Phoenix Rising Aviation Soars to New Heights

Dec. 15, 2022
Specializing in Dassault Falcon Jets, Phoenix Rising Aviation is navigating a shifting post-COVID landscape and changing clientele base with success.

Phoenix Rising Aviation opened its doors in 2022, after Warren Peck, president of Phoenix Rising Aviation, and their partner Pete Cranick left Bizjet in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“At that time Bizjet was a factory authorized service center for Dassault Falcon Jet. Pete was Head of Airframe maintenance and had worked for Dassault Falcon Jet in Little Rock for many years. When we left Bizjet we both were working for a small charter outfit in Springdale, AR. They had one Falcon 20 freighter that Pete over saw the maintenance and I piloted. When 9-11-2001 attacks happened, I was flying the F20 and had to stop. That pause ended the charter company. Pete and I started operating and maintaining a Corporate F20F in Fayetteville AR for a local Businessman and that was the beginning of Phoenix Rising Aviation, Inc,” recalled Peck.

The pair offered their services to other Falcon operators and word of mouth grew, with the two striving to provide personal service at reasonable prices.

“We are an airframe repair facility (CRS XVOR782X) for the Dassault Falcon aircraft, the: F10/100, F20/200, F50/50EX, F900/900EX and F2000/2000EX. We do the airframe inspections including the big C/2C inspection as well as avionics install, structural repairs and corrosion control. We partner with several other businesses to offer interior and paint support,” said Peck.

Specializing in Falcons is something that Peck said helps separate Phoenix Rising Aviation from their competitors.

“The fact that we specialize only in the falcon aircraft, we also operate them, and we can and do provide pilot services, pick-up and delivery. After a C inspection a flight test is required by the maintenance manual. Most line pilots have never done a “flight test” and are not familiar with what is required for an effective flight test, we have experienced pilots to help during the test flight,” he said.

Today, Phoenix Rising Aviation is growing the services they offer tour operators. They’re performing avionics installations to include ADS-B, new FMSs for Wass/LPV, FANS-1A, CPDLC, and more.

“We have extensive structural capabilities to include wing de-mate and replacement skins, corrosion repairs. Working with DFJ engineering, we’ve been able to correct some significant corrosion issues and control the overall costs,” said Peck.

They are working with Universal Avionics on upgrades to the Falcon 50, 900 and F900EX, added Peck.

“The Universal Insight package brings flight deck updates to these Great airframes, to bring them up to current standards and capabilities essentially adding new life to the Falcon fleet. Interior and exterior lighting upgrades, also add to the modernization projects for the Flacon Fleet. We are leading the way in corrosion repairs, skin replacements and extreme damage projects. We greet challenging projects head on,” he continued.

Peck added that advancements in equipment and tooling has made a huge impact on the maintenance side.

“For instance, Fastener removal technology has decreased the removal time of Jo-Bolts, so the time we would normally spend drilling out,” he said.

Since beginning business, they have been able to double their footprint and now operate two of the larger hangars at the Bartlesville, OK airport. However, they did take a hit during the pandemic.

“COVID hit everyone hard and even stopped us for a short time. It was the only time in our 20-year history that we had to have a layoff. Fortunately, it was short lived as we were able to bring our folks back. Replacing staff lost to during the pandemic, has remained our biggest problem. We have increased our online presence and continued to look for operators that could use some help keeping their Falcons flying,” described Peck.

The team is continuing to hire aggressively to fill vacancies, as well as find ways to support older Falcons and keep as many of them flying as they can.

“Hiring the right people is our most important issue and our most challenging. I remind all our technicians that the: quality, safety, and excellence is in their hands, literally. What they do matters, so we push positive attitudes and professionalism to everyone here,” he said.

It’s not just them that are hurting for qualified technicians, but the whole industry, Peck notes and businesses need to incentive workers to want to join their ranks in the post-covid era.

“The industry as a whole is suffering from lack of qualified personnel, it was always hard to recruit people to our area, but since covid it has been even harder. We have teamed with the City of Bartlesville, who is offering our employees, relocation bonuses of $20K if you’re building a house, $10K for buying a house and $2500 for renters. We have raised our employee incentives and overall company culture to adapt to the changing times,” he said.

But Peck said business is currently doing well and they are projecting an upturn in demand for private jet flying, while being perfectly poised to to capture and provide support for that demand.

“PRA has always had a different approach to helping our operators. We want to get to know how our operators work and help guide them and develop a plan that gets the most utility out of their Falcons. As an operator ourselves we have a unique perspective that we try to share,” Peck said, adding that their business model is, “exceed the expectations of our clients with the best possible service, expedited turn times and reasonable rates.”

Peck also noted that the Bartlesville airport and it’s growth is part of the equation to their success.

We are blessed that the Bartlesville airport is improving and expanding as there are possibilities for us to build a new Hangar as our work demand requires. This small out of the way airport, is a best kept secret for those Hollywood types flying into the area for filming. The airport is putting a lot of money into renovations and upgrades to the airport. We are pushing Flight deck modernizations, LED lighting and sound upgrades,” Peck said.

Peck said one of the changes they’ve noted in the industry is a shifting clientele base.

“The industry is adapting to a different group of customers. We are seeing new operators that have never owned /operated any aircraft and start with a Falcon 50 or F900 as their first plane. The industry needs to help these operators to maintain safety and good practices, so our neighbors don’t complain,” he said.

With the new customers also come new entrants into the MRO market, with Peck seeing it as a good situation for all.

“I think that there is room for everyone big and small and that advancements that make aircraft safer/better should be made available to all operators, no matter where the take their aircraft or possible do “in house” maintenance,” he said.