Quest Aircraft delivered its first Kodiak to officials from Spirit Air on Jan. 25, in a presentation at Quest’s headquarters in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Spirit Air, which plans to use the Kodiak for flights into the Alaska wilderness and Idaho back country, and for commuter and small package runs, was the lead commercial customer for the Kodiak when Quest began taking deposits in May 2005.
“The first delivery of the Kodiak is truly a momentous occasion for Quest,” said Paul Schaller, president and CEO. “This has been a remarkable journey for everyone involved with the program, including our customers like Spirit Air. We appreciate them supporting us from the beginning and through all of the milestones of certification and delivery.”
“We chose the Kodiak because of its robustness, reliability and versatility,” said JoAnn Wolters, who co-owns Spirit Air with Dan Schroeder.
The Kodiak, created as a back country airplane, is designed for Part 135 operations and for use by government and humanitarian organizations. It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6 turbine engine, and can take off in less than 700 feet at its full gross takeoff weight of 6,750 lbs. With a useful load of 3,325 lbs. on board, it can climb at more than 1,700 feet per minute. A Garmin G1000 glass cockpit is standard equipment. This is the first G1000 installation in a turboprop aircraft, according to Quest officials.
The Kodiak received FAA Type Certification on May 30 of last year. Since then the company has been working toward its production certificate. Customer orders have exceeded expectations and the company has a three year backlog, which it is working to bring down as production ramps up, company officials said.
“The second Kodiak was delivered a few days after the first,” notes Quest’s Julie Stone. “We expect to have a few more in this quarter and approximately 10 to 15 aircraft in 2008.”