October 22, 2007, Sandpoint, ID...Bruce Kennedy's vision for a modern backcountry airplane that could carry humanitarian supplies and missionaries to remote areas around the world was celebrated on October 18 in a special event at the Quest Aircraft facility in Sandpoint, ID. Kennedy, the former Alaska Airlines Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Quest Aircraft, died in a private plane crash on June 28, 2007.
Friends and supporters of Bruce Kennedy and Quest Aircraft, including current and former employees of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, have been remembering Kennedy through donations to the Bruce Kennedy Memorial Fund with the intention of raising the money to purchase a KODIAK aircraft for a humanitarian/mission organization.
Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, committed to matching contributions to the fund up to a total of $500,000. During Thursday's event, Bill Ayer, Alaska Air Group's Chairman and CEO, presented a contribution of $435,001 to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), matching all funds that have been contributed to the Bruce Kennedy Memorial Fund to date. Ayer presented the check to Karleen Kennedy, Kennedy's widow, and his children.
“We are grateful for the role Bruce played in our lives and in the lives of those less fortunate,” said Ayer. “I can think of no more fitting way to honor his life and legacy than to join with our employees to help in the effort by funding a Quest aircraft for such a deserving organization.”
Ayer also announced that Alaska Air Group and the Kennedy family have designated Asas de Socorro (Wings of Mercy) as the recipient of the memorial fund contributions. Asas de Socorro is a Brazilian aviation organization founded by MAF (US) in 1978. It is a registered and highly regarded Brazilian charitable entity specializing in aviation to provide care to isolated communities in Brazil's vast interior. The memorial funds were accepted by Dave Fyock, MAF Vice President of Resources, on behalf of Asas de Socorro.
Asas de Socorro will take delivery of the KODIAK where it will fly in the jungles of Brazil as part of its relief efforts. “Asas de Socorro is extraordinarily grateful for this gift, which will enable MAF's Brazilian affiliate to carry on the work of transporting missionaries and medical personnel as well as medicines and other supplies to those in desperate need in very remote locations,” Fyock said.
The production work for the KODIAK has ramped up significantly since the aircraft received its FAA type certification, with the first customer deliveries by year's end. ‘We've been able to provide a production slot for the Asas KODIAK based on the funds raised,” said Quest Aircraft's President and CEO Paul Schaller.
“The excess monies over the deposit will go towards completing payment for the aircraft and also certain options such as amphibian floats that will be needed in the Brazilian Amazon.”
Echoing the sentiments of Alaska Air Group's Ayer, Schaller concluded, “Bruce's passion and vision were driving forces in the development of the KODIAK. All of us at Quest are grateful to have known and worked alongside Bruce. To share in honoring his legacy and commitment to mission aviation and to this company is fitting indeed.”
Prior to the donation presentation, Quest announced the Kennedy Passion Award which will be awarded quarterly, recognizing a Quest employee who best exemplifies the passion that Kennedy had for life, for Quest and for missions.
Quest Aircraft Company, LLC is the manufacturer of the KODIAK, a 10-place single engine turboprop utility airplane. The KODIAK's rugged aluminum construction combines superior STOL performance and high useful load. It offers proven turbine reliability with the Pratt & Whitney PT6 turbine engine, is capable of operating off floats without structural upgrades, and has the ability to land on unimproved surfaces. The KODIAK can take off in under 700 feet at full gross takeoff weight of 6,750 lbs with a useful load of 3,450 lbs and climb at over 1,700 feet per minute. Headquartered in Sandpoint, Idaho, Quest was established in 2001 and currently employs more than 130 skilled personnel.
About Asas de Socorro
Founded in 1978, Asas has more than 88 medical doctors, 94 nurses, 93 dentists and 55 other medical professionals participating in humanitarian efforts in 158 different communities throughout the interior of Brazil. Asas operates its own training school for national pilots and mechanics. The organization is committed to working in the Amazon Basin with extensive flight coverage supporting medical work as well as water-filtration systems and other services unique to the needs of the people in remote regions of Brazil.
Founded in the U.S.1945, the MAF group in the U.S.stations some 200 missionary families in the remotest regions of 26 countries, serving more than 600 Christian and humanitarian organizations. The ministry's pilots fly approximately 40,000 flights a year, transporting missionaries, medical personnel, medicines and relief supplies, as well as conducting thousands of emergency medical evacuations. MAF also provides telecommunications services, such as satellite Internet access, high-frequency radios, electronic mail and other wireless systems, in isolated areas. (www.MAF.org).
Media Contact: Julie Stone
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