Stevens Aviation’s Dayton facility dates back to 1946 as Ohio Aviation. It was one of the original Beechcraft distributors and authorized Beech Aircraft Centers. During the 1970s Ohio Aviation expanded its operation by adding facilities in Cincinnati and Cleveland. In 1983 Beech Aircraft purchased Ohio Aviation but continued operating it under its original name. Beech later sold the Dayton and Cincinnati operations to J.P. Stevens, which merged them into its aviation subsidiary, Stevens Aviation.
In 1989 Stevens Aviation was acquired by its current shareholders and has continued to grow while adding capabilities. The facility landed a contract, in partnership with Chamber Corp, to modify 21 Air Force T-1 Jayhawks used for pilot seasoning. The program was completed over a three-year period and generated revenue in excess of $13.5 million.
The Dayton operation expanded its commercial customer base while simultaneously fulfilling its military contract and has developed a reputation for supporting and modifying older jets and turboprops, particularly in the area of supplemental type certificates. Most recently, the MRO partnered with Garmin to promote the G1000 cockpit upgrade for the King Air 300/350.
“We do a fair amount of restoration work and one project in particular sticks out that encapsulates our capability,” Ron Tennyson, general manager, told AIN.
“In 2002 we had a customer who purchased a Citation 500 that had been in the desert in Spain. We had engines installed and ferried it here. We disassembled the aircraft and did a complete restoration–inspections, airframe repairs as necessary, interior and avionics upgrades, new engines and paint. It turned out to be a good deal for the owner because he got the airplane for a song, invested about a million dollars and came out well ahead.”
Tennyson said the company also recovers aircraft that have been damaged either in an accident or by acts of God. Technicians go on location, prepare the aircraft for a ferry flight to Dayton or, if it’s not flyable, for other means of transportation. They also coordinate with the FAA for flight approval and obtain the necessary ferry permits.
“We have repaired aircraft that have had a gear-up landing and been damaged by a tornado, hangar rash and many other mishaps. We work closely with the aircraft owner and insurance company to return the aircraft to service as quickly as possible and minimize down time and cost,” he said.
In addition to restoration work, the Dayton facility offers heavy maintenance, engine work, avionics, paint, interior and systems engineering.
“We have an in-house electrical and avionics engineering department. We do major modifications such as the T1 program where we engineered, built and installed a TSO Combat Systems Operator station. It’s designed to teach Air Force students such tasks as navigation and electronic warfare. It’s a major contract for us. We’re expanding into more military operations with Wright Patterson here in Dayton and we’re teaming with several contractors to bid on military contracts,” he said. Stevens is also a major STC holder of various Citation and King Air STCs such as the Tcas II system for the King Air 350.
“We average between 300 and 400 aircraft maintenance events a year. We’re always looking for opportunities to expand, and as airframes come along that make business sense to us we add them to our certificate. We just added the Cessna 525 CJ. Our philosophy is to work hard on retaining our customer base while looking for growth, and a lot of our customers come from referrals by previous customers. We also do a considerable amount of business in France, Argentina, Brazil and some of the Scandinavian countries for both maintenance and sales,” he said.
The Dayton facility employs a staff of 50, including 22 people with A&P or avionics technician certificates. It is located on James M. Cox International Airport nine miles north of the city and serves both airline and general aviation aircraft. It occupies approximately 95,000 sq ft spread over four hangar complexes each containing a mix of hangar, shop and office space. There is an additional 90,000 sq ft used for aircraft ramps, facility grounds and automobile parking.
The facility recently underwent a $1.8 million remodeling, the majority of which was focused on improvements to the customer lounge and maintenance hangar. It also maintains its own 100,000-gallon fuel storage facility.
With respect to maintenance and sales, the Dayton facility is second only to the Greenville operation in the Stevens chain. Back shops include avionics, engineering, sheet metal and non-destructive testing such as magnetic particle and liquid penetrant. The facility is a Blackhawk distributor, Raisbeck Engineering Installation Center, preferred installer for Flight Environments, authorized installer for Afar and a Garmin-approved G1000 installation center.
The Part 145 repair station works on the Hawker 700/800, 400XP and 400/400A; Citation 500 series; and Beech King Airs, Barons and Bonanzas. Engine work includes the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6, JT15D, PW530 and PW305; Williams International FJ44; and Honeywell TPE331 and TFE731.