At a time when other shops were cutting back or closing their doors, Dillavou was proposing to spend MORE money!

needed more help, I heavily recruited quite a few people from the area. “We were operating 13 airplanes

with fi ve hangar spots,” Dillavou continues. “We had been thinking about building a new larger hangar. That was 2007.”

The people in the know at Colony

Brands, SC Aviation’s parent company, killed the plans to build a new hangar because they thought the economy was going to take a hit in the near future. Low and behold, that prediction came through in 2008. Within a nine- month period, SC Aviation went from 13 airplanes to fi ve. SC Aviation had been doing its

own line maintenance on its aircraft. It would send the aircraft out for heavy maintenance and inspections to companies like Elliott Aviation or StandardAero and others. “I knew that we had very good talent,” Dillavou shares. “I knew that we could do anything as a group.” When it looked like SC Aviation might have to do some major cutbacks to its maintenance staff , Dillavou came up with a plan to help save jobs. He knew that his mechanics could do what the line service guys were doing. Even though the mechanics were more expensive than line service personnel, they could also maintain the aircraft. Dillavou knew that his guys would fuel, clean and service the lavs — they would do anything that needed to be done. So Dillavou proposed that the company reinvest in the maintenance department. He proposed more schooling for the maintenance

12 | june 2019

department and acquiring more tooling. He knew that there were a lot of places going out of business at the time, and they could get tooling cheap. SC Aviation already had its Part 145 certifi cate for pitot/static and transponders — why not add its fl eet aircraft to its certifi cation and do all of the company’s maintenance in-house? At a time when other shops were cutting back or closing their doors, Dillavou was proposing to spend MORE money! Fortunately, the company agreed with his proposal. “We executed my plan,” Dillavou says. “And our operating costs went way down because we were controlling everything. We controlled when we wanted to do it, how long we wanted to take, our parts — everything! We reduced our costs, but we were still losing a little money. But our company continued to support us. By 2011, we were doing better. We started getting more airplanes. We were doing more and more or our own maintenance in-house. And we were doing more maintenance for outside customers. We got the point where we were ready to build a new hangar.”

NEW HANGAR SC Aviation began planning its new hangar in 2015. The company decided to let Dillavou design the hangar — a job typically assigned to a pilot. “I was given the ability to design a maintenance-friendly hangar,” Dillavou says. “I started to think about all of the hangars I had worked in during my career and

how I could improve on them. I talked to my friends Jim Freeman and Mike Eddy who had built their own hangars. I asked them, ‘What are the great things you did, and what are the things you wish you would have done diff erently?’” The hangar was completed in 2016.

There were certain parameters set by the company that Dillavou needed to comply with. Other than that, he was given free rein. Some of the key features of SC Aviation’s new hangar include: • At each support beam around the perimeter of the hangar fl oor (every 25 feet) there are two 20- amp 110 plugs, a compressed air line and a ground power plug.

• The back 2/3 of the hangar fl oor is laser leveled for ease of aircraft weighing at any location. The front 1/3 is slightly sloped to an in-fl oor drain to allow for aircraft washing.

• Radiant heat was installed. Even in the middle of a cold Wisconsin winter day, it’s still comfortable in the back of the hangar if the hangar doors are open.

• The employee break room has more than 80 amps of power. “We can have several microwaves, a pizza oven, a convection oven and a coff ee maker all running at the same time,” Dillavou says. “There’s nothing worse than having a 30-minute lunch break and waiting 15 minutes in line to use one microwave!”

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