Flight training has now begun for the first contingent of Vietnam Navy pilot delegates as part of the Force's multiple aircraft purchase of Guardian 400 Twin Otters announced in May 2010. The delegates have traveled from Vietnam to Canada to spend 17 months undergoing English language, flight and technical training as part of the purchase contract.
A customized English as a Second Language ("ESL") training course will be conducted in partnership with Camosun College in Victoria, BC. The Aviation Language Familiarization Course will be taught by experienced instructors from the Language Department, and will serve to provide the pilot trainees with a strong base of English language skills as a prerequisite to the flight and technical training included in the Viking/Vietnam agreement.
Once the ESL course is complete, the delegates will undergo the flight and technical portion of the training at Viking's sister organization, Pacific Sky Aviation, located at the Victoria International Airport. Pacific Sky is responsible for delivering all technical and flight training components, including ab-initio, multi-engine and float ratings on various piston and turbine aircraft, before transitioning over to the new Series 400 Twin Otters on wheels and amphibious floats.
Michael Coughlin, Pacific Sky's CEO, stated "as a long time provider of training services, Pacific Sky is excited to work with Viking and Camosun College in providing such an integrated training program for the Navy, and proud to be a part of the worldwide training program for the Series 400 Twin Otter."
The Vietnam multi-aircraft purchase announced in May last year will see the delivery of six new Guardian 400 Twin Otters between 2012 and 2014 to be utilized for transport, resupply, maritime surveillance and search and rescue operations throughout Vietnam's coastal regions. The Twin Otters are the first Western-based manufactured aircraft purchased by Vietnam's Ministry of Defense, and will be the first ever fixed wing aircraft, Navy Air Wing initiated by the Vietnamese Navy. Rob Mauracher, Vikings vice president Business Development commented, "we are extremely pleased to be in partnership with the Navy for the training of their flight operations and technical personnel.
Pacific Sky and Viking recognize that this is a corner stone of our product support program for a smooth entry into service of the Guardian 400 and we foresee additional students joining our training programs in the future."
Viking launched the new DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 production program in 2007, is currentlydelivering one aircraft per month, and has a production backlog through 2014. Viking provides OEM support for the worldwide fleet of de Havilland heritage line of aircraft (DHC-1 through DHC-7), and is part of Westerkirk Capital Inc., a Canadian private investment firm with substantial holdings in the hospitality, aviation and real estate sectors.