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Quest Aircraft Mission and History

Quest Aircraft Company Mission and History

From the very beginning our underlying mission at Quest has been to design and manufacture a backcountry aircraft specifically suited to the demanding needs of mission and humanitarian aviation organizations. Many mission field situations exist that can only be accessed by a STOL aircraft that can land on, and take off from, unpaved, remote strips.

The KODIAK was designed with the participation of Quest Mission Team partners who have over six decades of experience providing these services in the most geographically challenging and difficult to reach areas of the world. Today, the KODIAK allows these organizations to serve around the world with a rugged, reliable aircraft.

Company Founders

Quest Co-Visionaries Tom Hamilton and David Voetmann are responsible for the reality that is the KODIAK today. Hamilton, a well-known aviation entrepreneur, had extensive aircraft design experience, and Voetmann had more than 40 years of flying experience with humanitarian and relief organizations, as well as raising funds to support these efforts. After years of dreaming and planning, the two launched the Idaho Air Group in 1998, and the origins of Quest Aircraft Company began.

Along with an early group of supporters, they put the KODIAK on paper and went out in search of funding. In May 2001, the company was official launched and a Board of Directors was chosen. Bruce Kennedy, retired CEO of Alaska Airlines, was Quest’s Founding Chairman.

Thomas S. Hamilton, Co-VisionaryRead More

Thomas S. Hamilton, Co-Visionary

Tom Hamilton is a founder and co-visionary of Quest Aircraft. He also served as the company’s Chief Technical Officer and was responsible for overseeing the design and certification of the KODIAK.

In 1979, he founded Stoddard-Hamilton Aircraft Inc., the home of his new Glasair line of airplanes which were among the fastest kit planes on the market. He served as President until 1987, when he left to form a new venture in North Idaho, Aerocet, Inc. Aerocet specializes in the manufacture of composite aircraft floats.

Hamilton is a true visionary as demonstrated by his aviation design and development activities. In addition to the Glasair, he co-designed and developed the Glastar, a two-place aircraft that introduced the average person to an easy-to-build, easy-to-fly performer. He has received numerous awards including the annual Dr. August Raspet Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of the Design of Light Aircraft and the Experimental Aircraft Association on two separate occasions.

David L. Voetmann, Co-VisionaryRead More

David L. Voetmann, Co-VisionaryDuring the 1980s, Dave Voetmann and fellow pilots flew Twin-Otters and other similar aircraft supplying food and grain across the vast canyons of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Each airplane with its dedicated pilot averaged 60 landings a day while flying 12-14 hour days.

After graduating from Prairie Bible Institute and gaining his Airframe and Powerplant Rating through South Seattle Community College, Voetmann obtained his Commercial/Instrument Pilot’s License and Instructor Rating. In 1964, Voetmann moved with his family to Africa and spent the next 25 years flying and working with humanitarian and development organizations across the continent. He flew 10,000 accident-free hours in the harsh bush on medevac missions as well as transporting supplies and personnel.

In 1983, Voetmann returned to the United States and began raising funds to support the on-going humanitarian efforts in Africa and around the world. In 1985, Dave Voetmann met Tom Hamilton, and together they are responsible for the reality that is the KODIAK today. Voetmann continues to support Quest Aircraft Co. and the KODIAK through fund-raising efforts.

Bruce R. Kennedy, Chairman EmeritusRead More

Bruce R. Kennedy, Chairman EmeritusBruce Kennedy served as Chairman of Quest’s Board of Trustees from the Board’s inception until his untimely death in 2007. He brought an incredible aviation background and a remarkable vision to the position. For 32 years, Kennedy had served in a management capacity with Alaska Airlines and its predecessor company, including 12 years as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and President.
Under his leadership, Alaska Airlines grew from serving Seattle and 10 Alaska cities to serving 38 cities in six western states, Mexico and the then Soviet Union with a 60 aircraft fleet. During Kennedy’s stewardship, Horizon Air also was added and grew to serve 34 cities in five western states and British Columbia with a 50-aircraft fleet. Both airlines became widely recognized for excellent customer service and for an unexcelled record of consistent profitability.
In May 1991, Kennedy stepped down from the top posts at Alaska Air Group to pursue other interests, specifically humanitarian endeavors. He spent 15 years with Mission Aviation Fellowship, which operates approximately 90 light aircraft in remote areas of the world; the last eight as Chairman of the organization. His other volunteer commitments included working with several organizations that are providing relief aid on several continents.

Mission Partners

The development of the KODIAK grew from the need for a new-generation aircraft to serve both humanitarian mission and backcountry commercial aviation needs. Funding this new initiative required the innovative and unusual means of raising funds in cooperation with future customers who buy airplanes for relief and mission needs.

The model was built on the premise that commercial success of the KODIAK would subsidize roughly each tenth airplane produced. This is then delivered to a participating not-for-profit humanitarian organization.

Quest Mission Team Members: Serving the World

  • AirServ International – worldwide
  • Mission Aviation Fellowship – worldwide
  • New Tribes Mission – worldwide
  • Wycliffe JAARS – worldwide
  • Mercy Air South Africa
  • ZUMAT – Zimbabwe
  • Mission Padamo – Venezuela
  • Project Amazon – Brazil
  • Seventh Day Adventist – Indonesia
  • Adventist World Aviation – worldwide
  • Flying Mission – Botswana
  • Moody Bible Institute
  • Samaritan Aviation – Papua New Guinea, Baja Mexico
  • Arctic Barnabas Ministries
  • Christian Light Foundation Inc.
  • Asas de Socorro—Brazil