Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Steve Flies "Walter Turbine Otter C-GBTU"!!

Monday, February 21, 2005. I pulled into the main office of Blue Water Aviation Services Ltd., in Silver Falls, Manitoba. I was to meet up with Ed, the company owner, and finish my transition training on our (new) turbine Otter, C-GBTU. C-GBTU has been operated by the company for a number of years, but sported a 1000 HP Pezetel radial piston engine previously. During the past couple of months, C-GBTU had been prepped, and the engine was converted to a Walter turbine, producing 751 Shaft Horsepower @ 2,080 RPM. The propeller is a 106" 3-bladed Avia, and this engine-propeller combination is time-proven. I had flown this airplane conversion before on floats and wheels during the initial testing and certification phase of the Walter Turbine Otter Conversion.

Checklist in hand, we uncovered BTU and performed the necessary exterior checks. We climbed inside and did the pre-start checks, and then commenced the start sequence. MASTER- On, 24 Volts min., IGNITERS- Check 1 + 2, then OFF, FUEL BOOST PUMP- On, START SWITCH- On, FUEL CONDITION LEVER- Start/Run, ITT- 730* C Max., ENGINE IDLE- 60% REVS, OIL PRESS./TEMP.- Green Range, PROP LEVER- High RPM, GENERATOR- On, ready to "Rock and Roll"!

We taxied to the runway and took off. We were airborne at 60% Torque, but we were light. A lightly loaded Otter with any engine configuration does not need much "real estate" for take-off. I climbed her up to 3500' ASL and did some turns, and explored different power settings. I pulled the power to flight idle, and feathered the propeller. The Otter "fluttered" downward like a leaf at a very low rate of descent, thanks in part to the ability to be able to feather the prop, and also to the new Baron STOL kit that was also installed on BTU. I laughed at the forward visibility afforded by the long narrow nose of the turbine conversion. Having lots of Otter, Beaver, and Norseman time, the panoramic view from over the turbine was an improvement. ( We always used to joke that Norseman pilots were the best "bad-weather" pilots, as they couldn't see out the front window and over the cowling to see that the weather was bad. You look sideways and down more than usual when flying a heavily-loaded Norseman. )

I returned to the runway for a few touch-and-go landings. The aircraft handled well on approach, and had nice roll control down to a very low airspeed. After the touch-and-goes, I taxied back into the yard, and we parked, tied-up, and covered BTU. I took some photos, and we filled in the logbook.

All items considered, the aircraft handled well. The "Hangar Boys" did a nice job on the conversion, and the turbine conversion modernizes the airplane, as there will come a day when radial piston engines will all reside next to the "Dodo Bird" in the "Annals of Aviation's Home for Extinct Species". As spring approaches and the winter roads "go for shit", we expect to haul some freight on skis with BTU. This will give us an opportunity to analyze the aircraft performance under loaded conditions. Later on, as the returning heat melts the lakes, old BTU will go on floats, where she will earn her keep. During the float season is when the real evaluation of the aircraft will take place. I suspect she will do well, and I will post updates on BTU in the future as she returns to service! ( Man, DeHavilland Canada sure built airplanes to last! )

Walter Turbine Otter Conversion Specs.

Take-off power: 751 SHP

Time Limit: 5 min

Propeller speed (T/O): 2080 R.P.M.

Equivalent specific fuel consumption: 6.65 lb/ESHP/hr

Max. continuous power: 657 SHP

Propeller speed (cruise): 1700 to 1900 R.P.M.

Weight (dry): 445 lb

Height/width/length: 25.6/23.2/65.9 in

Application: General Aviation

Aircraft Installations (to date):

Air Tractor
Ayres Thrush S2R
Beechcraft KingAir 90-Commuter
Grumman/Schweizer Ag-Cat
DHC-3T Otter

The cockpit layout of C-GBTU. She sits longing to be on floats hauling moose......... Posted by Hello

The beautiful layout of the engine instruments and controls. Not quite the normal layout seen in most Otters.....  Posted by Hello

A beautiful angle view of C-GBTU..... Posted by Hello

The aerodynamics of the "Walter Turbine Otter Conversion" are quite apparent in this photo..... Posted by Hello

C-GBTU stands proud and vigilant in the yard at Silver Falls. A testament to the durability of Canadian-made products, she proudly waves the flag.... Posted by Hello

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