Bachman Airworks keeps planes flying high

By Megan R. Harrell
Star Staff

   When the planes of local aircraft enthusiasts need attention they bring them to Bachman Airworks. Located on Airport Road in Elizabethton, Bachman Airworks is the only commercial aircraft service provider of its kind in the county. It specializes in yearly FAA inspections and repairs.
   Owner Neal Bachman began working at the location for Aircraft Services in 1997, and bought the business in October of 2000. His education, training and experience have made Bachman Airworks the success it is today.
   Bachman graduated from Moody Aviation in 1979, then spent 14 years in South America serving as a pilot, mechanic, administrator and church planter. Bachman and his wife Ivlise returned to the U.S. to provide stability for their three children.
   Aircraft owners can count on meticulous attention from Bachman and his staff. The FAA mandates that all aircraft receive yearly inspections, and although there are only 10 major point inspections, every nut and bolt is eyeballed before it leaves Bachman's hangar. Everything down to the seatbelts are removed from the aircraft and inspected. "The FAA is pretty clear on the standards that we have to follow. A lot of the standards deviate depending on the manufacturer. We have to go to the manufacturer to see what specifications each part has," Bachman said. "When I sign off on it there is a legal understanding that the airplane, as I see it, has achieved air worthiness."
   Bachman has a two-part vision for his business. "Our two main goals are to provide a reputable commercial service to aircraft owners and to provide experience for those who are preparing to go into mission services," Bachman said.
   There are currently four individuals employed at Bachman Airworks, three of whom have plans to use the experience they are gaining from the business on the international mission field. Bachman's forth employee is his wife who is in charge of the business' bookkeeping.
   Larry Murley has worked with Bachman for over three years and will use his experience in Botswana as soon as this spring. "The best thing about working here has been the mechanic experience on a variety of different aircrafts," Murley said. "Also, we have learned how to manage the resources we have and draw them together to do the things we have to do."
   In the future Bachman would like to expand his business to include more room to accommodate a larger number of planes. He would also like to become more involved in refurbishing planes that have been involved in accidents to give his employees the opportunity to showcase their talents. "I desire to become involved in rebuilding planes that have been involved in accidents. We do a little bit now, but I would like to expand that. It would decrease seasonal fluctuations in the business, and it would give great exposure to the fellows who are working here," Bachman said.
   Bachman added that aviation is a safe mode of transportation and is an enjoyable thing that does not need to be feared. "The events of 9-11 do not have to influence our opinion of aviation in general," Bachman said.