What are the three sweetest words the owner of a factory authorized Twin Commander Service Center can utter: “Busy, busy, busy.” That’s what Legacy Aviation Services owner and CEO Raul J. “RJ” Gomez had to say when asked “How’s it going?”
It’s no surprise. Legacy, founded in 2005, has been on an expansion tear over the last two years. Here’s a partial list of what’s been happening at Legacy at Clarence E. Page Airport in Yukon, Oklahoma, west of Oklahoma City:
- In September 2014 Legacy acquired Mid-Continent Airmotive, its airport neighbor and also a Twin Commander service center. The deal brought Legacy 17,300 square feet of hangar and office space; additional ramp space; a core of experienced airframe and powerplant technicians including Robert S. Richie, now Legacy’s Service Manager; and management of the airport’s state-of-the-art fuel farm and fueling service. Legacy has partnered with World Fuel to provide Phillips Jet A and 100LL at competitive prices.
- At the end of 2014 Legacy expanded its avionics shop based in Legacy West, the former Mid-Continent facility. Legacy is a factory authorized dealer and repair facility for Honeywell, S-Tec, L3 Communications, Avidyne Systems, and Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics.
- Less than a year later Legacy acquired the landing gear and component repair and overhaul business from Higher Planes, a long-time provider of parts for Twin Commanders and several other airframes. Higher Planes tooling, equipment, inventory, and FAA-approved data was moved from Conroe, Texas, to Legacy, and the business was rebranded as Legacy Aviation Components.
- Earlier this year Legacy expanded ramp space at Legacy West to accommodate mid- and large-size aircraft for fueling and transient parking.
- Most recently, Legacy recruited Dennis Kirkpatrick to manage and expand its avionics operation. Kirkpatrick brings nearly five decades of avionics knowledge and experience to his new role at Legacy, much of it involving Twin Commanders. Working for his father’s Oklahoma City company, Kirkpatrick Electronics, Inc., Kirkpatrick performed avionics installations in new-production Rockwell Commanders as well as providing general avionics services to customers. “Dennis Kirkpatrick is the most knowledgeable and experienced avionics technician and manager I know,” RJ says. “Having him lead our shop’s growth and expansion is terrific. The next six to eight months will see some significant business relationships formed between Legacy and top-tier avionics OEMs, along with a fully integrated shop here at our Yukon facility.”
Legacy also has expanded its in-house aircraft interior refurb shop, and is looking forward to installing a state-of-the-art interior package in a 690D Commander 900. “It will be a more aggressive, modern interior,” RJ predicts. “We will show how we can transform a Commander on the inside.”
Legacy’s full-service Twin Commander capabilities include:
- Turbine and piston factory authorized service
- Grand Renaissance Service Center
- Pre-purchase inspections
- Scheduled and unscheduled maintenance
- Factory approved service bulletin and airworthiness directive compliance
- Complete airframe repair and modification
- TPE-331line service maintenance and repair
- Complete interior services
- Camera hole modification
- Avionics and instrumentation
- Hydraulic, fuel and electrical systems
- World renowned parts support and service
- Landing gear and component overhaul and repair
- Bi-lingual (English and Spanish) support to all of North and South America
Legacy Aviation Services was founded following the closure in 2005 of Downtown Airpark (DTA) in Oklahoma City, one of the original Aero Commander/Twin Commander Service Centers. RJ was DTA’s General Manager at the time, and key DTA shop personnel followed him and CFO Kevin Chance when they formed Legacy.
Now, more than a decade later, several of those key people including Structures and Special Projects technician Steve Reid and Maintenance Manager Lonnie Walden still comprise part of Legacy’s core group of experienced personnel. “I truly believe we have the best team of experienced Commander airframe and Honeywell engine technicians in the nation—Rick Miller, Steve Dutcher, Jamin Jacobs, Mike Matthews, and Frank Serrano.”
Legacy was named a factory authorized Twin Commander Service Center in 2007, and since then has been a six-time recipient of a Twin Commander Service Center of the Year award.
In the last two years Legacy has invested heavily in upgrading Legacy West, refurbishing the offices, adding the avionics shop, and expanding ramp space. “We wanted to make it nice, make it presentable and professional,” RJ says. Legacy also has invested in new employees including a marketing director; an assistant for Kirkpatrick in the avionics shop; and a shop floor technician who is an A&P and IA and, according to RJ, “a big fan of Commanders.” It’s been a busy place.
For the moment, Legacy is taking a breather on expansion plans while it fully develops its legacy and new-found capabilities. “In two years we’ve acquired two new businesses—the fuel/FBO shop and the components repair and overhaul operation—and we’ve grown and will continue to expand our avionics capabilities,” RJ notes. “That’s enough for two years.”
On the other hand, he says that “anything is possible.” Legacy’s name is appropriate given its roots. Yet, the last few years demonstrate that even as Legacy stays the course on its founding principles, one fundamental constant is the company’s capacity to change.