Monday, March 16, 2009…We've been producing aircraft for long enough that we're starting to feel like we've done it all before. Incorporating new jigs into the production line is getting to be old hat and we've got the sense that whatever we haven't done, we're well prepared for.
Then there are days like today. The delivery of s/n 0011 was transformational. In a very real sense it was a new beginning.
In the eighth hour, as snow fell outside, some 250 staff gathered in the front end of the hanger to witness the fulfillment of our original promise. Today we delivered our first KODIAK under the Quest Mission Team (QMT) program. And it is fitting that this first QMT plane went to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), since they have been a cornerstone to our work here -- in finance, in faith, and all the way back to our conception. So, it was our deep honor to turn over their aircraft at cost (a cost paid by donations coming almost entirely from one church).
To say MAF has been our father and our brother in this adventure is no exaggeration. Every step we've taken has been made possible because people, like those at MAF, gave us the chance to do it.
While our work is counted in products…theirs is counted in people saved with medical supplies, emergency aid, and loving care. Still, it's the same mission. Now, with all the precious cargo MAF carries, it is KODIAK's job to deliver the good news wherever it's needed. And that is our blessing.
(With one last check KODIAK s/n0011 spools up and rolls away on fresh snow.)
We've come to see that all KODIAKs are the same in that they are all special. And even as this aircraft leaves to begin its good work, there is another QMT aircraft already making its way down the floor. This is an important reminder that, as we build the spirit of our mission into in each aircraft, the presence of a QMT build never leaves the building. It's a part of every aircraft that goes out through these doors, whatever its end use. The only real difference in QMT aircraft is that with each one the line between our mission and that of our customers completely disappears.
(KODIAK arrives at MAF's headquarters in Nampa, Idaho.)
So, today it wasn't the airplane that was special (they all are) it was the fact that for the first time, the passing of the key meant that both our organizations as well as the product delivered and our people are joined together to fulfill the exact mission for which they all strive. The plate on the side says S/N 0011, but for all of us, this one is a first.
Building airplanes is complicated. Flying in the jungle is complicated. Saving lives is complicated. Handing over keys is simple. But knowing all the work that lies behind and all the work that lies ahead, this simple moment was deeply beautiful.
Welcome to our rebirth.