Aviation Corporation Selects Norman for Expansion
Today, the Commander Aircraft Corporation announced plans to expand in Norman. The aircraft manufacturer purchased land and will build an $8M production facility for the Commander single-engine aircraft.
“Aerospace is a significant player in our Oklahoma economy and the fact that Commander Aircraft is continuing to find ways to invest here shows that we are a great place to grow this industry,” said Brent Kisling, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
The company, currently located in two hangars at Max Westheimer Airport, will build a 100,000 square-foot facility in University North Park Advanced Manufacturing Center to begin putting the historically significant aircraft back into production. Once the facility is fully completed, the company will have the space necessary for inventory of parts, service, storage, repair and full-scale production of the Commander aircraft.
“We see international opportunities for the Commander model – We anticipate an increase in demand for new models, and we looked at several different markets for our expansion and production facility,” said Borui Mao, general manager of Commander Aircraft Corporation. “Ultimately, we selected Norman because the Norman Economic Development Coalition was able to help us acquire land adjacent to the Max Westheimer Airport, key to the access and ease of incoming and outgoing aircraft. Norman made it clear that the community is interested in keeping us here.”
The corporation anticipates hiring between 30 and 50 employees in the fields of aerospace and mechanical engineering, once full production is reached.
“Oklahoma has a strong presence in aerospace and Norman has many assets to support that industry,” says Dan Quinn, board chair of the Norman Economic Development Coalition. “Commander Aircraft Corporation has found the workforce and talent here that will enable them to grow. Their expansion adds to Norman’s ability to attract more aerospace industry partners and high paying STEM jobs.”
“The partnership with the University of Oklahoma is key,” added Mao. “We will be filling engineering positions in the next three years. We are well aware of the talent at OU, and we are looking to them for their best engineering graduates and interns.”
The corporation will begin construction in the next three years.
“The economic impact of this expansion is approximately $75 million over the next 10 years,” said Maureen Hammond, interim president of the Norman Economic Development Coalition. “This is a win-win for Commander Aircraft Corporation and the City of Norman – we’re pleased they have taken the next step in their investment and involvement in our community.”
The Commander aircraft has a rich history as one of the best-built aircrafts in the world. The Commander was first produced in 1972 and has a legacy fleet of over 750 aircraft that will need parts, service and support for years to come. The Norman facility will be the only FAA-authorized factory-based repair and maintenance facility in the United States.