LASAR was built on a love for Mooneys and is currently co-owned by two US Navy veterans
LASAR, a Mooney Authorized Service Center, moved to a large hangar at Prineville Airport in May.
Located in the former Les Schwab hangar, the service center is a one-stop-shop for Mooney pilots to get their Mooneys flown safely. They offer STCs on several speed mods and avionics shop, a full Mooney parts department, and a sheet metal and fiberglass repair department. They also have a parts department in Lakeport, CA.
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 an FBO store in Lakeport, California , he decided to branch out by pioneering Lake Aero. Styling and repair (LASAR) in 1975.
Loewen had the 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 over 24 years and previously owned a Mooney 231, which he considers “my favorite plane to fly”.
Stokes is a visionary with extensive experience in project management and leadership. He is excited about the future of the business and believes his team has unparalleled knowledge and expertise. Currently, Stokes has indicated that their 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 has worked at various Fortune 500 companies in construction oil and gas in Southern California. Before college, he spent time in the United States Navy, specializing in cockpit 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 by owning a Mooney 231.
They were offered a job managing software projects, which led them to Bend. He got involved in a construction-focused software company. He had the opportunity to serve as co-owner (majority shareholder) 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 planes, Stokes pointed out the maintenance bay, where his crew worked on several Mooney planes. In the other hangar, the company also manufactures specialized parts, including wingtips and smooth bellies. Stokes noted that they came out of in-house manufacturing.
Currently, LASAR employs 10 people in Prineville. By September 2023, Stokes plans to add 15 additional staff. They have retained many loyal customers, including those in California, Denver, Colorado, the East Coast and Canada.
“We retained a lot of those customers,” he added.
Due to their location, they have also gained new customers as they are closer. Being a big dealer and manufacturing his own parts, he stays connected to his industry. Their next steps include adding avionics, beyond just Mooney maintenance – although they are still focused on the Mooney customer.
“Now I work with big manufacturers who can lower our costs and get us more volume at the same time,” Stokes said.
Stokes also pointed out that the smooth belly provides 7 more knots without adding more power to the engine.
“All these little tricks and tips that the previous owner had found, and worked on them with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), worked on them with Mooneys, and LASAR makes an abundance of different types of parts, and we market and sell those customers are very interested in how they can buy something for their plane without having to add more power, but they go faster,” Stokes said.
He added that Mooney aircraft are very economical, highly fuel efficient, and have the highest FAA-certified aircraft in the past 80 years – in the class of four-seat, piston-powered aircraft. single-engine and retractable, being the fastest.
“A lot of people call them mini jetliners, because they’re fast. They take you where you’re going.”
LASAR also makes aftermarket additions and provides a niche market for specialty patents. They are looking to expand into other aircraft types, but they are already working on several aircraft types, not all of which are Money.
Employee, Kyle Barnes, who works in airframe and power plant training, had the opportunity to work for LASAR after a back injury. He attended UTI (Universal Technical Institute) in 2001 in mechanics, and the opportunity presented itself for him to transition from his mechanical training to training for airframe and power plant certification.
“Any opportunity I can to work on something is my passion, as far as mechanics go. I enjoy every moment of it, knowing that I’m capable of fixing and rebuilding someone’s transportation.”
He stressed that the quality of work and attention to detail are very important to LASAR. Managing Director and Chief Inspector Codi Kelso moved to Prineville six months ago. He has over 12 years in the industry.
“He’s an amazing mechanic,” Stokes said.
Mooney Authorized Service Center
Owners: Brett Stokes (majority shareholder and CEO) and James Jans
For service: 4439 Airport Way, Prineville, OR, 97754
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