The last decade has been good to CubCrafters.
The Yakima aircraft manufacturer has seen average annual growth of about 10 percent. The company is expected to have 200 employees within a year or two.
In 2019, the company expects to build more than 100 airframes that will become aircraft and building kits that will be delivered to customers across the U.S. and the world.
“We’ve got a lot of innovative new aircraft that (are) extremely popular and driving sales momentum,” said Brad Damm, vice president of sales and marketing for CubCrafters. “We need to grow the company infrastructure to meet that demand.”
A vital component is CubCrafters’ Customer Completion Center, which opened recently. The center provides more than 11,000 square feet of new space for up to 10 aircraft that will undergo the final assembly and pre-delivery processes.
That includes more space for CubCrafter’s FX Builder Assist program. Through the program, customers, over two visits, participate in the manufacturing process of their own aircraft. The second part of the process occurs at the Customer Completion Center.
The center is inside a building that formerly housed Generation Jets north of the intersection of Ahtanum Road and 21st Avenue on Yakima Air Terminal property. The project came together in two months, rather than the year or two it would have taken had CubCrafters opted to build on vacant property it owns off Airport Lane and 26st Avenue, south of the National Guard Armory building.
Generation Jets, a charter jet service and owner of the building, relocated to Spokane in March, said Rob Peterson, Yakima airport director. CubCrafters was able to lease the building from Generation Jets, which is still leasing property from the airport, Peterson said.
“This was turnkey and met (CubCrafters’) operational needs,” Peterson said. “It’s definitely a benefit for both parties.”
Getting that space quickly was crucial as CubCrafters continues to see sales growth across its different product lines, Damm said. They include the Carbon Cub, CubCrafters’ popular light sport aircraft, and its newer XCub, which garnered buzz for its ability to generate top speeds once unheard of for Cub aircraft.
More customers are purchasing kits, which provide everything needed to build a plane, including an airframe, parts and manuals. Out of the more than 100 airframes to be manufactured and delivered this year, about 36 are for kits.
Continued growth means CubCrafters has a much larger footprint compared to a few years ago. CubCrafters still has its original manufacturing facility and offices near the east end of the airport at 1918 S. 16th Ave. The company built a machine shop, a welding shop and a composite shop on its Airport Lane property in 2016 and 2017. The new Customer Completion Center is between the main manufacturing building and the newer facilities.
CubCrafters still has about 15 vacant acres on the Airport Lane property for expansion, but does not have any other expansion plans at the moment, Damm said.