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Our Story and History
My (Erik) love of flight began at a very young age. As long as I can remember I have always wanted to fly. I can remember, before I ever flew, I was amazed at hawks and birds soaring through the air.
I remember telling my granddad when I was very young and staying with him over summer break that I wanted to build an airplane. He carved a little propeller out and put it on a stick so the wind
would blow and turn it. Around that time I also learned that my grandfather's middle name was "Lindbergh", which he hated because it wasn't a "regular name." As I discovered the history behind it I grew
to love the name and what it stood for. I still have that little propeller today and someday I still hope to build a plane.
A little while after I earned my private pilot ticket, Scarlett and I went on a trip together. Not completely happy with the way things were being done at the current school (coming from a maintenance
background), I really wanted to pursue buying my own plane. Before we left for the trip I talked to the current owner to see if he would be interested in a leaseback so I could help offset some of my cost
in ownership. He mentioned he may be interested in selling a plane along with some other stuff.
I was still infatuated with flight. I became involved in scouting and worked tirelessly to scrape the money together to fly my first remote control aircraft to pacify my desire to fly. It was through scouts that I received my first taste of flight. One of the scout parents (Bill G.) flew experimental/ultralight aircraft and had a friend that had an old "Birddog". He (Dan H.) graciously took me for my first flight, and as soon as we broke ground and climbed out I looked out and saw a hawk circling at the same level - I was in love and knew this was what I had always dreamed of. From that day forward the quote by Leonardo De Vinci has rang true and the reason we have included it in a lot of our stuff. - "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return."
Once I graduated high school, I joined the Air National Guard with the hopes of becoming a fighter pilot and to provide a way to pay for my college. Through being a Crew Chief on F-16s and becoming a full-time mechanic I gave up on my dreams of being a fighter pilot and pacified my desire by finally taking up flying remote control airplanes. While a cheaper alternative, it never completely filled the desire.
As I matured, married my sweetheart (Scarlett), started a family, and moved up in my career, I started a paintball business (E&S Hobbies, Inc. - Splattered Woods). I have always liked business and enjoyed finding innovative ways to make money with things I enjoy. I wanted to start a firearms business (something else I love), but because of zoning - ended up with a paintball business instead. So on the day of our daughter's birth (Ashton) - both she and E&S Hobbies, Inc were born (05-05-2005). As our family grew, Scarlett grew to hate the business because the time took me away from the family. During this same time, I had completed an Associates in Aerospace Technology, Bachelors in Accounting, and Masters in Public Management. All while working full time and being blessed with our second child (Watters). So spare time was a scarcity and she saw the paintball business as an enemy.
When Scarlett and I first started dating, I found out that she HATED flying. She told me the story about her and a friend flying to Washington in high school. They encountered turbulence and being scared to death - shedding lots of tears while others laughed. So she swore she would never fly again. So when we decided to get married, I knew I was going to have to give up on my dream of flying someday, which I knew at this point would only be civically.
When our kids were about 3 and 5, Scarlett said to me "Since we have kids now and if you wanna kill yourself in an airplane and can afford it, knock yourself out." - The next Monday, I showed up at SouthStar Aviation and did my first lesson. Paul D. was the first instructor I flew with and it worked out (because of scheduling) for him to remain my instructor (I still claim him to this day). As my love of flying blossomed while learning to fly, I knew this is where God wanted us to be.
While Scarlett and I were on the trip we got to talking about buying a plane and all the scenarios and I casually mentioned "he said something about selling a bunch of other stuff, I wonder if he would sell the business?" Scarlett said, "Why don't you ask him?" After picking my jaw up off the floor, I started questioning her sanity and what she did with my wife. Since Scarlett hated flying and hated the paintball business, why in the WORLD would she say something like that? It was definitely a God thing, because 30 days later, in April of 2011 - SouthStar became Box Aviation.
When we purchased the business we purchased the Cessna 152 (N6362M), lovingly dubbed "The Peanut", and the Cherokee 180 (N16425), which I had done most of my training in. At the time we declined to purchase the Piper Arrow. A couple of months later, Jack D. passed away and the flying club/Margaret approached me about buying their Cessna 172SP. In September of 2011 we closed on the 172SP (N173ME). So that completed our current fleet. We are still in the pursuit of a complex aircraft for the future, via leaseback or purchase. But we are currently trying to maintain, improve, and upgrade our current aircraft.
In January of 2013, Montgomery Aviation closed the doors on their maintenance division and in February of 2013 we picked up their contract for the maintenance at Montgomery Regional Airport. It has been a huge learning curve and we have experienced some growing pains. We look forward to seeing this help the business grow in the future.
Scarlett has learned to somewhat enjoy flying, Ashton and Watters love the adventures, and I always tell everyone that Ashton can fly better than Scarlett can. Our long term plans are to continue to grow the "family" businesses and use them to bless others. We have definitely seen the times that God has carried us through and tested our faith. And we truly understand the meaning behind "Robbing Peter to pay Paul", but through it all God is faithful. Box Aviation is my retirement plan from the Air National Guard - to be surrounded by family, good friends, and airplanes. God has been good thus far and we look forward to the adventures he has in store for us in the future. (As of September 2013)
To Be Continued
A little while after I earned my private pilot ticket, Scarlett and I went on a trip together. Not completely happy with the way things were being done at the current school (coming from a maintenance background), I really wanted to pursue buying my own plane. Before we left for the trip I talked to the current owner to see if he would be interested in a leaseback so I could help offset some of my cost in ownership. He mentioned he may be interested in selling a plane along with some other stuff.
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