A Turboprop Built for Trouble

The business-jet industry is caught in a downdraft, yet Quest's Kodiak has found a niche

JOHN KEATLEY / REDUX FOR TIME

Workers can produce three Kodiaks a month at Quest's Idaho plant.

Paul Schaller, a former Silicon Valley pilot and high-tech executive, has spent the past five years getting Quest Aircraft Co., a turboprop manufacturer in Sandpoint, Idaho, off the ground. But just when business was taking shape, he ran into a wicked recession that has made owning a private plane about as politically correct as wearing mink to a PETA convention.

Schaller's salvation has been to exploit an overlooked and defensible niche: utility turboprops for missionary and humanitarian organizations that need to access remote and dangerous regions. It's a growing $300 million market that hasn't seen much innovation since the Turbo-Beaver bush...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!