1 Vision adds corporate jets to maintenance menu – Salina Post

By TIM UNRUH
Salina Airport Authority
A reputation for hard work and swift accurate service circled back to 1 Vision Aviation this past summer, producing welcome business for the Salina crew.
So much so, that bosses are hiring more workers, and clamoring for more space than the Big Bertha hangar can provide near the north end of Salina Regional Airport.
“We’ve started working on corporate jets,” said Jim Sponder, 1 Vision owner and CEO.
Small luxury jets with plush interiors — some have gold sinks, he said — are finding their way to Kansas, needing inspections, interior upgrades, and other work.
“It’s an honor to work for that kind of clientele,” he said. “It’s harder work, but provides strong income potential.”
To accomplish such feats, Sponder plans to hire 30 experienced interior mechanics by the end of January, raising the Salina roster to 280 employees.
The company that specializes in aircraft repair, maintenance and overhaul at the Salina Regional Airport, has more than recovered from the COVID 19 pandemic slowdown that plagued 2020, when the number of workers dropped to 40.
Today, the employee parking lot is jammed and 250 mostly airframe and power plant mechanics report for work in Big Bertha. The 129,000-square-foot hangar, filled mostly with regional jets from all over the nation and world, is lit up nearly around the clock — two shifts.
Word-of-mouth played a major role in snaring more clients for 1 Vision.
Companies that specialize in corporate jets recently hired pilots away from major airlines.
“Airline pilots went to fly corporate-style aircraft and were talking about what we could do in three days that took our competition a month to complete,” Sponder said.
The 1 Vision Aviation service earned some influence.
“One of the ex-airline pilots said ‘You gotta take the planes to Salina,’ said Kevin Boyer, 1 Vision vice president of operations.
In late November, there were two such aircraft in the 1 Vision hangar, undergoing inspections.
“They tried us out with the quick checks, and we did great on the turnaround time (three days),” Sponder said, “and now we’re doing 24-day checks.”
Next up is completely remodeling the insides of corporate jets. That involves taking out and replacing sidewalls, seats and galleys, he said.
Some tasks can be meticulous.
“If you even take out a screw, you’ve got to cut the paint, and when we put it back, we have to match the color with sealant. (Workers) have to put on booties and hairnets to go inside,” Sponder said of the squeaky-clean protocols.
“Once we start building up our interior department, we’ll start doing that work,” Boyer said.
“Everybody wants to work on the corporate side — remodeling and changing the designs — just because those jets are a lot fancier than the airline side.”
Sponder has been expanding lately, renting more space for aircraft at the Salina Regional Airport, and he added, “we need more storage for materials and equipment.”
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