FONTANA: Elite detailers to polish up iconic Concorde jet
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Kyle Clark is leaving on a jet plane today so he can spend a week beautifying an even bigger jet plane.
Clark, 29, of Fontana, is part of an elite team of detailers who are volunteering their time to spiff up a retired Concorde that has been sitting outside at Seattle’s Museum of Flight since it was donated in 2003.
The retired supersonic jet once belonged to British Airways and had 16,200 hours of flight time when it made its final trip from New York City to Seattle – in a record 3 hours, 55 minutes and 12 seconds.
But nine years outside in the Northwest weather has left the sleek jet worse for wear, said Clark, who owns Xtreme Detailing and has been putting the shine back on vehicles since he was 14.
The Concorde is oxidized, Clark said.
“It has some paint on it that is actually peeling,” he said while putting the final touches on a client’s brand new $140,000 Mercedes G wagon.
The jet is a much bigger challenge.
“Those areas that are peeling we can’t do anything about, but the public can’t really see them because they’re on top of the wings,” he said. “But we can polish up the underside.”
The volunteers are called the Air Force One Detailing Team, because that is the plane they have focused on during previous trips to the Seattle museum. The team leader is master detailer Renny Doyle, who credits his start in the business to a teenage encounter with stunt pilot Art Scholl at Rialto Municipal Airport.
On the Detailers of Air Force One webpage, Doyle, who grew up in Colton and was fascinated with planes, writes about pedaling his bicycle to the airport in 1979.
“The man who gave a skinny, long-haired kid an opportunity turned out to be the famed Art Scholl,” Doyle wrote. “Art gave me the basics and a taste for aircraft and that has built a fire for not only aviation but nearly anything that is motor driven.”
Scholl ran a flight school at the airport until he was killed in September 1985 when his plane crashed while performing a stunt over the Pacific Ocean for the movie “Top Gun.”
Clark, too, has deep Inland roots. He grew up in Fontana, where his father was a police officer. Like his parents, he is a graduate of Fontana High School. He got his start as a detailer shining up police cars and the officers’ personal vehicles, he said.
“I made good money as a teenager,” Clark said. “All my friends were earning minimum wage and I was doing better than that.”
He loves the work and has taken classes to perfect his skills. He is a member of the International Detailers Association and has been skill-certified by the organization, he said.