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. Upon completing his commercial pilot’s license in 1967, Barry gained invaluable experiences by working his way through various small air-charter companies. In 1968, he was rewarded for his hard work by becoming the Chief Engineer at Air West Airlines, which would later become Air BC.
Barry moved to the Okanagan Valley in 1969 and together with Jim Rogers founded KF Aerospace in 1970. They identified that there was a niche market opportunity in the Okanagan for an aircraft maintenance company. Their company initially performed inspection checks, maintenance and other various tasks on assorted small aircraft throughout the Okanagan from the back of a truck. Over the years this expanded to commercial courier and charter services.
The Okanagan Valley is well known for wine, not only did wine draw people to the area but it was also instrumental in the formation of KF Aerospace. In the late 1960s Joe Capozzi, owner of Calona wines was an avid pilot and had a hangar at the Kelowna airport. Inside the hangar is where he built the large wine tanks. Joe had met an ambitious young man, Barry Lapointe, who was an aircraft mechanic in Vernon. Barry was frustrated with his employers at the time as they would not allow him to become a partner and decided to venture out and start his own business. Joe offered his hangar to Barry to start his business and thus KF Aerospace was born. Barry worked out of Joe’s hangar and the back of his truck fixing aircraft and one year later he brought Jim Rogers on board. Barry had previously worked for Jim in Vancouver and he wanted Jim to work with him when he started KF Aerospace. A year later Jim joined him in Kelowna, when Joe’s lease on the hangar was up, Barry and Jim took it over.
While there is significant financial risk with any new venture into a global markets like aviation, Barry is proud to acknowledge a recorded profit annually since the inception in 1970. KFL offers its clients true, one-stop service. KFL can fly, maintain, modify, engineer, paint and train both crew and mechanics. This includes mechanical, avionics, engines, stretching Convair’s, adding cargo doors, and military upgrade programs (T-33, MI-17).
At a young age, Barry demonstrated his leadership and management skills with an instinctive ability to lead and inspire others. It’s a success story of a single AME, with confident optimism, which has now grown to over 800 employees, a fleet of over 60 aircraft and significant operations across Canada. These include 3 main bases in Kelowna, Hamilton and Southport (Portage la Prairie), and as well as 1 satellite base in Vancouver, BC. In addition, KFL purchases, upgrades and sells aircraft worldwide