Loading please wait....

If you are a registered, please log in. If not, please click here to register.


When Jack Caloras explains the role of CRS Jet Spares in the wide and varied world of Business Aviation- he brings as fine a point as a pitot probe’s to summing up the company’s mission: “We help maintain the dispatch reliability and safety of Business Aviation aircraft.”

Dave Higdon   |   1st May 2011
Back to articles
Dave Higdon Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon writes about aviation from his base in Wichita Kansas. During three decades in...
Read More

When There’s No Time To Spare
CRS Jet Spares puts critical parts in easy reach.

When Jack Caloras explains the role of CRS Jet Spares in the wide and varied world of Business Aviation- he brings as fine a point as a pitot probe’s to summing up the company’s mission: “We help maintain the dispatch reliability and safety of Business Aviation aircraft.”

If that doesn’t sound all that unusual to you- the second sentence heightens the critical nature of CRS’ efforts: “We’re involved mostly in supporting the unscheduled maintenance events.” For any corporate pilot- dispatcher or maintenance manager- the worst phrase in their world would be: “We have an AOG.”

The unscheduled failure of a pump- a malfunctioning starter/generator- a faltering igniter - it’s one of Business Aviation’s inconvenient truths that these and other untimely events do occur. What’s more- they seem to always happen at the worst time- and at inconvenient locations.

“We’re reactive-” explained Caloras- “and have to have those parts here to meet the demand of our customers.” As Vice President of Sales and Operations for CRS- he helps connect inventory and expertise with the AOG-challenged people in need of the parts (and insights) it will take to return that business jet to operational status.

With the parts- knowledge and planning CRS applies- operators of out of warranty airframes- including Beechjets- Challengers- Falcons- Gulfstreams- Hawkers and Learjets- can find a wide array of support programs designed to help maintain both the quality and reliability of the aircraft.

With thousands of parts in inventory- a savvy staff- its own quality-control and repair capabilities- and partnerships with remotely located service providers- CRS helps solve the problems that can render a multimillion-dollar asset a static lump of metal. (Ironically- the company started with a static lump of less-than-productive aircraft- a young business major with a work history in aircraft supply- a garage and an idea.)

You’ve probably heard the saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. The trick lies in recognizing that one person may see value or need for what another deems unnecessary or no longer useful.

CRS founder Armando Leighton- Jr. recognized the potential use and worth of salvaged aircraft parts when he launched Corporate Rotables & Supply in the garage of Mirta Chang - his mother and the new company’s first and longest-serving staffer. That was in 1982.

With the energy and drive of a 23-yearold- and an idea that left space for a budding entrepreneur- CRS moved quickly from finding- buying and selling available spare parts to finding whole jets to part-out. While recycling vehicle parts is a concept nearly as old as the wheel- re-using aircraft parts entails meeting standards of inspection- record keeping and inventory control beyond what you’d expect to find down at Everyville’s Auto & Truck Salvage.

By working hours finding- acquiring- selling and delivering parts- the youthful aircraft parts impresario survived to take on the recycling of an entire Lockheed Jetstar – engines- APU- landing gear- airframe components- flight instruments and accessories in 1985- and that came on top of the company’s extensive exchange program of overhaul parts for the Sabre- the Falcon- Lear- Citation- Gulfstream I and II- Westwind- Jet Commanders- as well as de Havilland and Hawker-Sidley HS-125s.

The following year Leighton acquired a Lear 23 to part out- and added Hawker support; and in 1987- the aircraft salvaged was a Citation 500. Clearly- the company was on its way- already outgrowing the original garage.

Today it’s inventory of individual part numbers runs into the thousands – not counting products developed by the company- approved by the FAA and filling needs of customers. “Over the years we’ve parted out over a dozen aircraft-” Caloras related. But many other avenues also come into play.

To find candidate inventory the company employs a variety of means- Caloras explained. “We do a combination of things- from the part outs- people who come to us with inventory- and we also watch for sales and company closures. We work with flight departments changing aircraft to buy their unused inventories because those inventories don’t always go with the airplane when sold or traded.”

There are also distribution arrangements and purchases from aircraft and component OEMs and consignment sales. Often the company representative working these acquisitions is Leighton himself- with Caloras next in activity level.

“Everybody is involved in supporting our mission- our service attitude and our quality though-” Caloras outlined. “No matter where we find it- we put that inventory to good use.”

The path a part takes from origin- to destination right through to disposal requires inspections and recordings – and for someone to attest to the status of the part along the way. That testament becomes part of an aircraft’s log- itself a legally proscribed and required testament to the aircraft’s status.

Winning the privilege of making those statements for-the-record itself involves a testament to the quality of the processes and people handling the parts – whether newly manufactured- refurbished- or recycled. CRS worked extensively to demonstrate that its quality-assurance processes meet the highest international standards- including AS9120 ISO 9001:2008 certification- FAA AC 00-56A Accreditation- plus the more-focused approvals represented by certificates from Bombardier- Gulfstream and Qatar Airways.

It’s that level of quality that’s helped CRS develop and certify some of its own products - starting with a replacement generator PMA’d and STC’d for Learjets in 2001. Not only has the company succeeded in this replacement generator- it’s added to its in-house products – and continues to work on other new innovations in improving the options for the company’s clientele.

“Everyone in the company is engaged in meeting our goals-” Caloras noted. “We include our finance people- the folks who answer the phone…to the person who packs the box. In our operation the people who inspect the parts and pack the shipments are all as important as the person who made the sale.”

Of course- the best-quality parts and the most-varied inventory offer little help to the AOG client when sitting in a warehouse. The blend of those parts with CRS’ in-house expertise and 24/7 AOG service underpins the company’s reputation for prompt response and extra-mile service.

Clients’ shared stories of hearing a friendly- concerned voice answer the AOG line at CRS- learning that the part wasn’t at hand – and hearing that voice promise to find a source- quickly. “They don’t charge extra for the extra effort-” one Midwest charter operator related. “We received the part from the supplier CRS located and didn’t owe anything until we’d made sure it would work for us. No hesitation- no hedging- no worries.”

With access to scheduled air service at three different airports near CRS’ warehouses- shipping connections with all the major overnight package-delivery companies- and next-day shipping cut-offs as late as 8pm- CRS’ staff prides itself in assisting operators’ efforts to return their AOG to active flight status. It was this background that helped CRS take the next logical step into the international marketplace.

When you’re known for your inventory- expertise and timely response- expanding into a global service provider only makes good business sense; drop the ball on any of these touchstones- however- and your profile will fade fast from the international scene. With more than a decade working internationally- CRS continues to broaden its footprint.

“CRS has been actively involved in the international community for more than a dozen years- even more so in the last 10 years-” Caloras explained. “We’ve become involved in EBACE- and have sales reps in Europe.”

Asia is also on the radar at CRS. “Our participation there has been very well received. We’ve attended the last couple of aerospace events there and we’re looking to reach out even more.”

While Europe is a mature market with a dwindling population of legacy aircraft- those older jets remain very active in Southeast Asia- Australia and New Zealand. And then there’s China: a growth market for legacy and new-production aircraft alike. Naturally- CRS plans to be there. “There are fewer airplanes registered in Asia than are flying at Van Nuys-” Caloras related. “To the OEMs- Asia is the number one growth market- so at CRS we’re looking at- and reaching out there.”

While far from alone in its field- CRS Jet Spares has become a stand-out provider of parts on the basis of Armando Leighton Jr.’s energy and focus on quality – traits the company continues to value approaching its 30th anniversary in 2012.

“Our competition runs from a person with a few parts in the hangar or garage up to- and including the OEMs-” Caloras observed. “Some companies can be a competitor- a service contractor and a customer – all at once.” (Leighton himself calls CRS’ competitors “either trading partners or possible trading partners”).

“We consider ourselves the premier privately-owned parts support provider in the business- and with so many good- quality people out there competing; we look up when we rate ourselves.”

With the strength of this foundation- CRS Jet Spares in its third decade continues to look outward- work forward and strive to never disappoint a client. Indeed- a fixed- flying aircraft is something every client treasures.

More information from

Related Articles

linkedin Print

Other Articles