Daher Kodiak 100: Stylish versatility

Daher’s Kodiak 100 (formerly manufactured by Quest) is one of those airplanes that just looks robust, capable and ready for adventure.

Aerodynamics meets hydrodynamics — the Kodiak seems ready to leap into the air courtesy of its super efficient Aerocet 6650 composite floats. Eric Dumigan Photo

It was designed from the outset to operate away from civilization, often by pilots with limited experience in all kinds of conditions, with few support services. Many of these aircraft have been operated by humanitarian organizations in remote parts of the world.

More recently, the Kodiak has been aimed at the general aviation market in developed parts of the globe. This has resulted in the company offering more choices of interior trim levels and appointments.

Prior to this pilot report, I was well acquainted with the Kodiak when operated on wheels, and I was impressed with its short field capabilities. It is equally as impressive as a cross-country airplane as it is able to deliver 170 knots true airspeed at typical altitudes. With all the history that I had with this airplane, I was excited to have the opportunity to fly it in its amphibious configuration.

A beauty and a beast: Nobody ever said a pretty airplane had to be small! When sitting on the ramp on its floats, the Kodiak appears massive. Eric Dumigan Photo

Sky-high appeal

When sitting on the ramp on its composite Aerocet 6650 floats, the Kodiak appears massive. The cockpit entry door seems to be two storeys high with a daunting climb to the top. The all-composite Aerocet floats look like a couple of small yachts attached to the bottom of the airplane, while at the same time they appear to have been specifically made for the Kodiak.

Observers will say the Kodiak has “ramp appeal.” This is just a fancy way of saying that it is an attractive airplane and apparently many people agree. I heard more than one comment that it was a “very good-looking airplane” when it was parked on the ramp at my home airport.

Ramp appeal should never be underestimated because, after all, who wants to buy an ugly airplane? My own opinion is that the Kodiak has very nice lines and that it exudes the aura of a brawny, well-built and capable aircraft. It is classically good looking in the same way as a Norseman, Beaver, Otter or Caravan. Indeed, the aircraft the Kodiak is most compared to and often confused with is the latter.

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