...With A Mission...

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According to a story posted by the University Presbyterian Church of Seattle, Wash., the Kodiak was originally designed as a missionary aircraft, and more than $7 million has been raised to help produce it. Stone said that the aircraft is "of interest to the mission field," but has also attracted interest from many backcountry operators in Alaska. Quest is structured as a for-profit company, Stone said. The Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) of Redlands, Calif., has raised about $5.5 million for Quest -- which is to be repaid by the delivery of aircraft. In a September 2003 financial statement, the MAF's auditor says an additional $20 million would be needed to produce the aircraft, but the MAF has not committed to provide those funds. "All donors that have contributed to this project are aware of the risks involved," the report states. "The principals of Quest are individuals who formerly served as board members or have been donors to the ministry of MAF," according to the report. Other aircraft already in the single-engine turboprop field include Cessna's popular Caravans, the Pilatus PC-12, the 750XL from Pacific Aerospace, as well as the TBM 700 and Piper Meridian. Several more are in development. A market report by McNeal & Associates Consultants, conducted for Beaver Aircraft Canada in March 2003, concluded: "These are difficult economic times, but there is a demonstrated need for a new utility aircraft to serve a variety of individual operator needs."