Altus_Quartz Mountain Aerospace is close to takeoff. The airplane company has finished building its first three QMA 11-E trainers with two more to be completed by the end of the month. They only need the FAA to approve them, and the aircraft will be up for sale. They say this means better planes for flight schools and more jobs for Altus.
The company is in the business of making planes. It's still a relatively new company, but they've come a long way. The plane, modified from a 1948 Luscombe Trainer, has been six years in the making, and CEO Mark Arciero says it's been well worth the wait.
"This process takes a long time to happen, and we've turned a corner. The finish line is within reach for us right now," he says. Arciero says the FAA will come and check the plane over within the next month. "Then they will give us an A-W, which is our air worthiness tags. At that point in time, we can sell the aircraft to the public."
He says they already have a number of interested buyers. "Customers are just waiting for us to finally get our production certificate and say, 'Okay, we're shipping.'" But, airplanes aren't the only thing Quartz Mountain sells. QMA is in the airplane part fabrication business, too. They already make most of the parts for the 11-E and other planes.
Arciero says the community helps make their work a success. "This community, Altus, is just fantastic. I mean, the folks here are just 300% behind you, will do anything to help the company," he says. So, to give back, they also teach at the local college - where many of their employees come from. Megan Tejada sold insurance before taking a machinist class, and she was offered a job. "I like it a lot. It's definitely different than anything I've ever done before, and I've learned a lot since I've been here," she says.
Arciero says the three planes ready for inspection were completed due to his employees hard work. "I'm proud of the people, I'm proud of every aspect of this business, and I'm proud of being part of it."