By CRAIG FREILICH
POTSDAM -- Randy LaValley of the Potsdam-based Lavalle Transportation trucking company is branching out with LaValley Aviation, based at Damon Field, the Potsdam Municipal Airport.
LaValle Transportation, today with about 200 drivers, mechanics and office workers and with trucks plying the whole country, has been expanding since LaValley began with one truck 20 years ago, so much so that LaValley has decided it is worth the expense and trouble to own and maintain a couple of airplanes and hire a pilot to take him and others wherever and whenever they need to go.
LaValley Aviation is applying to the village Planning Board for approval of a site plan to build a hangar at Damon Field to house the two airplanes he now owns, a six-seat single engine Cessna P-210, and a more recent acquisition, a five-passenger twin-jet Citation I.
He has hired former Cape Air captain Kurt Thomas as pilot and instructor for LaValley, who is a certified pilot and who is learning to fly the Citation.
LaValley says that he will also hire a mechanic to maintain the aircraft.
So since he has the planes, the pilot and soon a mechanic, why not start a company to provide charters during those times when his company is not using the planes?
“We might as well try to lease them out,” he said.
So he has started LaValley Aviation at the Potsdam airport.
“What if you have a meeting in New York City or Boston?” said LaValley. “You can be there in 45 or 50 minutes” and be back the same day, rather than taking the better part of a day to drive down and another day to drive back.
The P-210 cruises at about 200 mph and has a range of about 1,000 statute miles before refueling. The Citation, a small corporate jet designed to be able to take off and land on the shorter runways at smaller airports like Potsdam’s, flies faster and farther and higher.
Among the reasons LaValley feels it is important to be able to travel in his own planes is the opening of a new truck terminal in Carleton Mich., near Detroit, placed to take advantage of the volume of auto parts traffic in the region.
LaValle also has facilities in Ohio and Northern California.
LaValley also thinks he will soon be building more office space at his location at 20 Madrid Avenue. He has asked local architect Brooks Washburn to design new offices because “we’ve run out of room.”
For a story from April 2012 on the expansion of LaValle Transportation, see http://northcountrynow.com/business/potsdams-lavalle-transport-now-emplo...
For a story from September 2012 on pilot Kurt Thomas, link to http://northcountrynow.com/news/cape-air-captain-trains-36-pilots-potsda...