‘God, I love aviation’: KF Aerospace breaks ground for future Kelowna aviation centre

On March 25 ground was broken at the future site of the KF Centre for Excellence in Kelowna. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)On March 25 ground was broken at the future site of the KF Centre for Excellence in Kelowna. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
On March 25 ground was broken at the future site of the KF Centre for Excellence in Kelowna. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)On March 25 ground was broken at the future site of the KF Centre for Excellence in Kelowna. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
On March 25 ground was broken at the future site of the KF Centre for Excellence. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
On March 25 ground was broken at the future site of the KF Centre for Excellence. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)

Fifty-one years ago, 24-year-old Barry Lapointe had $7,000 in his pocket and a dream.

Since starting Kelowna Flightcraft Ltd. all those years ago, that dream has propelled him and his company forward. KF Aerospace is now the leading Aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company in Canada.

Now, the aviation company is celebrating another milestone. On the anniversary of their 51st birthday (March 25), the company broke ground at the future site of the KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence.

“It is a special day … We’ve come a long ways from 1970. And now, as I look back, you know there are a thousand stories to be told in this airport and the Okanagan area. And the whole purpose of this centre of excellence was to bring that history forward,” said Lapointe at the groundbreaking.

KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence concept render. (Contributed)

KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence concept render. (Contributed)

The not-for-profit centre, which is expected to be completed by 2022, will serve as not only an exhibition space but also an airfield viewing gallery, cafeteria area and conference rooms, equipped to host public tours and educational programs.

Located beside Kelowna International Airport, off Airport Way, the centre will promote the legacy of aerospace in the Okanagan and the importance of the industry to the region.

What’s more, the inspiration for the design of the 17,222 square foot centre draws heavily from aeronautical wing design; it will be shaped like an airplane.

Kelowna mayor Colin Basran congratulated the company on the project.

“I want to… thank Barry for this incredible gift to our community. What an amazing investment for people like my son and others who are going to benefit greatly by this and be inspired by it,” said Basran.

Kelowna International Airport (YLW) director Sam Samaddar spoke of the long relationship between the airport and KF Aerospace. He says the centre for excellence will become a premier destination for the community and visitors.

“It will be the intersection for aviation enthusiasts, the celebration of aerospace in the Okanagan, and an iconic destination for conferences and conventions in supporting our tourism industry,” Samaddar said.

Echoing a phrase Lapointe once said years ago when they first met, Samaddar exclaimed, “God, I love aviation.”

READ MORE: Central Okanagan weekly COVID-19 numbers drop after weeks of increasing

READ MORE: Kelowna’s former top cop retires from Southeast RCMP

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Kelowna

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Penticton Farmers Market is gearing up to open April 17 with COVID-19 safety protocols in place including mandatory masks. (Brennan Phillip/file photo)
Penticton Farmers’ Market needs volunteers, prepares for opening day

The Farmers’ Market will return to Main Street April 17

An old faucet. (Pixabay)
‘Wild wild west’ of water has Farleigh Lake resident concerned

Lack of oversight and unclear responsibilities has led to nothing but stress

The Cactus Court housing property was intended to have zero barriers for accessibility, but the door sills are visibly above the outer layer of concrete. It is one of the issues that BC Housing has hired a new contractor to fix. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
BC Housing begins fixing issues at two Keremeos housing projects

The new plan is to have the units ready for residents by the summer

Slackwater Brewing, on Martin Street, is hoping this warm, sunny weather will bring out people to their patio and rooftop patio as do the dozens of other restaurants in town counting on patio visits during these difficult times. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Perfect patio weather brings perfect chance to help out Penticton restaurants

City boasts more than 30 patios to choose from, with more patios coming downtown soon

(Photo: pixabay.com)
Morning Start: More human twins are being born now than ever before

Your morning start for Friday, April 16, 2021

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $82M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

A Canada goose honks at other birds at Salish Park on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Goose addling program underway in Vernon

2021 cull applications in process as addling program enters 15th year

The Columbia Valley Wetlands are known for their extensive and fragile ecosystem. (File photo)
Wildsight speaks out against logging in Columbia Wetlands

Located 50 kms south of Golden, the proposed operation was justified as bark beetle management

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
The Vernon Pickleball Association spotlights member Don Friesen ahead of National Volunteer Week (April 18-24, 2021). (Vernon Pickleball Association)
Volunteer praised by Vernon pickleballers

Marshall Field pickleball complex wouldn’t be possible without dedicated volunteer hours: VPA

Eight-year-old Piper and her family were raising money to help Guinevere, the bearded dragon, get a gynecological surgery. Sadly, the reptile didn’t survive the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Lizard fails to survive surgery, GoFundMe dollars help Langley family offset medical bills

Guinevere, a pet bearded dragon, underwent an ovariectomy on Tuesday

John Gibson has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help care for his father Stephen McCrae-Gibson, who suffered a stroke in February and had to undergo surgery to remove a blood clot near his brain. (Contributed)
Long road ahead for Salmon Arm man recovering after stroke

Son launches GoFundMe campaign to help prepare for father’s return and rehabilitation

Most Read