Condor Aviation Takes Delivery of Cessna Grand Caravan EX

Yurok Tribe’s flight operation plans to use aircraft for environmental missions.

The Yurok Tribe’s Condor Aviation unit will use its new Grand Caravan EX for a range of environmental studies. [Courtesy: Textron Aviation]

Textron Aviation said it delivered a Cessna Grand Caravan EX to the Yurok Tribe’s Condor Aviation operation for use in environmental projects including studies of climate change and natural resource management.

The aircraft’s special-mission equipment includes light detection and ranging systems, known as LiDAR, and aerial imaging equipment capable of creating precise three-dimensional maps of the earth’s surface and collecting a broad range of data regarding rivers, lakes, oceans and other habitats.

“This new aircraft will significantly enhance our ability to holistically restore salmon-spawning streams and make our landscape more resilient to climate change,” said Yurok Vice Chairman Frankie Myers. “We employ LiDAR data and high-definition aerial imagery to maximize the efficacy of our efforts to rebuild biologically diverse ecosystems and repair fire-damaged forests in Northern California.”

The new Grand Caravan EX joins Condor Aviation’s current Cessna Turbo Skylane. In addition to tribal projects, Condor said it works with the Yurok Fisheries Department’s technical team to provide precision mapping and high-resolution imaging services for clients from California to Alaska.

Cessna said it has delivered more than 3,000 Caravans since the model entered service during the mid-1980s. The aircraft is known for flexibility, allowing pilots to perform a variety of missions from commuter flights and freight hauling to flight training and humanitarian support. The design has evolved to become more of a workhorse over time. The current Grand Caravan EX has 867 horsepower and a climb rate of 1,275 feet per minute.

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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