Estimated reading time 6 minutes, 44 seconds.
At this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Daher introduced a larger, faster version of the Kodiak 100 short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft – the Kodiak 900, which will join the OEM’s TBM 910 and TBM 960 very fast turboprop lineup.
The Kodiak 900 airframe has been re-engineered and refined to introduce numerous enhancements. Notably, the fuselage length has been extended by 3.9 feet “to provide more passenger room and cargo space,” the company said during a July 25 press conference. Moreover, the cruise speed has been increased to 210 KTAS, and the aircraft offers a greater useful load with a maximum range of 1,129 nautical miles.
The stretched fuselage increases the aircraft’s total cabin volume by 20 percent, to 309 cubic feet, and allows for a fifth set of passenger windows.
Daher noted additional refinements to the airframe that will help to reduce drag, including replacing the external pilot entry step with a foldable ladder, and adding flaptrack covers on the wing and wheel fairings to the landing gear.
“A significant internal airflow clean up was performed as well, with the ducts, inlets, and air intakes redesigned, modeled and engineered for low drag,” said Daher.
The Kodiak 900’s wheel fairings are another feature that visually set the aircraft apart from the Kodiak 100. “They have been certified as ‘secondary structures,’ built to strict FAA standards and subjected to the same rigorous analysis and testing for such components as the cargo pod,” the company noted.
The wheel fairings are able to withstand off-pavement landings, and the main gear wheel fairing can be used as a step for pre-flight operations or single-point refueling.
Daher selected the new, constant-speed, full-feathering and hydraulically-actuated five-blade composite propeller from Hartzell for the Kodiak 900. Thanks to the propeller’s design and low 1,900 rpm setting, the Kodiak 900’s noise level is measured at 79.5 dB, which will allow the aircraft to operate in the most strictly regulated noise sensitive areas.
Powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada’s 900-shaft horsepower PT6A-140A turboprop engine, the Kodiak 900’s engine bay features numerous re-engineered components “to maintain key features of the Kodiak 100 version,” said Daher.
“The air-intake system has been optimized for low starting temperatures that allow for multiple battery engine starts per hour – a requirement for such high-cycle customers as skydive operators and in short-haul commercial flights. New additive manufacturing processes (3D printing) are applied in producing the alternator cooling shroud and some of the cowl exit ducts, reducing complexity and weight.”
According to Daher, the Kodiak 900 is ideal for rugged, demanding conditions, and can be utilized as a backcountry STOL and multi-role airplane. Multi-role missions could include cargo; delivering crews and supplies to off-airport strips; and firefighting support — thanks to its ability to climb more rapidly and fly faster.
Other sectors suited to the Kodiak 900 include airborne law enforcement; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); and air ambulance operations. In the latter configuration, the Kodiak 900’s larger cabin can accommodate two stretchers. The door also retains the Kodiak’s clamshell design with fold-flat capability, which allows for easy loading/unloading of stretchers, or bulk cargo items. However, since the Kodiak 900 sits higher in the rear than the Kodiak 100, Daher said it completely redesigned the rear main cargo door.
The company selected the Summit+ passenger seats for the Kodiak 900, which allow the aircraft’s interior to be easily arranged in multiple configurations. With quick release handles, the seats can be removed entirely without tools to maximize space and payload.
Development of the Kodiak 900 began in 2016, and the aircraft’s maiden flight took place on Feb. 28, 2020. Daher said three test aircraft have been built to date, including a static test airframe for structural testing, a flying prototype for flight testing, and the first conforming production aircraft for FAA function and reliability testing. Over 600 hours of flight tests have been completed, and 800-plus hours of ground runtime across the test fleet.
During Daher’s AirVenture press conference, the company proudly announced that the new Kodiak 900 received U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certification on July 20. The aircraft will be produced at Daher’s Sandpoint, Idaho, facility, and first deliveries are expected to begin in January 2023, or sooner.
The Kodiak 900 is being offered at a price point of US$3.5 million fully equipped, and the company confirmed that it has already taken “a few orders” for the new aircraft.