Making History

Making History


1945-1951 : In his youth, Clay Lacy works at an airfield in Wichita, Kansas in exchange for flight time and becomes a flight instructor.


1952 : At age 19, Clay is hired by United Airlines as copilot on DC-3s and moves to Los Angeles.


1954 : Enlists in the California Air National Guard piloting the F-86 sabre jet.


1956-1960 : Works with Allen Paulson, future owner of Gulfstream Aerospace, and meets Bill Lear, inventor of the Learjet.


1961 : During the Berlin crisis, Clay completes one year of active military duty as chief standardization pilot on the C-97 Stratofreighter.


1962 : Clay test flies a modified Boeing 377 called the Pregnant Guppy, which transported the Saturn rocket booster and played a key role in America’s race to space.


1964 : Clay becomes manager of sales for the Learjet distributor in 11 western states, lands the first business jet in Los Angeles.


1968 : Clay founds Clay Lacy Aviation as the first jet charter company west of the Mississippi, serving Hollywood’s biggest names.


1975 : Clay pioneers the Astrovision air-to-air camera system, becoming the world’s leading aerial cinematographer.


1981 : World’s first all-jet FBO opens at Clay Lacy Aviation’s Van Nuys Airport headquarters.


1984 : Van Nuys Airport facility doubles in size with additional hangars and offices.


1998 : First Gulfstream GV available for charter in the U.S., introducing ultra-long range business jet travel to charter clients.


1999 : First Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) available for charter in the U.S., the first commercial airline-size, VIP-configured aircraft.


2001 : Managed fleet increases to 30 aircraft.


2002 : Company expands to Seattle opening a full-service FBO and jet center at Boeing Field.


2003 : Brian Kirkdoffer, a world record-holding Learjet and Gulfstream captain, is named company president.


2005 : State-of-the-art flight simulator installed to evaluate pilot candidates and maintain superior proficiency levels.


2009 : First business jet fleet to install high-speed Wi-Fi, new 40,000 square-foot hangar completed at Seattle jet center.


2012 : Brian Kirkdoffer, a 22-year company veteran, is named President & CEO of Clay Lacy Aviation.


2013 : Clay Lacy Aviation celebrates 45 years as the world’s most experienced jet charter and management company.


2015 : First Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) issued by the FAA for Future Air Navigation System (FANS 1/A+) upgrade for the Gulfstream GIV and GIVSP.


2015 : $10 million, six-acre expansion and redevelopment at Van Nuys Airport, creating LA’s most secure and exclusive private aviation complex.


2016 : New FAA Part 145 repair stations open in Seattle, San Diego and New York.


2016 : Clay Lacy merges with Key Air, a 30-year old aircraft charter and management firm headquartered in Oxford, Connecticut, establishing a new Clay Lacy maintenance support and flight operations center in the greater New York area.


2018 : Celebrating our fiftieth anniversary, with pride in our achievements and gratitude to our hundreds of aviation professionals and our valued, loyal clients.


2019 : Newly expanded FAA Part 145 Repair Station opens at Van Nuys Airport, offering comprehensive maintenance for Gulfstream, Falcon, Embraer, Learjet and Hawker aircraft.


2020 : Clay Lacy partners with World Kinect Energy Services to develop an integrated sustainability program that includes carbon offset credits for customers.


2020 : In response to COVID-19, Clay Lacy develops and implements the new CleanCheck health and safety standard throughout every aspect of its operations.


2021 : Clay Lacy opens a new FBO at Orange County's John Wayne Airport.


2021 : Comprehensive corporate sustainability strategy introduced, carbon offsets program expanded.


Today : The award-winning team at Clay Lacy continues to fulfill our founder’s legendary vision, delivering unsurpassed safety, service and value to every client. Great people, providing a legendary aviation experience.

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