Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Updated: Tara Air Twin Otter crashes in Nepal

A Twin Otter 400 series turboprop commuter aircraft operated by Nepalese Tara Air, went missing today after taking off from Pokhara Airport at 7:30 pm local time.

It was flying from Pokhara to Jomsom carrying three crew members and 20 passengers including an infant. A Kuwaiti and a Chinese national is among the dead, others being Nepalese.

The factory new Canadian built Viking Air Twin Otter with Nepalese registration number 9N-AHH was inducted into the Tara Air's fleet last September.

Tara Air said, both the destination and origin airports had favorable climate and the departure was cleared by Pokhara Control Tower.

The crash site was located on a very treacherous terrain and the debris of the plane was scattered in an area of some 200 meters.

The plane was reported to be still burning when first responders arrived on the crash site and weather in the region was very cold.

The Twin Otter are 19 seater STOL (Short Take-off and Landing) utility aircraft. The aircraft's fixed tricycle undercarriage, STOL abilities and relatively high rate of climb have made it a successful passenger airliner in the mountains of Nepal over the last few decades.

Tara Air operated the largest frequency of scheduled and chartered flights by DHC-6/300 and DO-228 aircrafts in the Nepalese mountains.

The aircraft operated in the remote Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) airfields of the Nepal, such as Lukla, Phaplu, Jomsom, Dolpo, Rara and Simikot etc. where it plays a vital role in transporting foreign trekkers, local inhabitants and foodstuffs to and from these remote regions.

In 2005 Viking Air Ltd., Canada purchased the Type Certificate of the legendary DHC6-300 Twin Otter from De Havilland. It is the most versatile and successful STOL aircraft ever built and it was brought back into production in 2008 as the new Viking Series 400 Twin Otter.

The Series 400 Twin Otter picks up where the original de Havilland Series 300 Twin Otter left off, introducing upgraded Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 engines, fully integrated Honeywell Primus Apex digital avionics suite, use of composite materials and approximately 800 other modifications incorporated to improve on the original Series 300 aircraft.

The Series 400 boasts cutting edge avionics technology with an integrated full glass cockpit that features the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and a full colour Weather Radar.