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Victor Valley, CA Aerospace Companies Look to the Future

Aviation’s new frontiers, from the next generation of super-efficient and powerful passenger jet engines to components for America’s newest stealth strike fighter, are being explored by Victor Valley aerospace companies.

By Bill Lewis on May 22, 2015

Aviation’s new frontiers, from the next generation of super-efficient and powerful passenger jet engines to components for America’s newest stealth strike fighter, are being explored by aerospace companies with operations in the Victor Valley. International companies with household names, such as Boeing, GE Aviation and Pratt & Whitney, as well as local enterprises like Exquadrum, Reid Products and Telexca, are making the region a hot spot for aerospace manufacturing and research and development. These firms are attracted to the area by a unique combination of advantages, including a technically trained workforce, affordability, a sunny climate and the Global Access-Victorville development at Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA). Victor Valley Economic Development Authority director Keith Metzler lists several more advantages that SCLA holds for aviation-related firms.

“Available hangar space, uncongested and clear flying conditions and two long runways,” he says, including one runway that, at 15,050 feet, is the second-longest public-use runway in the United States.

Those are among the reasons why Boeing signed a $1.8 million, three-year lease for 100,000 square feet of hangar and office space at SCLA. The lease includes options for up to 12 years and $8.3 million.

“Boeing’s lease at Southern California Logistics Airport is a testament to the pro-business climate we have worked to create,” Metzler says. “This lease will pave the way for additional high-caliber corporations to follow Boeing’s lead and locate their operations in Victorville.”

Boeing has been at SCLA since 2003. The company’s lease enables it to centralize three growing divisions, including Boeing Capital, Boeing Aircraft-on-Ground Operations and Boeing Flight Test. Its hangar space at SCLA serves as a facility for aircraft modifications, as well as repairs for Boeing’s global customers. The space also acts as a hub for installation of equipment on new aircraft.

Powering the Future

GE’s Flight Test Operations division is flying two Boeing 747s at SCLA to test GE’s next generation of jet engines, including the LEAP, the GE9X and the Passport. The engines represent significant advancements in power and efficiency. With a fan diameter of 132 inches, the GE9X is the largest jet engine ever built. The LEAP engine is designed to provide double-digit improvements in fuel consumption and emissions of carbon dioxide. The Passport engine will power Bombardier’s ultra-long-range Global 7000 and 8000 jets.

“We are ramping up our resources in Victorville,” says Hsin-Yi Yen, GE’s engineering manager at SCLA. “It’s an amazing time to be here.”

SCLA, located just 90 minutes from Los Angeles, is also home to aviation companies such as Pacific Aerospace Resources & Technologies, Pratt & Whitney and Leading Edge Aviation, along with a production facility for Adelanto-based Exquadrum, which designs and develops rocket technology for high-profile defense and aerospace clients. The former site of George Air Force Base, SCLA has been transformed into a multi-industry center through the management of the city of Victorville in partnership with Stirling Capital – the company selected to redevelop the base property. In addition to aviation companies, Global Access-Victorville is home to manufacturing and distribution operations for companies like Newell Rubbermaid, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Plastipak Packaging, Inc. and Mars Chocolate.

Creating Jobs, Opportunity

The benefits of SCLA’s success extend far beyond the airport’s grounds, Metzler says.

“The related benefits are that, with the attraction of new jobs and major employers, Victor Valley has a better chance at reducing our commute shed to down-the-hill employers, effectively keeping our employees local,” Metzler says. “This helps keep our quality of life high.”

Roberto Brand, founder and president of Telexca, an aerospace components supplier in Apple Valley, says there are many reasons firms like his thrive in the region. Telexca is a third-tier supplier to the aircraft industry. It manufactures components for second-tier suppliers that specialize in engineered products like insulation and high pressure ducting. Telexca’s products are used by Gulfstream, AirBus, Bombardier and other commercial aircraft manufacturers, as well as in military aircraft, such as the B-1 and B-2 bombers, the new F-35 strike jet, the F-22, the F-15 and the F-18.

“Victor Valley offers great opportunities for any kind of business, especially in the field of manufacturing, where space is always a big factor in growth and expansion,” Brand says. “Leasing or buying space here costs about one third of that in L.A. or Orange County.”

The region’s labor pool is another plus for aerospace suppliers like Telexca, Brand says. “There is a high ratio of young people who are looking for trainee positions,” Brand says. “Aerospace-oriented industries are always their first choice in training.”

Read more about other top industries in Victor Valley.

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