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Mansfield's King Aviation a Family Affair

The story of King Aviation an unlikely set of circumstances.

Kelley Dineen never intended to work in the flight industry, you could say she just kind of fell into it.

Dineen, president of King Aviation, said she originally went to Johnson and Wales University in Providence for hotel and restaurant management, but in the recession of 1991, there wasn’t much work in those fields. She said her father, already an accomplished pilot and was running the flight school, asked her to join the business.

“When I graduated, no one was hiring,” she said. “I took the summer and waitressed down the Cape, but come September, I had to have a job and he said go help your brother.”

The flight school has a small number of its own airplanes for instruction. Dineen said that she and her brother, David, run the flight school.

Dineen said that her father’s love of flying, and subsequently her own, started when he took it up as a hobby when she was about six or seven years old.

“I like the peace and quiet about it,” she said. “Even with the hum of the engine it’s quiet, I find it very relaxing.”

Dineen said that the airport itself has an array of two and four-seat planes, mostly owned by private flyers. The planes makes range from the 1940s up to modern times, including a Boeing-Steerman two-wing navy training biplane.

“They still work,” she said. “They do last longer than a car as long as you take car of them.”

Dineen said that all airplanes in the airport, including KA’s planes, go under rigorous inspection every year.

“It’s not like getting a sticker from the Mobil station,” she said.  “It can take a week or two sometimes three depending if they have do to repairs.”

Dineen said that while the planes are very interesting, the biggest part of the business, like most businesses, is the people.

"You need to adapt to everybody else you can’t expect people to adapt how you operate," she said. "You need to talk, listen and anticipate problems. You definitely have to be able to multitask to do this job.

Dineen said that, as a pilot herself, her favorite planes would be for what is called a low-wing aircraft.

“I like the old old airplanes witht hose big loud radial engines,” she said with a grin. “If I could buy one of those I would, like one of the Cessna 195s… with an old big loud engine. It’s really a gas-guzzler.”

Dineen said that while the airport is used primarily for private owners, occasionally musicians, professional sports players and other celebrities come through.

She said that Jimmy Buffett, Elton John, Rush, The Rolling Stones, The Offspring, Donald Trump, Boomer Esiason, Joe Gibbs, Kyle Brady, the New Kids on the Block and Joe Andruzzi have used the airport.

BH January 07, 2013 at 01:56 PM
I wish there was an event or family day or something at the airport, unless I'm not aware of such. Not every town has an airport, it'd be nice to celebrate it once or twice a year as a town.
Louis Andrews January 07, 2013 at 02:14 PM
The airport has an open house every fall. Last year we also hosted the Touch-a-TrucK event. Watch the papers or this web site for the dates and time. L. Andews, Mansfield Airport Commission.

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