ITD lands new airplane for the state
During a ceremony last week, a Sandpoint-based company delivered its latest Kodiak airplane to Division of Aeronautics Administrator Mike Pape.
More than 100 Quest Aircraft employees attended the event, where their hard work and attention to detail was celebrated.
“We believe in your product. The governor believes in your product,” Pape said.
Called by many names including 239KQ, this model will replace the 46-year-old Cessna and join others, including the King Air, in the fleet.
Its number one mission: saving lives.
By state statue, ITD Aeronautics responds to distress calls, which can come from more than the 5,000 pilots flying in Idaho.
The new nine-seat plane features enhanced communications abilities and the most reliable turboprop engine in its class to guarantee flight time for up to nine hours. It is also built for short and rough fields, allowing it to land in any airport in the state to transport cargo — unlike the King Air that can only land at 37 out of 128 airports.
Many other state agencies will rely on it for support, ranging from natural disaster reconnaissance missions to wildlife surveys to forest-level beetle inspections to law enforcement efforts.
With operating costs about half that of the King Air, the Kodiak will also provide more affordable and flexible transport to destinations across the state for officials and officials needing backcountry access.
“Its adaptability makes it an excellent addition to the fleet,” Pape said. “With its rural and mountainous terrain and remote areas, Idaho depends highly on its aircraft for safe and efficient transportation.”
Pape extends special thanks to: Idaho National Guard Brig. Gen. Brad Richey, state Representative Sage Dixon, state Senator Jim Woodward, ITD Board Chairman Jerry Whitehead and ITD Board District 1 representative Jim Coleman; Ross Engle, ITD’s flight operations director; Jim Hinen, pilot and safety education coordinator; and Kirk Anderson, buyer.