Kimberly-Clark sells paper products with big planes

From Kleenex and Kotex to Huggies and Depends, K-C has you covered from nose to tail.


Lead Senior Capt Don Trekell is responsible for DAL-based flight operations. He played a major role in setting up and maintaining the department's IS-BAO certification, which is scheduled to achieve Stage III status in 2012.

Robert Casper is aviation maintenance manager for Kimberly-Clark. He was a student at Southern Illinois University with an undeclared major when a friend suggested that aviation maintenance might be a good career to pursue. Casper graduated with a bachelor of science in aviation management as well as a minor in industrial psychology.

The same friend, Jon Haag, now an aviation maintenance technician with Kraft, then recommended that Casper apply for a corporate maintenance position at K-C Aviation.

It was 1986 and Casper was aiming for a career in airline maintenance, but he applied for the position and soon found himself working second shift at K-C on a range of corporate jets including Challengers, Falcons, Gulfstreams and Hawkers.

Senior Capt Mick Westbrook is based at DAL and serves as the department's safety officer. He played a key role in setting up the department's SMS.

After a few years at K-C, Casper began specializing in Challengers and had been working on them exclusively for several years when the former K-C Aviation business unit was sold to Gulfstream in 1998. Casper was offered a position to remain with the K-C flight department so that he could continue to maintain the Challenger that he had worked on for several years.

Senior Capt Steve Knabe has flown with Kimberly-Clark for 19 years. Based at ATW for the first 15 years, he is now stationed at DAL.

Today at ATW Casper directs a 2nd mechanic, Scott Stewart, also a former K-C Aviation technician, and Gary Johnson, maintenance assistant. Casper holds A&P and IA ratings while Stewart is an A&P. Johnson has been trained on the job.

Casper also directs Yvan Chouin­ard, an A&P and IA based at DAL who is primarily responsible for maintaining the Kimberly-Clark GV which is based there. Like Casper and Stewart, Chouinard is a former K-C Aviation tech. Each of the 3 has over 25 years of experience in maintaining business jets.

All maintenance is conducted in accordance with the factory approved maintenance program. On site at both ATW and DAL the department performs minor inspections, corrects discrepancies and handles basic tasks such as tire changes that don't require special tooling.

DAL-based Maintenance Technician Yvan Chouinard changes an oil filter on the GV. Chouinard has serviced this aircraft since it was new.

If additional equipment or expertise is required, the GVs are sent to Gulfstream ATW or DAL, while the Sovereign is sent to the Citation service center at MKE (Mitchell, Milwaukee WI).

When it required refurbishment, the Sovereign was sent to Duncan Aviation LNK (Lincoln NE) for paint and interior. Both Kimberly-Clark GVs were painted and had new interiors installed at Gulfstream ATW shortly before being put into service.

Hot section inspections for the Pratt & Whitney engines on the Sovereign are performed at Pratt & Whitney Engine Services BTV (Burlington VT). Rolls-Royce midlife inspections (equivalent to HSIs) on the DAL-based GV were done at the Rolls-Royce facility in Montreal, where it is expected the ATW GV's engines will be serviced.

When Kimberly-Clark still had its Challenger, HSIs were performed at the GE facility at WLD (Winfield KS).

Every other year each Kimberly-Clark technician attends FlightSafety Intl recurrent maintenance training at ICT (Mid-Continent, Wichita KS) for the Sovereign or SAV (Savannah GA) for the Gulfstream.

With its commitment to IS-BAO standards and a mission to serve as a productive business tool for both senior executives and company employee teams, the Kimberly-Clark flight department exemplifies business aviation's ability to enhance corporate goals and contribute to shareholder value.

Mike Potts is an aviation consultant and freelance writer. He worked in corporate communications for Beech and Raytheon Aircraft between 1979 and 1997.


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