Wednesday, October 5, 2011...Designing an aircraft is like managing a complex business deal at least in this way: You sit down at the table with your partner, engineering, and you face off with aerodynamics and physics until you can walk away with your desired outcome. In our business, some folks feel this isn't a battle to win, but a compromise to negotiate. The KODIAK ECC might make those people feel differently.
The KODIAK External Cargo Compartment (ECC) provides 63 cubic feet of space for up to 750 pounds of cargo. It vastly increases mission flexibility for what may already be the most capable aircraft in its class, and it makes the KODIAK easier and safer to operate. When we left the negotiating table, that's what we walked away with. And the cost? Just 2-3 knots of cruise speed.
The KODIAK ECC is not an "add-on" like the typical aftermarket bolt-on mod. It’s certainly not your Grandpa’s old screw on blister.
The ECC is part and parcel of KODIAK's original concept. Adding it, like adding floats or TKS, simply fulfills the original KODIAK vision. Ordered from the factory or retro-fitted, the ECC offers a lightning-protected, three compartment option for externally loading 290, 280 and 180 pounds per compartment, respectively, front to rear. That puts it in elite company. Aerodynamically, its design may make it one of a kind. Unlike the old fashioned cargo pods commonly strapped to other aircraft, today, the ECC is another animal altogether.
The ECC's success is a study in attention to detail. Its forward section doesn't just provide enhanced aerodynamics, it provides pass-throughs for that big Pratt & Whitney turbine's Inertial Particle Separator (IPS). The IPS keeps anything larger than 80 microns from entering the engine.
Strakes and ventral fins have been added to the rear of the ECC.
The development of the ECC also provided an opportunity to consolidate six fuel sumps into one convenient location behind an easy access panel at the side of the aircraft. Now all six are accessed in the same location, and can be operated without any sumping tools, screwdrivers, etc. The valve controls are finger-operated; all you need is a collector container.
Three doors with airfoil-shaped locks each provide access to the bulkhead-separated cargo compartments and are sealed with weather stripping. Because this stripping attaches to the doors, it folds out of harm's way and won’t get torn up, like typical pod seals, during loading.
Overall fit and finish is impeccable.
Those are the design considerations. Here are the results: the ECC's design enhances firewall and noise suppression architecture, improves the performance of the IPS, facilitates cargo loading and cargo tie-down, and reduces noise levels in the cabin.
What all that means for passengers and crew is more room and comfort plus additional options for weight distribution. Need more space to pamper passengers in the cabin? Put the cargo underneath. Need more room in the cabin for cargo? Put the seats underneath. Change of plans? Doesn’t matter. You’re ready. Like the KODIAK, the ECC offers more of everything regardless of the want. The flexible mission profile of one ECC equipped KODIAK compares favorably to a fleet of lesser airplanes.
If you're not in the business of continuous improvement, you're falling behind. And if the question is, "How can you improve an aircraft that's already the best in its class?" The answer is simple.
Add an ECC and you get more KODIAK.
NBAA Event Update: Quest Aircraft will have an executive-configured KODIAK with an External Cargo Compartment (ECC) on display October 10-12 at the NBAA Annual Convention in Las Vegas, NV. Please stop by the Silver Lot Static Display area adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center to see the KODIAK first-hand.