Seeing a VIP Aircraft, Connecting the Dots

September 7, 2022

Thirty Boeing Defense and military representatives had the opportunity to visit King Aerospace’s Ardmore, OK, facility in August and see the results of their labors – a C-40 VIP aircraft. King Aerospace team members had the privilege of sharing how craftsmanship and commitment to detail reflect how honored we are to work on their programs.

What the guests and King Aerospace share is supporting C-40 and C-32 aircraft, the military versions of the Boeing 737 and 757 that transport government VIPs across the country and globe. When those aircraft visit Ardmore for paintwork, it’s a tradition to tour the refreshed blue-and-white jet the day before it resumes its mission.

The tour was the first in a couple of years, disrupted like many things by the pandemic. Otherwise, they’ve been a fixture for military representatives from Tinker Air Force Base and members of Boeing Defense’s OKC team, sometimes including interns.

Climbing aboard, finding greater purpose

For some guests, it’s their opportunity to see up close – and go inside and touch – a C-40 or C-32. The tour allows them to connect the dots between the aircraft and their roles in a mission they often can’t even detail to their families.

“They leave our facility charged up and have greater purpose. That’s what it’s about, passing that torch,” says Jerry King, chairman and founder of King Aerospace. “In a sense, the paperwork becomes flesh,” he says, adapting a biblical reference.

Jerry King, founder and chairman, gives a kickoff talk to visitors, as did Jarid King, president of King Aerospace.

Honoring the work and the mission

Jerry King and his son, Jarid King, president, kicked the day off with a welcoming talk where they shared heartfelt words about the importance of serving God, Country and Family. And how there are no excuses when fulfilling that mission.

After their talk, the crowd broke into smaller groups to tour facilities and the C-40. Everyone came together for lunch at JAKE’s Joint, the company’s restaurant.

Guests raise a glass during lunch at Jake’s Joint.

During their tour, they heard from a King Aerospace purchasing manager, production planner and Roy Lischinsky, VP of operations. There were many opportunities for questions, and the guests took advantage.

“It’s mostly technical questions, like how many pounds of paint are on the aircraft,” says Jack Vanderslice, King Aerospace controller and veteran tour guide.

One government employee, who commutes to OKC from his Ardmore home, wanted to know when the repainted C-40 would depart the next morning, so he could watch it take off before work. Another wanted to know if King Aerospace had painted a certain model of VIP jet (we had). So we showed him the paint hangar.

“It’s a wonderful deal seeing the smiles of the guests who get to touch and walk on the aircraft they support, especially the young people,” Jerry King says. “It’s wonderful for me and for the senior Boeing people seeing their ‘newbies” come to life.”

“These tours are always a heck of a lot of fun,” Vanderslice says. “When they get to go in the airplane and sit where the vice president sat and get their picture taken, it’s pretty cool.”