Daher chief demo pilot and sales & marketing director Mark Brown told Insider that the plane builds upon the company’s Kodiak 100 bush plane.
The Kodiak 100 was actually first produced by manufacturer Quest Aircraft Company in 2007, but the planemaker was bought by Daher in 2019.
The Kodiak 100 is a true “hardcore” bush plane that is designed to land on any surface, including mud, sand, gravel, and water, and can rough tackle missions that require flying in extremely remote places with little to no infrastructure.
Over the years, Brown said a market need opened for an aircraft with the same off-road capabilities as the Kodiak 100, but with less focus on its bush features.
“The Kodiak took the course of a Jeep or Range Rover that started their history maybe with military service or being off-road centric, and then high-net worth people started seeing these cars as really cool and liked the concept of being able to drive anywhere,” Brown said.
Despite the fewer bush features, the Kodiak 900 still offers owners improved speed, cargo space, comfort, safety, and technology compared to the Kodiak 100 and other rugged planes, like the 70-year-old De Havilland Beavers and Otters that frequent the Alaskan skies.
Specifically, the plane, which is powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-140A engine, can cruise at 210 nautical miles, carry 3,700 pounds of cargo, and seat nine people, including a pilot and eight passengers.
Brown also explained the “overbuilt” plane is strong with reduced maintenance costs. Combining this with lower fuel consumption means there is more profit opportunity for operators.
Meanwhile, the Kodiak 900 has an external cargo compartment in the belly of the plane. A rear hatch flips down so operators can easily load long items, like lumber, fishing poles, skis, and snowboards, adding to the plane’s versatility.