FITS Approved Program Provides Scenario-Based Training
April 30, 2008, Sandpoint, ID...Four pilots have completed the Initial Training Course for the KODIAK since the company received FAA/Industry Training Standard (FITS) approval for its program earlier this year. Quest designed its own training program after reviewing other approved programs and with input from experienced industry professionals.
“We looked at several options for providing initial training for the KODIAK, and concluded that it made the most sense to do it ourselves,” said Paul Schaller, Quest President and CEO. “We also saw it as an opportunity to build a closer relationship with our customers as well as get timely feedback on the KODIAK for future improvements. In designing the program, we felt it was important to be in compliance with the FITS tenets.”
FITS was developed in 2004 as part of the FAA's Safer Skies Initiative to better train pilots flying Technologically Advanced Aircraft (TAA) with glass cockpits. The KODIAK's flight deck features the Garmin three-panel G1000 system with two primary flight displays (PFDs) flanking a centrally located multi-function display (MFD).
“The new technology provides pilots with so much more information than ever before,” said Steve Zaat, Quest's Director of Customer Service. “Training pilots following the FITS course helps them gain the experience necessary to utilize that information more effectively and safely.” Zaat serves as Training Manager, overseeing the Quest Learning Center.
The KODIAK Initial Training Course is designed for the pilot who has no previous operational experience as pilot-in-command in the KODIAK. In keeping with FITS methodology, the training is scenario-based as opposed to maneuvers-based. “The training uses the same tasks as a traditional maneuvers-based program, but arranges maneuvers into scenarios that mimic real situations,” Zaat continued. “The goal of each flight is to get to the destination safely, rather than the completion of individual training maneuvers. This way, the pilot correlates the importance of individual training maneuvers to the overall safe accomplishment of the mission.” This is known as a systems-safety approach. Customer feedback has been very positive with one pilot commenting that the course was “very challenging.”
“We developed a solid program in a relatively short period of time,” added Zaat. “I'd like to acknowledge two industry professionals who helped us develop not only a FITS training program, but one that fits our customer base very well.” The KODIAK initial training program is the first approved program that includes mission scenarios into unimproved landing areas.
Arlynn McMahon, Training Center Manger at Aero-Tech, Inc., Lexington, KY and Mike Gaffney of Skyline Aeronautics, Chesterfield, MO worked closely with Quest to develop the curriculum and validate the training scenarios. McMahon has authored several FAA accepted programs and has published a book on FITS. Gaffney was the FAA Instructor Pilot of the Year in 2007 and is the author of G1000 training materials.
The KODIAK's rugged aluminum construction combines superior STOL performance and high useful load. It offers proven turbine reliability with the Pratt & Whitney PT6 turbine engine, is capable of working off floats without structural upgrades and has the ability to land on unimproved surfaces. The KODIAK can take off in under 700 feet at full gross takeoff weight of 6,750 lbs and climb at over 1,700 feet per minute. A 3-panel Garmin G1000 integrated avionics suite is standard equipment on the KODIAK.
The KODIAK received FAA Type Certification on May 30 2007, and began customer deliveries in December. Quest has seen strong market acceptance in key market segments, including personal use, Part 135 operations, government, and humanitarian organizations. Customer orders have exceeded expectations and the company has a 3-year backlog, which it is working to bring down as production ramps up.
Quest Aircraft Company, LLC, the manufacturer of the KODIAK, is headquartered in Sandpoint, Idaho, currently employs more than 200 skilled personnel, and was established in 2001 to build a rugged utility aircraft for mission aviation organizations to operate in the most remote areas of the world.
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