Thursday, November 17, 2011...In the wake of two of the worst years in the 18 he's spent in the construction business, Pat Feenstra (P. W. Feenstra Construction) took delivery of a KODIAK. Now, just 7 months later, we caught up with him to see how things were going. This is what he had to say...in no uncertain terms.
"We are in the process of wrapping up a large dairy project in Wisconsin. Two more weeks to go and I'll pull our concrete plant, wind it down, and start relocating to the next job. In this process, the KODIAK has been such a workhorse for us. When we ordered it, I had high expectations. In operation, it has done what we expected...and more! In this economy we still had the second biggest volume year of my career because the KODIAK enabled us to safely put the right employees, in the right place, at the right time. With the KODIAK, thunderstorms, ice, and low IFR conditions have become manageable.
This airplane not only helped keep us in business, but without it, we would have missed 50% of the available work this year. As our reputation has grown, so has our geographical presence; we have now completed projects in a multitude of states, including Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin. Logistics could have been a problem, but during the last few months, I've been able to get staff and equipment on the ground around the country safely, efficiently, and relatively cheaply.
With the KODIAK I can fly one load, one trip, take everything, on time, through almost anything, without as much concern, and without as much delay. That's how I've flown this year.
Flying pistons in Midwest weather conditions, I would have been five for ten in mission success rate. So far, I'm flying ten for ten with the KODIAK. That compares favorably to other planes in my experience.
If the KODIAK was meant to replace my previous turbo 206...I'd say it blew that goal away. No comparison! The KODIAK fits in and out of all the same runways, but that's where similarities end. The KODIAK is playing in another league. You can confidently make a plan and execute it reliably. My dispatch efficiency is up 100% because the plane gets everyone there, every time, safely. The ability to safely run a plane with that horsepower and gross weight has literally been an answer to prayer. I'd take one KODIAK over three 206's any day.
I find myself comparing the KODIAK to our previous King Air 90 way more than comparing it to our recent 206. But, our King Air was a more complicated aircraft that required a lot more input. With the KODIAK, we can fly through the weather – and at night – and it flies as easy as a 152. It's as simple a plane as I've ever flown. And, in the KODIAK, the G1000 situational awareness is unreal. The ability to see and digest what's coming before it gets here makes this a much easier airplane to stay on top of.
The combination of turbine, synthetic vision, and TKS – that efficiency – it's something I've never had before. I can grab six guys and all their gear and not think twice about launching into known weather. Take a good look at this photo. That's our KODIAK in real world operations. That ice is gone as fast as the system is initialized.
I have to say TKS makes this one of the most beautiful photos I've ever taken. And, with my KODIAK, I can go to IMC minimums with confidence. No vertigo. No fear.
Did the plane more than make my operating costs? Oh, you bet it did. And in 110 hours I haven't had a bump. I've only had one squawk. In my experience, complex twins have more frequent squawks, 3-4 times the maintenance cost, and 35-40% more fuel burn. The twin was great but complicated and costly to operate. And for a 206, again, there's no real comparison. We've run both of those aircraft. The pistons couldn't carry as much load or as many people. With the KODIAK we can pursue the same business we did before, but do it faster, with bigger loads, without the issues we've had.
It's reassuring to be in a plane, at full gross, carrying employees and gear, without a fear factor. The ability to safely and efficiently get people where we want, when we want, has transformed our business.
We have never been able to capitalize on opportunities as much as we can now, and it's all because of this KODIAK."
With the KODIAK on the job, Pat has put the two worst years of business behind him. This one aircraft put 50% more work in play and, because of KODIAK adaptability, Pat Feenstra hasn't missed any of it. In fact, he's thinking about setting up a second office in the Midwest.
How did he sum it up? "No plane, no gain." We think that's a pretty catchy slogan and, with the KODIAK, it definitely applies.