On May 13 Quest Aircraft of Sandpoint, Idaho, made the first public showing of its new Kodiak utility turboprop single, at the Alaska State Aviation trade show in Anchorage. The event marked a significant milestone for the company and the airplane, which first flew on October 16 last year.
Since first flight the Kodiak has completed 125 hours of flight testing toward certification, which the company expects to receive early next year so that it can begin customer deliveries immediately.
The all-aluminum 10-seat Kodiak is designed specifically for operations on unimproved strips and will be float-capable. It will also be certified for single-pilot IFR operations.
By incorporating short-takeoff-and-landing capabilities and a high useful load with rugged design and construction, Quest hopes to position the new Kodiak as a replacement for the successful line of aging and out-of-production de Havilland Canada aircraft.
“We decided to debut the Kodiak in Alaska near its namesake location because the aircraft is well designed for the way Alaskan operators fly,” said Paul Schaller, president and CEO of Quest. “As the new generation of back-country aircraft, [the Kodiak] updates the venerable Beaver and Otter, which have proved to be so useful here.”
During a presentation to the public, Thomas Hamilton, Quest’s co-founder and chief technical officer, said, “We have successfully flown the Kodiak at all corners of the c.g. envelope…The aircraft has performed extremely well and has shown great reliability.”
The preliminary specifications for the $1.111 million Kodiak include an mtow of 6,750 pounds with a useful load of 3,450 pounds, climb performance of more than 1,700 fpm, a takeoff ground roll of 700 feet and cruise speed of 190 ktas.
Schaller added, “We’ve had a lot of interest in the Kodiak, which has only increased with our debut here in Alaska.” By the final day of the trade show the company had received multiple orders from operators in North and Central America. Some Kodiak orders were for personal use, while other orders were from operators who intend to use the aircraft for Part 135 charter and scheduled flight operations.
Quest has also received additional orders from humanitarian and mission aviation organizations, many of which played a pivotal role in the development of Quest Aircraft and the Kodiak. Quest received the majority of its funding from a trust composed of not-for-profit organizations, known as the Quest Mission Team (QMT).
Members include AirServ International, JAARS, Mercy Air South Africa, Mission Aviation Fellowship, Moody Bible Institute and New Tribes Mission. Commercial success of the Kodiak will help subsidize the sale of every 10th Kodiak produced to these QMT members.