In early 1983 after being informed that his employer was going out of business, Leonard Dean had a decision to make. Dean knew that he wanted to continue his aviation career so he rented a small space from the FBO at Key Field in Meridian, Mississippi. Dean Aircraft Service (DAS) created its first work order February 15, 1983 by servicing the battery of a Beechcraft Baron, an aircraft that DAS still maintains to this day. As his customer base expanded and the business continued to grow, Dean recognized the need for a location that could support an increasing number of larger aircraft.
In April 1996, DAS moved from rented space to its own new facility. Over the next 13 years, DAS grew its customer base. This growth, and the need for an even larger facility, led to the sale of the business to the Meridian Airport Authority (MAA) in November 2009. With Leonard Dean on board as the Director of Maintenance, MAA d.b.a. Dean Aircraft Service moved to an all-new 33,000 square-foot facility in September 2011. Employment has grown to 22 full-time employees and sales have nearly tripled.
Today, Dean Aircraft Service has begun an addition that will double its hangar space. This 31,000 square-foot addition was designed by Davis-Purdy Architects and is being built by J&J Contractors in Collinsville, Woodall Electric in Meridian, McLain Plumbing in Philadelphia, and Fireline in Tupelo. Construction management is provided by Yates and Sons Construction.
The new addition should be completed by September 2022 and will allow DAS to double its customer base and employ up to 50 people. Dean currently has nearly 100 customers, only two of whom are from Meridian. Customers come to Meridian from all over Mississippi and all adjoining states, plus Florida.