County to mull expansion of aircraft part company

Preservation office must OK site plan

Lack of space and a growing work force have the owners of McFarlane Aviation Inc. looking to expand the company’s plant.

Owner Dave McFarlane said he wanted to build an addition to the company’s facility at the Vinland Valley Aerodrome near Baldwin.

“We’re expanding and we’re to the point that we’re just out of room,” McFarlane said.

Douglas County commissioners will consider a site plan for the proposed building addition at 8:30 a.m. Monday in the commission chambers at the county courthouse, 1100 Mass.

Commissioner Charles Jones said the site plan seemed consistent with the use of the land, but he would like to hear input from the public.

McFarlane Aviation develops aircraft replacement parts — mainly for Cessna, Piper and Raytheon planes — and then manufactures the parts for distribution. The company has 24 employees, 21 are full time.

The company is housed in a 16,890-square-foot structure. McFarlane said the addition would provide about 3,500 additional square feet to be used for warehouse purposes and metal fabrication.

The company hopes to have the addition approved and completed by April.

The site plan had to be approved by the Kansas State Historic Preservation office because the facility is near the Vinland Grange Hall, a designated historical site. Officials with the preservation office said the proposed construction “would not encroach upon, damage or destroy the environs of the Vinland Grange Hall.”

McFarlane said his company also planned to build another structure in the next year or two at the same site as the business continues to grow.

“But we haven’t started work on that plan yet,” he said.

McFarlane Aviation opened at the Vinland Valley Aerodrome in 1979. It then provided an aerial spray service and repair. In 1990, it moved into developing and manufacturing replacement parts for aircraft.