Bevan Looks To Continue Growth While 'Perfecting Our Art'

 - July 5, 2022, 8:42 PM
Avionics technician Charles Smitley applies sealant around an antenna on a Cessna 414A at Bevan Aviation. (Photo: Jerry Siebenmark/AIN)

As Bevan Aviation approaches seven decades in business, owner Kent McIntyre is working to bring more work in-house to the avionics repair and installation and aircraft maintenance provider at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport. The 25-employee FAA Part 145 repair station recently added metal cutting and powder coating to its capabilities, which McIntyre told AIN allows Bevan to manufacture custom instrument panels instead of shipping that work off to contractors. “We’ve been fortunate to hire people with new talents and that’s helped us out a lot,” he said.

Based out of two, 10,000-sq-ft hangars and 2,200 sq ft of office space, avionics installation is the biggest part of Bevan’s business. It is a Garmin dealer, which McIntyre said is Bevan’s biggest vendor. Additionally, the company offers ship-in, ship-out avionics repair, and airframe and engine maintenance on piston airplanes, turboprops, and business jets.

“The ship-in, ship-out repair has changed some because a lot of what we used to work on isn’t out there,” he said. “It looks to us like a lot of the small shops that used to do that work are no longer doing it. We see that business picking up a little bit, but I think it will decline in 10 years.”

The company was started in the 1954 by Ralph Bevan. Bevan had another company, Rabell Electronics (a combination of Ralph’s first name and that of his wife, Isabell) that he eventually merged with Bevan, and for years it was known as Bevan-Rabell. It was about four years ago that McIntyre changed the name of the company to Bevan Aviation to reflect its growing turbine airplane work.

McIntyre came to Bevan in 1989 to run its installation shop and do some sales. “I was at Airplane Services in Wellington [Kansas] and kind of helped them get their STC program started and going,” he said. “At some point I just decided it wasn’t my dream anymore. I knew the owner here, Bob Patterson, and we talked it over and he made me an offer and I came up here.”

After 14 years, McIntyre bought the company in 2003 from Patterson, who was retiring. “I’d always hoped that would be an opportunity,” he added.

McIntyre got into the aviation business by working line service at the airport in Wellington while learning to fly. His interest was stirred by his uncle, who was a pilot in World War II and later would rent airplanes to fly, taking McIntyre with him. “I always tell everybody I fell off the hay wagon by the airport and never found my way home.”

During McIntyre’s tenure as owner Bevan has seen “steady, not huge growth” and will continue to do so. “I think at this point we’re perfecting our art more and more, all the time,” he added.

Bevan’s biggest challenge is the supply chain. So far, the company has been able to work around the issue most of this year by carrying more inventory than it typically would. “You kind of throw a dart in the morning and see what you’re going to order for that day and hope you get it within the next five or six months,” McIntyre said. “Not every vendor has that problem but the majority of them do. Just-in-time inventory was great until it wasn’t.”