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Business Air News Bulletin
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NC Forest service receives first Kodiak 100 with five-blade prop
With its enormous load and off-airport capabilities, the Kodiak 100 will carry supplies for aerial tankers in wildfire operations. The NC Forest Service becomes the initial operator of this five-blade prop-equipped aircraft.
The five-blade Kodiak 100 will be a load aircraft for the North Carolina Forest Service
Read this story in our October 2023 printed issue.

The North Carolina Forest Service's Aviation Division has taken delivery of its first turboprop-powered Kodiak 100, becoming the first operator of this multi-mission aircraft equipped with a composite five-blade propeller.

The Kodiak 100 will be used as a 'load aircraft', carrying equipment and supplies to operational locations in support of aerial tankers in the wildfire suppression role.

“As North Carolina's motto is 'First in Flight', it's extremely appropriate that the state's Forest Service is the initial operator of this latest upgrade for the Kodiak 100,” says Daher SVP Nicolas Chabbert.

Tailored specifically for use on the Kodiak 100, the new five-blade propeller incorporates Hartzell's lightweight Raptor propeller hub technology. The entire unit weighs 13 lbs less than the Kodiak 100's current four-blade metal propeller and reduces the aircraft's take off roll by six per cent at maximum gross weight. The propeller is durable by design, with a TBO (time between overhaul) of 4,000 hours/six years, and a warranty of six years or up to 4,000 hours.

New-production Kodiak 100 Series III aircraft are now available with the five-blade composite propeller as an option. The retrofit for all in-service Kodiak 100s is offered via the Hartzell Top Prop programme.

“We welcome the Kodiak 100 to the family of aircraft equipped with our five-blade composite propeller, joining Daher's Kodiak 900 and the TBM 960,” says Hartzell president JJ Frigge. “Hartzell has been producing composite blades since 1978, which are made with a structural carbon fibre that offers superior strength, damage resistance and reparability.”

Key features of the composite propeller blades include a durable nickel-cobalt leading edge, a nickel erosion screen for FOD (foreign object damage) protection, urethane paint for improved erosion protection and the use of aerospace-grade carbon fibre.

The propeller is 6.6 dB quieter, turning at 2,000 rpm for maximum torque, which is 200 rpm slower, than the current four-blade metal propeller. Thisreduces vibration aboard the aircraft and lowers the Kodiak 100's flyover noise below the EASA airworthiness authority's stringent 78 dB(A) requirement.

At a diameter of 96 inches, the five-blade composite propeller has a ground clearance of 16.4 inches, retaining the Kodiak 100's ability to operate from unprepared strips and in the amphibious version when equipped with floats.

“With its enormous useful load, off-airport capabilities, simple and rugged design, the Kodiak 100 is ideal for such a broad range of applications,” says Paul Carelli, director of Kodiak flight operations and special missions. “In addition to the performance improvement with Hartzell's five-blade composite propeller, the aircraft is extremely quiet. This is significant for missions such as forestry and law enforcement, and also is very important when flying recreationally in backcountry environments.”

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