A Turboprop Built for Trouble

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


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...

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