Avionics News September 2019 - 42

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LOCATION:
131 Airport Drive
Suite 114
Midlothian, TX 76065
PHONE: 817-430-3270

Nova Avionics shines with
new owners, new location
S T O R Y

P

B Y

C H R I S T I N E

ilots Ken Lantz and Vernon Mitchell have always
looked to the sky for inspiration. Even their aircraft
service centers - Southern Star Aviation and Nova
Avionics - are named for the stars, albeit by chance. Although
Lantz and Mitchell spend most of their time flying, they're very
much grounded in the bolts and bearings, fittings and flanges of
aircraft maintenance.
"I was born into aviation," Lantz
said. "My dad was a private pilot and an
aircraft mechanic and had several small
businesses. I started hanging out at the
airport with him at 5 years old, crawling
back into tight places and holding
wrenches. I soloed on my 16th birthday.
I had my first corporate flying job by
age 19. We moved from West Virginia to
central Florida in an airplane and a Volkswagen. I always knew I
wanted to be in aviation and to fly."
During the 1980s, Lantz worked in experimental and flight
testing at Gulfstream Aerospace, including on the Gulfstream
G-4 prototype. He flew the Boeing 727 and the McDonnell
Douglas DC-9 for Eastern Airlines for seven years, the Boeing
747 for Evergreen International Airlines, and the Boeing 727,
McDonnell Douglas DC-9 and MD-80 for several smaller
airlines. Lantz also flew for the short-lived, all-business-class
carrier Legend Airlines based at Love Field in Dallas, Texas.
42

avionics news

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september

2019

K N A U E R

"During furloughs, I would go back and turn wrenches until
flying again, and keep my A&P active," said Lantz, who earned
his A&P certificate in his 20s and also is an authorized aircraft
inspector.
Like Lantz, Mitchell is a commercial and ATP pilot who flies
corporate aircraft and is an A&P mechanic. Interested in aviation
at an early age, Mitchell soloed at age 17
and later became a flight instructor. Earlier
in his career, he flew Beechcraft King
Airs and Citation business jets for an air
ambulance company and, later, Gulfstream
aircraft for a large charter operator before
moving into corporate aviation.
Lantz and Mitchell met at Mid-Way
Regional Airport south of Dallas-Fort
Worth, Texas, in 1993. The two struck up
a friendship and business partnership.
"Vernon was an eager young aviator with great flying skills
and great mechanical abilities," Lantz said. "We became coowners in several airplanes, and we formed a corporation with a
third partner to sell aircraft parts."
In 2006, Juan Martinez, the airport manager and owner of
the FBO at Mid-Way Regional Airport, was killed in an aircraft
accident. A year later, Lantz and Mitchell assumed ownership
of Southern Star Aviation, the full service FBO and aircraft
maintenance center.



Avionics News September 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News September 2019

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Avionics News September 2019 - No label
Avionics News September 2019 - Cover1
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