New manufacturer Quest Aircraft has delivered its first Kodiak single-turboprop utility aircraft to Spirit Air.

Sandpoint, Idaho-based Quest received US type certification for the Kodiak in July 2007, 32 months after first flight of the prototype, and has been working to achieve its production certificate. The company says it has a three-year backlog of orders.

Designed to compete against the Cessna Caravan, the all-metal Kodiak is powered by a 750shp (560kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34. Quest says the aircraft can take off in under 215m (700ft) at its maximum gross weight of 3,060kg (6,750lb), with a useful load of 1,510kg.

Spirit Air was the first customer to place a deposit, in May 2005, and chose the Kodiak "because of its robustness, reliability and versatility", according to co-owner JoAnn Wolters.

She says the company plans to use the aircraft "in the Alaska wilderness, Idaho backcountry and on commuter and small package runs".

The all-metal Kodiak will compete against the Cessna Caravan

Source: Flight International