News & Views
2020 Airport Business Project of the Year: The Braniff Centre
The modern terminal building was designed using inspiration from other mid-century buildings and décor found throughout Dallas. Read original story on AviationPros.com >
Location: TAC Air, Dallas Love Field (DAL)
Project: Braniff Centre Restoration
Cost: $100 Million Master Plan Investment
Key Participants: Blue Star Land, Lincoln Property Co., Burns & McDonnell, The Gravity Company
The Braniff Centre reconstruction was executed as a historic restoration of the original Braniff Airlines Operations and Maintenance Base. The $100 million master-plan expansion transformed an aviation icon to a modern general aviation facility over a 19-month time frame, now serving the aviation and local community in one reinvented destination at Dallas Love Field (DAL).
“TAC Air - DAL at the Braniff Centre was a long sought after project by TAC - The Arnold Companies to find a home on Dallas Love Field and have a presence in our home market. The location of the original Braniff International Airways Operations and Maintenance Base provided an ideal location on the east side of the field at Lovers Lane and Lemmon Avenue, offering a way to make the facility more than just another row of hangars lining the street,” said Joe Gibney, chief operating officer, TAC Air. “As a key location on the neighborhood street, the retail opportunities combined with the aviation impact, made the project special. Working with the Texas Historical Commission to honor the site of Braniff Headquarters and the architecture of the mid-century that helped define the city of Dallas made it more special.”
The expansion and redevelopment led by TAC Air was made possible with the commitment of the city of Dallas. As Dallas Love Field is reborn through ongoing development projects, the Braniff Centre restoration and expansion restored a portion of the airfield to the early spirit of aviation and the modern jet-setter lifestyle as defined by Braniff International Airways in the late 1950s.
“Dallas Love Field is the second largest general aviation airport in the country, which made this a prime real estate opportunity,” said Casey Park, director of investments for TAC - The Arnold Companies. “We knew the Braniff Centre was a project TAC Air wanted to bring to life. With our partners including the Dallas Cowboys, Blue Star Land a Jones Family company, Lincoln Property company and the support from Randall Reed and the Planet Lincoln auto dealership, 7701 Lemmon Avenue is once again the center of aviation on the east side of Love Field,”
The building was transformed into more than 200,000 square feet of high-quality hangar space and prime aviation support services.
Park said the specific site plan presented a unique opportunity to recreate a space with an aviation history. It sat vacant for many years and required extensive rehabilitation from its glory days to compliant building codes of the twenty first century.
“The opportunity seen by TAC Air was to provide the nation’s first mixed-use facility that combines retail - restaurant and storefront- office space, a car dealership and an FBO – all in one site,” he said.
TAC worked in partnership with the Texas Historical Commission to protect the integrity of the architecture. It maintained what was there, and because of that, Park said they wound up with something far more iconic than it would have been if they had started from the ground-up.
“Our commitment to take the historical site, clean it up and keep the past a part of the future of Love Field has made this project special for us and the city of Dallas,” he said.
The TAC Air FBO facility features a group of amenities including controlled access to private hangars and an executive terminal; convenient access to elevated catering through The Star Skyline, an exclusive event center managed by Legends Hospitality of AT&T Stadium in Arlington and Yankee Stadium in New York; on-site dry cleaning; auto detailing; local event and venue reservations; auto-to-aircraft valet and secured personal access to retail facilities.
Gibney said they brought the core team from within the TAC Air network and filled the remaining roles with local talent that know and understand the Dallas market. The teams were sent out ahead of opening to train within the TAC Air system with the other FBO locations.
“Upon opening, those same FBOs sent experts from their teams to support the Dallas team and help provide great service expected by our customers,” he said.
Keeping the original cutting edge building design of William Pereira and Charles Luckman that embodied the spirit of flight in the inverted butterfly roof architecture, The Gravity Company and Burns & McDonnell designed the restoration to meet guidelines and preservation requirements of the Texas Historic Commission to keep the building an aviation landmark of Dallas.
Tad W Perryman, vice president, marketing for TAC, said to honor the restoration of the mid-century architecture and harken back to the elegant days of aviation embodied by Braniff Airways, the modern terminal building was designed using inspiration from other mid-century buildings and décor found throughout Dallas. These include the white marble and light walnut rift sawn columns, the glass-topped marble front counter and the use of stainless accents to minimize the design and celebrate the space and location overlooking Love Field.
“In the lobby, a 1/5 scale replica of the Boeing 727-227 N457BN flown by Braniff Airways hangs above, decorating the ceiling space with the livery in mercury blue and adorned with the Dallas Cowboys name and silver helmet featuring the Blue Star,” he said.
Construction has started on a phase two of the project, which will bring a 40,000 square foot hangar and office space to the south side of the Braniff Centre leasehold in fall 2020. Creating an FBO that provides class and modern amenities for businesses and the ones who run them, while still emphasizing the pleasure side of travel, is part of the true reinvention of The Braniff Centre.
Listen & Learn More About The Project
TAC Air Chief Operating Officer Joe Gibney shares insights of the Braniff Centre reconstruction that was named one of the 2020 Airport Business Projects of the Year on a recent episode of the AviationPros Podcast.
TAC Air Promotes New General Manager To Fort Smith FBO
Six-year TAC Air associate, Christina Lang, promoted to lead TAC Air - FSM
TAC Air has promoted Christina Lang to lead its fixed base operation (FBO) in Fort Smith, Arkansas as General Manager (GM). A six-year veteran of TAC Air, Lang is prepared to join the team at TAC Air - FSM as a hands-on manager of the business using her background in administration and operations. Lang officially stepped into this role the last week of May and as she expressed is, “excited for the opportunity to become a part of the Fort Smith team and support the TAC Air commitment to providing customers and tenants SERVICE WITH NO CEILING.” As GM, Lang’s key responsibilities involve overseeing day-to-day operations, hangar management and leasing while maintaining relationships with TAC Air customers and the Fort Smith Regional Airport.
Lang relocated to Fort Smith from Dallas, where she served three years in a system-wide role for TAC Air as Manager of Administrative Services. “The past three years I have been able to experience and learn firsthand from 15 different GMs and CSMs running FBOs in the TAC Air system to help me prepare for this hands-on type of position in a market I can help nurture and grow,” said Lang.
Prior, Lang worked as Customer Service Manager (CSM) at TAC Air - RDU in Raleigh-Durham, NC and Customer Service Representative at TAC Air - PVU in Provo, UT. She charted her course in aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ, where she studied Aeronautical Science. Lang completed her commercial pilot certificate and worked as a corporate pilot flying mining executives in Arizona and New Mexico.
Lang’s first encounter with TAC Air occurred at the 2014 National Business Aviation Association, Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Las Vegas. There, she met TAC Air - SLC GM, Mike McCarty who invited Lang to visit the FBO for a tour when she returned home to Salt Lake City. Upon visiting, Lang says, “Once I visited, I knew I wanted to work for TAC Air. And I got the opportunity, starting at the TAC Air FBO in Provo.”
Director of FBO Administrative Services for the TAC Air system and past GM of TAC Air - FSM, Carol McNally, shared, “I am thrilled to see a strong female associate like Christina rise to the General Manager position within our organization. As more women ascend to a place of leadership in aviation, I look forward to watching her soar. I am pleased to hand the controls of the Fort Smith FBO operation to another strong female aviator.”
“Working her way up by successfully mastering several roles within the FBO, Lang’s extensive knowledge, industry and internal company experience, along with her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn make her an ideal leader to take the business at TAC Air - FSM FBO to new heights,” stated Joe Gibney, Chief Operating Officer of TAC Air.
As General Manager, Lang looks forward to demonstrating the company’s strong commitment to safety as an IS-BAH Stage 2 registered FBO, while also overseeing daily procedures at TAC Air - FSM. “The Fort Smith team has been working together seamlessly for years under excellent leadership. It will be an adjustment for everyone to have a new leader,” she added. Lang is known among the associates, as she worked with the team in her previous role as Manager of Administrative Services for TAC Air. Lang is thrilled to have a collaborative, capable team to work beside every day. She is committed to developing connections within the TAC Air - FSM team, across the base tenants and customers as well as strengthening the FBO’s existing airport relations.
From Flying Circus to FBO, Wing Walking Is A True Talent
Originating as a daredevil stunt in the aerial barnstorming shows of the 1920s, wing walking was the act of moving along the wings of a biplane during flight. As the art became more common, these circus performers of the sky would attempt more difficult stunts: handstands, hanging by one's teeth and transferring from one aircraft to another. The Wing Walkers of old would admit (or rather proclaim proudly) that the point of their trade was to make money on the audience's prospect of possibly watching someone die.
Wing Walkers of old
The idea of risk and safety is all relative, but from the view of today’s FBOs, Wing Walkers are fundamental to help reduce the risk of putting an aircraft wing in the wrong place while towing, potentially causing damage to the aircraft. While this act is not fatal to the modern day Wing Walker per se, it can still be a hair-raising experience if a wing or any other part of the aircraft comes too close to a hangar door, wall or another aircraft. The skill that is required when hangar stacking means Wing Walkers will always play an important role in the life of an airplane’s significant feature: the wing. This is why TAC Air Wing Walkers follow proper safety procedures.
At all 15 TAC Air FBOs, towing aircraft safely is one of the most critical operations Line Service Team Members learn; it requires close concentration and must be approached with precision.
Steven Ryberg, General Manager, TAC Air-SHV demonstrates Wing Walking hand signals.
A typical towing operation only lasts a few minutes. However, if there is a need to empty an entire hangar and restack it, this process could take several hours, depending on the number of aircraft involved.
When moving an aircraft in/out of a hangar, TAC Air safety requirements necessitate three Line Service Technicians to participate in the process. One person operates the tow vehicle with two or more people serving as Wing Walkers on the ground placed at each wing tip.
It is important for Wing Walkers to maintain close visual communication with the tug operator at all times during aircraft repositioning. In addition, they use hand signals to communicate clearances between the aircraft under tow and nearby obstacles.
"The use of hand signals during a towing operation should be used as guidance to provide the tug operator a visual reference of appropriate clearances by displaying hands apart to represent the area of clearance,” explains Bob Schick, TAC Air Director of Safety and Risk Management.
“When an aircraft is nearing the three foot safety window, the Wing Walker must use their whistle to signal to terminate the tow operation. If, at any time, the Wing Walker is uncomfortable with the position or speed of the aircraft, the operation should be stopped with the blow of a whistle.”
Over time, wing walking has evolved from a daredevil stunt performance to a necessary act of safety to ensure aircraft are not damaged.
Old Braniff terminal takes off as a new mixed-use project
The former airline operations base at Love Field is open for business after years of sitting vacant.
Braniff Airways’ old operations base at Dallas’ Love Field has landed its first tenants and is already growing.
Starting in 2018, a development partnership that includes The Arnold Cos., Lincoln Property Co. and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones began a $140 million reconstruction of the historic building on Lemmon Avenue.
Built in 1958 for the legendary Big D airline, the midcentury modern building has been transformed into a new retail, office and aviation complex called Braniff Centre. Most of the new aviation space, which faces the Love Field runways, is already spoken for. It’s in Braniff’s old hangars, which were refurbished and repurposed for private aviation uses.
“We wanted to be an executive terminal,” said Tad Perryman, vice president of marketing for The Arnold Cos. and its TAC Air operations. “Our customers are elated to have another choice at Love Field.”
The 60,000-square-foot hangar and aviation space TAC Air has in the Braniff building is doing so well that an expansion is already underway.
“Construction has started on our phase two, which is another 40,000 square feet of hangar space” in a new building to the south of the old Braniff complex, Perryman said.
The north side of the old Braniff building houses operations for Flexjet, a private jet aircraft fractional ownership, leasing and operations firm. The Cleveland-based aviation company moved its North Texas operations from Addison Airport to the Braniff Centre.
And Dallas auto dealer Randall Reed has his Lincoln dealership and other companies housed next door in what was once the Legend Airlines Terminal and garage.
To access the aviation facilities on the runway side of the complex, developers cut a below-grade driveway under the distinctive Braniff building facing Lemmon Avenue. Designed by noted international architects William Pereira and Charles Luckman and local designer Mark Lemmon, the building was cherished by preservationists who feared it might be knocked down.
The developers have preserved the look and much of the space facing Lemmon Avenue and are marketing it to retailers, restaurants and office users. “We have some different groups that have been looking at that,” Perryman said. “Hopefully very soon we will be able to make some announcements.”
The redevelopment has retained key sections of the old Braniff operations center, which housed everything from offices to maintenance facilities for planes.
“Our goal was to honor the facility and the location and what it was about,” Perryman said.
On the bottom level, double blast doors lead to two chambers where technicians could test jet engines. And much of the old steel Braniff hangars, including the big sliding doors, are still there.
“It’s the same structure, just refurbished,” said TAC Air general manager Kip Simanek.
With construction on the historic building renovations almost finished, it’s easier to show off the space, Simanek said. “A lot of people couldn’t see the vision,” he said. “Now that the space is more showable, there is a lot of interest in it.”
The TAC Air terminal building on the west side of the complex includes a passenger area, a pilots lounge and a luxurious private meeting and event area on the second floor overlooking the runway.
The Dallas Cowboys’ Legends Hospitality division operates the space, which can house everything from executive meetings to parties.
The final addition to the TAC Air terminal will be a replica of the Braniff jet that the Dallas Cowboys used to fly to out-of-town games. “We will be hanging a one-fifth scale 727 Braniff plane with Cowboys markings from the ceiling,” Perryman said.