Daher CEO Didier Kayat surprised few when he announced on Monday the Quest Kodiak was now, officially, a Daher product. But his comments provided insight into the company’s reasons for the acquisition and its plans for the future.
The deal closed on October 1, he said, adding that the only immediate change will be a name change—to Kodiak Aircraft. The staff of 280 at the Sandpoint, Idaho factory were said to be thrilled with the prospect of the merger. Kayat made much of the fact that Daher now has aircraft production assembly lines on both sides of the Atlantic.
While both aircraft are turboprop singles that share the same engine and propeller suppliers (Pratt & Whitney Canada and Hartzell, respectively), the Kodiak and the TBM 910/940 have significantly different missions. The Kodiak is an unpressurized utility aircraft—a flying SUV that could serve in a number of roles, including medevac, VIP transport, cargo, bush flying (on wheels or floats), parachute drop-ship, and more.
“It doesn’t go fast,” admitted Daher president of aircraft programs Nicolas Chabbert, “but it can go just about anywhere.” Shifting to the TBMs—the Garmin G3000 and autothrottle-equipped 940 and the G1000 NXi-equipped 910—Chabbert touted the platform as a 330-knot airplane that can get to anywhere on the planet in two days “and land in less than 2,500 feet.”
Gaining a production toehold in North America could also have implications for Daher’s ambitions to tap Silicon Valley for cooperative research projects, such as the Eco-Pulse, a joint project with Airbus and Safran the combines electric motors on the wings with the existing P&WC engine in the nose.
Daher sees its three business areas as aircraft manufacture; aerospace equipment and systems; and logistics and services. The latter two include its role as a Tier 1 supplier to most major airframe OEMs in the world and as a key industrial logistics provider in North America. In fact, it designed and is building the high-speed winglets for the Gulfstream G700 flagship announced on Monday evening.
Another benefit of blending the TBM family with the Kodiak is the geographical distribution, said Kayat. While the majority of the Kodiak fleet (132 aircraft) is based in North America, there are 92 in operation in the Asia-Pacific region. Daher sees potential there for boosting a presence for the TBM family in the region.
Perhaps the best example of the company’s philosophy is how its Me & My TBM smartphone app has evolved. Chabbert said the app started as a fun networking platform for TBM owners and operators but has grown to incorporate aircraft health, customer experience, and flight experience elements that make TBM flying safer, as well as more enjoyable.