It was a big day for the Kirksville Regional Airport as it welcomed a new business to its facilities.
The airport, along with the city of Kirksville, celebrated the grand opening of North-Scout Aviation, Inc. Friday afternoon at the airport.
North-Scout Aviation, the product of new Kirksville residents Jon and Cindy McNay, will serve as an aviation and avionics repair and maintenance shop and is certified to work on single and light twin engine aircraft.
The shop will also offer ADS-B technology, or Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Brodcast, which determines the position of an aircraft through satellite and allows it to be tracked. The Federal Aviation Administration is also requiring that the technology be installed on every aircraft by 2020.
Kirksville Regional Airport Director Glenn Balliew gushed about the new addition to airport, noting that Kirksville will be able to offer the same services that bigger cities like Columbia and Kansas City provide.
“A lot of you don’t understand how big of a deal this is for the airport,” Balliew said. “The fact that North Scout Aviation is here now allows us, not only to put that on all of our federal documents to say that we offer aviation maintenance and avionics, it also brings people here that will eat downtown (and) buy gas from us.
“It will bring people here from all over because he’s one of the only guys around here that can do that.”
Mayor Richard Detweiler shared Balliew’s hopefulness about the new avionics shop.
“To our community, North Scout Aviation is a key component to ability to offer full-service accommodations to aviation customers from all over,” Detweiler said.
The journey to bring North-Scout Aviation to Kirksville didn’t happen overnight for the McNays.
It was in 2002, when their son, daughter-in-law, daughter and son-in-law moved to Kirksville to settle down. Once they retired, the duo decided to move to the city to be closer to their family.
Jon McNay, who serves as the president and general manager for North-Scout Aviation, said they noticed that there was a hole in Kirksville’s avionics market, noting that the closest shop was 90 miles away.
“We saw that need and that’s the need we’re planning to try and address,” McNay said.
The two officially received FFA certification in March after a final inspection of the hangar and have been up and running ever since. They’ve even started servicing a few aircrafts.
“There’s a lot of people knocking on our doors right now,” Jon McNay said.
“More than we expected. It’s been really good,” Cindy McNay, treasurer of the shop, said.