“I think we’re well-positioned because we’re not in the Dallas airspace. We’re pretty centrally located from the East and West Coasts; and we’re positioned for Mexico and South America. A lot of the older aircraft — Lears, Twin Commanders, and such — are down in Mexico and South America. Ideally, I’d like to get an authorized service center for one of the OEMs.
“We’ve had a lot of changes; we’ve made additions to our certificate. When I first arrived, Red River Turbines only had the engines on the certificate. Part of our goal was to add our airframe services … by June we had added the complete line of King Air airframes; then we added Lear 20 and 30 series; Falcon 20s; Sabre 75s and 80s; Jet Commander 1124s; and we are adding Citation 500 series hopefully within the month.
“We’ve come a long way. It allows us to target the owners within a 400-500 mile radius. We’re trying to draw from the Addison area. Our shop rates are considerably less because of our overhead rates. Our hangar rates are quite a bit less.”
Lake Texoma Jet Center occupies three hangars with a total of more than 100,000 square feet of space, along with a 25,000-square foot engine shop located across the airfield.
Obtaining critical mass
The Texoma Jet Center has three hangars encompassing some 100,000 square feet along with a 25,000-square foot engine shop across the airfield. The shop, officials say, will be a linchpin to future success.
Explains Schuler, “One of the things that we think we have the opportunity to do is some significant government contracts. There are several thousand jet engines in the sands in the Middle East that over the next three or four years are going to be coming back here and are going to need work. We’re told they may leave the equipment there and just pull the engines.
“We have a facility that is well-suited to overhaul engines. We have the ability to have a world-class facility that could employ several hundred people. Andy’s Rolodex includes several suspects that could be appropriate for us to partner with. We’re having conversations with some of those people now.
“The facility is exactly suited for government contracts. There are very few test cells that are directly associated with an engine shop in the current environment. We have a high-speed lathe which can grind jet blades for the CJ-610; GE had made a conversion to a single-spool rotor. We have the only lathe out there that can do that outside the military.”
Adds Gubera, “GE has one; the military has one; and we have one. I think there are three total, and we have the only one in public.”
The repair station sits on property adjacent to some 1,400 acres, 250 of which judge Bynum calls “shovel ready.” One of two 9,000-foot runways was recently upgraded with federal stimulus grant money, and the extension of a major artery, Preston Road, connects the west side of the airport to Dallas. Long term, relates Schuler, this undeveloped property could become an aviation industrial complex.
(Clarification regarding how George Schuler acquired Lake Texoma Jet Center and Red River Turbines: Schuler was an investor backing lifetime friend Roger Humiston, who sold to Phoenix Land Syndicate (PBLS). It was Phoenix Land Syndicate, the majority stockholder, that defaulted on the loan to Schuler.)
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