Bryan Alston and Tod Letteney, co-owners of Hawkeye Maintenance, based at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, Colo., have been making plans to create the company for a long time. “Since 9/11 Tod and I have agreed that it’s a good time to plan a business so we would be poised to take advantage of the uptick in the market when it occurred,” Alston, president and co-owner, told AIN. In the past year the two “created a formal business plan, talked to some bankers and began looking for a hangar to start our business,” Alston said.
The two met in 1996 when they worked at Mayo Aviation on Centennial Airport, Letteney in the maintenance department and Alston as a weekend flight office manager. Letteney has more than 20 years of maintenance experience, and Alston has more than 10,000 hours logged as a pilot. In that time, “We have worked and cultivated many aviation relationships and agreed that there’s a better way of providing aircraft maintenance to the customer without all the overhead and without inflating the cost,” said Alston.
“You see a lot of inflated billing in aviation maintenance; it is our intent to provide our service at the true price and not one added to along the way. I would like to see this business and its customers go back to the shop and agree on a quote in advance, backed by a handshake and the knowledge that we will do what we said we would do and not sneak in costs to the customer later,” Alston said.
Both Alston and Letteney share the belief that it is crucial for a service-based business to be based on honesty and integrity. “It is our intent to build long-term relationships with our clients. We feel strongly about that because Tod and I have personal relationships with our employees and the people we know in the industry. This business is personal with us,” Alston said.
Hawkeye Maintenance doesn’t have a launch customer but Alston emphasized the two have a good network within the region’s aviation community. “I consider Tod, who is an IA, and Larry Maynard, our DOM, to be Learjet experts and talented technicians. They’re well known in the aviation community and a lot of guys want to work for us. We also have a lot more who are directors of maintenance for various flight departments and who have expressed an interest in bringing their aircraft to us. We’re confident we’ve made the right decision in starting up at this time,” he said. Alston works the front office; Letteney and Maynard do the maintenance.
Hawkeye Maintenance specializes in Learjets. The team has extensive experience in conducting phase inspections, 12-year inspections, major landing-gear inspections, 3,000-landing inspections, cabin pressurization leak tests, flight-control cable replacement, window replacement, R12 and RT34A air-conditioning service and repair, and sheet metal repair. The facility has the capacity to defuel/refuel 500 gallons.
“Our labor rate is competitive and we can do a 12-year inspection in less time than our competitors. Tod and Larry’s level of expertise is such that other MROs have begun asking us to assist on their Learjet maintenance. Something we really want operators to know is that we have what we believe to be the only main landing gear pulling tool in this region. We also do pre-buy inspections,” Alston added. Currently Alston is looking to expand the MRO’s menu by lining up King Air work. “They’re so plentiful in the Rocky Mountain region,” he said.
Hawkeye Maintenance has a 20,000-sq-ft hangar, 3,000 sq ft of office space and 3,000 sq ft of shop space. “One of the advantages of a brand-new company is that our shop is full of brand-new equipment,” he said. The MRO has four full-time and three contract employees.
While Hawkeye Maintenance specializes on all Learjet models and their respective engines, the maintenance team has substantial experience in Westwinds, Challengers and Hawkers. Engine expertise includes the Honeywell TFE731 and Pratt & Whitney Canada PW305.
“Hiring key personnel for repair station operations is our top priority. Our plan is to invest heavily in aircraft type-specific training for all our technicians to build a company with a reputation for skill and effective use of man hours,” Alston said.