Maintenance facility completes Arizona FBO

 - January 24, 2007, 9:06 AM

Scottsdale Air Center (SAC) opened its doors for business on Scottsdale Airport in 2003 with the intention of providing a premier FBO for the upscale Arizona area’s residents and visitors. To make that possible, the company needed a maintenance facility. To that end, SAC management contacted Arinc, and the two parties struck a deal in which Arinc began using a portion of one of SAC’s new hangars as a maintenance facility.

Although Arinc is a common name in aviation, few fully understand what the company does. It is one of the largest non-OEM avionics integrators in the U.S. and has a full spectrum of management, engineering and technical skills.

With its origins in the earliest days of the airline industry, Arinc evolved in the 1950s to meet the developing needs of the U.S. military. In response to national policy to maintain aging weapon systems in the 1970s, the company established itself as an industry resource for aircraft maintenance, modification and integration services. In the 1990s it expanded its range of services to include FAA-certified aircraft.

Arinc Scottsdale began servicing general aviation aircraft owned or managed by SAC’s tenants. Good workmanship and a lack of local maintenance facilities quickly drew business to the new facility and the company began taking on larger jobs such as engine changes and airframe repairs.

“I ended up at Arinc by pure chance. It was just a stroke of good luck,” Jorge Gonzalez, general manager of Arinc Scottsdale, told AIN. In 2003 Gonzalez and his wife moved to Scottsdale, when his wife was offered a position at the reception desk at SAC.

“I talked to the people at SAC and they told me the Arinc facility wasn’t doing as well as they’d anticipated,” Gonzalez said. “I called Arinc and gave them my thoughts on what they could do with the facility to maximize the potential and they liked them.”
Gonzalez was hired to be general manager in 2004 with a staff of two employees and the dictate to get the Part 145 repair station to live up to its potential. “It was a great challenge but very exciting,” he said. “We were profitable the first year and it’s been growing steadily every year.”

Gonzalez began assembling a small group of well regarded aircraft mechanics from around the country. He recruited mechanics and provided brand-specific training, brought in avionics specialists and shepherded the operation to 24 technicians and 12 staff members in parts, sales, technical support, accounting and management.
Word spread rapidly in the area and Arinc Scottsdale added many more local customers, ranging from small piston to large-cabin jet aircraft. “Our success isn’t simply a factor of the name Arinc,” he said. “We really stress our customer relations. A lot of places don’t like having a smaller airplane next to a jet, but we treat a Cessna 182 with the same respect as a Global Express. We value all our customers.”

More Space Needed
As he clinched the local market, Gonzalez began to expand the company’s reach to accommodate aircraft from around the region. But success means that the company needs more space to meet demand. “With our rapid growth we shortly found ourselves backed up against walls; we had run out of space. We had increasing demand but fixed floor space,” Gonzalez said.

At the same time, SAC was expanding its facilities by adding hangar space across the airport. Arinc negotiated a move to the new facilities, which, when completed early this year, will move the company out of its 18,000-sq-ft hangar into an approximately 65,000-sq-ft facility that will include 44,000 sq ft of hangar space, 10,000 sq ft of backshops and more than 11,000 sq ft of office space.

“The increase in space will help us add service center capability, and we already see the potential for sufficient increase in demand to justify our moving into yet another facility that SAC is building,” Gonzalez said. “It would add another 40,000 square
feet to our operation.”

The Part 145 repair station is EASA certified and offers services to more than 50 models of piston- and turbine-powered aircraft. It provides all levels of inspection for Dassault Falcon Jet, Raytheon, Bombardier, Cessna and Gulfstream aircraft as well as for all the Learjet series. Mechanics are certified to perform maintenance on Citations, Beechjets, Falcons, Hawkers, Challengers, Gulfstreams, Learjets and King Airs.

As an FAA-authorized designated alteration station, the company can issue STCs on new avionics, airframe and engine installations. On-site staff includes designated engineering representatives and designated airworthiness representatives dedicated to STC work, electrical and structural engineering. The company offers a full range of overnight maintenance capabilities.

Three leading fractional-aircraft leasing companies have awarded Arinc Scottsdale service contracts. It is also a factory service center for Piaggio Aircraft, JSSI and Pratt & Whitney Canada. According to Gonzalez, the company is in negotiations to become an authorized service center for another midsize business jet OEM. Plans also call for increased on-site turbine engine repair and rotary-wing maintenance capabilities.
Wayne Turnquist, Arinc’s director of aircraft services, couldn’t be happier about the Scottsdale operation. “Our plan is to grow and stay ahead of the needs of our Part 91 and Part 135 customer base,” he said. “We will soon offer higher levels of avionics installation, integration and repair, plus a greater range of interior modification and refurbishment.”