Barry Lapointe was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he attended the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Barry graduated with honors from the Aircraft Mechanic Engineer (AME) course in 1966 as class president. After earning his commercial pilot’s license in 1967, he gained invaluable experience working his way through various small air-charter companies. His hard led him to Air West Airlines (later to become Air BC) as Chief Engineer.
Barry moved to Vernon, BC in 1968, where he saw a niche market opportunity for an aircraft maintenance company. He ventured out with his own business repairing small aircraft throughout the Okanagan Valley and all the way up to Revelstoke.
"I used to drive this 3 tonne van into farmers fields and into barns," he says. "People didn't know how to get their planes to Vancouver when they needed maintenance."
In the late 1960s, owner of Calona Wines and avid pilot, Joe Capozzi, had a hangar at the Kelowna airport which he also used to build large wine tanks. Capozzi met Barry and offered up his hangar space. In 1970, Kelowna Flightcraft (now KF Aerospace) was born.
A year later Jim Rogers joined him in Kelowna, when Capozzi's lease on the hangar was up, Barry and Jim took it over. The company initially performed inspection checks, maintenance and other various tasks on assorted small aircraft throughout the Okanagan. Over the years this expanded to commercial courier and charter services.
While there is significant financial risk with any new venture into a global market like aviation, Barry is proud to acknowledge a recorded profit annually since the inception in 1970. KF offers its clients true, one-stop service. KF can fly, maintain, modify, engineer, manufacture, paint and train both crew and mechanics.
At a young age, Barry demonstrated his management skills with an instinctive ability to lead and inspire others. It’s a success story of a single aircraft mechanic whose passion for aviation is now shared by over 1,000 KF employees across Canada.
1998 - Entrepreneur of the Year, Pacific Region
1999 - Business Excellence Award from the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.
1999 – British Columbia Institute of Technology Honorary Doctor of Technology
2000 - Honorary Life Member, Air Transport Association of Canada
2002 – Aerospace Training Innovator Award from the Aerospace Industry Association of British Columbia
2005 - Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Association Hall of Fame – Pacific Region
2007 - Vancouver College Hall of Honor inductee in recognition of his exemplary performance and achievements, for reflecting credit on the Vancouver College community and for his service to the community.
2007 - Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award as Business Leader of the Year.
2008 – British Columbia Export Award for Leadership
2009 – Paul Harris Fellowship certificate from the Rotary Club of Kelowna
2011 – British Columbia Aviation Council Lifetime Achievement Award
2013 – Honorary Fellow Medal – Okanagan College for his contribution and leadership in aviation entrepreneurship
2015 - Order of British Columbia