New Kodiak 100 Turboprop at Redtail Aviation, Canyonlands Field, Moab, Utah
In April 2012, I visited Redtail Aviation at Canyonlands Field, Moab, Utah. As usual, I was servicing the live webcam that I provide to Redtail. When I arrived, my desire was to get my work done and get back to town. Soon, my plans changed. Upon walking into the Redtail hanger, I was awestruck by a beautiful new airplane that stood center stage, facing the main door. From its red, black and white paintjob to its ninety-six inch diameter, three-point prop, this was an airplane designed for business in the backcountry around Moab.
In black lettering on the engine cowling was the single word, “Kodiak”. With its compact size and under-fuselage baggage module, it would take a superior power plant to lift this ten-place aircraft on hot days and the high altitude (4557 ft. elevation) of Canyonlands Field. Later, I discovered that the Kodiak 100 utilized a Pratt & Whitney PT6-34 turbine engine with 750 horsepower at takeoff. That amount of power provides the safety margin required to access gravel strips and unimproved airfields throughout the Canyonlands area.
Inside and out, the airplane was immaculate. With its first one hundred hours already in the logbook, the Kodiak was just then entering the Redtail Aviation charter fleet. Even with nine passengers and their luggage aboard, the lightweight materials utilized in construction kept takeoff weight to less than 7,300 pounds. With only moderate loading and two passengers, my Nissan Titan pickup truck weighs over 6,000 pounds. Built for high altitude, rough terrain takeoffs and landings, the Kodiak appeared to be a cut above any other airplane of its type.
In October 2012, I was back at Redtail Aviation working on our webcam, as usual. Even while buried in my work, I could hear the radio crackle to life. When the Redtail Kodiak pilot announced his imminent arrival in Moab, I ran to my truck, retrieved my camera and headed for the tarmac. Although the Kodiak had already landed, I was able to capture video of the airplane gracefully taxiing to a stop near the terminal. In only a few minutes the ground crew had secured the Kodiak, unloaded the baggage and helped a full load of passengers disembark in preparation for their own personal Moab adventures.
For any group up to nine people planning a Moab visit, I suggest contacting Redtail aviation for rates and schedules. As of this writing, Great Lakes Airlines provides daily service from Moab to Vernal, Utah and Denver, Colorado. For a group visiting Moab from Phoenix, Las Vegas or Salt Lake City, a Kodiak charter with Redtail Aviation might provide better service and lower costs. Although I enjoy traveling on Great Lakes Airlines, given the chance, I would opt for the adventure of flying in the Kodiak. After all, it is an airplane designed specifically for the conditions at Moab and all around Canyonlands.
Who knows…? Maybe the next time I service their webcam, the good folks at Redtail Aviation will take me up on a demonstration flight in their fabulous new Quest Aircraft Company Kodiak 100 airplane. I can hardly wait to ask, when I return to Canyonlands Field in Moab, Utah.