Aviation

FBO Profile: Sky Bright, Laconia Municipal Airport

For New Hampshire, Lake Winnipesaukee, the state’s largest lake at 72 square miles, has always been a source of recreation and outdoor recreation, but in the past two years of the pandemic, the area has also become a haven for private jet passengers seeking to avoid crowded areas. population.

According to Lee Avery, owner of Sky Bright — one of two service providers at the Laconia Municipal Airport (KLCI), located less than a mile off the coast of Winnipesaqua — traffic at the airport has increased 30 percent from pre-Covid levels. He told AIN that in 2021 the airport’s activity amounted to more than 45,000 operations, 5,000 of them from turbine aircraft.

Sky Bright began operations 34 years ago at the tower-less airport with a 5,890-foot runway and has since become the dominant FBO in the area, capturing nearly three-quarters of the business. Summer is the peak season for the airport, which serves busy resorts and holiday homes. Avery noted that his company earns 75 percent of its annual business between July and September.

The company currently occupies 5,000 square feet in the former 6,500-square-foot commercial terminal, which it shares with Airport Authority offices and a smaller FBO. The building was renovated in 2014 with an Adirondack-style interior and offers a passenger lounge, concierge services, pilot lounge, refreshments, business center, air-conditioned meeting room for 12, a quartet of crew cars and an on-site car rental. Meals can be ordered from a well-known local caterer, usually with 24 hours notice.

The location is home to a small group of Cirrus Vision jets and has 37,000 square feet of aircraft hangar space that can handle mid-sized business jets, including a recently acquired 8,000 square foot hangar that is currently being renovated. Once that project is complete by the end of the summer, Avery will relocate the company’s maintenance services there, freeing up space in a larger 12,000-square-foot hangar to make room for more aircraft storage, as well as a new Redbird FMX simulator for Sky Bright Flight School .

Plans call for construction to begin on a large hangar capable of handling the latest ultra-long-range, large-cabin business jets within the next year. Avery said AIN that he originally planned for the structure to be 12,000 feet tall, driven by his desire to avoid installing an expensive foam suppression system, but with the recent revisions to NFPA 409 Fire Protection Standard for Aircraft Hangars, he plans to have discussions with his local fire marshal to, maybe enlarge this design. He noted the limited cost of supplies of building materials as another stumbling block. “First, I want steel prices to come down again,” he said. “You have to get reasonable prices to make this stuff work.” A second phase of construction could add a 5,000-square-foot hangar and a 7,000-square-foot hangar within two years, essentially doubling the indoor aircraft storage space in addition to more than 12 acres of ramp space.

A Phillips 66-branded location supplied by World Fuel Services and is open every day from 7 am to 7 pm. Her staff of 11 are NATA Safety 1 trainedstr program supplemented by World Fuel’s online training course. Line personnel are known for their unofficial uniforms, which have become a kind of trademark. “People don’t always remember our name, but they want to go to FBO with red shirts,” Avery said.

The FBO’s tank farm consists of a pair of 12,000-gallon storage tanks, one for jet-A and one for avgas. They are serviced by a 5,000-gallon and two 3,000-gallon refuelers (during peak months, Avery rents a third 3,000-gallon truck); and the 2,000-gallon 100LL tanker, a holdover from the days when the company’s flight school was more active. “I didn’t want to be on [fuel] farm every day, so we had a bigger truck and I just kept it,” Avery said. “I don’t need a truck that big today, but it works and it’s mine.” The facility is deploying remote payment processing equipment on all trucks so customers can pay on the ramp, and avgas self-service is also available 24/7. Last year, the company pumped more than 400,000 gallons of fuel, setting a new consumption record.

When it comes to customer service, Avery believes in cultivating discretion in his staff. “You give your employees enough authority to say, ‘Look, if this makes sense to you, and it’s safe, and it’s what you’d want if you were a customer, then do it,'” he explained. he “The last thing I want to hear from them is, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t do this, I have to wait for Lee.’

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2022-08-01/fbo-profile-sky-bright-laconia-municipal-airport FBO Profile: Sky Bright, Laconia Municipal Airport

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