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Quebec-based Valdor Aircraft confirmed on Nov. 14 that Transport Canada (TC) has granted the company authorization to modify the iconic DHC-2 Beaver aircraft, a project that has been in the works for over six years. The endeavour is part of a sustainability initiative aimed at extending the lifespan of the versatile bush plane, which has been a mainstay in the industry since its first flight in 1947.
According to Valdor Aircraft, the Transport Canada supplemental type certificate (STC) allows for the installation of BX wings, constructed entirely at the company’s Val-d’Or, Que., plant, as well as the replacement of the Beaver’s original piston engines with high-performance turboprop engines from Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC).
As part of the company’s STC announcement, Valdor confirmed its selection of the 783-shaft-horsepower PT6A-34 engine for its Beaver conversion program. The modified aircraft is known as the BX Turbo Beaver.
“The Beaver was originally built in the late ’40s, and maintaining radial engines that are nearing end-of-life has become increasingly more difficult,” said Gaétan Gilbert, president and senior director of Valdor Aircraft. “We worked with Pratt & Whitney Canada to retrofit the Beaver with a PT6A-34 to increase its reliability, durability, and performance.”
The PT6 engine family has accumulated over 500 million flight hours in its 60 years of service. The engine’s advancements, including increased power, improved power-to-weight ratio, and reduced fuel consumption, are expected to bring new life to the Beaver and create “value for operators for many years to come,” said Anthony Rossi, P&WC’s vice president of global sales and marketing.
While the re-engine program had to meet the latest TC and Federal Aviation Administration requirements, which are more stringent and complex than when the Beaver was first certified, many of the original aspects and systems have been improved and modified to include the new powerplant, Valdor Aircraft said.
“We’ve been committed to this project since the very beginning, and believe that it’s one of the biggest aeronautical development projects for a small- to medium-sized company in Canada,” said Gilbert.
In addition to the Pratt engine and BX wings, other components of the BX Turbo Beaver package — priced at just under $1.2 million — include the 106-inch Hartzell three-bladed reversible propeller, with full feathering, start locks, and spinner kit; MVP-50T engine monitoring; custom engine mount; Hutchinson engine isolators; propeller and overspeed governor; 200-amp Ametek starter generator and generator control unit; carbon fibre air inlet; electrically actuated inertial particle separator and ice bypass; fire-resistant carbon fibre cowlings; oil system with oil cooler and hoses; redesigned fuel system; bleed air cabin heat; new avionics and redesigned instrument panel; and more.
“I would like to thank Transport Canada for seeing this project as an opportunity to breathe new life into the legendary Beaver, and for recognizing the quality of the work accomplished by the team at Valdor Aircraft,” concluded Gilbert. “Thank you to our investors and partners for their support, and thank you to our employees for their determination and professionalism, which made this great project possible.”
For more information on the BX Turbo Beaver, click here.
Check out Skies‘ Instagram page to see video Valdor Aircraft’s BX Turbo Beaver in flight.