August 2009 Issue
AirTex I Interiors: Yes, They Are DIY
Interior kits are complete and customizable. Seat redos represent a cut above older OEM offerings.
Taken in order of expense, airframe upgrades rank like this: engine overhauls, paint jobs and interiors. Of the three, only interiors yields to the do-it-yourselfer owner who’s willing to tackle a job that turns out to be easier than it may appear. For 60 years, AirTex, a Pennsylvania-based company specializing in custom interiors, has mined the vein of owners willing to tackle an interior on their own. Our interior shop customer surveys have consistently revealed owner satisfaction with AirTex products, but very few complaints. Also, some questions: What’s the quality like and can an all-thumbs owner really install what AirTex makes? To find out, we recently trekked to AirTex’s Fallsington, Pennsylvania factory to have a look. AirTex is one of a few dozen vendors in the industry who have been at it seemingly forever. The company traces its history back to 1949, when founder Al Stretch migrated from the famed Irvin Air Chute Company to begin manufacturing pre-sewn fabric wing and fuselage envelopes for the post-war light aircraft industry, which was booming. By the mid-1950s, as that business gave way to more metal-covered aircraft, Stretch expanded the business to begin manufacturing custom interiors for the do-it-yourself trade, which turned out to be fairly sizeable.
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