Daher Opens New Paint Facility for Kodiaks in Idaho

The Daher Kodiak 100 Series III and 900 benefit from an improved paint process taken in-house at a new facility Sandpoint, Idaho.

A new Kodiak 100 fuselage undergoes inspection as part of the new paint process at the recently opened facility in Sandpoint, Idaho. [Courtesy: Daher]

Daher marked another important step in improving processes and aligning its operations at the plant in Sandpoint, Idaho, that the OEM acquired from Quest Kodiak in 2019—the opening of a new paint facility. The goal? To bring this portion of Kodiak 100 and 900 manufacturing in-house and better track its quality.

In past years, newly completed Kodiaks were flown to other locations outside of the state for paint—and required the removal of flight control surfaces in the process. Now, the company can keep it local. 

“This underscores our commitment to the Kodiak’s future as we evolve the aircraft family,” said Nicolas Chabbert, senior vice president of Daher’s Aircraft Division. “It follows the launch of two new Kodiak versions since Daher purchased the product line four years ago: the enhanced Kodiak 100 Series III, which we introduced during 2021; and the larger Kodiak 900, unveiled in July 2022.”

Daher invested $2.7 million in the various elements of the operation, including distinct aircraft preparation and paint booths and the employment of already-skilled personnel to accomplish the work. The 9,000-square-foot facility was designed and constructed by local contractors. It allows for the process to replicate that in place for TBMs at Tarbes, France, where components are painted individually—fuselage, wings, control surfaces, cowlings and doors—before joining together on the production line. A more environmentally friendly electrostatic process is used to apply the paint, with more consistent results and a mirror finish.

A member of the painting team at Sandpoint applies paint to a Kodiak wing. [Courtesy: Daher]

SAF in Sandpoint?

In a press briefing at NBAA-BACE this week in Las Vegas, Chabbert indicated that Daher has just begun the process to bring sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into its Sandpoint facility so that it can both deliver aircraft and conduct its corporate and flight test operations using SAF much as it does in the company’s Tarbes location.

When asked about any possible difference in acceptance of the use of SAF by Kodiak customers and personnel in Sandpoint, Chabbert confirmed its positive reception: “You know, the funny thing is that there is no resistance. It is actually something that has been requested by the people in Sandpoint. So I can tell you that I believe that, contrary to what people will say—that there is more consciousness in Europe as opposed to the U.S.—I don’t feel that way. I think there is the same level of concern. It’s treated differently and with a different approach. But [in] the end, it’s not the approach that counts—it’s the result.”

New TKS ‘Bio’ Fluid

In another eco-minded improvement for its Kodiak line, Daher has introduced a new de-icing fluid that will reduce environmental impact. In partnership with TKS supplier CAV Systems, the fluid, TKS 406 Bio, replaces the DTD-406B product in use. TKS systems can be found not only on Kodiaks, but also the legacy SOCATA TB-20 and -21 Trinidads. 

“I think it is important that the way we are going to reduce [the pollution] of our activities is not just—and is beyond—the use of fuel,” said Chabbert.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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