RJ Gomez got an early start with Commanders. His father, a former governor and congressman in his native Venezuela, joined a law firm that operated a Commander 690A. He enjoyed soaking in the picture-window view of the world from his seat in the Commander’s passenger cabin, and that love of flying infected his three sons including RJ. All wanted to be pilots.
After graduating from high school in Caracas, RJ enrolled at the University of Oklahoma to study English and, later, business administration. However, his interest in aircraft maintenance and flying led him to the Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, which at the time had a program that provided A&P students with flight instruction.
After two years at Spartan he returned to Venezuela to work for Aerocentro de Servicios, an authorized Twin Commander Service Center in Caracas. He began as a mechanic but soon moved to the parts department. Gomez spent 15 years at Aerocentro before moving to Oklahoma City to manage the parts department at Downtown Airpark.
In his first year he moved the company from eighth in parts sales to first among all Twin Commander service centers. He later was named general manager. When Downtown Airpark closed in 2005 he quickly formed a company, hired key people, and launched Legacy Aviation Services.
RJ says he is not an office person. “I’m involved with guys on the floor,” he says. “I spend the day walking through every hangar. I like to see what’s going on firsthand.”
Along with growing the business, RJ has returned to an early love—flying. He and son RG have taken up pilot training in their Cherokee 180, and RJ has soloed. The family recently purchased a Bonanza A36 and, for the moment, use their flight instructor to take them on business trips—Legacy has five Commander customers based in Ft. Smith, Arkansas—and on fun flights, which could mean dinner in Dallas or a weekend trip to the lake house.
Like his father and grandfather, RG is now involved with Commanders, too. He works at Legacy, managing the busy parts department. “We are trying to prepare our company for the future,” RJ says, “by introducing the next generation.”