Clay Lacy Aviation Review
Matthew Bean

In this Clay Lacy review, we’ll give you all the details you need to consider when choosing a management company. With over 750 aircraft management companies in the USA, it’s hard to know which one to trust with your private jet. Whether for an aircraft charter, regular maintenance, or accounting management, an aircraft management company must be meticulous, experienced, and professional in its service on your private jet. 

What are the consequences of using an inexperienced or incompetent management company? Private jets range from $3 million to $90 million, so you do the math. The last thing you want is an unprofessional company taking care of one of your most significant investments.

One key player in the industry is Clay Lacy Aviation. They’re one of the leading aircraft management companies in the USA. In this Clay Lacy review, we’ll run through the company’s history, services, awards, reviews, and everything else you need to know about Clay Lacy Aviation as well as other great alternative companies you might consider.

Who is Clay Lacy Aviation? 

Worldwide, Clay Lacy Aviation (CLA) is one of the top private jet operators, offering many aircraft maintenance services, including cabin maintenance, interiors, parts, and avionics maintenance. The founder and namesake, Clay Lacy, traversed the globe, accruing more flight miles than anyone else in the world. 

The company has 50 years of experience managing and maintaining aircraft from every major manufacturer globally and serves high-end clients like celebrities, athletes, government agencies, and executives from Fortune 500 companies.

CLA has flown six US presidents and a British prime minister on their fleet. They also introduced the first Future Air Navigation System for Gulfstream GIV and GIV-SP. They have a strong reputation, and their FBOs have great reviews on Yelp, applauding Clay Lacy Aviation’s competence and professionalism. 

Quick Facts

●        Type: Private Jet Operator and Aircraft Management Company

●        Industry: Aviation

●        Founded: 1968

●        Founder: Clay Lacy

●        Headquarters: Los Angeles, California

  • Number of employees: 800

Area Served

Clay Lacy Aviation serves 20 cities across the USA in these states: 

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Washington

Key People

Clay Lacy: Founder of Clay Lacy Aviation

Clay Lacy first flew a plane at the age of 12 in Wichita, Kansas. With 1,500 flight hours, Lacy went on to work as a co-pilot for American Airlines, a post he held for 41 years. When he founded Clay Lacy Aviation in 1968, it was the first jet charter and management company in the western United States.

Brian Kirkdoffer: President and CEO

Brian Kirkdoffer joined as a Clay Lacy pilot and business executive in 1990. He learned how to fly under the instruction of Clay Lacy himself. After acquiring Clay Lacy Aviation in 2012, Kirkdoffer expanded the company to a $2 billion fleet of jets, 800 employees, and 35 locations in the USA.

David G. Lamb

David Lamb joined Clay Lacy Aviation after spending time in high executive positions in the aerospace industry, including Dassault Air Services, StandardAero LAX, and Pilkington Aerospace. A former Marine air controller, David oversees all of CLA’s operations today.

Bradford Wright, CFO

Bradford Wright came to Clay Lacy with experience as a vice president and controller for security, entertainment, and e-commerce companies. He holds an MBA, BS, and CPA designation. His hard work and accounting management experience propel Clay Lacy Aviation’s growth.

Veriar Collins-Jenkins: Senior Vice President, Charter and Management Services

Leading CLA’s charter customer service branch, Collins-Jenkins has 30 years of experience in the aviation industry. She’s worked in charter management services, operation control, and even customer and ramp services earlier in her career. Recruited in 1985, she’s been a key player leading the company to success over the years.  

CLA’s Services

  • Aircraft Management. Including detailed accounting and financial analytics, charter revenue, crew recruitment, and flight coordination. CLA has unparalleled purchasing power allowing lower operating costs on maintenance, handling, fuel, and parts for clients. They also offer transparent analytics to offer peace of mind to private jet owners. Some of the services CLA clients appreciate are regular financial insights, separate accounting in an FDIC-insured account, and regular financial strategic planning to maximize charter revenue.
  • Aircraft Maintenance. Including repairs, interiors, parts, aircraft cleaning, avionics, interiors, and cabin maintenance. Part of Clay Lacy Aviation’s innovation includes being the first company to install high-speed wi-fi on a business jet. They offer maintenance services for Gulfstream, Falcon, Embraer, Hawker, and Learjet airplanes.
  • Jet Charter. With dedicated flight crews, complimentary aircraft upgrades, flexible contracts, and more. CLA has one of the most diverse private jet charter fleets and provides exceptional service. Their clients like the custom amenities and fresh meals that they can access on charter flights. 

FBO Services

Clay Lacy has the following four full-service FBO locations:

  • Van Nuys Airport
  • Maui Kahului Airport
  • John Wayne Orange County Airport
  • Waterbury-Oxford Airport 

These locations give CLA’s clients variety in where they prefer to store and receive service on their private jets. As opposed to separating storage from services with another aircraft management company. CLA offers a substantial supply of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), boasting a carbon-neutral certification since 2019. The Maui Kahului Airport location also has a private hangar and office space.

Clay Lacy’s Awards & Accolades 

Clay Lacy boasts some of the most impressive aviation awards and accolades in history, such as his twenty-nine world speed records, appearances in various halls of fame, and recognition from other reputable organizations in the aviation industry. Let’s take a deeper look below.

1970: National Unlimited Air Race Champion on his P-51

29 world speed records

1988: Record for 36-hour, 54-minute, 15-second time around the world

2010: Wright Brothers Master Pilot Certificate Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for his aviation expertise and commitment to safety for 50 years

2009: Included in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame

2010: Included in the National Aviation Hall of Fame

2010: Pathfinder Award from the Seattle Museum of Flight

2011: Howard Hughes Memorial Award from the Aero Club of Southern California

The Best Alternative to Clay Lacy: Southern Air Custom Interiors 

With 50 years of industry experience, the strongest purchasing power of any aircraft company in the states, and celebrity passengers on their jets, this Clay Lacy review makes it clear that there are big shoes to fill for companies that aim to compete as an alternative.

But not every private jet owner will align with Clay Lacy Aviation’s services or prices. You might want someone more local. Or a company that’s a bit more affordable for the regional private jet owner. As the best possible alternative, consider Southern Air Custom Interiors for your aircraft management needs.

Southern Air Custom Interiors

Founded in 1989, Southern Air Custom Interiors is known for its high-quality craftsmanship. Southern Air Custom Interiors started with the basics – painting, interior design, and upholstery. They have since evolved to offer maintenance, avionics installation, interior design and renovation, and quality custom repairs for aircraft of various manufacturers, including Gulfstream, Dassault, Mooney, Beechcraft, and Cessna.  

Together, their experienced staff and mechanics have over 100 years of combined experience handcrafting some of the world’s finest aircraft interiors.

Beautiful wood finishes and custom leather seating by Southern Air Custom Interiors. Clay lacy review

Quick Facts:

●        Type: Custom Aircraft Interiors and Upholstery

●        Industry: Aviation

●        Founded: 1989

●        CEO: Matt Bean

●        Headquarters: Haleyville, Alabama

●        Area served: Alabama, US 


Interior Design

Led by expert upholsterers, Southern Air Custom Interiors provides clients with custom aircraft seats of the highest quality and regular annual maintenance. 

They offer custom solutions and help you pick out every aspect of your interior, including your liners, seats, gauges, and dashes. Pre-tested fabrics ensure optimal comfort even on longer flights. The best part? The services are affordable and won’t break the bank!

Custom vehicle seating with embroidered headrests. Clay Lacy review.

Avionics – Custom Installation

Southern Air Customers Interiors prides itself on working with the latest avionics technology and aircraft electronic systems (exterior and interior) for essential functions like radar technology, lighting, navigation, and response communications. They also offer installation services for single units or entire systems.

Two serviced airplanes parked in the Southern Air Customs hangar. Clay Lacy review

Meeting Your Aviation Needs

After reading this Clay Lacy review, there should be no doubt that Clay Lacy Aviation is a superstar in the industry. Southern Air Custom Interiors offers a local, accessible alternative to more affordable aircraft management services, and prides itself on translating a customer’s vision into reality.

Contact Southern Air Customs Interiors today to discuss your jet charter needs!


Matthew Bean

Sales and service specialist for Southern Air. Providing guidance and scheduling to business owners across the world on refurbishing and upgrading their aircraft

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