French aircraft manufacturer Daher, maker of the TBM line of fast turboprop singles, has bought Quest Aircraft of Sand Point, Idaho, the company that makes the very cool Quest Kodiak single-engine turboprop. Details were not released, If “single-engine turboprop” sounds redundant for Daher, it’s really not. Apart from both planes being constructed from sheet metal and featuring a single Pratt & Whitney Canada turboprop engine, the planes are very dissimilar.
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The TBM is a 330-plus knot bird, pressurized and best suited for paved runways. (They don’t have to be long though.) The Quest Kodiak is a not-so-fast, non-pressurized turboprop single that does its thing most happily in the outback. The plane was originally designed with funding and support in part from mission organizations, which operate many of the 250-plus Kodiaks in the field.
So how do the two companies mesh? That remains to be seen. Apart from Daher having a new high-quality plane to sell, and the company is very good at selling planes, it also gives them a plane in an entirely different market, one that shares potential customers with the legendary Cessna Caravan lineup and with the Pilatus PC-12. Also in the mix is the emerging Cessna Denali pressurized single-engine turboprop, expected to earn certification in 2020.
I’m guessing that Daher sees a derivative model or two in the Kodiak’s future. And if you think that maybe that future product would be pressurized, I wouldn’t argue very hard with you. Daher, of course, is saying no such thing. For now, it’s happy to have gotten a new model to sell and to further expand its footprint in North America, the biggest market for general aviation airplanes.
Daher expects to complete the purchase this year.