Quest Aircraft CEO to depart; other changes announced

June 10, 2011

Quest Aircraft, manufacturer of the Kodiak, a 10-place single-engine turboprop, announced that CEO Paul Schaller will leave the position and serve as a consultant.

The Sandpoint, Idaho-based firm also announced new executive posts in a news release on the Quest website.

Two Wichita, Kan.-based executives will join Quest. Steve Zinda has been named director of sales and marketing, and Paul Duff becomes director of procurement. “Both bring substantial aviation and industry experience to Quest,” the announcement said.

Ron Wright, Quest’s director of operations since March 2009, will continue to oversee the company’s production facility in Sandpoint.  

A company official told the Spokane, Wash., Spokesman-Review that Quest’s board would begin a search for a replacement for Schaller, who has been Quest’s CEO since November 2004.

The executive-level changes come at a time when the recapitalized Quest describes itself as moving forward on several fronts including stepped-up production of the Kodiak, and global growth and expansion of its markets in response to improving economic conditions.

The first Kodiak was delivered in December 2007, and Quest aircraft are now deployed in 10 countries.

AOPA reported in August 2010 that Quest Aircraft had slowed production in response to economic uncertainty and financing-industry constraints. Layoffs had reduced Quest’s workforce from 340 employees to 155. The firm had recently delivered nine Kodiak floatplanes to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-powered Kodiak was designed to support operations involving transportation of large payloads to and from unimproved landing strips. It is capable of taking off in less than 1,000 feet at maximum gross weight of 7,255 pounds, and climbing at more than 1,300 feet per minute.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.