Monday, April 27, 2009...Usually when the government shows up and hauls off one of your airplanes, it's not a good thing. But as you've probably noticed by now, things work a little differently here at Quest. In this case, the fact that they are coming back to haul off four more is a good thing.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service is tasked with tracking wildlife across the continent of North America. In order to get the job done they need to cover a lot of ground in climates and geographies that range from the high arctic regions of Alaska and Northern Canada through the United States and into Mexico and Central America. This reach is made possible through the cooperative effort of all these countries. And, as you might imagine, it means flying for weeks on end in some of the most unforgiving landscapes on the planet.
For the last several years Fish & Wildlife has been looking for an aircraft to replace its current fleet, extend its ability to monitor wildlife migrations, and carry its programs into the future. Their specific needs include a high useful load to carry fuel, biologists, and equipment on long surveys where interactions with civilization are few and far between. Also, as 100 low lead gas become increasingly scarce in remote areas, they want to transition to turbine aircraft that burn readily available Jet-A. And, it wouldn't hurt if the aircraft came configured with built-in float capability for amphibious operations.
It's no surprise they landed on Quest early in the process. And, while tracking the sex-specific differences in the migratory patterns of spectacled eiders wasn't exactly at the top of KODIAK's design sheet, as always, we've been glad to oblige.
At the end of a long process of testing and due diligence KODIAK won out as the Department's best choice for aerial operations.
Of course, in practice Fish & Wildlife's new KODIAKs will be doing much more than simply tracking wildlife through an extremely vast range of physical settings over a broad swath of geography. They now have an aircraft that meets a wide range of other specific needs. They have an aircraft that can fly low and slow or high and fast. They have an aircraft to endure hard backcountry work as standard fare and still be prepared to carry dignitaries in and out of these same locations with ease, comfort, and safety. And, they have state-of-the-art avionics and real-world mission reliability that rapidly changing weather, terrain, and mission priorities cannot confound.
Through it all, the message for Quest is simple. Each day, as we turn orders into deliveries, KODIAK's practical applications are expanding. What began as CAD studies in countless details -- from rubber boots that save flap actuating jackscrews from dirt, water, or pebbles to vortex generators that give superior airflow and slow speed handling -- has become the KODIAK.
When aviation is the means you need to access the backcountry, KODIAK is the tool that gets the job done.
View the AeroTV video "Quest KODIAK Enhances Migration Monitoring Programs" on YouTube.