In the spirit of our small airplane landing on a carrier question, I decided to up the ante slightly in a couple of ways.

Let us say some enterprising foreign navy has found a small flattop under their Christmas tree this year, and is in need of some aircraft to fly off it. Of course, tactical aircraft are a necessity, and to that end, they could obtain some used A-4s as a starting point for their fledgling naval aviation branch. However, there are other important aircraft on a carrier deck, one of them being the Carrier Onboard Delivery plane. A bright young naval officer there decides "Hey, we should see if some small civil planes might work for what we need", and does a bit of research, stumbling upon the DHC-6-400 with its widespread support base, ease of maintenance, good STOL performance, and current production availability.

How much modification would our enterprising foreign navy need to ask Viking Air to do to their order of DHC-6-400s to be fully usable from a carrier deck?

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting question and well written. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 19:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Given that most carriers can generate at least 35kts of wind over the deck, your takeoff and landing distance would be damn near zero... deck size is NOT a constraint here. A twin otter can touch down at 50-60kts indicated, and can basically stop on a dime even in zero-wind conditions. $\endgroup$
    – ljwobker
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 19:42

1 Answer 1


DHC-6 has a reported takeoff roll of 210m and landing distance of 155m and as such can be operated from most of the aircraft carriers in service, albeit with limited capability. If required, the aircraft can takeoff into the wind and for arrested recovery rear fuselage can be strengthened, though this looks unnecessary.

It may need some changes for operating in marine environment like,

  • better corrosion protection

  • strengthened landing gear

  • Required naval equipment (for TO/landing).

Of course, all these modifications will eat into the payload. DHC-6 would be a rather small COD aircraft. The C-2 Greyhound used in USN has a payload greater than the MTOW of the twin otter.

  • $\begingroup$ Indeed it would be -- that's why I suggested it for a small flattop :) $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 2:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ A great many Otters are already in service as seaplanes, and I understood that the -400 series is built with corrosion protection already sprayed on. $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ Or indeed, scheduled landings on a beach at low tide (EGPR) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ The 25–30 knot headwind that a carrier is always able to get will also help significantly with the landing distance, especially when it is almost half of the landing speed. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 21:10
  • $\begingroup$ Twin Otters have been used as seaplanes for decades. that's not the problem. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 3:54

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