Friday, May 13, 2011...If you're fortunate, when the big moments in life come, you'll find they're celebrated with friends who've stuck together through thick and thin. Today is one of those big moments for us.
Over the last three years we've delivered KODIAKs certified for Parachute Applications, Amphibious Floats, and TKS Ice Protection. We've delivered a certified External Cargo Compartment and Air Conditioning System, and we've increased the aircraft's Max Gross Weight. The KODIAK is currently deployed into some of the most demanding environments on the planet in more than 10 countries around the world.
Today we celebrate another remarkable milestone, a moment we've anticipated since this aircraft was just ink on napkins.
And, on this occasion, we count Pat Feenstra, proud new owner of KODIAK s/n 0050, as not just another customer...but a brother in the KODIAK clan.
Like so many of our friends, supporters, and fans, Pat has been around Quest a long time. We know we go back to at least 2005 because of this image.
That's Pat taking pictures of our prototype at a Quest Open House almost exactly a year after KODIAK's first flight.
Back in 2005 the facility was nearly empty and our first deliveries were still a couple years away. We were just ramping up and spreading into our newly expanded building. This was long before we even thought of landscaping and there's a story that's become almost legend to go with that. It seems an employee recalls running into a man outside the entrance one morning. The man was bent over in the dirt patiently pulling weeds along a new wall. Our staff member was curious about the stranger and went over to question him. To which the man explained, "Well, I have an appointment to talk with someone about a KODIAK but I'm a bit early and, well, I just wanted to keep busy and do something constructive." As it turns out, our new gardener was Pat Feenstra.
We've been extremely fortunate to meet some exceptionally good people in this business and Pat is clearly one of them. He's become a member of the Quest family. In fact he flew out here to be with us on a foggy day back in 2007 when s/n 0001 flew for the first time.
While the road to our 50th Delivery hasn't always been smooth, this steady march uphill is the only way we know to get to the top. Pat, we are fortunate to have had you with us for the journey and we're glad that there was a shiny new KODIAK at the end.
After sharing this adventure, we're hoping you'll come back and share your stories with us again when we send out s/n 0100!
So, today we're marking a Golden Anniversary, of sorts, celebrating our 50th Delivery and remembering all those that came before it.
All of Quest is taking a few hours for a late lunch and, yes, a few speeches, to recognize the significance of this milestone in the life of our company.
The task that draws us together and keeps us pushing forward is the serious work of bringing dreams to reality. It's a bonding enterprise that often makes friends of customers who more often end up feeling like family.
Thank you to everyone who has invested tireless hours, a great deal of skill, and unwavering persistence in getting us to this delivery. Your dedication and passion bore fruit today.
So, with one last engine check...
and a final wave goodbye...
Pat and his brand new KODIAK headed home.
The adventure continues.