Twenty-four years ago a pilot with the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), David L. Voetmann, sat down with Glasair and GlaStar designer Tom Hamilton to describe an airplane needed in the bush country of Africa. That aircraft, now called the Quest Kodiak, was delivered this month.
MAF and 15 additional missionary organizations have expressed interest or have become partners in the aircraft. To make the dream possible, Quest Aircraft Company of Sandpoint, Idaho, designed a financing plan 11 years ago to provide one missionary aircraft at cost for every 10 Kodiaks sold on the commercial market. You may have seen the aircraft over the years at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.
Although operation in Africa was the original goal, this first missionary aircraft is headed for Papua, Indonesia. A primary purpose was to have an aircraft that can use jet fuel rather than aviation gasoline. Jet fuel is more available in remote areas than avgas. Another was to give it the power and ruggedness to land on a mountainside using rough dirt runways. Its exhaust pipes aim backward, rather than down, to avoid setting tall grasses on fire.
Because the Kodiak 100 can carry nearly twice the cargo of the C206, the amount of medicine, food, or disaster relief supplies MAF delivers will dramatically increase, while reducing operating costs. Increased efficiency and lower costs will be a definite benefit to MAF. Of the more than 1,000 Christian and humanitarian organizations served by the agency, many are increasing their demand for MAF flights.