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Tue, Dec 06, 2005

Mysterious Twin Otter Causes Canadian Curiosity

'I Suggest You Don't Pursue This Any Further'

Ontario residents would like to know just what, exactly, a DHC-6 Twin Otter owned by a company suspected of being a CIA front was doing there this fall.

The October visit of the mysterious aircraft, registry N6161Q, is causing concern, curiosity, and raised eyebrows among those in Sault Ste. Marie. According to the FAA N-Number registry, the aircraft is registered to Washington, DC-based Aviation Specialties Inc. -- one of seven companies identified by the New York Times as CIA proprietaries.

According to The Canadian Press, the aircraft departed Michigan's Jackson County Airport (JXN) in early October. After a brief stop in Sault Ste. Marie, the aircraft made short trip to an airport southwest of Bar River, home to a maintenance facility specializing in DeHavillands.

That isn't the part that interests residents most, however; it's that the airplane flew to Michigan from Smithfield, NC's Johnston County Airport -- singled out by the Times as a hub for covert US air operations.

According to flight records, 61Q has yet to leave Bar River... and an unnamed airport official didn't help put the smoldering embers of conspiracy theories and black-ops speculations when he told the Press he doesn't discuss aircraft flying into the airport out of concern for owner's privacy.

"I have no knowledge of any CIA aircraft," he said. "I suggest you don't pursue this any further."

Not surprisingly, his advice went unheeded.

The Twin Otter is one of at least seven aircraft registered to alleged CIA front companies to have landed at Canadian airports in the last six months, according to flight records obtained by the Press. Those abroad believe the flights have been transporting terror suspects to foreign prisons. A CIA spokesperson has declined to comment on Canadian landings.

The well-travelled DHC-6 (file photo of type, above) -- the plane has reportedly been seen in Nevada, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Malta and Ireland -- is one of 11 planes registered to Aviation Specialties Inc. Several King Airs, a Cessna 337 Skymaster, an Aviat Husky, and a Mooney are some of the other types of planes registered to the... company?

FMI: www.cia.gov

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