- 01 Nov 2021
- Mike Chase
- Turboprop Comparisons
In this month’s aircraft comparison, Mike Chase provides information on the Daher Kodiak 100 and Piper M500 single engine turboprops…Back to Articles
Over the following paragraphs we’ll consider key productivity parameters (including payload, range, speed, and cabin size) and the current market for the Daher Kodiak 100 and the Piper M500.
Which is the better option for a buyer to take for transporting passengers? Greater range, or a faster long-range cruise speed? This is just one of the questions that will be considered.
Daher Kodiak 100
The Kodiak 100, first produced in 2007 by Quest Aircraft, is designed to operate out of short fields and in rugged conditions.
Powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 turbine engine, it can take off in less than 1,000 feet at full gross take-off weight, and climb at 1,300 feet per minute. A Garmin G1000 integrated avionics suite with three 10-inch displays is standard on the Kodiak 100.
In 2018 the Daher Kodiak Series ll debuted offering a number of enhancements to the aircraft’s systems, and today, following Daher’s acquisition of Quest Aircraft, the Daher Kodiak Series lll is being produced. The Series lll brought enhanced safety through a high, sturdy landing gear built for very demanding backcountry operations.
Float-ready, the Kodiak 100 ultimately aims to offer a combination of cabin comfort and utility.
The Piper M500, meanwhile, is fourth in the line of PA-46 pressurized cabin-class, single-engine models produced by Piper Aircraft, and utilizes a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42A turboprop engine flat-rated to 500 horsepower.
In 2015 Piper rebranded the PA-46 model line to the M Class series, and the Piper Meridian was reintroduced as the M500, which, according to Piper, combines state-of-the-art technology and safety features with stylish luxury.
Among other things, the M500 features a sophisticated Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite, and improved air-stair door.
As of this writing, there were 279 Daher Kodiak 100 business turboprops in operation around the world, 276 of which were wholly owned, while three were under shared-ownership. A total of 14 units had been retired.
North America was home to the largest Daher Kodiak 100 fleet percentage (57%), as of January 2022, followed by Asia (18%), giving a combined 75% of the total fleet.
By comparison, there were 101 Piper M500 business turboprops in operation, 95 of which were wholly owned, while six were under shared ownership.
North America was home to the largest Piper M500 fleet percentage (53%), as of January 2022, followed by South America (32%), for a combined 85% of the total fleet.
As we have established previously, a potential operator should focus on payload capability as a key factor in selecting the right aircraft for their need.
Table A shows the Daher Kodiak 100 ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ is 744lbs., which more than twice the 340 lbs. offered by Piper M500, reflecting its attraction as a utility aircraft.
Table A: Daher Kodiak 100 vs Piper M500 Payload Comparison
Cabin Cross-Section Comparison
Chart A shows the UPCAST JETBOOK cabin cross-section comparison of the Daher Kodiak 100 and the Piper M500. As noted, the Daher Kodiak 100 has more cabin width, height, and length compared to the Piper M500 resulting in more cabin volume at 248cu.ft (versus 164cu.ft).
Chart A: Daher Kodiak 100 vs Piper M500 Cabin Comparison
As depicted in Chart B using Sandpoint, Idaho as the origin point, the Daher Kodiak 100 (1,005nm) shows more range coverage than the Piper M500 (834nm) with full fuel and available payload.
For business turboprops, full fuel and available payload represents the maximum IFR range of the aircraft at long range cruise with NBAA IFR fuel reserve calculation is for a 100nm alternate.
This range does not include winds aloft or any other weather-related obstacles.
Chart B: Daher Kodiak 100 vs Piper M500 Range Comparison
The Daher Kodiak 100 is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 engine with 750 shaft horsepower (shp). The Piper M500 is powered by a 500shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A engine. The certified flight ceiling for the Piper M500 is 30,000 feet compared to 25,000 feet for the Daher Kodiak 100.
Turboprop Usage Comparison
Chart C shows the usage of the two turboprops broken into market groupings. As shown, the largest defined usage for the Daher Kodiak 100 is ‘Business’ (67%) followed closely by Charter (10%) and Personal (6%).
By comparison, the most popular defined usage for the Piper M500 is ‘Business’ (73%), Personal (18%), and ‘Other’ (8%).
A higher percentage of users utilize the Piper M600 for Business and Personal use, than for the Kodiak 100, whereas a higher percentage of users utilize the Kodiak 100 for Charter and ‘Other’ purposes.
Chart C: Daher Kodiak 100 vs Piper M500 Operations Comparison
Cost Per Mile Comparison
Chart D details the ‘Cost per Mile’ for our comparative turboprops (per JETNET data), factoring the direct costs (no depreciation), and with each aircraft flying a 600nm mission. The average US Jet A fuel cost used for February 2022 was $5.19 per gallon.
The Piper M500 shows a lower cost per nautical mile, at $2.21, than the Daher Kodiak 100 ($3.50); a difference of 36.9%.
Chart D: Daher Kodiak 100 vs Piper M500 Cost Per Mile Comparison
Total Variable Cost Comparison
The ‘Total Variable Cost’, sourced from JETNET and illustrated in Chart E, is defined as the cost of fuel expense, maintenance labor expense, scheduled parts expense, and miscellaneous trip expense (hangar, crew and catering).
The Total Variable Cost for the Daher Kodiak 100 computes at $478/hour compared to the Piper M500’s $390/hour – a difference of $88 per hour (or 18.4%) in favor of the Piper M500.
Chart E: Daher Kodiak 100 vs Piper M500 Variable Cost Comparison
Market Comparison Table
Table B contains the new 2021 equipped prices, long-range cruise speed, and ranges, per B&CA, for the Daher Kodiak 100 and the Piper M500. The cabin volumes are from JETNET, as are the number of aircraft in operation, percentage ‘For Sale’, and average sold.
The Daher Kodiak 100 showed 1.8% of its fleet was for sale as of the end of January 2022, while the Piper M500 had 1% for sale. The average number of new and used transactions (sold) per month was five for the Daher Kodiak 100, and three for the Piper M500 over the past 12 months.
Table B: Daher Kodiak 100 vs Piper M500 Market Comparison
Aircraft that are owned and operated by businesses are often depreciable for income tax purposes under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS). Under MACRS, taxpayers can use accelerated depreciation of assets by taking a greater percentage of the deductions during the first few years of the applicable recovery period.
In certain cases, aircraft may not qualify under the MACRS system and must be depreciated under the less favorable Alternative Depreciation System (ADS) where depreciation is based on a straight-line method, meaning that equal deductions are taken during each year of the applicable recovery period.
In most cases, recovery periods under ADS are longer than recovery periods available under MACRS. There is a variety of factors that taxpayers must consider in determining if an aircraft may be depreciated and, if so, the correct depreciation method and recovery period that should be utilized.
For example, aircraft used in charter service (i.e. Part 135) are normally depreciated under MACRS over a seven-year recovery period, or under ADS using a twelve-year recovery period. Aircraft used for qualified business purposes, such as Part 91 business use flights, are generally depreciated under MACRS over a period of five years or by using ADS with a six-year recovery period.
There are certain uses of the aircraft, such as non-business flights, that may have an impact on the allowable depreciation deduction available in any given year. The US enacted the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017. Under the Act, taxpayers may be able to deduct up to 100 percent of the cost of a new or preowned aircraft purchased after September 27, 2017 and placed in service before January 1, 2023.
This 100% expensing provision is a huge bonus for aircraft owners and operators. After December 31, 2022, the Act decreases the percentage available each year by 20% to depreciate qualified business turboprops until December 31, 2026.
Table C depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2021 Daher Kodiak 100 in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods.
Table C: Daher Kodiak 100 Sample MACRS Tax Schedule
Table D depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2021 Piper M500 in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods.
Table D: Piper M500 Sample MACRS Tax Schedule
Asking Prices & Quantity
The current used market for the Daher Kodiak 100 aircraft shows a total of five turboprops ‘For Sale’, with three showing asking prices ranging from $1.15m to $2.695m and two inviting offers. For the Piper M500, one aircraft is listed for sale with an asking price of $1.65m.
While each serial number is unique, the Airframe Total Time (AFTT) and age/condition will cause great variations in price. Of course, the final negotiated price remains to be decided between the seller and buyer before the sale of an aircraft is completed.
The points in Chart F are centered on the same aircraft. Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in the Vref Pricing Guide.
Chart-F Daher Kodiak 100 vs Piper M500 Productivity Cabin Comparison
The productivity index requires further discussion in that the factors used can be somewhat arbitrary. Productivity can be defined (and it is here) as the multiple of three factors:
Others may choose different parameters, but serious business aircraft buyers are usually impressed with price, range, speed, and cabin volume.
The Daher Kodiak 100 demonstrates a higher level of productivity at a higher price, and with a higher operating cost. The Daher Kodiak 100 edged out the Piper M500 in terms of cabin volume, and ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ range. In Summary Within the preceding paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business turboprop operators value.
There are other qualities, such as airport performance, terminal area performance, and time to climb that might factor in a buying decision. Operators should weigh up their mission requirements precisely when picking which option is the best for them.
The answer to the question of which is better for a buyer for transporting passengers – greater range or faster long-range speed? – is not clear-cut, and ultimately is dependent on the requirements of a particular owner.
The Kodiak 100 can carry more passengers, has a roomier cabin, and covers more range, but is slower than the Piper M500. And, as stated at the start of this article, the Kodiak 100 is designed to offer a combination of cabin comfort with utility, whereas the Piper M500 cabin is defined by Piper as providing “stylish luxury”, with each appealing to a different buyer profile.
There are undoubtedly other differences for buyers to consider when choosing the right airplane for them but, regardless, each aircraft is a strong contender on today’s market, and should continue to sell well for the foreseeable future.