In February 1983 Mark L. Schmaltz and Kurt Kohler flew their first charter. They began with one plane and one pilot. At that time their company, called Spirit Aviation, operated from a small office and hangar at Van Nuys Airport - off of Woodley Avenue. Before too long they had acquired several more King Air turboprops and had hired a team of talented young pilots. By the end of the 1980's they had gained the reputation of being the "go to" guys for turboprop charter.