First OEM to Receive Type Certification on a New Airframe
July 15, 2008, Sandpoint, ID…Quest Aircraft Company announced today that the KODIAK has received Type Certification (TC) for parachute jump operations. The standard airworthiness certificate is a first for an aircraft delivered new from the factory to the end user.
The Rhine Army Parachute Association (RAPA), the aircraft's owner, took delivery of the aircraft in late June and flew the KODIAK to their home base in Bad Lippspringe, Germany. RAPA is a service charity of the British Army and provides military training, sport training for both military personnel and civilians and parachuting/skydiving exercises and competitions. The KODIAK officially entered service last week when it was utilized in a jump competition, marking the first time competitive jumps were made from a KODIAK. “
When RAPA approached us about the KODIAK we looked at various options for delivering an aircraft modified for jump operations,” said Paul Schaller, Quest President and CEO. “Based on input from RAPA and other potential customers, as well as what we had learned about the airframe during the FAA certification process, we decided to develop and certify the jump package ourselves so we could deliver a certified KODIAK directly to the customer.”
British Major Paul Moore, Commandant of the Joint Services Jump Center and assigned to RAPA, worked with Quest during the certification process and was the first to take the initial test jumps after certification. “Everything went very, very smoothly,” said Moore. “We are exceedingly pleased with the equipment and modifications that Quest made to the KODIAK. The aircraft will serve our needs very well.”
Moore said that RAPA had looked at several different aircraft to replace its aging fleet and decided on the KODIAK because of its “high utility and versatility.” Quest designed and installed a roll-down door which allows for easy egress and is also closable from the pilot's seat. Other installed equipment includes a wing-mounted camera, a 14-inch photographer step, wind deflector, jump lights, and internal and external grab rails that run the full length of the door.
Moore and his crew departed Sandpoint on June 30 and arrived in Bad Lippspringe on July 5. Moore said of the flight home, “The performance and endurance of the KODIAK was amazing. We knew this was a great airplane, but the flight home was a true testament to the outstanding performance of the KODIAK.” The flight was completed with the KODIAK's standard fuel capacity.
“Since we've rolled out the KODIAK to the commercial marketplace, we've had interest from a wide variety of market segments,” added Quest's Schaller. “We've had inquiries from both the private and military sectors for parachute operations, so we are really pleased to now have a KODIAK in the field performing this mission. We anticipate more customers ordering this option.”
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 1,500 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 is headquartered in Sandpoint, Idaho and currently employs more than 250 skilled personnel. The company was established in 2001 with the purpose of building a rugged utility aircraft for mission aviation organizations to operate in the most remote areas of the world.
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