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Clay Lacy Nails Landing at Vegas Convention

Nearly 30 aviation-related businesses exhibited at the National Business Aviation Association Convention in LasVegas, including the Valley’s own Clay Lacy Aviation. The Van Nuys firm used the show for several announcements, including offering the Gogo Text and Talk service from Aircell. Clay Lacy is the first large charter fleet to install the service, which allows passengers to make and receive in-flight phone calls and texts on their personal devices, said President Brian Kirkdoffer. “We like to give clients good service and value before anyone else,” he said. The aviation company also announced that it recently completed performing maintenance and upgrades to the 13 Embraer Phenom 100 small business jets in the JetSuite fleet. Clay Lacy is an Embraer Authorized Service Center for Phenoms. Work on the planes over a six-month period included engine overhauls, upgrades to the interior, installing high-speed wireless Internet equipment and refreshing the JetSuite signature red-and-white paint scheme. “Each plane needed different work depending on the hours flown and the condition of the interior,” said Scott Cutshall, vice president of marketing. The Sensor Systems Inc. booth displayed a small fraction of the 250 antennas it designs and manufactures for commercial, private and military aircraft. One antenna segment the Chatsworth company is expanding are ones with higher frequencies that allow for in-flight cell phone use. These higher frequencies are found in Europe, said Dave Brooks, the head of marketing research. U.S. customers with aircraft that fly to Europe will install the antennas because they like being able to use multiple frequencies, Brooks said. “Each country doles out their own frequency so you have to be able to offer frequencies used in their plane systems,” he added. Other companies exhibiting at the NBAA convention include EDN Aviation, a Van Nuys company that repairs and refurbishes cockpit control systems; Flight Research Inc., a pilot training facility in Mojave; aircraft parts supplier Ontic in Chatsworth; charter and aircraft management firm Sun Air Jets in Camarillo; and engineering services firm Harzell Aerospace in Valencia. Flying Green TWC Aviation is starting an ambitious project to counteract the damage on the environment by carbon emissions from private aircraft. The charter and aircraft management firm is redefining itself with the Earth Air program to plant trees in locations around the world on land it will buy. The end goal is for TWC to be the first carbon neutral private aviation company, said Edward Frank, the chief executive. “Trees are nature’s way of offsetting carbon by taking it out of the air,” Frank said. “For those who are skeptical that the aviation firm will do what it says, it is prepared to spend $50,000 a year to receive third-party verification of its tree-planting efforts from an auditing firm. TWC, based in San Jose with its largest hangar and operations center at Van Nuys Airport, did a soft opening of the Earth Air program at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Las Vegas, held Oct. 22-24. A full rollout is expected in the first quarter of 2014. A large private jet can produce 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide in the first 60 minutes of a flight. While private aircraft are becoming more efficient, all will produce some amount of carbon emissions, Frank said. It is up to the private aviation industry to step up and be responsible for what it is putting into the air, he added. “If other operators are inclined to participate they are welcome to and can do their own initiatives,” Frank said. TWC is prepared to plant 1 million trees to start. If there is land with existing trees that can be cut down, the company is willing to buy it for preservation. The land it will purchase will number in the tens of thousands of acres and cost millions of dollars. The cost will not be passed along to the company’s charter passengers or aircraft management clients. TWC will pay the tab for the trees and the land, Frank said. The Earth Air program is a reflection of the socially responsible actions of its owner and founder, Andrew Lessman. Through his vitamin maker, ProCap Laboratories, in Henderson, Nev., Lessman has donated 58 million pre-natal vitamins. ProCap’s facility in Nevada is powered by one of the largest solar installations in the world. “(Earth Air) is a natural extension of what he believes and a focus on doing the right thing,” Frank said. Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or mmadler@sfvbj.com. Download the 2013 VALLEY’S AVIATION CO’s list (pdf)

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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