Western Aircraft: The MRO That Does It All

 - July 11, 2019 (All day)

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Based in Boise, Idaho, Western Aircraft is an independent MRO that combines personalized customer service with OEM-quality repairs, maintenance, and upgrades for a wide range of turboprops and business jets.

In a world of large-network MRO companies, Western Aircraft stands apart. Since 1957, when it received its first FAA Certified Repair Station Certificate, the one-time corporate flight department for the Morrison Knudsen Corporation has grown into a respected MRO serving turboprop and business jet aircraft.

Today, Western Aircraft is an FAA Certified Class 1-4 Repair Station, with a loyal base of jet and turboprop customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. It has earned more than 40 manufacturer authorizations and is an Authorized Service Center for Dassault Falcon, Pilatus, Beechcraft, Cessna (turboprops), Embraer, Quest, and Piper.

Western Aircraft has extended its reach since 1957, when it attracted primarily local customers. “We have clients fly in from more than 2,500 miles away to have our skilled technicians work on their aircraft,” said Kerry Heiss, Western Aircraft’s Director of Sales and Marketing. Today, customers go to Boise to access Western Aircraft’s full range of services, including airframe inspections and modifications, avionics and cabin upgrades, and paint and interior renovations. This all-in-one MRO also has divisions providing parts sales, aircraft sales (Western Aircraft is an authorized dealer for both Pilatus and Piper sales), charter/management services, and an FBO.

Recently, Western Aircraft extended its business jet MRO services to the Gulfstream family, specifically the Gulfstream IV/450 and V/550. This extension has been driven by company Vice President and General Manager Austin Shontz, who spent 16 years in leadership positions at that company. “We understand the Gulfstream culture and how to provide the level of service and customer experience that Gulfstream owners/operators expect,” said Shontz.

Western Aircraft is also a turboprop center of excellence, with the equipment, capabilities, and technician skills to keep turboprops of all makes in prime condition. The company has been an authorized Pilatus Dealer and Service Center since 1996 and is a maintenance hub for Pilatus owners and operators. “We service approximately 100 PC-12 airframes every year,” said Heiss. “Our team also performs airframe work on a variety of other turboprops, and we have developed a real following with King Air and Piper operators in particular.”

As central as MRO services are to Western Aircraft’s operations, its other offerings are also worthwhile for business aircraft owners and operators. For instance, Western Aircraft is a leader in avionics upgrades; including the installation of Gogo Business Aviation’s AVANCE L3 and L5 broadband air-to-ground connectivity equipment in Gulfstream, Falcon and Pilatus aircraft.

We’ve installed over 20 Gogo AVANCEs to date,” Heiss said, “and 4G connectivity in the air is proving popular with our customers as a complement to some of the large cockpit retrofits we’ve recently performed.”

Western Aircraft likewise installs the Collins Aerospace Pro Line 21 avionics upgrade for Falcon jets. The upgrade provides pilots with modern glass cockpits that can support synthetic vision, ADS-B compliance, LPV approach capability, electronic charts, and SiriusXM graphical weather.

Then there are aircraft modifications. These can be as small as a cabin refurbishment, or as big as an entire mission repurposing. “Our interior team works seamlessly between projects as diverse as a Falcon interior refurbishment to a Pilatus air ambulance retrofit,” said Shontz. “They have the skills to take a notional idea and turn it into reality.”

All told, Western Aircraft has what business jet and turboprop operators need to keep their aircraft in peak condition, year after year. “Meanwhile, we sit in a scenic mountain area that is just minutes away from skiing, hunting, and whitewater rafting,” said Heiss. “So for customers who want to stay close to where their aircraft is being serviced, Boise is a great place to be.”