Aircraft Spruce Company History

Aircraft Spruce - About Us

Bob and Flo Irwin

Where It All Started
Flo Irwin, Fullerton Air Parts 1956

Home of Aircraft Spruce West
(225 Airport Circle, Corona, CA)

Home of Aircraft Spruce Canada
(27 York Road, Brantford, ON N3T 6H2)

Nanci & Jim Irwin

Former Home of Aircraft Spruce from 1973 to 1997
(201 West Truslow Ave, Fullerton, CA)

Home of Aircraft Spruce East
(452 Dividend Drive, Peachtree City, GA)

Home of Aircraft Spruce Midwest
(1110 Commerce Dr, West Chicago, IL)

Get a behind-the-scenes tour of Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. video
with the Irwin Family at the bottom of this page or click here

The foundation for what is now Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. dates to the summer of 1956 when Flo and Bob Irwin founded Fullerton Air Parts at Fullerton Municipal Airport in Southern California. Bob, born and raised in Kansas City, MO., a pilot since the 1940's and active in the CAP and other aviation groups, knew airplanes and the parts that were needed to keep them flying. Flo, a native of Rochester, New York, had no aviation background but learned the business quickly and knew what it would take to keep customers coming back... fair prices and good service. Fullerton Air Parts grew into one of the largest retail aircraft parts suppliers in the western states during the next nine years.

In 1965, Bob and Flo Irwin sold the business and founded another one which sold only one product, aircraft grade spruce lumber for aircraft construction and restoration. Aircraft Spruce Co. quickly added more products to its small catalog and adopted the name Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co., with a goal to offer everything pilots and aircraft builders' needs. As Aircraft Spruce served more customers and more and more products were added, staff grew from 2 in 1965 to over 300 today.

Jim Irwin, Bob and Flo's older son, grew up in the business, working in jobs such as cutting metal and spruce, pulling and shipping orders, and managing kit programs such as the Vari-Eze back in 1975 while still in college. Graduating from California State University at Fullerton in 1978 with a degree in business administration (marketing), Jim acquired the company and became president in 1980. Jim's wife Nanci, who graduated with an accounting degree from the University of Southern California in 1977, is vice-president and works full time managing the company's accounting and data processing departments. Jim Irwin has logged over 5000 hours as a multi-engine, instrument rated pilot since 1976 and Nanci Irwin is a licensed private pilot as well. They fly the company Cessna Conquest extensively on business throughout the Southwest. The couple's three sons -Mike, Jeff and Rob- are all in management positions with the company and are pilots as well.

Flo and Bob Irwin, along with Jim's younger brother John, moved to Lake Havasu City, Arizona in the fall of 1983 and founded ACS Products Co., which manufactures a line of products which is distributed by Aircraft Spruce. Flo Irwin passed away on June 10, 1989, but the legacy of this warm, outgoing, and talented businesswoman lives on in the businesses she founded and built to serve the aviation community. John Irwin and his wife Frances now manage the ACS Products Co. operation and fly their Cessna 182 out of Lake Havasu airport. Bob Irwin was an instrument rated pilot with more than 2000 hours logged and based his 1968 Navion Rangemaster at Lake Havasu City until May 2000 when Bob retired as a pilot, after fifty years of flying, and moved the Navion to Chino Airport for his grandchildren to fly. Prior to acquiring the Rangemaster in 1976, Bob owned a Vultee BT-13B and a 1949 Ryan Navion. Bob Irwin passed away on June 26, 2015 at his home in Lake Havasu City, Arizona at age 95.

Aircraft Spruce was housed in downtown Fullerton, CA. from its founding in 1965 until late 1997. The last 24 years in Fullerton the company was operated in a historic Fullerton former citrus packing house, which we eventually outgrew. In the fall of 1997, Aircraft Spruce moved to a new, 62,000 square foot facility in Corona, California. In the Spring of 2004, Aircraft Spruce East moved to a new 52,000 Sq. Ft. facility in Peachtree City, GA from its old home in Griffin, GA. Aircraft Spruce Canada was opened in Toronto in December 2006 and moved to the Brantford, Ontario Airport in October 2008. Aircraft Spruce Canada has grown rapidly in recent years and a larger warehouse became a priority. On October 3, 2016 we moved into our new 20,000 sq. ft. distribution facility at Brantford Airport. In 2019, Aircraft Spruce opened two new facilities to better serve the Midwest and Alaska markets. Aircraft Spruce Midwest operates in a 60,000 sq ft facility in West Chicago, IL, Aircraft Spruce Northeast operates in a 35,000 sq ft facility and Aircraft Spruce Alaska operates in a 24,000 sq ft building in Palmer, AK. 10,000 square foot Aircraft Spruce warehouses are also located in TX and AZ.

We are proud of the tradition of our company that now dates back some 59 years, and are pleased to have had the opportunity to help aviators around the world build the plane of their dreams. Our growth, from a single room in 1965 to the over 250,000 square feet in eight facilities that we have today, has been a direct result of the loyalty and patronage of our customers. Our goal is to continue to provide the very best in products, prices, and customer service to our friends in the years to come.