By Kevan Goff-Parker
OKLAHOMA CITY (12/10/2019) – Clemens Aviation, a family-owned aircraft charter, management, and sales operation based near Wichita, Kansas, has teamed up with longtime Oklahoma aviation professional Gary Purdum to lead its expansion into Oklahoma’s business jet sales market.
Clemens Aviation recently named Purdum as its local marketing director and plans to open an office at Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City. The company offers the opportunity for customers to purchase full or shared interest in business jets.
Purdum said once purchased by the customer, Clemens Aviation manages every aspect of the ownership from pilots to maintenance.
“All the customer has to do is to make a phone call with a few details about their trip and everything else is taken care of,” Purdum said. “It’s that simple. The Clemens family’s mission is to provide the safest, most affordable ownership experience available.
“This opportunity is the best value I’ve come across in 30 years of aviation ownership. It’s a better value because you are basically sharing the ownership costs with other joint ownersand still have access to the aircraft within a few hours. The Clemens family has proven the concept with their success in the Wichita, Kansas area.”
Clemens Aviation Oklahoma Marketing Director Gary Purdum is managing the Kansas-based company’s local expansion plans and will open an office at Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City in the coming weeks.
He said there are a lot of related aviation programs nationwide, but none that he knows of run by a privately-owned family business.
“The Clemens family and their employees handle every aspect of business jet ownership – from scheduling pilots, handling insurance requirements, basically doing all the behind the scenes footwork,” Purdum said. “This ensures that every flight has no surprises and they often exceed their customers’ expectations.”
Dwayne Clemens is the patriarch of the aviation-loving family that owns Clemens Aviation. The son of a crop duster who grew up in Kansas, Dwayne Clemens began flying planes at 17 and is now an aviation veteran with 35 years of experience. He also worked as a production test pilot for Beechcraft in Wichita, Kansas, now a part of Textron Aviation, for 18 years, while Purdum marketed aircraft there for 12 years. The pair have built a trusted relationship of more than 30 years.
Dwayne Clemens bought Stearman Field Airport, a 90-acre public-use airport located in Benton, Kansas, about 15 years ago. He later added a Part 135 charter operation and management to the airport’s fixed-based operation services, as well as aircraft sales and a fuel farm. Today, the airport has its own maintenance facility with 40 T-hangars and 10 large hangers.
Clemens Aviation is also widely known in aviation circles for its refurbishments of the Beechjet 400A and other business jets. Today, Dwayne’s wife, Julie Clemens, oldest son, Alex, and daughter, Lizzie, are all certified pilots who help run the company and have homes or condos with their own hangars on the property at Stearman Estates. The couple’s youngest son, Austin, will also earn his wings when he turns 17 in March.
“We grew our own airport,” Dwayne Clemens said. “Being a family-owned business, and because we’re pilots, we can keep costs down. We operate charter flights, but shared ownership makes financial sense for a lot of people.
“We have 25 business jets that our customers have purchased and that we manage, as well. We have 12 mechanics and roughly 30 full-time pilots, with about 50 employees overall. As we expand our operations, Oklahoma City is the perfect fit because it is far enough away to justify a new entity, but close enough to Benton, Kansas, for any needed support.”
Ponca City, Oklahoma, resident Chuck Greenwood, owner of Greenwood Aerospace said he trusts Clemens Aviation because experience counts when it comes to the safe and efficient maintenance of aircraft. (Photo provided)
Ponca City, Oklahoma, resident Chuck Greenwood is a believer. As the owner of Greenwood Aerospace, an aerospace equipment and logistics company, he said experience counts when it comes to the safe and efficient maintenance and flying of aircraft. He recently purchased a full plane with Clemens Aviation.
“The Clemens do a very good job at what they do, and they have a family mentality,” Greenwood said. “They run their company like I would run it. I put the safety of my family in their hands, but they’re also like family to me.
“I love aviation; it’s my business. I simply send them a message and they’ll have a business jet here within four hours. It is seamless – they know the sandwiches and drinks that I like, and they let me fly with my dog when I want to in the cabin and treat me exactly like I treat my customers.”
He said he enjoys the flexibility and convenience of working with Clemens Aviation and considers the company a part of his team.
“We use that airplane as a business tool and when we’re in the air, we work, so that when we land, we’re ready for our customers,” Greenwood said. “During a recent business trip, it was because our pilot was so flexible, we were able to go to an unanticipated dinner with our client and we won the deal.”
He said Clemens Aviation’s business model saves full and partial owners money when it comes to maintaining their own business jet.
“I think their model is the trend where private aviation is going because by buying a share of an airplane, you get to use it whenever you want,” Greenwood said. “Your airplane is being exercised because planes, like cars, seem to break when they’re not used for extended periods of time. Their knowledge and service of the airplane is impeccable.
“Safety is so important to me, as is knowing I have my family in good hands.