“I’ll need to hire someone to teach me how to relax,” Jim Steinhoff was only half-way joking.
At the end of the week, Jim enters semi-retirement. The place he’s worked since 1986, Jim’s wife Wanda has worked since 1998, and that together they’ve owned since 2002, has been sold. Classic Air LLC purchased Jim’s Aircraft Service in early June.
Classic will take over fueling operations for aircrafts and handle some of the maintenance operations. And while Steinhoff says he’ll still work on a few airplanes part-time, most area pilots will now need to go out of the area to get their aircraft annuals and for many of their other maintenance needs.
Aircraft operators are unlikely to see many changes in their fueling operations with the ownership change. Until recently, Jim’s Aircraft also rented vehicles. The car rental business ceased with the expected ownership change, and Classic has no plans to reopen that portion of the business.
The Steinhoff’s plan to do some traveling and focus more on their farm now. While they’re excited about those opportunities, leaving their business is bittersweet. They told County 10 that they’ll miss the pilots and customers, City of Riverton employees, the Denver Air Connection crew, and many great friends they’ve made over the years who frequent the airport.
And the feelings are mutual. When a couple of their regular pilots learned of their retirement plans, they rushed to the store and brought them back a cake to celebrate.
Another regular, Riverton-based pilot Remington Bailey told County 10, “I’m really happy for them, but I’m sure sad to lose them.” Bailey said that the Steinhoff’s helped him several times, “you’re not going to find that kind of customer service with a big corporation,” he concluded.
In over 3-decades, they’ve experienced a lot of changes with Fremont County air service. Jim recalled that when he started, Mesa Airlines were transporting folks to and from Denver in non-pressurized airplanes. They’ve seen more jet-traffic and less helicopter traffic overall since then. They also saw a major shift in airport service with the construction of Riverton Regional Airport’s new terminal in 1998.
Several friends and connections they’ve made along the way are no longer with us. Jim recalled folks like Tim Coleman, Floyd Johnson, Rich Johnson, Gene Jevne, and Jack Larsen, saying they were big parts of the pilot and air-service community.
Some of the Steinhoff’s favorite memories while working at the airport included the 2017 Solar Eclipse, watching the Snowbirds air demonstration squadron from Canada, seeing the Red Barons, and flying in the B-17 Sentimental Journey.
Classic Air LLC is set to take over operations Monday, June 17th.