On February 3rd, 2017, the Van Nuys Airport community lost a valued friend and advocate in the passing of Neil Looy at CAPS Aviation (formerly Corporate Air Parts, Inc.)
Neil’s history with aviation is a story that spans decades. After graduating from Van Nuys High School and Arizona State University, he began his life-long pursuits in aviation. Neil joined the U.S. Air Force and became an F4 pilot, while garnering military life support experience. He also served as a pilot for World Airways, and piloted various aerobatic displays and helicopters. Neil flew for Glenn Larson – the producer of many 70s and 80s television series including Magnum, P.I. and Fall Guy – and assisted him in purchasing one of the first long-range business aircraft, a Lockheed JetStar. Along with his director of maintenance, Neil started a company, known then as Corporate Air Parts & Service and now CAPS Aviation, at Van Nuys Airport.
For many years, Neil was also a host for the VNY Aviation Careers Education (ACE) Academy, an educational summer camp designed to introduce students to the broad spectrum of opportunities within the aviation and aeronautical industries. Students had to the chance to learn about FAA Repair Stations, emergency training procedures for crew members, the types of cabin safety equipment used in the industry, and participated in live demonstrations of how the equipment worked. “Neil always chuckled at the sudden look of surprise fun on our ACE students’ faces when they would wear and activate a life vest during a demonstration,” said Brandon Nunn, Van Nuys Airport Public & Community Relations. “His door was always open to us, and our visits were as educational as they were entertaining.”
In a statement released by CAPS Aviation, Earl Marchesi, Director of Operations & Development remembered Neil’s kindness and generosity, saying that Neil “…always had time for us, and he treated us all like family. He had an intense love of aviation…and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.” Jennifer Gamon, Neil’s daughter, leads CAPS Aviation as President and CEO as it continues in its 35th year of business.
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