Center to Train Missionary Pilots on New Bush Plane

SANDPOINT, Idaho-Quest Aircraft Co., whose mission is to manufacture a bush plane specifically suited to the needs of missionary and humanitarian organizations in the most remote regions of the world, has delivered its second-production Kodiak 100 to an international flight and maintenance training center.

The Spokane Turbine Center of Spokane, Wash., a not-for-profit organization and recipient of the new plane, will offer flight and maintenance training for the Kodiak to the mission aviation community, aviation students, and humanitarian organizations.

"The Kodiak is ushering in a new era for missionary, humanitarian and bush flying," said Jeff Turcotte, executive director of the turbine center. "Combining rugged reliability with a modern STOL (short take-off and landing) design, the Kodiak is the ultimate aircraft for the next generation of mission and bush pilots."

Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), a faith-based, non-profit ministry that serves missions and isolated people around the world with aviation, communications, and learning technologies, sees the Kodiak playing a major role in its future as well.

MAF plans to replace 20 of its Cessna 206 aircraft with the Kodiak because of the high cost of high-octane aviation fuel, or "avgas," said John Boyd, president of MAF-US. "Avgas, when available, can cost more than $10 a gallon, compared with $3.50 to $4 a gallon for jet fuel. Forty-three of the 52 MAF aircraft are fueled by avgas, and the world supply is running out," he said. The Kodiak, on the other hand, uses jet fuel.

The airplane can take off in under 700 feet at the full takeoff weight of 6,750 pounds and climb at more than 1,700 feet per minute.

The MAF Fleet Optimization capital campaign has raised $9.9 million to date, enough for the first two Kodiak aircraft as well as providing deposits on 10 more. The first two are scheduled for delivery later this year.

"We are extremely pleased Spokane Turbine Center is the customer for our second Kodiak delivery," said Paul Schaller, Quest's president and chief executive officer. "Quest was founded to meet very specific needs for missionary and humanitarian organizations. While the commercial marketplace is very important to us, our larger purpose is service-oriented.

"The more airplanes we sell to commercial customers, the more aircraft we can provide for mission aviation purposes. Spokane Turbine Center shares our philosophy. We are pleased they will be helping these organizations receive the required training."

Founded in 2007, Spokane Turbine Center's primary focus is to help mission organizations with the necessary flight and maintenance training required for the often challenging environments encountered in missionary and humanitarian flying.

Quest Aircraft Co. headquartered in Sandpoint, Idaho, currently employs more than 175 skilled personnel and was established in 2001 to build a rugged utility aircraft for mission aviation organizations to operate in the most remote areas of the world.

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