Business Tech

Clear Skies Ahead

Aviation has grown in leaps and bounds over the last 30 years.  Much of his growth has been enabled by advances in GPS and computer technology.  Today, eco-friendly aircraft advances are further revolutionizing air travel, making it even more reliable, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable. The first biofuel-powered plane took off just this November, paving the way toward a new era in flight. 

And one company in Rantoul, Kansas is paving its own way toward this end.  For aviation expert J.R. Dodson, this is a niche he was born to fill.

Dodson grew up in the aviation industry. “My father took me on my first plane ride when I was six months old,” he said.  “I grew up at an airport.” He has been a pilot for 30 years, and after running the parts department for Dodson Aviation—a company owned by his father, Bob Dodson—J.R. Dodson founded his own business in 1984. 

Ever since then his company, Dodson International Parts, has been turning old parts into new opportunities. Aircraft that have outlived their lifespan often still have usable equipment.  These aircraft are purchased by Dodson International and then de-manufactured.  Good parts and equipment are inventoried, sometimes overhauled, given new flight-worthy certificates by licensed shops, and resold.  Unusable parts are scrapped and recycled.

Dodson International has dismantled around 3000 aircraft and purchased thousands of surplus inventories, greatly affecting the air travel industry in a very green way.  In fact, during Al Gore’s filming of “An Inconvenient Truth,” the former vice president practiced exactly what he preached by purchasing an immediately needed part from Dodson for the aircraft he used during his to promote the Academy Award-winning documentary on global warming.

Reusing and recycling has become a way of life for those who understand that our environment cannot sustain a constant influx of new manufacturing.  Dodson combines this idea with new technology.  For example, images of aircraft parts are available through their website at, or via email per customer request.

During a slow economy, high gas prices and less liquidity forced customers to find ways to rejuvenate aging aircraft. So Dodson’s business in refurbished parts picked up considerably. “People can get a quality part with essentially the same lifespan, guarantees and serviceability, available immediately at a more attractive price,” he said. “They didn’t really think about that when they weren’t looking to save money.”

Dodson International is also ramping up its services for individuals and businesses purchasing new aircraft.  Goals for 2012 include continued acquisition of high-end corporate aircraft such as Bombardier, Gulfstream and Falcon, and expanding what is known as “rotable or exchange inventory.”  Rotable inventory enables clients to obtain the parts they need immediately in exchange for their current part in need of repair.  In today’s globalized world, having aircraft available at all times is often a necessity, and Dodson International understands that need.

The company strives to operate according to a “Golden Rule” mentality, treating both clients and suppliers the way they themselves would like to be treated.  Dodson International looks forward to continued involvement in the advancing air travel industry, as well as being a responsible entity within the worldwide business environment. 

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