Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles showcasing businesses headquartered at the Ada Municipal Airport and their impact on the community. The airport is host this weekend to the third annual Ada Air Expo and Frank Stout Memorial Warbird Fly-in. A hamburger cookout at 6 p.m. Friday, will allow visitors to meet pilots as they arrive at the airport for Saturday’s Air Expo. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. for Saturday’s activities. Admission for Adults is a $5 button. Children 10 and under are admitted free.


ADA – Ada Aircraft Painting, Inc. has been doing business at the Ada Airport for more than four decades.

The present owners, Dewey and Greg Gandy, purchased the company in May 1999 from Red and Vera Brand when Red retired. His brother, James, started the business in 1962.

“We now employ seven local people,” said Dewey Gandy, who owns controlling interest in the company. “We refinish single engine and light twin piston aircraft. We strip old paint, prepare and do different designs. Most of the planes we paint have a base color and two or three other colors. All the work is done by hand.”

Gandy says the process typically takes about five weeks at a cost ranging from $6,000 to $20,000 a plane.

“We do about three aircraft a month,” Gandy said. “We do a lot of business out of Texas. We also do work for customers in and around Oklahoma and a fair amount of business out of California. Ninety-nine percent of our business comes from outside the city of Ada.”

Gandy noted that most of money generated by Ada Aircraft Painting, Inc. is brought in from out of town. However, the company also paints aircraft for Tornado Alley Turbo, another Ada Airport based company.

“My relationship with Tornado Alley is very good. If we have customers that need things Tornado Alley does, we send the customers to them. If Tornado Alley has customers that need our services, they send them to us. All this is out-of-town money.

“We average close to a half million dollars a year in revenues to Ada, and that revenue is dispersed here,” Gandy said. “We do a lot of business right here in Ada – a lot through payroll and local vendors,” Gandy said. “We also generate a lot of auxiliary income from customers. They buy fuel here, eat at local restaurants, stay in local motels and shop at local stores.”

 Gandy says his company’s typical customers have disposable income and are able to afford various types of aircraft. “The aircraft we paint are mostly 1960s and 1970s vintage airplanes.”

He explained that because some of the manufacturers stopped making airplanes in the 1980s, there was a shortage of airplanes from that era.

Those companies have begun building planes again, but cost of new planes is very high and used planes can be purchased at considerably lower prices.

As an example, Gandy said a new Bonanza would cost approximately three-fourths of a million dollars, whereas a used one could be purchased for less than $200,000.

“Aircraft enthusiasts could purchase, equip and paint such a plane at a much reduced cost,” Gandy said.

“Typically, a good used airplane holds its value.

“We are now working on a Waco biplane and a Cessna 175, a Comanche 180, and a Beechcraft B36-TC turbocharged plane.”

Greg is shop manager. “He pulls the trigger on the paint and applies the factory and custom designs,” Dewey said.

Dewey was in the oil industry for 23 years before he and Greg purchased Ada Aircraft Painting, Inc. He is a pilot and aircraft owner.

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