In yesterday’s mail was a flyer from Wycliffe Bible Translators, and tucked deep inside it was a little card telling about a new aircraft called the Kodiak. The Kodiak is a 10-seat, single-engine turboprop plane developed by Quest Aircraft, specifically for use in the not-so-nice places of the world.
From the very beginning our underlying purpose at Quest has been to design and manufacture an aircraft specifically suited to the needs of humanitarian organizations which provide access to otherwise isolated peoples in the most geographically challenging regions of the world. These organizations are in dire need of a modern backcountry aircraft featuring the advantages of STOL performance, rugged construction, turbine power, and high useful loads.
For us it’s not about the time between takeoff and landing. We are far more motivated by the time spent between landing and takeoff. What really matters to us is where the KODIAK will take you, what it enables you to do once you get there, and its ability to get you in and out of tight places safely.
For years, missions & humanitarian organizations have used piston-engined aircraft for bush operations. But in recent years it’s become increasingly difficult and expensive to get avgas in many areas of the world. The Kodiak’s Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 engine uses jet fuel instead, which is much more plentiful.
The Kodiak is built for the rugged use it will see, and with a power to weight ratio that will give it good short runway performance. I wonder, though, whether having a turboprop aircraft in the field, with its more sophisticated mechanicals, will require a higher level of support than has been required by earlier piston-engined aircraft. I’ve known a few JAARS pilots over the years, and they have traditionally been trained as both pilots and airframe mechanics. I guess that may change.
One obstacle to deploying the Kodiak is its price; base price is $1,111,000. Wycliffe is currently trying to raise money to buy 10 Kodiaks (at $1.3 million each) for use in six different countries. And from what I saw in my Google searches looking for information on the Kodiak, other non-profits are soliciting funds for them as well. Might be a good place to invest some end-of-the-year cash and get a bit of a tax deduction as well.
Also, for you code-heads, there are some neat scrolling features going on when you click on one of the locations on the Kodiak Story link. At least I hadn’t seen that particular trick before.