Friday, March 16, 2007 ... Today was another giant leap in the history books at Quest as KODIAK serial number 001 lifted off the ground.
We've had a flurry of activity over the last couple weeks as our crew has worked with the FAA to bring the last details together. By this afternoon, all the final preparations were done and we held the airworthiness certificate in hand. There was nothing left to do but push KODIAK 001 out onto the wet tarmac. That's all it took. As soon as the big door started going up folks poured out of the building to watch. These moments are a graphic reminder of how much this place has grown. We used to all fit in Tom's living room at Christmas and now there are over a hundred of us spread out across the front of the hangar. With the troops gathered we took a moment to celebrate and say a prayer for safety. Then Kelly climbed in, spooled up, and taxied out to the runway.
We'd done high speed runs earlier in the week, so today there was just one short hop then back down the taxiway to setup for departure. The turbine wound up, brakes released, a short roll, and the bird took to flight.
As he banked right and departed the pattern Kelly radioed back, “just another KODIAK.” KODIAK 001 flew for about 45 minutes altogether. A quick shakedown.
Then she was back for a picture perfect touchdown with handshakes and hugs all around. (That's Paul Schaller with Kelly in orange.)
Thank you to everyone who has invested tireless hours, a great deal of skill, and unwavering persistence. Your dedication and passion bore fruit today. Our first fully conforming production aircraft is in the air. Serial number 002 is moving steadily down the production line and 003 is following right along. The adventure is very much alive in Sandpoint, Idaho.