SEGUIN TWP. – An aircraft mechanic shop is moving to the Parry Sound Area Municipal Airport.
The Eagle has landed in the Parry Sound area.
Eagle Aircraft Inc. founder David Sr. McDevitt, left, with his wife Kathy McDevitt, David Jr. McDevitt, and Eagle Aircraft Chief Financial Officer Sharlene McDevitt, with her husband Alex de Sa.
Family-owned Eagle Aircraft Inc. is expanding its Toronto Island business by building an 8,700 square foot building at the airport before the end of the year.
This will open up new job opportunities and is the most recent of many businesses locating around the airport in recent years.
The company chose the airport, owned by Seguin Township and Parry Sound, in part for its strategic location as a stopping point for pilots heading north and seasonal residents who fly to the cottage, said Chief Financial Officer Sharlene McDevitt, who works alongside her father, brother and husband in the business
“Parry Sound - it’s more viable for growth in the future than any of the other airports that we looked at,” she said. “We do have a lot of private clients who do have cottages in and around the Parry Sound area and we do have a couple of commercial fleets that we manage as well, so this will be a convenient stop for them as well when they are doing their charters.”
Eagle Aircraft’s staff maintains airplanes the same way a mechanic keeps vehicles in running order.
“It’s just like that, you bring your car in and say you need an oil change, you bring your plane in and say you need an oil change, or a tire changed,” said McDevitt. “The difference when you own an aircraft is you’re regulated by Transport Canada, so you’re held to a lot higher standards so the ‘mechanic’ … is actually an aircraft maintenance engineer who goes through many years of training and certification before they’d be able to sign off on that aircraft.”
The company also installs avionics upgrade to airplanes, just as a consumer could install an aftermarket stereo in their car.
The company announced its intent to make the move north last month. The announcement included the creation of six jobs.
McDevitt’s dad, the founder of the company, David Sr. McDevitt and her brother, David Jr. McDevitt, will make the move to West Parry Sound to open the shop, she said.
“Our immediate need is going to be for two more people,” she said. “So, we’re going to be looking for an apprentice aircraft engineer, or mechanic, and we’re also looking for somebody with avionics specialty, which is all the radio equipment that goes on an airplane.”
The company is talking to Canadore College about potential apprentices who could work for the company, she said.
“The people that are in Toronto now are going to stay in Toronto,” she said. “So, it’ll just be my dad and my brother that are going up to Parry Sound and they’ll be looking for local people to help them.”
While the exact location for the business on the property hasn’t been settled, the company hopes to have space near the runway with an area it can park planes before or after staff have worked on them. The building itself could hold six single-engine airplanes.
In recent years the airport has built new hangers on its property that includes an insulation business and niche cottage contractors plus private hangers for individuals to house their planes. All this along with the long-standing business Found Aircraft next to the terminal.
“We’ve reached a critical mass and now it’s feeding on itself, and people want to be at the airport,” said airport commissioner and Seguin councillor, Doug Sainsbury.
The same day the news of Eagle Aircraft coming to town was publicized on St. Patrick’s Day, FedNor announced funding to prepare commercial land for a fourth round of expansion at the airport.