2013 Marks the 30th Year of continuous business for International Air Parts and I have been asked to write a few words in commemoration of this event.

Like many small businesses , IAP began with humble beginnings in my home in the suburbs of Sydney Australia . I would have never guessed that 30 years later it would be part of a Public Listed company , be a world leader in the support of Commuter and regional aircraft , and have offices and representations world wide.

To trace IAP’s roots properly you need to go back to 1942 when my father Roy joined the Fleet Air Arm. His career is legendary, spanning 70 years. He finally retired aged 85 last year.

Roy spent 15 years in the Fleet Air Arm including active service in the Malayan Emergency where he was awarded the British Empire Medal. After 15 years in service he gravitated to Bristol Aircraft Company and hence what became British Aerospace. His civilian career included time as a stress man working on Concorde, sales and service manager for various aircraft at home and abroad, and culminating in being Regional Director for Commercial aircraft based in Singapore.

In this background I travelled the world from aged 6, being educated in many countries, during what can only be described as a glorious era of aviation. The experiences I had as a child shaped my life and could never be repeated today. I met many important people, visited countries that today bear no resemblance to what they do now and flew on aircraft that I probably should not have!

Of course I thought all this quite normal. Meeting presidents of airlines, having Concord people at our house for dinner, hearing all the political intrigue going on – Looking back on it all I can say is “WHAT AN EDUCATION I HAD!!”

Despite actively trying not to follow in the footsteps of my father it was inevitable that I would embark upon my own career in aviation. After finishing University in the UK it was only a matter of months before I was working for an aircraft engine company in the USA before heading to Sydney in the early 1980’s and starting IAP in 1983.

Originally focusing on buying and selling spares (plus some representations) within a year or so I had purchased our first aircraft, a Douglas Dc-3. This was sold within days of purchasing it , to a pilot who paid for it with a wad of travellers cheques held together with a rubber band ! He passed them over to me in a Pizza Hut in Manila.

Many more aircraft, engines and spares packages were to follow. To date IAP has owned (bought/sold/leased/parted out) over 250 aircraft and have become world experts on many turboprops.

We did lot of crazy things in the early days. One exciting event was spending a few weeks in the Borneo Jungle with natives, to salvage a crash damaged BN2T. We did a 5 hour sling load – a record at the time – to get it back to civilization so I could ship her home. We eventually rebuilt the aircraft and it now flies in the USA .

We salvaged a Fokker F27 from the Pakistan / Afghanistan boarder, An Airbus A300 in 50 degree heat, a HS748 from the mountains in Nepal. You could never justify (from a regulatory or financial basis) doing these sorts of things today.
Those “Indiana Jones” days will never return but the company was founded on exploits that you could write a book about – and perhaps one day I will.

Other interesting events included being stranded in the Philippines during the Marcos revolution and witnessing his fall first hand. This was then repeated when stranded in Jakarta with the fall of Soeharto. Escaping the hotel at 4 am in the morning driving past the burning cars in the streets to get to the airport! No wonder I ended up divorced!

Today the aviation world is more regulated, more structured and IAP has moved with the times. Products we thought would go on forever have been retired and we have firmly positioned ourselves in today’s market place with modern equipment such as the Fokker 100 and salvaging crashed aircraft are but a memory.

On the link below I have compiled a scrap book of some of the more interesting events of the past 30 years and invite you to take a look and enjoy.

I can honestly say that IAP has done it all. Our core business has always been spares support but in the late 1990’s I started a regional airline called Horizon Airlines. We operated HS748 and Metro aircraft. In 2001 we purchased Aeropelican Airlines, a Twin otter Airline. We have had engine overhaul shops, heavy engineering facilities, Helicopter sales etc. Today we are more focused and are mainly involved in Spares, logistic support and engineering but our heritage has given us a technical background the envy of many.

I remain our Managing Director and I suspect will follow in my father’s footsteps and also retire at 85 . Fortunately that’s a LONG way off! My love affair with aviation will never dissipate and this is more than a job it is a passion. A good example is my Douglas Dc-2, one of only 8 remaining in the world. I have been restoring her for many years now. This aircraft is the true “grandfather” of all airliners. I invite you to click the link, take a look and become a sponsor to assist in the restoration of “CDZ”. My involvement with Warbirds is also well known.

But IAP is not me. It is a living breathing entity staffed by dedicated, loyal and knowledgeable staff, some whom have been with me almost 20 years, through all the ups and downs a company our age has seen.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank those staff – Past and Present for making this all possible and of course my father for giving me the crazy upbringing that caused all this!

Without our customers of course we could not be here. Many of those customers I consider personal friends and those friendships go on forever. Thank you for the past 30 years and I look forward to the next 30 years and your continued patronage of IAP and its subsidiaries. I look forward to the future with as much enthusiasm as I did in 1983.

Kindest Regards to All

Steve Ferris

 

IAP Scrapbook