Chicago Upstart

Chicago Upstart North American Jet is making its mark, and significant investment By John F. Infanger, Editorial Director May 2001 Ken Ross, president, North American Jet WHEELING, IL — Ken Ross, president of North American...


Looking Ahead
In time, Ross projects that North American Jet will be a company of three or four "strategically located" FBOs. Besides fuel sales, he targets charter/aircraft management and maintenance as the best prospects for growth. He suggests that there may also be some serious opportunities in the near future with a nationwide charter alliance and teaming up with a manufacturer of one of the new age GA aircraft under development. "We think the opportunities lie in strategic partnering," he says.
Yet, he remains a bit coy beyond saying he is looking into such ventures. First, he says, the company must focus on being the best at today’s core FBO business.
"Kenosha Airport has been growing slowly, but we see that airport as an opportunity to establish ourselves close to Milwaukee," he says. "We look at that airport as growing.
"Right now, it’s been a great location to supplement Palwaukee. We have grown so fast here at Palwaukee that our managed airplanes are kept in Kenosha. We don’t have space right now to base them solely here."
The Palwaukee expansion was set to break ground in May, and Ross says the new hangar space is 65 percent pre-leased.
"Our maintenance companies are growing," he continues. "We have our (FAR Part)145 repair station certificate for the Cessna 500 series, and will shortly add the 600 series. We have the G-II on there and are adding the G-IV and the Hawker and Falcon series aircraft.
"So we need the additional space so that we can meet our clients’ needs."

A Need for FAA Inspectors

Gerald (Jerry) Wyatt serves as operations director for North American Jet. He is a former Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety/principal operations inspector.

Wyatt, 47, calls inadequate the number of FAA inspectors available to industry today, as well as their qualifications.
At FAA some eleven years, Wyatt brought to the job an ATP type rating, an A&P technician rating, was a Part 141 CFI, and had experience working with airlines, corporates, and in airport management.
"FAA today contracts out for many inspections, and I think that should be the FAA’s job to ensure safety," he says. "It’s had an impact on our (Part) 135 business. If you need a checkride, it requires an FAA inspector with type rating, and it can take six months or more."

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