter C-FDHT “Viktoria”, Pacific Sky Twin Otter Series 400 (MSN 897) C-GVIKI “Viki”, Turbo Beaver C-GODH “Olivia”, Turbo Beaver C-GDTB, and Viking Piston Beaver C-GVPB “Emmie” all participated in the flyover, with Viktoria and Olivia landing in the harbour and docking in front of the Empress for public viewing.
The next day, July 2nd, Pacific Sky hosted an official send-off to wish the Series 400 Twin Otter (and corporate King Air 350) a fond farewell for the Northern Tour component of the 50th Anniversary Celebration. The media were invited to attend, along with VIPs and elected officials from municipalities throughout Greater Victoria and the CRD. Also in attendance were John Parker, former Northwest Territories Commissioner and Order of Canada Recipient, and retired Brigadier General Mark Dodd, ex-commanding officer for Northern Region Headquarters, and pilot of Canadian Forces 440 Squadron Twin Otters.
The aircraft flew from Victoria to Yellowknife for an overnight stay, before heading to the first 50th Anniversary Celebration event on July 3rd in Cambridge Bay. Cambridge Bay is located on the southeast coast of Victoria Island at the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut, and home to a population of 1,477 people. Cambridge Bay was the first event stop on the Northern Tour, and a wonderful place to start; the aircraft was greeted by amazing people who had genuine and heartfelt stories to share, from scientists and aircraft operators to an Inuit man who had been rescued by a Twin Otter while out on the Tundra. Read more about the Cambridge Bay stop here.
Resolute Bay was the second event location on the tour, and a key stop over point for other destinations in the area. Considered the gateway to the High Arctic, Resolute Bay is the second northernmost community in Canada located on the south coast of Cornwallis Island. The 50th Anniversary Celebration crew were greeted to this extremely remote location by high crosswinds gusting to over 30 knots, and 24 hours of continuous daylight. Read more about the Resolute Bay stop here.
The third stop for the 50th Anniversary Northern Tour was Pond Inlet, a picturesque hamlet surrounded by mountain ranges, glaciers, and fjords and located on the northern tip of Baffin Island near the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage. The celebration event at Pond Inlet was well attended, with dozens of people and local community leaders turning out to welcome the Twin Otter, greeting the Tour Ambassadors airside with wonderful hospitality and the municipal flag. There was so much community enthusiasm that a line quickly formed so that all residents, young and old, could have an opportunity to add their signatures to the wing ribs of Viking's 100th Series 400 Twin Otter, and take a peek inside the new aircraft. Read more about the Pond Inlet stop here.
Next stops include Gjoa Haven and a much anticipated stop at the 2015 Yellowknife Fly-In, where Viking is a proud sponsor. Summit Air, under Rob Mauracher’s leadership, offered their hangar as a venue for the Yellowknife Celebration event, and will assist with the gear swap on MSN 897 to IFG for the remainder of the tour.