MILLINOCKET, Maine — If you’ve seen the movie “Bat*21” starring Gene Hackman and Danny Glover, then you probably know why people call Steve Noyes “Bird-Dog.”
The Newburyport, Mass., man, 45, is an internationally known restorer of Cessna L-19 Bird Dogs, liaison and observation aircraft featured in the Vietnam War movie, Millinocket Regional Airport supervisor Jeff Campbell said.
Noyes’ business, Noyes Enterprises, will open a repair and aircraft restoration shop and hangar at the airport, one of several small aircraft servicing and manufacturing businesses town officials have worked to draw to the airport, Campbell and Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said.
Another small business at the airport, Jump & Raft, has had a pretty good summer, drawing 80 customers just last weekend, said Owen Ross, a tandem instructor. The business offers parachuting and rafting.
Noyes is fitting an airport hangar that he will lease from the town to suit his needs now. He doesn’t plan for much more than a one-man operation and will increase his work at the airport from part-time to full-time gradually by 2013, he said Wednesday.
“I have known Jeff for a number of years, and I like what he is doing to improve the airport,” Noyes said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “I plan to stay up north more and more as the years go by.”
One job that Noyes is working on now that visitors might see at the airport over the next year or so is the repair and restoration of 15 L-19s the Royal Canadian Air Force uses, he said. He also hopes to repair or restore several other types of aircraft, he said.
“He will give us a mechanic service to offer customers,” Campbell said. “If somebody lands here with a mechanical problem, they can get it fixed. At present, I have to call a mechanic from away if somebody has an issue.”
Noyes’ is not a poor man’s business. Fully restored L-19s are worth at least $150,000, he said.