By David Donald – August 17, 2017 — In early April, Kodiak do Brasil at Anápolis was appointed as the sales representative for the Quest Kodiak single-engine turboprop utility transport, and is displaying its new demonstrator aircraft this week at LABACE2017. Headed by Jim Cable, who was a central figure in the launch of Embraer’s executive jet program, the company shares management and facilities with Thrush Aircraft do Brasil, which has sold approximately 50 Thrush agricultural airplanes into the country during the past five years.
With its strong connections with the agricultural industry and what Cable describes as the “non-traditional” sector of the market, Kodiak do Brasil (static display) is focusing on selling the Kodiak into the sectors that are best served by its unique attributes. The agricultural industry is a natural fit, as farming businesses in the country often comprise several large farms that already have airstrips and fuel supplies to support agricultural aircraft. The Kodiak is seen as ideal for passenger and cargo transport duties in and around such businesses, and to connect them with regional centers. It also serves operators seeking to move away from piston twins into turbine-powered machines as they look for lower costs and greater safety. The Kodiak has around the same operating costs as a Beechcraft Baron piston twin, yet has the passenger capacity of a King Air.
The company is also targeting government agencies as potential customers for the versatile, high-performance and cost-efficient utility aircraft. Another area where the Kodiak is particularly useful is waterborne operations. With a water takeoff run of just 25 seconds or 1,658 feet, the Kodiak can safely operate from the short stretches of water that proliferate in Brazil’s northern region, many of which are denied to some other floatplane types.
Kodiak do Brasil received its demonstrator about a month ago, and it has since been active on demonstrations to a network of non-traditional operators. The company offers a complete support package that includes training and spares support, and it has established a network of screened and trained maintenance companies that can support the type. The aircraft shares a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 powerplant with the Thrush agricultural airplane, and it can fit in to the service network already in place for that engine type.
One of the key attractions of the Kodiak is that, as a wholly built U.S. product, it qualifies for preferential financing from the U.S. Export-Import bank. Financing is available over seven years at a rate of 4.4 percent. This has already proved attractive to buyers of the Thrush, the majority of which have been purchased with Ex-Im finance.
Elsewhere in Latin America Quest has recently appointed other sales representatives. Based at Panama-Pacifico International Airport, Kodiak Central America was appointed in April to handle sales in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, while in July Hangar Uno at San Fernando International Airport, Buenos Aires, was appointed sales representative for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
EASA certification for the Kodiak was received in April, and in the Latin American region the type is certified in Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela. Since 2014 TAME Amazonia in Ecuador has used three of the aircraft to provide a commercial service that reaches to outlying communities in the remote parts of the Amazon region.
Quest has now built more than 200 Kodiaks at its Sandpoint, Idaho facility. Designed as a utility aircraft with an emphasis on short takeoff and landing performance, the Kodiak has particular applications to private, commercial, sport and special-mission duties. The aircraft has a large cargo door, and can be configured with float undercarriage with no structural modifications necessary.
Performance is crucial for an aircraft expected to undertake operations in challenging environments, and the Kodiak does not disappoint. Without the baggage pod and with flaps down the aircraft has a stall speed of 60 knots, equating to a typical still-air landing run of just 765 feet (233 meters). The Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 turboprop delivers 750 shp (560 kW) for takeoff, allowing the Kodiak to get airborne in 934 feet (285 meters). Allowing for a 45-minute reserve the Kodiak can cruise at 174 knots for 1,005 nm (1,861 km), or at 135 knots for 1,132 nm (2,096 km). At loiter speed the Kodiak offers a 9.9-hour endurance, suiting it to a range of special-mission surveillance applications.
The manufacturer offers three trim levels of increasing luxury: Tundra, Timberline and Summit. The Summit interior features five seats, four of which are in club arrangement. With a 10-seat standard interior installed the cargo space at the rear of the cabin can be increased by the successive removal of seats. This versatility allows the Kodiak to undertake joint passenger/cargo operations, or to operate as a dedicated cargo-carrier. An approved roll-down door is available through the aftermarket for use as a parachute jump-ship.
A range of options is available to meet customer requirements, including an underfuselage cargo pod that is arranged in three sections. The pod adds a load-carrying ability of 750 pounds (340 kg) with only minimal drag that takes only one to two knots off the cruising speed. Another option is wider tires for improved handling and durability when operating from rough strips, and gravel/mud deflectors are available. The three-screen Garmin G1000 cockpit can be tailored with a variety of upgrades to add functionality, and weather radar can be installed as an option.