Barrett stood in the midst of one of the cavernous — and cold — World War II-era hangars at the Ephrata Municipal Airport, where he just signed a lease for his business, Barrett Aircraft. Barrett will inspect and repair many of the aging aircraft, keep them flying, and rent out space in his 24,000-square foot hangar to anyone needing a safe place to park their airplane.
A graduate of the airframe and powerplant program at Seattle Community College, Barrett started his career at Boeing and moved on to AeroTEC to work on the Mitsubishi SpaceJets before he decided to start his own business.
“It’s just fun,” he said. “It’s just like working on a cool old car. They’re simple in a lot of ways, and you get a lot of different variety. You never know what comes to the door. It’s just fun.”
Because he really enjoys fixing airplanes.
“A large majority of the general aviation fleet is pretty old. You know, anything from the ’40s to ’70s, maybe ’80s,” said airplane mechanic Josiah Barrett. “That’s a lot of the things you’ll work on.”
“Airplanes are just maintained so much better that they last a long time,” he said. “Every year it’s required that they go down and have every area of it inspected, and maintained.”
Barrett is still working on the offices, tiling the floors and getting furniture and equipment in, and doesn’t expect to formally open his doors until Feb. 7. And while he’s starting small, Barrett is committed to being in Ephrata and has big dreams of expanding.
“Soon, we’re going to start growing and selling jet fuel, full service, aviation gas, as well as hangar spaces,” Barrett said.
He also hopes to sell parts and equipment, paint airplanes, provide rental cars and other services for pilots flying into Ephrata as a “fixed base operator” and possibly even partner with someone and open a flight school. Though Barrett notes he doesn’t yet know how to fly himself.
“It’s a little hard to find a flight instructor around here,” he said. “Maybe if someone wants to trade maintenance for flight lessons.” Barrett also thanked the Port of Ephrata, which runs the airport, for making it possible to set up shop in Ephrata.
“We’re glad to have him,” said Port of Ephrata Executive Director Greg Becken. “We’re always busy.” Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at email@example.com.