Friday, November 13, 2009…World travelers will tell you that when visiting a foreign land the greatest compliment isn't being taught the ways of the locals, it's being accepted as one. That gift has now been bestowed on the JAARS KODIAK.
Initially registered in the U.S. as N498KQ, the first KODIAK in PNG (Papua New Guinea) has now – after little more than one month of local operation – been officially accepted by the local governing bodies. This acceptance comes both in the form of a PNG Certificate of Airworthiness and the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) Air Operators Certificate that was flown up from Pt. Morsby to Ukarumpa today. This official approval means that N498KQ has been given a new native name – P2-SIB.
This is more than just a random string of alphanumerics. Rick Nachtigal (JAARS PNG KODIAK Implementation Coordinator) explains how KODIAK P2-SIB has inherited a name and a mission. "It used to be the number on one of our old C402’s. We had two of them and they were real work horses. However, as the price of avgas began to rise, and rumors began circulating of it being cut off from PNG, we decided to move towards a turbine fleet. We are excited to get the KODIAK which fills a critical need for long range flights into short to medium length airstrips. We loved the call sign “SIB” and decided to use it on our first KODIAK." To make the day even better, Rick also received his official Type endorsement and Instrument of Approval as training captain on the KODIAK. So, bright and early Monday morning he will begin transitioning a second JAARS pilot into the KODIAK.
In its first 40 days of work, this airplane has logged about 30 hours. This includes numerous training flights into remote villages.
The first operational flight in PNG was to carry kids back to school after break.
KODIAK also flew a translator and her gear into the interior of PNG to meet a JAARS helicopter that took her on to a particularly remote village in the Finisterre Mountains.
So far this airplane has been out doing what it was born to do. And on Monday, November 16th it will take off for the very first operational flight of a PNG registered KODIAK.
In short, N498KQ, now PS-SIB, has arrived. KODIAK is shouldering the load and picking right up where the old workhorses left off.