Monday, June 16, 2008 … Sometimes when you head out on a new adventure it's hard to imagine where it will lead.
When we first started talking with the British Army about the purchase of KODIAK s/n 0005 by the Rhine Army Parachute Association (RAPA) we anticipated a straightforward sale. Looking at the numbers it's not hard to see that KODIAK is a natural for parachute operations.
Paul Schaller (Quest President and CEO) puts it this way, “The high power to weight ratio necessary to safely operate the KODIAK in the back country has really opened up a wide variety of other applications.The jump market is a good example. The power of the PT-6 engine that we have on the plane allows KODIAK to get off the ground, straight up to altitude, and back on the ground again quickly and easily. Being able to offer a large number of cycles has made this plane work for the jump market.”
But, as we dove into the process of accommodating RAPA's specific requirements and adhering to brand new changes in FAA337 modification and jump plane certification rules, we discovered a whole series of new and exciting challenges. So, back in May, we pulled KODIAK #5 off the production line to allow us to focus on the special requirements of a certified jump aircraft … including a full array of handholds, footholds, special doors and interior, and testing.
Major Paul Moore, of the British Army Parachute Team, visited Sandpoint earlier this year to tour the facility and test the jump configuration first hand.
We also developed a new roll-up Lexan parachute door. Here it is installed in our workhorse test plane for the final stages of the FAA Certification process.
Now that #5 is out of the paint shop sporting fresh union jack colors we're increasingly excited to see it delivered and put into service overseas.
Stay tuned for more news as we get closer to delivery.