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Brent Sanders take flight on his flight simulator.

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Taking flight

Sanders taps into love of aviation without leaving office

Sitting at the controls, Brent Sanders receives his clearance for takeoff from the Harry Reid International Airport control tower in Las Vegas. Taxiing down the runway, he pulls up on the controls and takes flight heading toward Hoover Dam. 

It’s one of the many flights Sanders has taken without leaving his second story office off Thompson Road in Northlake.

The lifelong aviation enthusiast and Marine veteran has his own flight simulator in his office, which allows him to tap into his love of flying without having to be away from his family or his growing business with his wife Kristi, BKS.

“This is fun for me. I did aviation for 30 years,” Sanders said.

“I miss the airplanes, but I don’t miss the travel. I missed birthdays, Mother’s Days and New Year’s Eves working. This is what I do now for fun.”

Sanders joined the Marines in the late 1980s, as a second generation Marine. His father Pat Thacker was a Marine during the Vietnam War. Thacker was also a semi-truck mechanic, fueling Sanders' interest in mechanical skills. 

Sanders' son Kegan is currently serving in the Marines, making it three generations.

In the Marines, Sanders served as a jet engine mechanic. The opportunity to pursue the field led him to enlist. He served four years before suffering a broken ankle and he left the military.

After leaving the military, Sanders entered corporate aviation, landing a role with Learjet on its flight demonstration team. 

“We’d do everything from marketing to flying. If you thought you wanted to buy a Learjet, we’d come give you a demo ride if you had the finances for it,” Sanders said. “I’ve met so many of the rich and famous.”

But the famous people he was proud to meet were not the actors or billionaires, but the heroes of flight he encountered, chiefly astronauts. Memorabilia and pictures hang on the wall, including a picture of him with Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon.

“I’ve met six of the 12 men that walked on the moon,” Sanders said.

“Cernan and I became really good friends. This is his book signed, sealed and delivered by Mr. Cernan.”

When Cernan died, Sanders helped his daughter sell his airplane.

After 17 years with Learjet, he accepted a job that moved him to the Metroplex to work on jets for a private individual. 

Kristi and he started their professional handyman provider business in 2017 and a year later he left aviation behind to work full time with BKS Home Services.

“It was my stress relief. When I was hanging a ceiling fan or a TV on a wall, I wasn’t thinking about avionics or landing gear,” Sanders said about the start of BKS. “In August of 2018, we took BKS full time and never looked back.”

He enjoys the work at BKS and the opportunity to work with his older son Ben, who is the manager at BKS Home Services. 

When he gets the itch to fly, he sits down at the simulator, which allows him to take to the sky. The simulator, which has real-time weather and flight schedules, is akin to ones real pilots use to train. 

With work, he doesn’t spend too much time on the simulator these days. But after a long day, he may take a flight to Washington D.C. from Dallas, giving him a few hours to decompress and tap into his passion for flying.

“I’m not a licensed pilot, but I understand airplanes and know everything that’s inside of them,” Sanders said.

“Again, I miss the planes, but I don’t miss the hours. I’m one of those that even at my age looks up when I hear a plane.”

  • Brent Sanders looks through his Challenger coins.
  • Brent Sanders take flight on his flight simulator.
  • Brent Sanders shows off a helicopter he built with Legos.