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The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Monday, August 26, 2013

Air Associates of Missouri Maintenance Staff Makes Customer Service and Safety Top Priorities

By Carmelo Turdo
Regular maintenance is a necessary part of aircraft ownership, and having faith in the maintenance service used brings peace of mind and enhanced safety to every  aircraft owner.  Student pilots and renters also need to believe that the aircraft they fly are maintained by a well-trained and courteous staff at the local flight school or FBO they patronize.  The Maintenance Department staff at Air Associates of Missouri, the Cessna Pilot Center located on the north ramp at Spirit of St. Louis Airport, has gained such a reputation for high-quality work and excellent customer service in the St. Louis metropolitan area.   

Director of Maintenance
Jeremy McInturff
The Aero Experience recently visited with the Maintenance Department at Air Associates of Missouri to discover the secret to their success.  Director of Maintenance, Jeremy McInturff, a 24-year veteran of line and maintenance services, took some time out of his busy day to explain his business philosophy.  “We have more than a working relationship with the customers," he said.  "We like to let them look at their airplane and show them what’s wrong.  It’s more of a friendship than a working relationship only.”  Building trust with each customer involves a willingness to involve the aircraft owner in the process of determining the services provided, and then delivering those services on time and on budget.  

Along with maintaining the training and rental aircraft, service is provided for Cessna, Beechcraft and Piper aircraft, including power plant repair, annual and 100 hour inspections and oxygen service.  The two full-time A&P mechanics, bringing with them over 40 years of combined experience, can also perform more complex operations such as wing repair and replacement for cabin-class twins and single piston-engine aircraft.  McInturff added that no job is too small - the Maintenance Department has selected parts available, and can help a pilot do a small repair job on the spot.  The staff is also on call to respond to emergencies.

The Air Associates of Missouri Maintenance Department staff strives to strike the best balance of customer requests and  safety requirements.   The owner has the final say on what work is done, and that decision should be an informed one.  McInturff continued, "I give them the options - what is needed to make the aircraft airworthy, and what is recommended in addition to that.  We give the owner a quote before we begin the work.  Our rates are also very competitive.”  Once the work begins, attention to detail is always observed.  The staff takes extra care in performing their work, such as when replacing screws and lock washers, to increase the safety factor of the aircraft.  McInturff added, “We treat their airplanes as if they were ours, even cleaning windows and anything we touch.”    

Air Associates of Missouri offers the Cessna Skycatcher light sport aircraft for rental and flight training, about which the Maintenance Department has favorable reviews.  The aircraft has flown about 325 flight hours, and very little unscheduled maintenance has been performed on it.  The Continental O-200D engine is reliable and more compatible with other small aircraft engines than the specialty engines often used in other light sport aircraft.  Thus, the Skycatcher is available for flying nearly every day, unless someone else gets to it first!

Favorable reviews of the Air Associates Maintenance Department are not difficult to find, and here are just a few:

The equipment is nicer here than in most flight schools. It’s the best equipment for a St. Louis flight school. I have that peace of mind that when I get into the plane I can focus on teaching the student.  2013 New St. Louis CFI of the Year Rich Franzer

Air Associates of Missouri consistently exceeds my expectations with their level of professionalism and customer service...Air Associates has earned my confidence through their workmanship and attention to detail.  Customer James Reed

I can say that I am happy that AAMO is on the airport.  Convenient.  They allowed you to get to my plane and work on it waiting to be squeezed into a schedule.  That's fantastic!  Customer Eve Cascella

The Air Associates Maintenance Department is ready to provide high-quality aircraft maintenance services to new customers.  Director of Maintenance Jeremy McInturff can be contacted by calling 636-536-1341 or through the Air Associates website.

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