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Larger, faster Kodiak unveiled

Daher broadened its product line July 25 with the announcement of a new model of the Kodiak single-engine turboprop. A five-year development project resulted in a speedier, roomier model called the Kodiak 900.

The 900, which received FAA certification on July 20, joins the original Kodiak 100, which will remain in production, along with the speedy family of TBM single-engine turboprops produced by Daher. The French company purchased Sandpoint, Idaho-based Quest Aircraft in 2019, soon dropping the Quest name, but keeping the Kodiak brand. According to company officials, the goal of the upgrade project was originally to make the Kodiak 100 faster. But as they looked at the broader market, they realized that a larger cabin and other changes would make the airplane more appealing to commercial and special mission operations.

From a performance standpoint, the new model easily meets the mark. I was given exclusive early access to a development airplane in mid-June at the Pullman/Moscow Regional Airport in Pullman, Washington. With an additional 200 shaft horsepower over the 100, the 900 rocketed off the runway, climbing at nearly 1,800 fpm.

At 12,500 feet it trued out at 205 knots while burning about 430 pounds of jet fuel per hour. Mark Brown, chief demo pilot and sales and marketing director for Kodiak at Daher, said he expects the final airplane without the optional radar antenna to cruise at about 210 KTAS, about 35 knots faster than the 100. In addition to the change from the 700-shp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 to the 900-shp PT6A-140, the new model includes a new composite Hartzell five-blade propeller, wheel fairings, flap track fairings, and a host of airframe changes to increase the speed.

In addition to the wheel fairings, which are pilot removable and add about seven knots to the speed, the most obvious airframe change is to the nose section, which is all new and made of composite material. It tapers below the engine compartment to completely fair in the cargo pod, which is now an integral part of the airframe. The cargo pod is the same volume as the optional one on the Kodiak 100, but bays two and three are open to one another, allowing for the hauling of larger pieces of gear. In addition, a hatch on the bottom aft end of the pod can be opened to slide in long items, such as fly-fishing rods and lumber.

The speed increases come about even though the fuselage is 37 inches longer. The company installed airframe plugs just aft of the flight deck and just ahead of the empennage to increase cabin volume. While longer, the fuselage is the same width and height as the original model. The wings and tail section are primarily the same between the two. However, the new model comfortably accommodates a double-club cabin configuration or up to 12 in a commuter setup in countries where that many can be carried in an aircraft in this category. Ten seats is the max allowed in the United States. Taking a nod from the luxurious TBM line, each seat position includes a LEMO headset jack, conventional headset jacks, two USB ports, a phone holder, and a cup holder. Overhead, each has a gasper air vent and a light. Cargo tiedowns are embedded in the floor, walls, and ceiling throughout, providing lots of flexibility for hauling gear.

As with the Series III Kodiak 100, introduced a couple of years ago, the 900 includes a full Garmin G1000 NXi cockpit and GFC 700 autopilot. The company expects to begin deliveries of the new model in early 2023 for a price of about $3.5 million, about $500,000 more than a Kodiak 100. For a complete report on the new model, see the September cover story of AOPA Pilot magazine, which is online now.

  • The new Kodiak 900, seen over the Palouse Region near the Washington-Idaho border, builds on the Kodiak 100’s backcountry heritage while amping up cruise speed and comfort. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • The Kodiak 900 retains the Garmin G1000 NXi found in the Series III Kodiak 100, but powers it via a new four-bus auto-load-shedding electrical system. The new panel layout provides space for special mission radios, a growing market for the rugged utility turboprop. It also now shows percent of horsepower, easing power setting for the pilot. Dual alternators of 300 amps and 60 amps provide plenty of power for normal and special mission ops. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • Gravel strip? No problem. The five-blade composite Hartzell propeller provides 15.4 inches of ground clearance. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • The beefy Kodiak 900 looks right at home on the gravel strip at Little Goose State Airport along the Snake River. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • The highly swept nose section and, of course, the big 900-shaft-horsepower Pratt & Whitney, contribute to the Kodiak 900’s 35-knot cruise speed increase over the Kodiak 100. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • Under older certification rules, wheel fairings are considered non-structural. However, under the latest rules, they are considered “secondary structural” and, as a result, the ones on the Kodiak 900 are very durable—strong enough to make for a nice seat or stool. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • Standard takeoff procedure includes use of one notch of flaps, which results in a takeoff ground roll of 1,015 feet at max takeoff weight of 8,000 lbs. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • The new wheel fairings are pilot removable and designed for easy maintenance, including an access door to check tire pressures. The 900 uses smaller, higher pressure tires than the Kodiak 100, which is more optimized for extreme backcountry operations. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • The optional weather radar pod houses a Doppler-enabled Garmin GWX 75 radar. Photo by Chris Rose.
  • A new 13-member steel truss frame attaches the engine to the firewall, helping to dampen vibration and noise while providing easy access for maintenance. The small yellow door in the aft section provides access to the new automated TKS filling system. Photo by Chris Rose.
Thomas B. Haines

Thomas B Haines

Contributor (former Editor in Chief)
Contributor and former AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
Topics: Turboprop, EAA AirVenture

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