Daher has become an industry member of the United Aerial Firefighters Association (UAFA), underscoring its support for the newly-formed advocacy group as a voice for this specialized community – which utilizes the company’s Kodiak aircraft to support wilderness fire suppression missions.
“The UAFA’s goals are fully aligned with those of Daher: enhancing the safety, operability and effectiveness of aircraft, especially in such challenging and unforgiving missions as combatting wildfires,” explained Paul Carelli, the Director of Kodiak Flight Operations and Special Missions. “We intend to be an active UAFA member, bringing our expertise as a multi-role aircraft manufacturer, while also benefitting from the feedback of those who are on the front lines of aerial firefighting.”
Kodiak aircraft have demonstrated their capabilities in fire suppression duties, with primary missions including spotting for firefighting crews and directing aerial tanker drops. The Kodiak is ideally suited for the “air attack” function, as it can guide air tankers with verbal target descriptions and by physically leading them on the drop runs. With the single-engine turboprop-powered Kodiak’s excellent short takeoff and landing characteristics, it can deliver crews and supplies to length-limited and narrow backcountry strips.
One of the UAFA’s founding members is Bridger Aerospace Group, LLC (NASDAQ:BAER), which operates Kodiak 100s in its aircraft fleet as one of the United States’ largest aerial firefighting companies.
Daher produces the Kodiak in two versions. The 8-10-seat Kodiak 100 Series III is capable of operating on uneven and unimproved runways, or on water in the amphibious version, and is equipped with Garmin’s G1000 NXi avionics. The larger Kodiak 900 was introduced in 2022, featuring a fuselage length extension of 3.9 feet for more passenger room and cargo space, a cruise speed increase to 210 KTAS, and a greater useful load while offering a maximum range of 1,129 nm.
To date, more than 320 Kodiaks have been delivered to customers and operators around the world. In addition to the Kodiak’s support role in aerial firefighting, special mission applications for the aircraft include: Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR); aerial mapping; air ambulance transportation; parachute operations; resource analysis; wildlife management/anti-poaching; disaster/humanitarian relief; and training. Throughout the United States, several state and federal agencies, in addition to private contractors, operate Kodiaks in support of wildland fire missions.