Three former pastors who operate a business at Spinks Airport are amazed by the blessings coming their way from the heavens.
Jack DuBosque, Elwyn Owen and Steve Gifford are former pastors in the Seventh-day Adventist Church who operate Jet Mall, which, in only five years, has become one of the most respected service providers for business aircraft and commercial airlines in the United States.
Operating out of a 52,000 square-foot hanger on the east side of Spinks, Jet Mall recently repainted the exterior and redesigned the interior of a private jet owned by former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and current TV personality Terry Bradshaw, and the Boeing 737 that took off last week was owned by Air Peace, a charter company headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, Africa.
Air Peace will be bringing 16 more aircraft to Spinks to be repainted and refurbished by Jet Mall.
The hanger on the east side of Spinks consists of three separate bays, with one bay dedicated as a painting facility, while the others are used for preparation work and interior installation or maintenance.
The company also has a separate 8,500 square-foot shop for interior fabrication and installation at Spinks.
DuBosque and Owen are co-owners and Gifford is company president.
Jet Mall currently provides services for general aviation, business aircraft and commercial airlines.
Revenue is generated from aircraft exterior painting and cabin interior refurbishments, cockpit avionics upgrades and light airframe and engine maintenance services performed on site through third-party agreements, Gifford said.
“Jet Mall’s mission is to deliver products and services that offer world-class quality and, as a result, produce repeat customer business,” DuBosque said.
The co-owners, each with a lifelong love for aviation, became acquainted while working for the Texas Adventist Conference in Alvarado – DuBosque as an evangelist and Owen as director of building construction, supervising the building of Adventist schools and churches in Texas, including the new Joshua Adventist School in Joshua.
Gifford, who served as president of the Texas Adventist Conference from 1994-2004, brings years of administrative and business skills to the job.
DuBosque, who has owned three planes, served as a navigator on an aircraft carrier during a six-year career with the Navy. He also taught navigation to midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
When DuBosque left the Navy, he earned a master's degree at Andrews University, the Adventist seminary in Berrien Springs, Mich., and flew as a missionary pilot.
He continues to present evangelistic meetings on weekends throughout the U.S., flying his own plane out on Thursday night and returning Sunday afternoon.
“For me, the general idea is that Jet Mall supports my evangelistic endeavors,” DuBosque said. “That’s why I do this.”
Owens started flying in 1964 while in high school in Loveland, Colo., and was able to amass a lot of hours by ferrying planes for a small-plane dealer in nearby Greely.
“I got a lot of free hours doing that,” he said. “During my senior year I leased a plane for $7 an hour and continued to build up hours.”
After graduation from Union College in Lincoln, Neb., Owen became a missionary pilot in Central America and bought a plane there.
He came back to the U.S. for awhile but returned to Brazil as a pilot for the Adventist Church in the Amazon, acquiring a multitude of hours flying low over the Amazon jungle.
“If you have fuel, it’s the safest place in the world to fly because there’s nothing taller than 1,000 feet for hundreds of miles in any direction,” Owen said.
After leaving work for the Adventist denomination and with their aviation backgrounds, they decided to start a business that involved airplanes, hoping to obtain military contracts for aircraft maintenance. But that didn’t happen.
Instead, business at Jet Mall, the largest employer at Spinks with 50 employees, is taking off through word of mouth among aviation brokers, the middle men who negotiate the sale and purchase of business jets to private individuals and small companies and commercial passenger jets to smaller airlines.
The painting of the 737 for Air Peace becomes a flying billboard for Jet Mall that will attract attention throughout Africa.
The broker who arranged for Jet Mall to paint the Air Peace 737 has contracted with Jet Mall for 16 additional commercial aircraft, including more 737s and MD-80s.
The world of business jets includes the smaller, or medium jets, such as those owned by Bradshaw and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and numerous professional golfers and NASCAR drivers; the larger 737s and MD-80s also used by commercial airlines; and the wide-body jets owned by charter companies and Mideastern sheiks and oil barons.
“It was a broker who knew about the excellent quality work performed by Jet Mall that led Bradshaw to send his jet to us,” DuBosque said.
There are brokers who represent all aspects of airplane work, DuBosque said.
“There are brokers for maintenance, for exterior painting and for interior renovations,” he said. “Most private jet owners don’t manage their planes. They just fly in them.”
Jet Mall also paints, refurbishes and performs maintenance on helicopters and large drilling rigs for gas companies to power fracking operations.
Currently in the shop is a drilling rig power plant scheduled for shipment to Brazil.
The former pastors located at Spinks because DuBosque owned a hanger there and had been flying out of Spinks since he arrived in Texas.
“In the current economic environment, Jet Mall is correctly positioned to capture more opportunities as business aircraft operators retain their airplanes longer and plan updates rather than replacing them with new,” Gifford said.