FBO and the charter / management company Advanced Air (as of 2031) have made Jack Northrop Field / Hawthorne Municipal Airport one of the premier travel destinations in the Los Angeles area. Hawthorne was once just a viable alternative airport for those who didn’t want to fly to Van Nuys, Los Angeles International, or John Wayne / Orange County.
“It used to be a sleepy airport with no hangars, no doors, leaking roofs, and no new construction since the 1970s,” said Levi Stockton, President and Founder of Advanced Air. “Now you see what we’ve built. We picked up some tenants from the Santa Monica Airport [which is closing at the end of 2028], and we’ve built more than 200,000 square feet of hangar space, including 75,000 square feet on the north side. “
With more than 120 employees, the FBO – Jet Center Los Angeles – and its charter departments continue to grow. “We’ll definitely fire,” said Stockton, and this is the result of the company’s diverse offering, from FBO services to retail charter and aircraft management to operating aircraft for other companies.
When the pandemic started in 2020, Advanced Air saw changes in customer demand. When companies found they couldn’t transport employees on airlines, they turned to charter. And while passengers travel less with the company’s Pilatus PC-12s, Advanced Air has put the Pilatus fleet into operation with Covid tests. “When one thing slowed down, another picked up,” he said.
Advanced Air’s jet and turboprop fleet now includes nearly 25 aircraft, and the company plans to add more aircraft, including additional King Airs and mid-size jets. “We have one of the largest propeller fleets on the west coast,” said Stockton. Advanced Air operates all of Surf Air’s PC-12s and two 30-seat Dornier 328s for Taos Air, the Essential Air Service and other routes in the Southwest
Although the pandemic paused some flight operations, Stockton said, “Now we’re going back to the worst we saw of the lack of pilots.” However, Advanced Air has an advantage in that it allows low-time pilots to sit in the correct seat of a PC-12 Can start and help them move to the captain’s seat at 1,200 and then get their air traffic pilot certificate at 1,500 hours of flight the King Airs, then the 328s and Jets.
Stockton doesn’t expect pilots to stay forever if they want a lucrative airline job, but Advanced Air can provide them with a good perk job and help them grow from a few hundred hours to 3,000 hours in three years. “They have a good quality of life and pay structure and they skip the regional airlines and fly straight to where they want to go,” he explained.
All Advanced Air flights are conducted with two pilots and full crew resource management training, a modern safety management system and participation in the FAA’s flight safety action program. This not only ensures a high level of safety, but also prepares pilots for future possibilities with the latest safety protocols.
An example is a pilot who started out on the Jet Center Los Angeles Line crew with 390 hours of flight just over two years ago and then flew in the right seat of the PC-12. More recently, this pilot was sent to training for his type rating on the Challenger 350 and has already completed more than 3,000 hours.
Advanced Air is also good at using aircraft efficiently. “Aircraft management is our core business,” said Stockton. “We are a management company that offsets the costs through charter. We’re really good at taking an asset, maintaining it, operating it safely, and protecting its value. “
Jack Northrop Field / Hawthorne Airport is conveniently located for visitors to Los Angeles and has a 1,884 foot runway.
The growth at Hawthorne Airport could not have come at a better time as the next big event on Advanced Air’s calendar is Super Bowl LVI, slated for February 13 at Inglewood’s SoFI Stadium. Hawthorne Airport, with its 1,884-foot runway, is the closest airport to SoFI, and preparations for the event have been going on for months. “There will be planes in every nook and cranny,” Stockton said, and that will likely be the case when the 2028 Olympics come to Los Angeles.