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Medford man tapped for aeronautic repair trade group

Fresh out of trade school nearly 35 years ago, Jet Center General Manager Gary Hudnall took an aircraft maintenance job at Southern Oregon Skyways in Ashland.

Six months later, Hudnall was promoted to maintenance manager. The company, now known as Jet Center, soon opened a second location at the Medford airport.

In an industry where the simplest job is carefully documented and scrutinized, Hudnall now plays a role far beyond the four walls of his Medford workshop.

Hudnall was elected president of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association’s Board of directors last month.

"ARSA is the voice for the industry in Washington, D.C., on regulatory matters," said Hudnall, who has been a member of the association's board for four years. "This end of the business is much more challenging than it was probably 10 years ago. Right now, the most important thing for us is re-authorization of the FAA budget. I need the FAA in my business, providing oversight to do approvals for certificates, modifications and alterations to aircraft."

Jet Center grew rapidly before the recession. It now employs 23 at its maintenance facility.

The aircraft maintenance firm deals primarily with General Aviation aircraft, handling everything from single-engine piston planes to large, multi-engine turbine aircraft.

"We handle anything from a simple tire changes to major modifications," Hudnall said. "Currently we're doing a lot of avionics modifications to go with the new air traffic control system. The electronics have to updated by 2020."

Jet Center also handles contract work for airlines three or four times a week.

"Most of the time, we do little things like bird-strike inspections or tire changes," he said. "If it's a major repair, they fly in their own maintenance crew or ferry the plane out with no passengers."

—Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.