KACC ARK Readies for Opening of Facility Meeting the Highest Standards

April 12, 2022

Achieving best outcomes doesn’t just happen. You set standards and judge by them. Think building inspectors, bank examiners, environmental compliance officers and more. Defense prime contractors and subcontractors such as King Aerospace Commercial Corporation look at everything through the lens of Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) inspectors.

“How would this look to them? What are their priorities?” says Jarid King, president. “It’s like walking through your house before company arrives. You see things differently when you know you’re about to be audited.”

CFO Brian Sinkule and GM Steve Sawyer in the foreground and President Jarid King and Director of Quality Assurance Randy Stromski in the background discuss facility readiness and next steps.

As King Aerospace has been preparing to open KACC ARK, its facility at the centrally located Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA), team members have been having many of those guests-are-coming walkthroughs and discussions. Steve Sawyer, general manager of operations, has been instrumental in leading the charge. He understands the added layers of scrutiny and excellence required when working with the government. He’s uniquely prepared thanks to his earlier role as program manager for King Aerospace’s contractor logistics support (CLS) keeping mission-critical aircraft ready to fly. His 30 years in the U.S. Navy help, too.

Sawyer has been in Arkansas frequently, seeing to it that spaces – from the supply room and sheet-metal shop to the hangars themselves – practically shine under the new LED lighting. Improvements go beyond aesthetics to capabilities that advance best practices, including the ability to scan tooling and parts and robust exhaust systems for the spray booth. The focus is to provide customers a professional, lean and efficient service at the highest level of quality.

Proven, Quick-Response Protection

King Aerospace has put its efforts to the test, too. On March 30, Freedom Fire Pro conducted state-of-the-art testing of KACC ARK’s fire-suppression system to ensure it meets or exceeds code and achieves the design objective: quick detection, control and extinguishment of any fire.

“This system has twice the required coverage, providing double the protection and quicker response,” says Greg Watson, King Aerospace chief operating officer.

A Triple IR/UV optical flame detector system visually confirms and responds to the presence of a hydrocarbon-based fire even at long distances. Infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) sensors join together to detect the heat and UV radiation emitted by hydrocarbon fires. Once the system visually verifies a fire, it releases an overhead foam water deluge and oscillating monitors. The flame detector’s triple-spectrum design guards against false alarms. Fire suppression efforts can be remotely shut down, delivering added security.

Testing included lighting tins of Jet A on fire to ensure they trigger optical detection and fire-suppression releasing systems. Pictured here, Vice President Keith Weaver.

“King Aerospace insisted on top-of-the-line fire suppression systems that meet aspects of DoD and 409 standards,” says Michael Cormier, Freedom Fire Pro president and co-owner. “They understand the cost is an investment that can pay for itself many times over.”

Complex Technologies plays a key role, too, by providing purpose-built, flame-detection systems. The advanced early-warning detection provides a rapid response in conjunction with the foam releasing system. It offers additional safeguards for assets within the protected space.

“The willingness of all parties to accept nothing short of perfection has made this a dream project,” says Johnathon “JC” Mattingly, owner of Complex Technologies. “All measures are being taken to protect aircraft and personnel to the highest standards.”

Freedom Fire Pro briefing about the detection process of the new state-of-the-art, fire-suppression system at KACC ARK.

Purpose-Designed for Mission-Critical Aircraft

No one relishes audits, but they provide a needed quality-assurance check. King Aerospace’s efforts have led to DCMA’s recent audit results feeling like high fives. When May 1 comes and King Aerospace takes possession of the hangars, KACC ARK preparations will transition to furnishing the spaces, setting up the shops and applying such finishing touches as hanging flags, signage, photos and the Cornerstone Principles.

The secure environment hangar spaces will be used to upgrade aircraft with everything from airborne defense systems to next-generation information systems. KACC ARK will also provide maintenance and VIP interior refurbishment along with these specialized modifications. The hangars can hold multiple, widebody aircraft, such as the Boeing 747, 767 and 777.

XNA provides KACC ARK with the benefits of an 8,800-foot runway, air traffic control tower, 24-hour gated security and firefighting protection. KACC ARK has almost 195,000 square feet of hangar, engineering, shop and office space. The hangars meet national fire code and security requirements.

“The teamwork and dedication displayed through these complex preparation efforts have been truly inspiring,” says Sawyer. “Everyone associated with airfield operations and the local community have welcomed King Aerospace as family. Making a positive difference begins with a solid foundation of safety, security and communication, which is being achieved for our customers and our team.”


About King Aerospace
King Aerospace Commercial Corporation (KACC) is a leading one-stop provider of aircraft services with offices and facilities in Dallas, TX; Ardmore, OK; and Rogers, AR. KACC is a GE OnPoint™ service center. It specializes in avionics design/installation, interior design/refurbishment, engineering services, maintenance and paint. KACC is an authorized FAA and EASA Repair Station and is AS9110C-certified. It also provides aircraft project management, offsite maintenance and other aircraft-related management services. Its sister company, King Aerospace, Inc. (KAI), is a global operation that serves the U.S. military and government to deliver responsive aircraft maintenance and logistics support in some of the world’s most hostile, remote and harsh locations. KAI operates facilities at Biggs Army Airfield, El Paso, TX; Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, NM; Camp Humphreys, South Korea; and 24/7 logistics outposts around the world. Founded in 1992, King Aerospace is a privately owned company focused on customer and team member satisfaction.