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Small Milner company a big time player in aircraft maintenance field

By Walter Geiger An unusual shipment arrived at an out-of-the-way location off Chappell Mill Road in northeast Lamar County last week – a 6000-pound section of wing from a scrapped Boeing 767. Awaiting it inside was a 767 landing gear. Jeff Barkes and his crew at D-Check Developments will use the parts, which came from a boneyard near Tucson, Arizona, to develop one of their Omni Arm devices to speed up the process of changing out landing gears on the aircraft which is used around the world. Barkes started his company in 1997 and moved it to the 12,000-square foot building here in 2009. His precision Omni-Arms allow him to pour wine from a bottle into wineglasses by the drop at trade shows. ‘That always impresses,’ said Barkes who runs the plant with his wife and six employees. The Omni-Arm saves time and manpower so airlines and air freight companies scoop them up. Each is completely assembled here in Lamar County. There are over 100 in place throughout the world. Delta just sent three in for refurbishment that have been in use for 16 years. A similar product, Elmo, is used in the manufacture of the Boeing 737. ‘They make 52 Boeing 737s a day and the Elmo is used on every one of them. That’s not bad for a little old company in Milner,’ Barkes concluded.

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