At EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Daher took the wraps off the newest member of its single-engine turboprop family, the $3.487 million Kodiak 900. Already FAA certified, the Kodiak 900 joins the Kodiak 100 Series III in the French company’s utility turboprop lineup, giving buyers the choice between the original Kodiak design or a faster, more efficient version with improved performance. Delivery of the first Kodiak 900 is scheduled for January 2023. EASA validation is expected shortly.
The most noticeable difference between the Series III and Kodiak 900—besides a 3.9-foot fuselage stretch—is the latter’s wheel pants, which have been tested in a variety of rough-field conditions. The 900 will not initially be available with floats, so the Series III will continue in production to offer that option, which Daher says makes the Series III the fastest float-equipped airplane available.
Aerodynamic improvements to the 900 include a “clean up” of ducts, inlets and air intakes, wheel fairings, flap track covers on the wing, and replacement of the external pilot step with a foldable ladder. Adding to the 900’s improved efficiency is the airplane’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-140A engine, which delivers 900 shp to 37 deg C, 150 shp more than the Series III’s engine. The airplane can carry a full load on takeoff in hot-and-high conditions, said Nicolas Chabbert, senior v-p of Daher’s aircraft division. Rate of climb is 1,724 fpm.
The 900 is fitted with a new full-feathering, hydraulically actuated, five-blade Hartzell composite propeller. Specific fuel consumption is 9 percent lower than the Series III. A significant new feature on the 900, asked for by members of the Kodiak customer advisory board, is single-point refueling, accessed via a port on the root on the bottom of the left wing. “Every piece of ergonomics, whether flight deck or the back of the airplane, has been addressed,” he said. One feature that isn’t changing is the Kodiak’s Garmin G1000 NXi avionics, although its autopilot controls were moved to the top of the instrument panel for improved access.
While the 900 shares the same maximum range as the Series III—1,129 nm—it achieves this at a higher speed. Useful load in the 900 is 3,630 pounds, up from 3,530 in the Series III. The extra cabin length allows for a double club seating interior configuration, with cabin volume up by 20 percent to 309 cu ft. Multi-directional Summit+ passenger seats with quick releases allow for multiple configurations—from the double club layout to all-forward-facing arrangement. Seats can also be removed to accommodate more cargo or baggage, the company said. Each seat has amenity panels with USB-A and -C ports, Lemo airplane-powered headset jacks, cupholders, and phone holders.
Daher has been working on the Kodiak in secret since 2016, with three test aircraft already built—a static test airframe, flying prototype, and production-conforming airplane. The prototype has been flying since Feb. 28, 2020, and the test fleet has accumulated more than 600 hours of flight testing and 800 hours of ground runtime.
The Kodiak 900, said director of flight operations Paul Carelli, “performed well beyond our expectations. Those wheel pants are absolutely bullet-proof. You can remove them, but we kept them on for all of the testing, and they did perfectly on rough terrain. The climb rate is unbelievable.” During testing of skydiving operations, the 900 was able to accomplish 11-minute cycles to 12,000 feet. For special missions operations, the 900 can loiter at 85 knots for more than nine hours, he added, “or spring to the area of responsibility at 210 knots.” He has seen cruise speeds as high as 218 ktas. “This is going to be a really exciting aircraft for general aviation and special missions operations,” he said.
“It’s always lots of emotion to have a new baby,” said Daher CEO Didier Kayat.