The year 2018 was a golden one for Clay Lacy Aviation as it celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Half a century ago, Clay Lacy was already an accomplished military pilot, airline captain and world-champion air racer with a number of world speed records to his name. Two of Lacy’s achievements in those years before he founded his namesake company occurred in 1964, when he was the first pilot to land a business jet in Los Angeles, and the following year when Lacy co-piloted the first transcontinental roundtrip flight between Los Angeles and New York during daylight hours.
In 1968, he founded Clay Lacy Aviation at Van Nuys Airport as the first jet charter company west of Mississippi. Some of the biggest names in Hollywood and corporate America were introduced to business jet travel by way of Clay Lacy’s aircraft.
Fifty years later, the company has more than 500 employees, and is the largest employer at VNY, where it has 350 workers, including flight attendants, mechanics, flight coordinators and support staff.
The company now manages more than $1.5 billion in assets, including more than 100 jets, with aircraft operations and regional offices across the U.S., including an FBO at Van Nuys Airport, and FAA repair stations in Van Nuys, San Diego and Oxford, Conn. Clay Lacy Aviation jets have flown more than 250 million miles globally.
The company is now led by President and CEO Brian Kirkdoffer, who was 15 when Lacy taught him to fly. Kirkdoffer, who became majority owner of Clay Lacy Aviation in 2012, oversaw completion of the company’s $10 million, 6-acre expansion and redevelopment project between 2015 and 2017, creating Los Angeles’ most exclusive private aviation complex.
“Clay Lacy Aviation has helped many people fulfill their dreams, and has a unique ability to attract employees who are extremely skilled, loyal and dedicated,” said Kirkdoffer. Ultimately, great people are what make our company so special.”
The golden anniversary year celebration was wrapped up with a holiday party in December.