The Quest Kodiak is a versatile, light utility, all-weather aircraft produced by Quest Aircraft of the United States for both military and civilian markets. Its versatility allows it to be used in a variety of roles, from reconnaissance and general surveillance to skydiving, cargo transport, and passenger travel. The series was validated in 2007 and has since seen a period of consistent refinement over the last decade of service.
The Kodiak's design features a braced, high-wing monoplane for excellent lift-versus-drag, allowing the aircraft to better serve shorter runways in harder-to-reach areas of the world. The fuselage has slab-sides, dotted with panoramic windows for viewing, with the engine at the extreme nose of the design and the side-by-side cockpit directly aft. The passenger area makes up a bulk of the internal volume of the vehicle. The tail is tapered at its ventral line and carries a traditional, single-finned arrangement. The reinforced undercarriage, of conventional tricycle configuration, is wheeled at all three legs and fixed during flight, allowing for take-offs and landings from unprepared surfaces as well. This arrangement can be replaced with dual floatplanes for on-water landings and take-offs. Only one pilot is required to manage the aircraft. Ice protection is optional as is a "large tire upgrade" to increase landing weights.
The internal arrangement of the aircraft can be configured to suit the need: up to eight seats can be had in the maximum passenger configuration or the seats can be completely removed (leaving just the two pilot positions) for maximizing cargo space. Additionally, a mixed-cargo approach can be had which leaves some of the passenger seats in place while providing room for cargo still. For facilitating the loading and unloading of cargo, a large cargo door is fitted to the fuselage. Additional storage can be had with the optional cargo pod attached to the ventral side of the aircraft. A useful load of 3,535lb is reported.
Heavy automation has been built into the Kodiak's operation. The cockpit is dominated by three large, full-color displays running horizontally ahead of the two pilot positions and each position has access to hand-held yokes for control. The available onboard systems provide enhanced situational awareness and real-time reporting of various systems and sub-systems while assistance is provided for landing and take-off actions. Various avionics options are made available to operators including the Garmin GWX-70 pr WX-500 Stormscope weather radars, a turbulence detection system, Garmin SurfaceWatch, and GTS 800 TAS (Traffic Advisory System). Autopilot was added as a standard fit in 2015.
Power is from a single Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) PT6A-34 turboprop engine driving a four-bladed propeller unit at the nose - this engine series powers many such aircraft globally and is a proven successful design. Performance specs for the Kodiak include a maximum speed of 183 knots, an extended range of 1,132 nautical miles, and a climb-rate of 1,371 feet-per-minute. Take-off distance is 934 feet.
In its seaplane configuration, no major changes are made to the aircraft's existing structure beyond the loss of its tricycle undercarriage. The floatplanes themselves are wheeled to allow the aircraft to act as a true "amphibian", able to land and take-off from water sources while also being able to land and take-off from runways. Each floatplane is constructed of carbon fiber and made for salt water operation. In fact, the Kodiak was designed from the outset to offer this floatplane feature all the while retaining its land-based capabilities.
Since introduction, the Kodiak series has been used in recreational activities, humanitarian aid, VIP travel, produce transportation, wildlife protection (Botswana), and tourism (Panama).
The original production model is the Kodiak 100. The upgraded form of May 2018 is the Kodiak 100 Series II. This model introduces the Garmin G1000NXi avionics suite as well as tablet integration, an Angle-of-Attack (AoA) indicator and digital standby four instrument group. The "Air Claw" is the Kodiak platform modified by defense powerhouse Northrop Grumman to serve as an airborne surveillance system complete with Forward-Looking InfraRed (FLIR) and the Persistent Surveillance Systems Hawkeye wide-area sensor.
Production into 2018 has resulted in about 250 aircraft built in the Kodiak family line. Formal series introduction occurred during January of 2008.