Department of Wildlife and Fisheries chooses the Kodiak 100

The Kodiak 100 Adventure Series

As a company, American Kodiak strives to understand the nature of our clients’ needs and wants so we can be sure to meet them all. It is greatly appreciated and of immeasurable importance when we can talk in depth with a valued customer – hearing the experiences and insights that led to purchasing the Kodiak 100, and how it has helped. Recently, a pilot with an American Department of Wildlife shared his motivations for upgrading to the Kodiak 100 Series II.

THE MISSION

At the top of the list is the huge amount of patrolling along the coast that the Department carries out. The team looks for pollution, oil spills, dead whales, turtles, among a multitude of other things. One of their specialties is duck and geese surveys – taking estimates of the duck and geese population by doing fly-bys and estimating how many they see. Their numerous responsibilities are significant; their wide-ranging missions vital to the health of the coastal ecosystem.

THE “BEFORE” EXPERIENCE

The Department had been working with a Cessna 210, two 185s on floats, and at one point a 206 H model on amphibs (which was too heavy for what they wanted to do). The team was increasingly frustrated that they couldn’t carry more than three people in these planes with full fuel. On top of that, because of the challenging nature of the job, the department has a lot of turnover. It was a struggle to get their observers trained in time – it took a whole season sometimes to train two people.

Ultimately, the Department needed an aircraft that the flight crew could safely maneuver in tight spaces for field landings, while comfortably holding their biologists to survey and the observers to train. The Cessna 210 could only carry one observer, and it just wasn’t possible with the 206. They also needed more reserve power to climb when needed. All these aircraft were too cramped and uncomfortable, and not suitable to the missions.

IMPETUS FOR CHANGE

The Department began looking for a new aircraft when one of their fleet was in maintenance. It now lacked one of two needed to get an important job done and it didn’t have enough equipment to do it correctly. The team thought about taking the amphibs off the 206 but decided it would be too costly and ineffective. The solution was to purchase a new airplane without modifying.

They knew the aircraft they needed next. A similar organization was already using Kodiaks for survey purposes with great success – the decision was basically a no brainer, if their requirements were met. 

THE DECIDING FACTORS

Safety was the number one concern, followed by load capacity. The entire team– biologists, observers, flight crew and equipment – needed to get out and back safely, maybe even comfortably.

The crew also needed sturdy landing gear and tires in case they had to land in a field, along with high-visibility windows (unlike the Aircommander they once used).

They needed something light and tough with a lot of power – required for the wide range of flight operations it takes to monitor and protect a vast expanse of coastal terrain.

THE KODIAK 100

The solution was the Kodiak 100 Series II.

It’s unmatched STOL performance, sturdy landing gear, advanced avionics and turbine power reliability (750HP)  resolved safety issues with variable takeoffs and landings, weather conditions and length of flight.

A better design that optimized use of space resolved their passenger and cargo capacity The Department can now carry two or three biologists, observers and flight crew with comfort.

There is also plenty of reserve power with the Kodiak 100 to climb when necessary; rugged Tundra tires for rough field stops; and narrow wingspan maneuverability in tight spaces.

THE EXTRAS

At first, the Department didn’t have much of an interest in the cargo pod add-on – thinking the better design with more space and flight capability would be enough. The team opted for the backup storage option anyway, foreseeing potential uses, and they’re very happy they did.

The cargo pod has already been a huge convenience – it’s an accessible way to safely store equipment. It will also allow the team to relocate whooping cranes in the future, which they anticipate doing.

The Department has determined that theKodiak 100 is “easy to work on, easy to fly, and safe with great flight handling”. It’s an accessible and versatile aircraft that’s rugged and reliable, meeting the team’s requirement for one plane that can do it all.