SIL International Media Release
New Aircraft Debuts in Port Moresby, PNG
(November 2009) On 19 November, SIL Papua New Guinea (PNG) unveiled the newest addition to its aviation fleet—the Kodiak aircraft—at its commissioning ceremony at Jackson Airport, Port Moresby, PNG. His Excellency, Grand Chief, Sir Paulias Matane, Governor-General of PNG, was the Guest of Honor and officiated during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Many other government officials and special guests attended, including the Barai Sing-Sing (dance) group from Oro Province.
The newly arrived Kodiak aircraft is the first of several that will make its home in PNG. This first Kodiak has been approved for a PNG Certificate of Airworthiness and a CCA (Civil Aviation Authority) Air Operators Certificate. Besides renewing SIL’s aging fleet, it is powered by jet fuel, which is more readily available than avgas. The aircraft currently used by SIL in PNG average twenty years in age and demand increasing maintenance for every hour flown. Aviation organizations are facing growing difficulty in the supply of fuel to power the older airplanes.
The vision for the Kodiak was born out of five decades of remote flying. It was designed to meet the need for a larger, more cost-effective, turbo-prop airplane suitable for use in remote locations. Many international aviation organizations, including SIL, collaborated with Quest Aircraft Company to design an airplane that could operate in the most challenging mountainous, jungle or desert locations.
Unique features of the Kodiak:
- Short Take Off and Landing capability (STOL) with a special wing design. The safety of STOL is designed to operate in and out of some of the most challenging remote airstrips in the world.
- 10-seat aircraft
- A single powerful turbine engine that uses readily available and less expensive jet fuel instead of aviation grade fuel. This turbine engine runs 4,000 hours between overhauls. This will greatly increase efficiency and reduce costly maintenance and downtime.
- Air speed of 170 knots. The current aircraft with STOL capability only fly at 115 knots.
- Large tires for operations on rough airstrips
- Large cargo door for loading big objects
The Kodiak will be used primarily to:
- Fly people to and from remote communities
- Transport cargo for community development
- Assist in relief work
- Perform medical evacuations
- Provide additional support services to language workers
Among thousands of language groups around the world that may need language development, most live in remote, isolated regions of the world. About 300 of these language groups live in Papua New Guinea, a country with one of the most rugged terrains on earth. The new Kodiak will be an effective tool in servicing these isolated communities.