About

Pentastar Aviation is the premier aviation provider in the Great Lakes Region, servicing both regional and global travelers from our Executive Terminal Operation (ETO) at Oakland County International Airport in Waterford, Michigan.

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Premier Aviation Provider in Great Lakes Region

For more than 50 years, Pentastar Aviation has stayed true to our mission of exceeding customers’ expectations by adhering to the highest standards of safety and service quality with professionalism and integrity.  In fact, it is an unwavering commitment that allows us to continue setting the standard in the private aviation industry. 

Our History

Pentastar Aviation boasts a rich history. Established in 1964—originally as the internal flight department for the Chrysler Corporation—Today, under the ownership and nearly century-old family legacy of Edsel B. Ford II, we provide aircraft management, advisory services, aircraft maintenance, avionics services, interior services, award-winning FBO services, industry-leading Fivestar® Gourmet catering, and private jet charter operated through Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc.

1964

Established as Chrysler Air Transportation, Chrysler’s corporate flight department, originating at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

1980

Renamed 

1990

Operations moved to Oakland County International Airport.

1995

New 103,000 square foot maintenance facility opened for public business.

2000

A 48,000 square foot hangar and a state-of-the-art 11,000 square foot passenger terminal with its own commercial jet way, including onsite U.S. Customs, Immigration and Agriculture, was added.

2001

Edsel B. Ford II fulfills his passion for aviation by aquiring the company. He currently presides as Owner and Chairman

2009

Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc., (PACI) gained FAA approval for Direct Air Carrier Services for fixed and rotary-wing Air Ambulance operations.

2010

Pentastar Aviation and PACI became “IS-BAO registered” Operators (Parts 91 and 135).

2013

Pentastar Aviation acquired Aircraft Interior Services (AIS) for complete refurbishing and upgrades. In 2015, an interior design studio was opened to further support this business.

2018

Pentastar Aviation joins the Air Charter Safety Foundation and enrolls in their Aviation Safety Action program (ASAP). 

2019

Pentastar is voted #1 FBO and continues to be the most awarded aviation company in the U.S.

Leadership

Edsel B. Ford II – Chairman & Owner

Mr. Ford is the sole owner of Pentastar Aviation. He is the great-grandson of Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, and continues his family’s aviation legacy through his passion for aviation and leadership of Pentastar Aviation. Mr. Ford began his career at Ford Motor Company in January 1974. He was named President and Chief Operating Officer of Ford Motor Credit Company in May 1991 and elected an officer of Ford Motor Company in 1993. In 1988, Mr. Ford was elected to the Board of Directors of Ford Motor Company and, as a consultant, he is active in company affairs and corporate dealer relations.

Gregory J. Schmidt – President & Chief Executive Officer

As President & Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Schmidt is responsible for the overall performance, strategic direction, and long-term growth of Pentastar Aviation.  He has been active in the business aviation industry, having previously served as Treasurer and then Chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). Prior to his current role, he served as Pentastar’s Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, responsible for the company’s financial affairs and the legal, risk management, IT, purchasing and contract management functions.  In the decade prior to joining Pentastar Aviation, Mr. Schmidt held numerous leadership roles with Pulte Homes, Inc.  During his tenure with Pulte, he served as the President of Pulte Homes of Ohio and also as Manager on the Corporate Asset Management Committee, overseeing capital investments across the U.S.  Mr. Schmidt also served as the founding Secretary & Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Center for Success Network, a non-profit organization he helped establish, which focuses on providing educational support and life-skills training to children in the cities of Pontiac and Detroit, Michigan and Marion, Indiana.

Brad Bruce – Executive Vice President of Maintenance and Sales

With 15 years of industry experience, Mr. Bruce has lead business development and strategic direction for full-service business aviation corporations where he has held a variety of positions including Vice President of Flight and Sales. He specializes in aircraft management and air carrier operations under FAR part 121, 125, and 135 requirements. Mr. Bruce served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps as an aircraft technician on Cobra and Huey helicopters. Prior to joining Pentastar Aviation, he was General Manager of Aircraft Management and Charter for Landmark Aviation.

Robert T. Sarazin – Vice President FBO Services

Mr. Sarazin has an aviation career spanning over 37 years. He has worked in various positions of increasing responsibility at Pentastar Aviation for more than 32 of those years. Mr. Sarazin has managed multiple FBO locations and has managed ground handling for numerous dignitaries, including Air Force One for two presidents. Mr. Sarazin has overseen large aircraft handling for entertainers, professional sports teams and intercontinental shuttle flights. He currently oversees all Fixed Base Operations, Pentastar Aviation Facilities, as well as Pentastar Aviation’s onsite FiveStar Gourmet Catering.

Michael L. Baker – Vice President of Safety & Compliance

Mr. Baker began his career with Pentastar Aviation in 1982 as a licensed A&P Mechanic. Since then he has held a multitude of positions with increasing responsibility including FAA/EASA Accountable Manager for Pentastar’s Repair Station Operations and Managing Director of Maintenance for Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc. As Vice President of Safety & Compliance, Mr. Baker is responsible for primary administrative oversight and fostering strategic planning/leadership in the areas of companywide regulatory conformance, quality control/assurance, internal technical publications, health safety and environmental (HSE), safety management system (SMS) and emergency response plan (ERP).

Patricia A. Zikakis – Vice President Human Resources

Ms. Zikakis is responsible for driving the strategy and supporting initiatives to attract, motivate, develop and retain world-class talent in support of Pentastar Aviation’s business goals and objectives. Prior to joining Pentastar Aviation, she held human resource positions with SelectCare, First of America, Manufacturer’s Bank, Bank of Oklahoma and Marshall Field and Co. in Chicago.

Mark E. Schenkel – Controller

Mr. Schenkel has responsibility for leading the finance & accounting and information technology teams at Pentastar Aviation and Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc. Prior to joining Pentastar Aviation, Mr. Schenkel held financial management positions with companies in the industrial services and automotive supplier sectors. He began his career in public accounting and is a member of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants.

Douglas Levangie – Vice President of Maintenance Operations & Advisory Services

Mr. Levangie is a 35-year aviation industry veteran and currently the Vice President of Maintenance Operations & Advisory Services for Pentastar Aviation LLC. During his 30-year career with Pentastar, he has held various positions including A&P Technician, Lead Technician, Shift Supervisor and Director of Maintenance. Mr. Levangie has a diverse range of corporate jet experience and is well-versed in Gulfstream, Cessna, Hawker, and Bombardier product lines with significant hands-on experience. In his current position, Mr. Levangie is involved with all facets of customer aircraft transactions. His responsibilities include aircraft operational and maintenance budget projections, aircraft technical evaluations, and aircraft refurbishment planning and management. He is also a Senior Certified Aircraft Appraiser and an active member of NAAA. Mr. Levangie has experience coordinating aircraft transactions with the aircraft buyer, seller and repair stations. He has an understanding of FAA and foreign regulations and has managed over two dozen transactions/refurbishment projects in the past five years.

Robert J. Rufli – Vice President of Flight Operations & Director of Operations

Mr. Rufli joined Pentastar Aviation in 2017 as Vice President of Flight Operations & Director of Operations. He also currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF). He has more than 35 years of experience in the aviation industry including flight operations management, corporate shuttle start up and operations and FAA certification and certificate mergers. Most recently, Mr. Rufli served as President of Landmark Aviation. Prior to that, he served as Director of Flight Operations. For more than 22 years, Mr. Rufli was Executive Director of Flight Operations at Aerodynamics, Inc., and Chief Pilot at PDQ Air Service. He earned his Bachelor of Science in air commerce from Florida Institute of Technology and completed flight training in Gulfstream III, Hawker 800XP & 700, McDonnell Douglas MD-80, Airbus A-320, Beechjet 400A and 400, Mitsubishi Diamond, Beech Starship and Merlin VIC and 300 through Flight Safety International.

Kip Catlin – Chief Pilot

Mr. Catlin joined Pentastar Aviation in 2012 as Chief Pilot. His over 31 years of experience includes working as a corporate pilot, airline captain, charter pilot and Director of Operations and General Manager of an on-demand air charter and FBO operation in central Michigan. Mr. Catlin is responsible for overseeing the activities of roughly 40 crew members.

Cory Flatoff – Director of Safety

Mr. Flatoff joined Pentastar Aviation in 2012 with over 25 years of corporate and charter aviation experience. He is responsible for directing, organizing, developing, and maintaining Pentastar Aviation’s proprietary Safety Management System (SMS). Mr. Flatoff also maintains a line position flying the Gulfstream V.

“We are proud to uphold our tradition of aviation excellence.  Our team is committed to working together to exceed the expectations of our customers.”

– Edsel B. Ford II, Owner and Chairman

PROUD SUPPORTER

Throughout the year, Pentastar offers Casual-for-a-Cause days, organizes collections and provides numerous other opportunities for our employees to give back to our community.  We are proud that, with generous employee contributions, hundreds of volunteer hours, and additional support provided by Pentastar through donations and matching challenges, in-kind donations and corporate sponsorships, each year we are able to lend support to a dozen or more organizations in our community and beyond.  

Below are some of the organizations we have supported over the last 24 months.

 

 

dollars last 24 months

For more than a decade, Pentastar Aviation has hosted Operation Good Cheer, an annual event sponsored by Child and Family Services of Michigan. Throughout a two-day period, hundreds of volunteers meet at Pentastar to unload, sort and reload the more than 17,000 gifts. Pentastar employees not only donate countless hours assisting in the gift sort but they also commit to fulfilling Christmas wish lists for 50 of the foster care children who are part of this program in order to ensure these children have a Christmas that is just a little brighter.  

plus Volunteer hours last 24 months

Our Commitment to World-Class Customer Service

Most Awarded FBO in the Country! 

Crain’s Detroit Business Cool Places to Work in Michigan 2019

Input from Pentastar employees on an engagement and satisfaction survey, administered from the third party Best Companies Group, led to their recognition and placement on the list. 

#1 In the Great Lakes Region, #2 In the Americas

The AIN FBO survey evaluates FBOs based on five categories: line service; passenger amenities, pilot amenities, facilities, and customer service representatives. The current survey process provides an overall average from 2013-current, in which Pentastar has annually been recognized as one of the top FBOs in the Americas. Since 2006, Pentastar has received 16 top honors in this survey.

#1 Best Independent, #2 Best U.S.

The Professional Pilot PRASESurvey, heralded as the gold standard of aviation ground service leaders, is an annual tabulation of customer opinions of aviation ground services.  Each year, Pro Pilot polls executives in charge of flight departments, aviation managers, chief pilots, pilots, CEOs, and other qualified subscribers to Professional Pilot magazine to recognize industry-leading service providers. Since 2005 Pentastar has annually ranked among the top ten FBOs on this survey.

Business Flying & Aviation Maintenance Safety Award

28 Consecutive Years Without an Accident or Incident

For 60 years, NBAA’s Flying Safety Award program has brought worldwide attention to the business aircraft safety record. These awards recognize member companies for exceptional achievement in maintaining safe flying operations. Much more than a member benefit, they serve as testimony to the high degree of professionalism inherent in business aircraft operations, and as a tribute to the skill of a company’s management, maintenance, pilot and support personnel teams.

The Pilots’ Choice awards recognize’s FBOs that provide arrival and departure services for private and business aircraft at more than 5,000 U.S. airports.  Since 2011, Pentastar has been a recipient of one of the Top 50 U.S. FBOs 7 times.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service are among the world’s top honors for customer service, contact center, business development and sales professionals. In 2018, Pentastar received a Silver Stevie Award For Sales & Customer Service.

According to our customers...

Our Net Promoter Score

Customer Feedback is very important to us. It allows us to continually monitor and update our processes.  That is why we ask all of our customers to take a Customer Satisfaction Survey which provides us with a Net Promoter Score.

 

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology represents the net percentage of our customers who would recommend our company and services to a friend or colleague.

What our FBO Customers have to say...

“Every time we come, these guys exceed our expectations. We travel around the world and visit many, many FBOs and these guys still are the best Truly job well done. EVERYONE is very professional and polite. Services were very efficient and done right the first time.” –  Anonymous

“Your staff were nothing sort of outstanding, very professional and tried to anticipate our every need.” –  Anonymous

“Great amenities, Better than most. Super friendly staff. I go to a lot of FBOs…NONE have better service than Pentastar KPTK! You are the best hands down!” –C. Kimes, Captain CFA Inc., Vandalia, OH

“Very high level of service. Easily the best FBO in the US!” – R.Leed, Chief Pilot GOMACO Corp., Ida Grove, IA

“Great FBO. The best we visit.” – M.Gilliland, Pilot Net Jets, Monroe, NC

“The folks here are always super nice. Pilots love the snacks and drinks available to us.” –  Mike, Captain/Check Airman, NJA

“I’m never anything but completely satisfied with the customer service provided by the Pentastar team!” –  L. Blake Manager-Corporate Shuttle, Cummins Inc., Columbus, IN

“You have a truly excellent FBO and staff. I’ve been hundreds of places and this is one of my top. Excellent line service met them at the aircraft for their bags.” –  S. Robbins Company Pilot, Baldor Electric, Fort Smith, AR

“The best FBO in the Great Lakes and Top in the U.S. Other FBOs could learn how to do it right from Pentastar.” –  D.Segrist Chief Pilot, Diamond Aviation, Jackson, MI

” Best equips FBO I go to on a regular basis.”  – M. Creager Captain, DPJ, Geneva FL

“Everybody was great- rarely do I see a whole group that is professional and enjoys their job.” –  J.Smith Chief Pilot, Team Health, Knoxville, TN

“Very welcoming staff and CS Representatives. You should be proud of your employees.” –  M.Levesque Captain, NetJet, Apex, NC

“I wish every FBO could be as professional and courteous as Pentastar is. Fantastic customer service. They all go the extra mile to make sure everything is to your liking.” – Pilot, Des Monies, Iowa

“Love flying to Pentastar as we always get FIRST CLASS Treatment.” – Pilot

“As usual, the service at Pentastar is second to none. Best FBO anywhere. Every employee always goes out of their way to make sure our visit here is perfect.” – Captain, London, Ontario

“We always enjoy the tremendous service that we receive here at Pentastar. You can’t improve on perfection.” –  Captain, Birch Run, MI

“Very friendly and helpful. Others would be well served to follow the same practices.” –  Contract Pilot, Birmingham, AL

What our MRO Customers have to say...

“Great job by the Pentastar MRO team. This was a short notice visit with several lead time items and they RTS’d early!!” –  Client Services Manager, Petaluma, CA

“What sealed the deal for us was the way Pentastar proactively performed, at their expense, a vertical burn to make sure our fabric would work. That forward thinking made me believe that if you would be that on top of the small and lesser things of our project, you would do great on the bigger and more important parts as well.”  – C.Childers, Director of Maintenance, Gibbs International Inc., Greer, SC

“Pentastar is always the best when it comes to service and paperwork accuracy.” – Owner, Arbor Springs, MI

What our Charter customers have to say...

“Everyone at Pentastar Aviation are great to work with from sales to line crew, it’s always a worry free experience. Our Charter sales representative always goes above and beyond to ensure the process goes flawless from start to finish.” –  P. Valentage, Executive Assistant, NBT Investments Bloomfield Hills, MI

“The staff at Pentastar is top notch.” – J. Manecky, Administrative Assistant, Kohlberg & Co., LLC, Mt. Kisc, New York

“Our Charter sales representative and the flight ops crew always provide excellent service and updates along the way. Our passengers always provide excellent feedback on their trips!” –  Executive Assistant Auburn Hills, MI

“Pentastar always goes above and beyond to please. I have been working with them here for 20 years and they have always been spot on!” – Executive Assistant, Northville, MI

COVID-19 UPDATE

Dear Loyal Customers, Friends, and Concerned Travelers:

 

As our community, our nation, and our world collectively continue to navigate through these unprecedented and uncertain times, we search for ways to protect ourselves and the ones we love.  The team at Pentastar Aviation remains committed to helping you get to where you need to be, whenever you need to be there.  We will continue to set the standard for aviation and customer support excellence as we have since 1964.

 

From our family to yours, please stay safe and healthy.

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