A Bit of History of
& the Loewen Family!
(Much of the text below first appeared in Infight Magazine in 1997,
and was written by Ray Hutchings, under the title “The Mooney Mall
by the Lake.” Updates were added by Shery Loewen, May 2009.)
If you are a Mooney lover, you feel right at home. Lake Aero Styling And Repair is an
Hang around for a while and you realize that Paul's employees are treated like part of a family. Work is done in a friendly, but businesslike manner. Everyone seems to eat, sleep and drink airplanes in general and Mooneys in particular. One hand‑written sign on the hangar wall attests to the need to temper this enthusiasm by declaring, "No plane talk allowed on breaks."
Paul Loewen's career could be used as a textbook for the successful entrepreneur. His family moved to Southern California from
At age 19, in
After returning to Southern California Paul finished his A&P courses and met Shery, his wife to be. The relationship started out by Paul borrowing $500 from Shery in order to ship his Ercoupe back from
Tragedy struck in 1965 when Paul was involved in a serious plane crash. A broken back, punctured lung, and serious wounds required a year of hospitalization. Doctors predicted he would never walk again. With determination and will power, however, he started walking with full leg braces and crutches and got a job as a mechanic at a
For awhile he worked at Hagelin Aircraft Motors, a Lycoming Distributor in
An ad in Trade‑A‑Plane eventually brought the Loewen's north to Lakeport. Paul got a job running the maintenance shop for the local FBO. By this time, the Loewen family had grown to include two children, Paula and Todd. Although they had spent most of their lives in the city, the Loewen's quickly adjusted to country living. In 1975, Paul branched out on his own again and started Lake Aero Styling And Repair.
Paul's ability to design and build Mooney modifications became the cornerstone of his operation. He has over 25 Mooney STCs for both speed mods as well as creature comfort mods. He also supplies his mods to dealers across the country that sell and install his kits.
The most popular mods for the older Mooney's are the cowl closure fairing and the 201 windshield retrofit. Most later model Mooney owners opt for wing tip fairings and/or a smooth belly pan. New Mooneys incorporate many mods first installed by shops like Paul's. Being large quantity buyers with OEM relationships with major engine and propeller manufacturers, companies like
New Mooneys incorporate many mods first installed by shops like Paul's. Being large quantity buyers with OEM relationships with major engine and propeller manufacturers, companies like
The Loewen family is totally involved in aviation. Paul and Shery's daughter, Paula, is married to a United Airline pilot. Paula and Rod have 2 “future pilots,” Taralyn, age 14, and Bradlee, age 10. Shery, a nonpilot, has worked for many years in the administrative part of the business. She has since retired to help run LASAR Plane Sales from her home. She modestly describes her job as putting the buyer and the seller together to work out a deal.
Paul and Shery's son, Todd, is a pilot for an air ambulance company in Hawaii. He and his wife, Madeleine, and young daughter, Lilla, live in
As you might expect, the family airplane is a Mooney. Paul bought a 1987 Mooney 252 that had been badly burned in a hangar fire in
I had a chance to fly the Mooney 252 on a trip to
Returning to Lakeport, we made a low-level tour of the town and a circled over the Loewen's hilltop home. Paul proudly pointed to a brand new high tech garage. The gleam in Paul's eye told you the garage wasn't for storing cars, but would probably be the incubator for the next generation of Mooney mods.
The next time you are in the
NOTE: A second severe airplane accident in August of 1999 has limited Paul’s activity a bit, but not his spirit. Paul was test flying a customer’s Mooney and the engine quit on take off. He suffered a second spinal cord injury. He is still very involved in LASAR, although Robert, our General Manager, does most of the “real” work. Paul still flies his beloved 252 with special FAA approved controls.
Mooneys for Sale