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LASAR was built on a love for Mooneys, and is currently co-owned by Brett Stokes and James Jans

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - Brett Stokes stands in front of a Mooney 231, which he refers to as 'my favorite Plane to fly.' Stokes is the majority owner and CEO of LASAR, along with co-owner James Jans.

LASAR, an authorized Mooney service center, moved to a large hangar at the Prineville Airport in May.

Located in the old Les Schwab hangar, the service center is a one-stop shop for Mooney pilots to keep their Mooney flying safely. They offer STCs (supplemental type certificate) on several speed mods and avionics shop, a comprehensive Mooney parts department and a sheet metal and fiberglass repair department. They also have a parts department in Lakeport, California.

The business began when former owner, Paul Loewen, began his career as a mechanic at a Mooney Service Center at Burbank Airport in 1966. After Loewen ran a FBO shop in Lakeport, California, he decided to branch out on his own by pioneering Lake Aero Styling and Repair (LASAR) in 1975.

Loewen had an ability to design and build Mooney modifications, which became the cornerstone of his operation. LASAR quickly became one of the most respected Mooney service centers in the country. The baton was passed to Brett Stokes in 2017, when Loewen and his wife, Shery, decided it was time after 42 years. Stokes is a like-minded pilot, who has been flying for more than 24 years and previously owned a Mooney 231, which he deems "my favorite plane to fly."

Stokes is a visionary with extensive experience in project management and leadership. He is enthusiastic about the company's future and believes his team has unmatched knowledge and expertise. Currently, Stokes indicated that his team provides maintenance repair services in Prineville and will soon provide avionics (electrical).

Stokes' background includes a degree in construction engineering from Oregon State University. He worked in various Fortune 500 companies in oil and gas in construction in southern California. Before college, he spent time in the United States Navy, specializing in flight deck avionics.

He met his wife in Southern California, then moved to Seattle, Washington, where his first son was born. After five years, he got into software and became a partner in owning a Mooney 231.

He was offered a job in software project management, which led them to Bend. He became involved in a construction-focused software company. He had the opportunity to take the position as co-owner (majority owner) and CEO of LASAR five years ago, and he recently moved his family to Prineville. The company is also a veteran-owned company, as Stokes is a United States Navy veteran. His business partner is James Jans.

Walking through the two large hangars that once served Les Schwab aircraft, Stokes pointed out the maintenance bay, where his crew was working on several Mooney aircraft. In the other hangar, the company also makes specialty parts, including wing tips and smooth bellies. Stokes noted that they have got out of in-house fabrication.

Currently, LASAR employs 10 personnel in Prineville. By September of 2023, Stokes plans to add 15 more employees. They have retained many loyal customers, including those from California, Denver, Colorado, the east coast and Canada.

"We have retained a lot of those customers," he added.

Due to their location, they have also made new customers because they are closer. Being a large dealer and making their own parts, they stay connected to their industry. Their next steps include adding avionics, expanding beyond just servicing Mooney — although they will always be focused on the Mooney customer.

"Now, I am working with some great manufacturers who can lower our cost and get us more volume at the same time," said Stokes.

Stokes also pointed out that the smooth belly provides 7 knots more without adding any more horsepower in the engine.

"All these little tips and tricks the former owner had figured out, and worked on them with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), worked on them with Mooneys, and LASAR makes an abundance of different kinds of parts, and we market and sell those. Customers are very interested in how they can purchase something for their plane that they don't have to add more horsepower, but they go faster," said Stokes.

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - Kyle Barnes, who is training for his Airframe and Power Plant certification, adds reinforcement plates on the backside of a Mooney 231 tail to reinforce the outer layer of sheet metal.He added that the Mooney planes are very economical, with fuel efficiency, and they have the highest FAA certified aircraft, for the past 80 years — in the class of four-seater, single engine piston and retractable gear airplane, in being the fastest.

"A lot of people call them mini airliners, because they are fast. They just get you where you are going."

LASAR also does aftermarket additions and provides a niche market for specialized patents. They are looking to expand into more types of aircraft, but they already work on several aircraft types--of which not all are Money.

Employee, Kyle Barnes, who works in training in airframe and power plant, gained his opportunity to work for LASAR after a back injury. He attended UTI (Universal Technical Institute) in 2001 in mechanics, and the opportunity came up for him to transition his mechanical background to train for a certification in airframe and power plant.

"Every opportunity that I can to work on something is where my passion is, as far as mechanics. I enjoy every bit of it, knowing that I am able to repair and rebuild someone's means of travel."

He emphasized that quality of work and attention to detail is very important to LASAR. The director of management and chief inspector, Codi Kelso, moved to Prineville six months ago. He has 12-plus years in the industry.

"He is an incredible mechanic," stated Stokes.

LASAR

Authorized Mooney Service Center

Owners: Brett Stokes (majority owner and CEO) and James Jans

Veteran-owned business

For Service: 4439 Airport Way, Prineville, OR, 97754

Phone: 707-263-0412


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