Sunday, October 09, 2005


Pen-Turbo Aviation "DHC-4A Turbo Caribou"!

My video post the day of September 12 was entitled: Steve's Video Of The Day: Gimli, Manitoba, DHC-4T Caribou Destruction! It detailed the good work of NewCal Aviation to update the DHC-4 Caribou fleet, converting them to turbine engines. The prototype crashed, and a fellow can be heard saying on the tape; "I can't believe it: It's all over." It was all over for Gimli, but not the Caribou!


In 1957, de Havilland Canada began work to develop a DC-3 size aircraft with the STOL capabilities of the Beaver and Otter, as the American Army required such, and they needed it now! The prototype DHC-4 Caribou first flew in 1958. The Royal Canadian Air Force designated its Caribous the CC-108.

Although the aircraft was designed with the U.S. Army in mind, politics became involved, and they only ordered 5 aircraft! As de Havilland Canada teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, the full STOL capabilities of the aircraft were demonstrated to the American military. Basically selling itself due to it's performance, the U.S. Army began purchasing the DHC-4 in 1961 for tactical airlift to forward battle areas, ordering 165 airplanes. The Army first designated the Caribou the AC-1 then changed the designation to CV-2 in 1962. The Air Force assumed responsibility for all fixed-wing tactical aircraft in 1967 and again redesignated the Caribou...this time as the C-7. The Caribou saw action during the Vietnam conflict.

Production ended in 1973 after over 300 were built.

Specifications (C-7A) Designations

Type: Transport
Engine: two 1,450 hp (1081 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-2000-7M2 Twin Wasp radial engines
DHC-4: Company model number
CC-108: RCAF designation
AC-1: U.S. Army transport designation (prior to 1962)
CV-2: U.S. Army transport designation (1962-1967)
C-7: U.S. Air Force transport designation (after 1967)

An amazing aircraft, built ruggedly by de Havilland, known for the "robustness" built into their aircraft. The full-span, double-slotted flaps gave it tremendous low-speed performance and handling. End of story like the guy on the video said? Fast-forward to today!

Pen Turbo Aviation Inc., from Rio Grande, New Jersery, offers a DHC-4 Caribou "turbine conversion", and additional upgrades can be customized. The engines of choice are Pratt and Whitney PT6A-67T turbines, offering much better longevity and reliability than the old Pratt and Whitney R-2000 radial piston engines. What we now have is an aircraft that can access just about any airstrip, safely and efficiently. Why this aircraft isn't being converted in larger numbers, I'll never know! In the area I fly, Douglas DC-3s, Hawker Siddeley 748s, and Curtiss C-46s still flog the skies, but are limited to certain airstrips. The 748 is turbine, but many are much older, and can't operate where the Caribou can. Anyways, watch a few videos, and check out Pen Turbo's web-site. This aircraft should be able to make some company a lot of money. You can even fly with the rear door/loading ramp open with over-length cargo, with no adverse handling characteristics.

VIDEO - STOL Take-Off at "Gross"

VIDEO - STOL Landing at "Gross"

VIDEO - Cross-Wind Take-Off!

VIDEO - Single-Engine Take-Off at "Gross"


An amazing aircraft, folks, with a huge rudder. With the savings in maintenance costs alone, the conversion would pay for itself, I believe, in a short term. Imagine the costs in cylinders, exhaust pieces, and oil alone, on top of AME wages! A piston Caribou can be purchased today for about $225,000, fully serviceable, inspected, and civilian-registered, with low airframe time.

INFO - 1970 DHC-4 Caribou

Hopefully, some of these birds make it back to Canada, converted. They would basically be able to access the majority of strips in Manitoba, and do it safely and easily! I would love to fly one!

Before.....  Posted by Picasa

After...... Posted by Picasa

Yup, that is one beautiful machine, converted by the forward-thinkers at Pen Turbo Aviation Inc.. Hopefully they get some more orders for conversion, the de Havilland DHC-4 is "one helluva' robust airframe"! Here is their link once again!


(PS - the wing anhedral between the 2 engines was incorporated into the aircraft design for strength, so that a singular 7,000 lb. object could be loaded/driven through the rear door/ramp. Amazing!)


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