This article originally appeared on the P&WC Airtime Blog.
No one appreciates the PT6A’s reliability more than customers flying in inhospitable environments, who stake their lives on its performance – like Quest Kodiak aircraft pilot Mark Brown.
Mark Brown still vividly recalls the nerves he felt before embarking on his first flight across the open ocean a few years ago.
Marketing director and factory demo pilot for Quest Aircraft, Mark has aviation in his blood. He was born into a family of pilots and flew for the first time at the age of 13 – but even he could not help wonder about flying solo across the Atlantic on a Kodiak powered by a single PT6A-34 engine.
“I’m not going to lie: I was nervous going into it,” he recalls. “That’s a lot of cold water beneath you, and the Kodiak’s only got one engine. If you have an issue, you don’t have a lot of other options,” he says. Throughout his journey from Quest’s home base of Sandpoint, Idaho, to Germany, he kept a close eye on the engine’s status, checking the oil temperature and pressure on a regular basis to ease his mind.
He needn’t have worried. The needles stayed constant the entire way – a testament to how pilots can trust the PT6A-34 to perform when it matters most to them.
A COLLABORATION BUILT ON RELIABILITY
That reliability is precisely why Quest Aircraft selected the PT6A-34 back when it was first developing its Kodiak aircraft in the early 2000s.
“The Kodiak is a modern-day bush airplane,” explains Mark. “It was built to be rugged, to be strong, to be simple. The original mission was to be a humanitarian tool that would replace piston airplanes. It was always intended to have a turbine engine. We picked the PT6A-34 because it’s one of the MOST established continuously produced single-stage turbine engines on the market. It had proven reliability. It was the logical choice.”
Over time, customer base for the Quest Kodiak has evolved and continues to gain popularity among owner-flyers looking for a highly capable, general-purpose and luxurious aircraft – a kind of “Range Rover with wings,” as Mark puts it.
One thing has remained constant, however: every single one of the 200-plus Kodiaks produced to date has a PT6A-34 in front.