Flight Environments Survives Act of Nature

 - December 19, 2007, 11:20 AM

While completion and refurbishment centers in Florida were cleaning up in the wake of a succession of late-summer and fall hurricanes, cabin thermal/acoustic barrier specialist Flight Environments in California was still struggling to survive the effects of the San Simeon earthquake of December last year.

According to president and CEO Eamon Halpin, the 6.5-magnitude quake virtually destroyed the company’s facilities at Paso Robles and resulted in a decision by authorities to declare the buildings unsafe for use. “It was almost the end of us,” said Halpin, who estimated the damage losses to Flight Environments at more than $2 million.

“We were on a conference call and all we had time to say was that there was an earthquake and the ceiling was coming down. And then we lost the connection.”

Most of the ceiling collapsed and the structural damage resulted in loss of the entire building. Almost as catastrophic, said Halpin, was the rupture of the sprinkler system in the ceiling collapse, which destroyed documentation for hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory. Without the supporting documentation, said Halpin, the FAA-required tracking system was compromised and the materials ended up in a trash dump.

But the company has survived, thanks in great part, said Halpin, to loyal employees, customers and suppliers. More than simply surviving, Flight Environments is moving forward and last month opened the doors of a new 40,000-sq-ft facility.

Also good news is a recent contract to provide a cabin comfort system thermal/acoustic package for a Boeing 767-300 being completed by Gore Design Completions in San Antonio. The company also has contracts for several other widebody executive/VIP business jets. Flight Environments has also just launched an effort to attain ISA 9000 status.

Halpin noted that in the new building, there’s room for the “audio flight simulator” built to demonstrate the difference a Flight Environments cabin comfort system makes in cabin sound.

The new location is just a couple of miles from the old one. However, Halpin noted, this one meets all the most recent earthquake codes. The address is 1625 Commerce Way, Paso Robles, CA 93446. The company transferred its old phone number–(888) 624-2400–to the new facility.