Business above is grounded at the city airport
Appeal Staff Writer
Steve Poscic is a pilot and a mechanic, so he knows what it takes to get a plane safely up in the air and to keep customers coming back.
He said there’s nothing that frustrates him more as a pilot than waiting hours or days to get a mechanic to check out an engine problem. And when they do come they charge hundreds of dollars just for their time, Poscic said. He’s certified in flying both planes and helicopters and is a member of the Civil Air Patrol, which is a division of the U.S. Air Force.
His goal as a business at the Carson City Airport is to take care of pilots so they’re not waiting on the tarmac for hours.
“I enjoy aviation,” Poscic said. “I’m more people and plane orientated than money orientated.”
To passersby, the Carson City Airport may seem empty, but it gets plenty of traffic and the hangars are full of private planes, ultra-light crafts and business jets, Poscic said.
Ron Nicholson is a Reno pilot who uses the Carson City airport for business. He also comes to Carson City because Poscic is here.
“In my experience, over 20 years, I’d say he’s probably the most qualified mechanic I ever had work on my airplane,” he said. “Steve is the kind of person who would actually fly to another airport to help you out.”
Business remains steady at the airport despite fizzled plans to build a small commercial development at the entrance off East College Parkway.
“Unfortunately at this point we have nothing going on in the front,” said airport manager Yvon Weaver.
Last year she favored leasing 250,000 square feet in front of the airport to a developer to build a gas station and some retail space. She’s disappointed that the idea didn’t gain wings within the airport authority board. Reno-based Ribeiro Co. made an offer on the land, which was quickly rejected by the board as too low.
“College Parkway is growing and getting more traffic and shopping centers, and the airport still looks like it’s in the 18th century,” she said. “When the board is ready to bring it back up, they will.”
Steve Lewis, who sits on the airport board, agrees that it’s prime real estate, but he doesn’t want to see a strip mall as an entrance to the capital city’s airport.
“The board will look into it in the future,” he said. “I want to master plan it first and then send it out for bids.”
Even without the retail space, several aviation businesses make a home at the airport.
Samantha Jo Moore has operated Sport Aviation Center at the airport for a year and a half. She has an office inside the El Aero hangar.
“I have about seven students right now in different stages of training,” she said.
She’s just breaking even financially, but it’s her dream to fly.
Lewis has watched the airport change according to the needs of pilots for 30 years. He started in 1976 as a flight instructor for a Piper planes dealer and is the owner of Sterling Air Ltd.
“One of the biggest changes I have seen is the development of what we call the center triangle of the airport,” he said. “There’s been a lot of new hangar construction in the past eight years. A lot of those airplanes were parked in the sun and snow, but now they’re safe and secure in hangars.”
The triangle is formed by the runway and taxiways. The 50 acres at its center is the one place left for hangar development, Lewis said.
Sterling Air brought Steve Poscic to Carson City about five months ago as an in-house, yet still independent, mechanic. Lewis has given the 35-year mechanic most of the company’s business. He’s also recommended all of his area clients to use Carson Aviation.
Poscic can determine the type of almost any plane by the sound of its engine. He’s invested about $50,000 into his tools and another $20,000 to get the business off the ground. Poscic is on call seven days a week. He is licensed to do annual inspections. He owned a machine shop in Phoenix before the effects of Sept. 11 put him out of business, he said. He relocated to Reno to work at Certified Aviation Services before coming to Carson City. He is also an airline transport pilot with 8,000 hours of experience.
Carson City Airport attracts the business travelers and charter companies, he said that business is perfect for him.
By the numbers
• Take offs and landings at the Carson City Airport in 2004: 74,190
• Take offs and landings predicted for 2020: 129,590
– Source: Nevada Department of Transportation Aviation Division
Carson Aviation Services
2640 E. College Parkway
• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212