American Aviation has grown with Brooksville airport for 35 years

For more than 35 years, American Aviation has served pilots and airplane owners at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.
American Aviation owner John Petrick shows a photograph of the facility during its beginnings. American Aviation has been in the same location for 35 years. KIM DAME

It’s a one-stop shop for aviation-related services, from flight training to aircraft repair and sales to complete overhauls of planes, including state-of-the-art avionics.

“We do aircraft maintenance, avionics upgrades, insurance repairs,” said Andrea Fulkersen, a customer relations manager who has been with American Aviation for 18 years. “We’ll gut an entire plane, strip it down to metal and start all over.”

The company began as a flight school in the late 1970s and operated on the taxiway out of a movable trailer as its office.

“There was only one hanger then,” said American Aviation owner John Petrick.

Today, the facility boasts several hangers, a repair shop, paint shop, avionics facility, interior shop, flight academy, and full sales hanger.

“A lot has happened,” Petrick said.

In the early days of the airport, there were just a few hangers, long before the industrial park became a lucrative area of commerce for the county, Petrick said. Some of Brooksville’s most notable residents stored their private planes as the airport.

“There was no airport manager back then,” he said. “I was the airport manager before they paid someone to do it.”

It looked completely different, with no fence and no tower. The industrial park didn’t exist. “That whole side was still barracks,” Petrick said.

But progress changed the dynamics of the airport property, making it a lucrative industrial zone for Hernando County commerce. And American Aviation experienced its own growth along with it.

The business, has more than 45 full-time employees.

American Aviation’s newest project is 141 Flight Academy. By training new pilots, the company hopes to help address a predicted shortage in the profession over the next 10 years.

“We are working in conjunction with Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Safety Administration to provide an affordable alternative for pilots to obtain their early licenses,” said Chief Flight Instructor, Jeremy Waters.

The academy will provide students with an affordable option for flight training, with a flight planning facility, flight dispatch center, and simulator room. Students will learn to fly in late-model Cessna C-172 Skyhawks and Beechcraft A36 Bonanzas.

Waters is a transport pilot with extensive experience in military and civilian aviation operations. He brought on a team of certified flight instructors.

“We’ve developed an ultra-modern state-of-the-art academy,” with multipurpose classrooms, a flight simulator, and an in-house testing center, Waters said. “We have multiple classrooms with multi-media screens to do online instruction.”

This will give students who are training to become commercial pilots, airline pilots, corporate pilots or military pilots the right training that simulates what they will experience while in the air.

“We take the old style of techniques and integrate it with all the modern techniques, to make the student well rounded,” Waters said.

Email Hernando Today Correspondent Kim Dame at damewrites@yahoo.com.

Biz at a Glance

Name: American Aviation Inc.

Address: 2495 Broad Street; Brooksville, FL 34604

Phone: (352) 796-5173

Website: americanaviation.com

American Aviation has grown with Brooksville airport for 35 years
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