An ongoing partnership between MAF and Aerocet, Inc. will soon impact the world of missionary aviation. A new Aerocet float will soon be available for the KODIAK airplane, and MAF will soon have its first amphibious KODIAK.
As founder of Aerocet, Inc. and co-founder of Quest Aircraft Company, Tom Hamilton says he had floats in mind when he was designing the KODIAK for Quest. Aerocet began building floats for aircraft back in the early 90s. They are the only FAA-approved manufacturer of composite floats. Today Hamilton is about to see his vision of a KODIAK on floats come full circle.
The floats are based on Aerocet's design of its de Havilland Beaver floats. Testing is about to begin here in the U.S., and MAF has loaned its newly acquired KODIAK to Aerocet specifically for this purpose. Once approved, the floats will be available to the aviation community, and to MAF, who is looking forward to its first KODIAK floatplane. The airplane will replace two aging Cessna 185 floatplanes at MAF’s Palangkaraya base—one 51 years old with about 24,000 flight hours, and the other 44 years old with 23,000 hours. The younger of the two C185s will remain in Palangkaraya as a backup.
Compared with another brand, Hamilton says the new Aerocet KODIAK floats are "dramatically lighter, which is pure payload and pure money to the user." A weight savings will increase the airplane’s carrying capacity.
But this isn't MAF’s first experience with Aerocet floats. The two floatplanes in Palangkaraya have been using them for several years. Dave Rask, MAF's director of aviation resources, touts some of the benefits of these composite floats as compared to aluminum floats: "The floats don't corrode in water, they don't leak, and they're slippery and fast in the water. That means the airplane needs less water to get airborne."
A KODIAK on floats, with its increased speed and cargo capacity, will only create a more efficient floatplane service in Kalimantan. MAF's service is key to the work of evangelists living and working in hard-to-reach villages, deep in Borneo’s jungle—where access is only possible via the river. The KODIAK floatplane will benefit these Kingdom workers who depend on MAF for supply deliveries, as well as the many villages that rely on MAF for medical evacuation flights. Contemplating how God works through each of us to accomplish His will, Hamilton says, "We all have gifts. My gift is having the skills to make the tools. MAF’s gift is to be able to take the tools overseas and put them to use where they can do the most good."