During his career as a pilot and operator of a charter/management company, Baker Aviation founder Stan Baker III was struck by the significant investment in aircraft maintenance required to keep an aircraft flying. He particularly remembers the aggravation of difficult maintenance issues that only seemed to compound as aircraft aged and manufacturers ceased production. Confident there was a better way to service aircraft, Baker set about building a team of experts in aircraft maintenance with backgrounds that complement one another.
With that in mind, in 2011 Baker approached Joe Wehrle about buying Aeromech, a successful Dallas Executive Airport-based MRO, and adding it to Baker Aviation, the charter/management operation he founded in 2009. Baker was impressed with Wehrle’s extensive experience on the Hawker, Citation, Beechjet and King Air. He was also impressed by Wehrle’s four employees, so he bought the company, retained Wehrle as an engineering consultant responsible for troubleshooting and technical assistance, and kept Wehrle’s four employees. Baker has since expanded the level and breadth of expertise by adding 12 technicians at the MRO’s Addison Airport base in Texas.
“As my grandfather always told me; you may be younger, but youth is never a substitute for wisdom and experience. The same holds true with aircraft maintenance,” Baker said. “We believe in having the right technicians on our team. Technicians with extensive knowledge and experience can make a huge difference when it comes to a major aircraft inspection and the overall cost of maintaining a business jet. Our staff’s knowledge base is what sets Baker’s maintenance services apart from the others.”
With all the right pieces in place, Baker sought out a leader and found Ray Goyco Jr., whom he hired as COO of Baker Aviation. Goyco focuses on oversight, mentoring the administrative staff and nurturing growth of the business, drawing on his years of industry experience, but he’s candid about Wehrle’s role in the overall business strategy. “It’s Joe’s competencies that allow us to be proficient, prepared and efficient. We deliver our projects on budget and on time.”
Wehrle told AIN, “I have more than 30 years in the business, and that expertise has allowed us to develop practices and procedures that make us efficient at what we do. We can bid on projects at a cost structure that is routinely lower than our competitors’, come in on time and get the job done right the first time.”
Repair Station Offerings
The company has a mobile AOG team on call 24 hours a day and frequently activates a second shift to accommodate the needs of customers. It employs 21 administrative and technical personnel. Sixteen are dedicated to maintenance, including 14 licensed A&P mechanics and two assistants; eight are full-time employees and eight are contract employees. There is also an avionics technician and DER/DAR representation.
The MRO recently expanded into its second hangar at Addison and is currently moving into a third hangar, bringing the total turbine aircraft maintenance space to more than 25,400 sq ft. In addition to the maintenance operation, with NDT capability on-site, the complex also has an FBO. The MRO offers major and minor inspections, repairs and alterations. The FAA FAR 145 certified repair station works on the Hawker 400, 700, 800 and 1000; King Air 200, 300 and 350; Citation 500, 525, 550/551, 560XL and 650; Challenger 600, 601 and 604; Learjet 30, 40, 50 and 60; and Gulfstream 1159, 1159A, 1159B, GIV and GV. It is currently developing ops specs for the Falcon 50 and 2000 series.
Engine expertise includes the Honeywell TFE731, GE CF34, Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D, PT6, PW530, PW535A and PW545; and Honeywell APU GTCP36-100E.
Understanding that the core strength of any good maintenance program is rapid access to parts, Goyco emphasizes that Baker Aviation has a parts department with two dedicated employees with extensive industry knowledge. “Our parts department is frequently used by a wide client base to act as a qualified parts locator service in sourcing hard-to-find parts. We also have a large consignment inventory,” he said.
Recently, Baker Aviation signed an agreement with Jet Mall. The Fort Worth-based company offers paint, interior refurbishment and avionics services for business and commercial jets, turboprops and helicopters. The relationship allows Baker to marry its maintenance proficiency with Jet Mall’s capabilities and capture related maintenance work such as inspections, phase checks, conformity and modifications.
“We are quite fortunate and excited to find that our success in 2012 is now driving growth into 2013, and with three hangars at our disposal we can expect less scheduling conflict combined with a higher degree of diversity,” Goyco said.