Many times, our childhood passions do not become larger aspects of our life. We leave these things behind us as we grow up or they become just a hobby or secondary part of our day to day. For John Truelson, that is not the case. From a young age, he had a passion for planes and flying even though he wasn’t always convinced it would take him all the way to success.
“I am a Texan through and through. I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t love planes. I used to beg my dad to take me to Dallas airport after school so that I could stand at the fence and watch the planes fly overhead. Looking at planes, studying planes, and ultimately flying planes is the place where I feel most myself. But the thought of owning my own aviation company — this was something that was so far outside the reality of my life that it wasn’t even really a dream. However, when I drew pictures of planes as a kid, I used to put my own logo on them so somewhere inside, I knew,” John recalls.
John called the experience of it as something that was hardwired into his cells. Though he wasn’t always sure how his passion would manifest, he knew that he had a special calling to planes. Since then, John has turned his dream of flying into a reality by starting a private jet charter and aircraft maintenance business. For his business, people are able to get a card where they pay a fixed hourly rate for their planes.
“The advantage to clients of the latter is that they don’t have to pay for the dead head or empty return trip. But it only makes financial sense for certain people, and I am very straight up with my clients as to whether or not I think it’s a good idea for them. I want my clients to have options as customer service is the foundation of our business. But it is also critical that they know that they can always trust us to be honest. Making more money in the short term is not my business philosophy. I am in this for the long haul so it’s important to me to build relationships with my clients that will last a lifetime. Also, I am just a straight shooter in general,” John explains.
However, despite the success and knowing that this was what he was meant to do, John’s journey was not without obstacles. The biggest one he faced, like with many businesses, was trying to fulfill and meet all of the regulations that are in place when it comes to starting your own business, particularly one having to do with planes.
“For me, the biggest challenge to starting an aviation business is capital and regulations and I nearly went bankrupt before opening the doors. What many don’t realize is that getting certified by the FAA can be a multi-year process. There were days during this time where I thought that chasing my dream was going to turn into the biggest mistake of my life. Since planes are something that I love, the money was irrelevant,” John remarks.
Nothing was able to stop John, however, and he has been on a path to major success ever since getting over the first stumbling block. His next big project is to continue to grow his fleet of planes as his business begins to take off metaphorically and literally. He details his next steps below:
“My next project is to continue to grow the 135 charter part of the business, and expand the maintenance arm in terms of the range of services and aircraft specialties. I am also working towards eventually becoming a Fixed Based Operator which is basically a gas station and terminal for private airplanes.”