Mary Thurwachter PALM BEACH POST
Moving Up: Johnny Stinson, President of Growing Aviation Business
June 8, 2014
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  • Johnny Stinson seems to have been born to fly, or least born to run an airport business.

    “If you like airplanes, it’s great to be at an airport every day,” Stinson, a pilot for 38 years and a West Palm Beach native, said. “People come here to have fun. They usually have a smile on their faces.”

    An A&P (airframe and/or powerplant) mechanic with inspection authorization, Stinson is also a commercial pilot with airplane and helicopter ratings. He started flying in high school and began working at Pahokee Airport (Palm Beach County Glades) in 1974. A few years later, he worked on Boeing 727s at Palm Beach International Airport.

    In 1989, he and his wife, Laura, started their first business, Aircraft Maintenance Specialists, at the Lantana Airport.

    Twenty years ago, the business moved to its current location at the North Palm Beach County Airport. His business was one of the first to open at that airport.

    Four years ago, the Stinsons added a second business, the North County Flight Training, which offers training from professional flight instructors.

    Recently, the two companies merged to become Platinum Aviation (

    “Our top priority has always been to provide our clients with excellent service, whether they’re a first-time flyer or avid pilot,” said Stinson, Platinum’s president. “We can now offer a more comprehensive experience to our clients, while growing the quality and breadth of services the aviation community has come to expect from us.”

    To continue the expansion of service, Platinum Aviation, which is owned by Index Aviation, plans to add charter and aircraft sales to its list of services in the coming months.
    Stinson and his wife, Laura, a Florida native and vice president of operations for platinum, have been married for 33 years and have worked together for most of them.

    Working with his spouse has been a good thing, he said. “It’s been wonderful.”
    One secret to keeping their marriage strong, he said, is making time for each other regularly. “We have date nights on Tuesday and devote the night to each other. We turn off our cell phones and don’t talk business.”

    Their son John, also a pilot, is vice president of operations at Platinum.

    Age: 60.
    Education: Palm Beach High School.
    Personal: Married to Laura, vice president of Platinum Aviation. They have four children, nine grandchildren. Lives in West Palm Beach.
    Hobbies: “My hobby is the grandchildren, spending time with them. We have a pool and playground at our house and take the kids to Disney World.
    Career highlight: “This merger. When we started out first business we didn’t even have a week’s pay in the bank. The business 100 percent doubled every year.”
    Favorite quote: “Life is something that happens while you’re making plans.” – from John Lennon’s song (Just Like) Starting Over