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NOAA DeHavilland Twin Otter

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary shares the use of a NOAA multi-purpose aircraft stationed at Monterey Regional Airport in Monterey, California. This twin-engine, high-wing airplane was manufactured in Canada and typically operates from the US/Mexico border to Alaska. It is extremely reliable and is used worldwide for an extensive variety of missions due to its adaptability and ruggedness. The Twin Otter will enable personnel to monitor use patterns within the sanctuary, support enforcement, conduct vessel traffic studies, observe the effects of shore runoff, perform damage assessment surveys during oil spill emergencies, and collect data on marine mammals, birds, and sanctuary habitats. Photography and video will be used to record sightings.

Twin Otter

Specifications For NOAA DeHavilland Twin Otter N56RF

Aircraft Capabilities

  1. Multi-Engine Turbo-Prop Aircraft
  2. Day or Night, All Weather Platform
  3. Cruising Speed: 140 knots
  4. Survey Speed: 100 knots
  5. Altitude: Normal survey operations are performed as low as 500ft AGL
  6. Range / Endurance: 600nm at 100 knots, 5-6 hour endurance
  7. Based out of Monterey, CA (KMRY)


  1. Immersion Suits Provided
  2. Life Raft Provided
  3. Survival Vests Provided
  4. Headsets Provided
  5. Two Professional and Current NOAA Corps Pilots

Communication Suite

  1. Hard-wired Satellite phone on-board
  2. Hard-wired FM radio to communicate with marine and/or military assets
  3. Internal Communication System between Flight Deck and Cabin

Operational Advantages

  1. Active noise canceling headsets
  2. Two bubble windows for ideal survey or observation
  3. Truly modular cabin can be configured to meet custom requirements
  4. Seats up to 5 passengers comfortably


  1. Removable window to provide distortion free photography
  2. Belly port capable of housing cameras, sensors, and other special equipment

Mission Planning Considerations

  1. Flight crew has a 6 duty day limit and cannot fly more than 12 hours per day (or 60 flight hours per week) as defined in the Operations Manual.
  2. Personnel wishing to fly onboard the aircraft more than once are required to complete a series of electronic and practical training. A list of the required training is available via the Internet here

(additional specifications available here)

Last Modified: 1/12/13

URL:    Reviewed: September 24, 2013
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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