Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the damage it has done to the air industry, KF Aerospace has announced they are moving forward with the construction of its new aerospace museum.
Ground has now been broken on the 60,000 square foot facility which will open at the Kelowna International Airport sometime next year.
The KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence will be an aviation museum and conference centre which also features two hangars for heritage aircraft displays, including classics like the Hawker Tempest MKII and the Convair CV-580. The new facility will be an aviation buffs dream, including a viewing gallery, cafeteria, and conference rooms.
“I am very excited to be under construction on this important project,” says Barry Lapointe, founder and CEO of KF Aerospace and president of the Centre for Excellence. “This facility provides the foundation for the centre’s work of celebrating our rich aviation history while providing opportunities for future generations of aviators. I am looking forward to dedicating this facility to the Okanagan when it opens in 2022.”
The groundbreaking on Thursday also coincided with KF Aerospace’s 51st anniversary.
Local officials, including Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, who voted with city council to unanimously approve the centre’s building plans last fall, were on hand to help with the ceremonial sod turning.
“We have watched and benefitted as KF evolved from an aviation company to an aerospace company,” says Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. “From airplane maintenance, engineering, defence programs, cargo operations and leasing – KF Aerospace celebrates 51 years in style by groundbreaking yet another game-changer in the industry.”
The KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence is a not-for-profit, legacy endowment for the Okanagan, courtesy of Lapointe. Designed to replicate an aircraft, the building will have the main hall as the fuselage with wing-shaped hangars to house aircraft that showcase aviation history in British Columbia and Canada.
“KF Aerospace is the longest privately held aerospace company in Canada,” says YLW Director Sam Samaddar. “The vision of Barry Lapointe is unparalleled and the Centre for Excellence will showcase the rich history the Okanagan has had with the aerospace industry. The Centre for Excellence will become a premier destination for the community and visitors to enjoy. It will inspire young aviators to share in the love for aviation that has inspired Barry in his aerospace journey.”
The Centre is also expected to feature “made-in BC” wood products and expertise, from an innovative structural design to locally sourced and prefabricated mass timber components.