Each year during the annual AEA International Convention & Trade Show, two prestigious awards are presented.
2018 AEA Annual Awards
Each year during the annual AEA International Convention & Trade Show, two prestigious awards are presented: the AEA Member of the Year, which honors an individual from an AEA member repair station; and the AEA Associate Member of the Year, which honors a manufacturer, distributor or service provider.
The winners of each award are recognized by their peers for their service and participation in the general aviation industry and in the association. AEA members are encouraged to honor fellow AEA members by taking a few moments to vote.
To vote, cast your ballot between Nov. 15 and Dec. 8.
Complete Avionics Pty. Ltd. – Bilinga, Queensland, Australia
Gregory (Greg) Clark is the founder and director of Complete Avionics Pty. Ltd. based on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.
Clark started his aviation avionics career in 1973, when he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force and became a radio technician (air). After completing six years of service, he left the RAAF to join Rossair. At that time, Rossair was one of Cessna’s largest general aviation dealerships and was involved in bench repairs and installation of new equipment. In 1981, he gained his licensed aircraft maintenance engineer (radio license), and in the following years, he added electrical, instrument and Group 20 licenses. In 1987, Clark became Rossair’s avionics manager where he grew the company’s avionics department from three to 19 staff members at two locations, Parafield and Adelaide Airports. During this time, he was instrumental in the avionics requirements for the first PC12 aircraft procured by RFDS central section and the Coast Watch aircraft procured by National Jet. To further his career, Clark then made the bold decision to leave Rossair in 1994 and strike out on his own, starting Complete Avionics in 1995.
From its modest and humble beginnings (the garage of his small townhouse for sales, a small bench at the Southport flying club for repairs), the company has grown to be one of the leading avionics providers in the South Pacific region and boasts a large hangar at Coolangatta Airport, separate sales premises at Ramly Street, Burleigh, another workshop on the Sunshine Coast and some 35 members on staff, including a general manager. With the assistance of his wife, Leisa, Clark has worked tirelessly to ensure that Complete Avionics has an enviable reputation for completing installations on time and on budget to customer satisfaction. In 2012, Complete Avionics achieved the first Garmin Platinum Award in its region and has maintained that status to the present time. Complete Avionics has now completed 10 Garmin G1000 installations and the first Collins Pro-Line Fusion installation. Clark is proud of his company's achievements to date and the dedication of his staff. Never forgetting his humble beginnings in avionics, he can regularly be found enjoying a Friday afternoon beer with his staff after a long week of work.
Clark became involved with the AEA while at Rossair and has continued the membership and bond throughout his time growing and developing Complete Avionics. Both Clark and Complete Avionics would not be where they are today without the support and the opportunities that have been afforded from the enduring fellowship of the AEA, which was never more evident than when he had a stroke in February 2010 and the encouragement he received. Clark is extremely thankful for the doors that have opened for him through such a strong association with the AEA.
When not immersed in his work, he enjoys playing golf and being with his wife and children: Janine, Joe, Jonathan, Olivia and Justin. He is thankful to his family for their support and encouragement and to God for his many blessings.
Georgetown Instrument Services Inc. / Castleberry Instruments & Avionics
Georgetown Instrument Services – Taylor, Texas and Castleberry Instruments & Avionics – Pflugerville, Texas
Efrain Lopez is the founder and owner of Georgetown Instrument Services Inc. and the owner of Castleberry Instruments & Avionics.
His passion for aviation, developing relationships, and his relentless focus on the customer has generated a long track record of growing businesses and delivering financial results. He loves a good conversation and discovered early on that the foundation of his accomplishments are his relationships.
Prior to launching his own repair station, Lopez began his career at Castleberry about 35 years ago working on rotors, progressed to instrumentation, and did the leap to the business side in customer service and eventually sales and marketing. He also held the role of general manager with the JDC Company before starting Georgetown Instruments in 2002.
Lopez currently serves on the Airport Advisory Board of Taylor, Texas, and Jonah Community Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to the restoration of a historic school building.
When asked what Lopez enjoys doing in his free time, his emphatic answer is “What free time? I’m working!” However, he will barbeque for a crowd of friends and family, play a mean game of cards, fish from dawn to dusk, build something, tear it down, then burn it in a bonfire. He always has time to love on his children, his nieces and nephews, and especially his wife. While he spent his early years in a small town in southern California, Lopez calls Texas home.
Avionics Installations Inc.
Avionics Installations – Port Orange, Florida
Pahan Ranasingha is the owner of Avionics Installations Inc., an AEA member repair station located at Spruce Creek Airport in Florida. He started flying at the age of 14 in New York and continues to fly on a regular basis for business and pleasure.
He is an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University alumnus with a background in professional aeronautics, aviation/aerospace safety and airport management. Ranasingha also uses many newer technologies in his day-to-day operations at Avionics Installations, including 2-D and 3-D CAD, laser cutting, 2-D and 3-D machining, and 3-D printing to name a few.
He also passes on some of this knowledge and experience at the AEA, where he teaches the Avionics Installation for Experimental Aircraft training course.
Ranasingha’s wife, Janelle, teaches the course with him. Janelle is a chiropractor and is a licensed repairman at Avionics Installations. Ranasingha and his wife are building a Lancair IV-P airplane.
Empire Avionics – White Plains, New York
Marc Rome’s aviation exposure began as a child. Rome’s father was an avionics technician for the Rockwell Service Center in White Plains, New York, and he spent many Saturdays at the hangar doing various projects.
When Rome graduated from high school, he joined the U.S. Army. He was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Fort Benning, Georgia. While in the Army, he studied electronics. After active duty in the Army, Rome returned to White Plains and was hired at Empire Avionics Corp. in January 1993. He began as an apprentice avionics technician where he continues to work. Empire Avionics Corp. had a diverse customer base, which gave Rome exposure to all types of general aviation or corporate aircraft. While he was an apprentice avionics technician, Rome obtained his private pilot certificate, which he believes gives him a better understanding of the systems installed and a great ability to discuss with the customers the issues they might be having on their aircraft.
Rome attended his first AEA International Convention & Trade Show in Washington D.C., in 1995. He expressed it was an amazing experience to be exposed early in his career. He continues to use the AEA as a resource, and the AEA’s training has been incorporated into Empire Avionics’ training program.
Rome serves on the AEA’s Government Affairs Committee. It has been a great experience to interact with industry peers at that level and learn from their years of experience. Rome and his wife have two children. When he’s not working, he enjoys golfing, hunting, traveling and scuba diving.
Rocky Mountain Aircraft
Rocky Mountain Aircraft – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Tim Shaw became involved with aviation purely by accident. Growing up, Shaw had no exposure to aviation due to his father’s phobia of flying. A family vacation usually involved a week’s worth of driving. After finishing high school and college, Shaw had no clear direction as to what he would pursue as a career, so he joined the Army where he trained as a combat engineer and medic.
During a mine clearing operation, Shaw was badly injured. While being medevaced out, he asked another soldier in the back of the helicopter what his job was. That was the first time he heard the word avionics. For some reason, the word stuck with him. After some research into an aviation career, he retrained as an avionics technician.
Shaw left the service in the early 1990s, but the transition from military to civil avionics was not without issues. He quickly discovered that the avionics training and experience he gleaned from the military had left him unprepared for a general aviation career. Shaw felt he had large gaps in his technical, regulatory and business knowledge. Fortunately, the first company he worked for was an AEA member and the articles in Avionics News started to fill some of those gaps. Prior to the internet age, he found calling the subject-matter experts who had contributed the monthly articles invaluable.
Frequent attendance at the AEA Connect Conferences and the International Convention & Trade Show allowed Shaw to obtain a global in-depth knowledge of the avionics industry that he would have struggled to gain anywhere else. The contacts and friendships forged through the AEA membership continues to positively affect his ability to do business. Anecdotally, he has noticed during the last several decades the avionics shops that invest in the AEA seem to have longevity and success that far exceeds shops that don’t.
Wysong Enterprises Inc.
Wysong Enterprises – Blountville, Tennessee
Since the early 1970s, Steve Wysong has worked in various niches of the aviation industry, including, helicopters, airliners, corporate jets and small airplanes. Today, Wysong Enterprises Inc., located at the Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville, Tenn., is one of the few independent customizing facilities that is still family-owned and -operated.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Wysong always had an interest in electronics growing up. In 1970, he moved to Miami, Florida, and after a few years of attending an electronic technical school, he got his first job at Collins Radio. There, he worked on black boxes used by the airlines flying out of the Miami International Airport. After that, he went to work at Sunstream Jet Center at Fort Lauderdale Airport and became the avionics manager after six months.
As technology evolved in the late 1970s, Wysong founded his first business in 1979, Wysong Avionics Inc., located on North Perry Airport in the Miami/Hollywood area. While at this location, he worked on some of the helicopters owned by several Miami television stations. This was the start of numerous completions of electronic news-gathering helicopters scattered across the entire country from Miami to Los Angeles to New York. In 1982, he moved Wysong Avionics to Lancaster, South Carolina, where he continued to work on various models of helicopters and airplanes.
In the late 1980s, Wysong sold his test equipment to Edwards & Associates Inc. and managed the company’s avionics shop. After two years, he felt the need to become his own boss once again. “A lot of times, people that succeed in business have failed the first time around,” he said. “But if we learn from that failure, you can become successful the second time.”
Part of the reason Wysong stepped back into the challenge of his own business was the new technology that came along for the TV stations with microwave antenna pods and digital transmitters, to name a few. As the equipment became more and more complex, TV stations across North America returned to Wysong for his expertise in integration and installation. In the beginning, he traveled the nation with his wife and two children, making a living equipping helicopters with various electronics and customized equipment. He loaded the family in their Astro van and traveled wherever the aircraft was. His wife would home-school their children while building wiring harnesses in the hotel, and he would go to the airport and work on the aircraft itself. Throughout the years, most of the major news events that have been seen from the air have been made possible by Wysong’s ingenuity.
As technology continued to improve, so did Wysong Enterprises. Eventually the business expanded from one small hangar, where Wysong planted his feet, to three adjoining hangars that included a paint shop. As demand for ENG helicopters diminished, Wysong began taking contracts to customize medical, law enforcement and corporate helicopters. This diversity kept his business thriving through the economic downturn.
“When we did all the TV stuff, it was rewarding to see a major news story and see your work on TV,” he said. “Now it is rewarding to know that we are building aircraft that are not only transporting corporate people, but some of our completions are saving lives every day. It makes you feel good to do what you do. We get to see the fruits of our labor.”
Corporate aircraft are challenging, as well. “We had one individual from the Northeast,” he added. “He owned 50 car dealerships, took a picture of his Lamborghini, and said, ‘Here, this is what I want you to make my helicopter look like inside.’ So the seats and the interior were based on the (Lamborghini) black and red leather.”
Since its beginnings, Wysong included his family in his business operations, but none were more involved than his son, Rodney Wysong. While growing up, Rodney moved from one department to another before getting into the sales side of his father’s business and earning the title of vice president. “He was really good in sales and knew how to take care of customers,” Wysong said. “He oversaw all the sales and customer relations with some of the big companies. He made a good name for the company and for himself.”
In 2013, Steve heard some of the worst news a parent can hear, as his son was diagnosed with brain cancer. After three years of traveling the country seeking a cure, Rodney passed away in April 2016. Steve and Rodney’s faith in the Lord gives Steve the peace that he will be reunited with Rodney again one day in heaven.
Last year, Wysong was unexpectedly surprised by Rob Hamilton, president of Med Trans Corp. and owner of Wings Air Rescue, by unveiling the decal “Rodney” on the vertical fin of all four Wings Air Rescue helicopters. “It meant everything,” Wysong said about the gesture. “Rodney was very involved in the completion of these aircraft.”
Today, Wysong’s youngest daughter, Kelly, works for the company full time as does his sister, Becky. His oldest daughter, Holly, and his wife, Kim, are semiretired. Currently the company has around 35 employees.
Wysong sums it up this way: “The helicopter completions/companies that we are involved in give me a lot of satisfaction knowing that Wysong Enterprises Inc. is a factor in saving lives and keeping safe environments for our families. I am happy to be involved in an industry of creating and building something and then maintaining the work we complete. Good customer service is our primary goal. I have been a member of the AEA since 1987, and I am very honored to have served on the board of directors of the AEA for the past several years. The AEA has been a “go-to” organization for my company, and I am currently serving as chairman for AEA Government and Industry Affairs Committee, which has a goal of helping member shops with any regulatory issue.”
2018 Associate Member of the Year Nominees
Cobham AvComm (formerly Aeroflex Inc.) is headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, and is a leading global provider of high-performance test and measurement equipment used in avionics, communications and synthetic test for commercial, government and military applications. Integrated portable solutions enable customers to carry out testing on-site, reducing downtime of mission-critical platforms and increasing operational efficiency.
Aeroflex acquired IFR Systems in 2002 and JcAIR Test Systems in 2005, combining two global leaders in avionics test of RF, digital and analog avionics systems, providing solutions for R&D, factory, maintenance and flight line testing.
IFR was established in 1968, specializing in aircraft instruments and test equipment. It was then, when under the leadership of Fred Hunt, one of IFR’s founders, that the company became involved with the AEA.
In 1971, the company refocused and concentrated on avionics test equipment. In 1975, a radio communications test set was developed, which set into motion a major push into the nascent wireless test equipment market.
Aeroflex acquired JcAIR Test Systems from the Goodrich Corp. in April 2005. The addition of JcAIR Test Systems enhanced Aeroflex's leading position in both commercial and military avionics testing. The JcAIR name was recognized worldwide as a leading provider of specialized and custom avionics testing solutions. Its specialty was in RF products and test equipment for the aircraft data bus and fuel gauging system.
In 2014, Cobham PLC, a British manufacturing company based in Wimborne, Dorset, U.K., acquired Aeroflex. AvComm continues to build on its impressive portfolio of instruments, flexible test and measurement solutions by keeping pace with NextGen avionics test requirements of today’s installed systems. Its wide-ranging support facilities ensure that customers always have reliable, high-integrity solutions to meet their testing needs.
AvComm has been working diligently with the AEA to provide product training at its headquarters in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and at the AEA Connect Conferences and the AEA International Convention & Trade Show each year. Since 1968, AvComm has supported the AEA and its members with some of the most reliable and user-friendly avionics test equipment for the bench and the ramp, and looks forward to the challenges of next-generation testing.
Genesys Aerosystems brings together Chelton Flight Systems Inc. and S-TEC Corp.
Chelton Flight Systems, originally founded in 1997, developed the world’s first FAA-certified 3-D synthetic vision EFIS and GPS/WAAS navigator and has grown to become a leader in integrated cockpit avionics systems for special-mission aircraft. Key technologies include synthetic vision with three-dimensional highway-in-the-sky navigation, integrated flight management and hazard alerting, and ultra-compact, highly ruggedized sensors that provide ultimate customer benefits of increased safety, improved dispatch rates, mission flexibility, and seamless future growth.
S-TEC Corp., founded in 1978, offers a full line of autopilots for airplanes and helicopters. From low-cost analog wing levelers to sophisticated, digital, three-axis systems with Flight Director and envelope protection, S-TEC has FAA certification for nearly 1,000 aircraft types and has delivered more than 40,000 autopilot systems. The company’s new HeliSAS brings digital, full-authority autopilot technology to the market in a package weighing an unprecedented 15 pounds. Available as a stability augmentation system only or with all autopilot modes, HeliSAS dramatically enhances safety for light single- and twin-engine helicopters.
Genesys Aerosystems has been an active member of the AEA since 1980. It participates in training and exhibits at the AEA International Convention & Trade Show and the AEA Connect Conferences.
Heads Up Technologies Inc.
Heads Up Technologies Inc.
Heads Up Technologies Inc. was founded in 1985 for one purpose, to elevate the aviation experience for pilots and passengers by providing the most innovative cockpit, cabin and aviation electrical system solutions.
The company’s first offering was a patented, computerized checklist management system that used a digital voice to read the checklist aloud to the flight crew, allowing them to fly “heads up” instead of looking down while reading the checklist items. From there, the company’s product line quickly expanded. Heads Up’s expertise in digital audio was applied to the cabin when it delivered the first solid-state passenger briefing unit in 1987. Since then, it has developed four different passenger briefing system models with more than 9,500 installations worldwide.
In the 1990s, the company developed a series of caution warning panels and aural warning systems that were standard on several models of Cessna Citations. In the early 2000s, Heads Up introduced the first XM Satellite Radio specifically designed for aviation. During the next few years, it developed a family of SiriusXM Satellite radios for integration into IFE system or for stand-alone applications.
The company was instrumental in the development of XM WX Satellite weather, now an industry standard for low-cost CONUS weather data. It has manufactured and delivered more than 20,000 of these weather receivers for MFD and EFB applications.
The company has developed a full line of LED cabin lighting products that are used on 11 different business jet production programs.
Recently, the company further expanded its presence in the cabin with the introduction of its Lumin CMS/IFE system. The fiber optic-based system includes wireless connectivity to passenger devices and is now used on six business jet production programs.
Heads Up Technologies has been an active member of the AEA since February 1989.
KGS Electronics has been designing and manufacturing AC and DC solid state power conversion products since 1959. The company pioneered the application of solid-state static inverters for aerospace applications and today provides advanced airborne certified AC and DC power conversion products to both civil and military aviation applications worldwide.
KGS Electronics has a full line of airborne 400Hz and 50/60Hz static inverters, voltage/frequency converters, DC to DC power converters, light dimming power supplies and AC to DC power supplies designed for a variety of aerospace and military applications such as cockpit, cabin, galley, navigation, radar, special mission, medical and lavatory.
KGS products are standard on a variety of fixed-wing applications for OEMs such as Airbus Industries, Bombardier Aerospace, Cessna/Beechcraft Textron Aviation, Dassault Aviation, Embraer (Empressa Brasilleira), Boeing Aerospace, Gulfstream Aerospace, Learjet Inc., Airbus Defense and Space, Pilatus, Israel Aircraft Industries, and Piper Aircraft.
OEM rotorcraft applications include Bell Helicopter, Airbus Helicopters, Robinson Helicopter, Leonardo Agusta Aerospace, Hindustan Aeronautics, Sikorsky Aircraft, Enstrom Helicopter, Schweitzer Helicopter and PZL Swidnik.
KGS Electronics has a full network of factory-authorized service and repair stations located throughout the world. Authorized repair and product support is provided by more than 20 service centers in the United States and 16 authorized service centers worldwide. International service support is available in countries such as Germany, France, England, Italy, Indonesia, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Argentina, the Netherlands, Brazil, Sweden, Japan and Denmark.
KGS Electronics is certified to AS9100 (cert. #OZ571-AS1) and ISO-9001 (cert. #0Z571-3) quality system standards and conforms to FAA Part 21.605 (a), Technical Standards Order authorization for manufactured airborne products.
KGS Electronics has complete in-house service and maintenance facilities for its products. The company is approved under FAA Part 145 repair station (cert. #K3GR925J) and EASA Part 145 recognized (ref. #06/02-7/95-L162, European Air Agency).
KGS Electronics has three California manufacturing facilities; two located in Arcadia (L.A. County) and one in Upland (San Bernardino County). Company facilities comprise more than 54,000-quare-feet of office, manufacturing and warehouse space.
KGS Electronics has been an active AEA member since January 1978.
Rockwell Collins is a leader in aviation and high-integrity solutions for commercial and military customers around the world. Every day, it helps pilots safely and reliably navigate to the far corners of the earth; keep warfighters aware and informed in battle; deliver millions of messages for airlines and airports; and help passengers stay connected and comfortable throughout their journey. As experts in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, cabin interiors, information management, mission communications, and simulation and training, the company offers a comprehensive portfolio of products and services that can transform its customers’ futures.
Rockwell Collins has been an active AEA member since May 1964.
Satcom Direct Inc.
Satcom Direct Inc.
It all began in a small garage in Satellite Beach, Florida, in 1997. Jim Jensen, an avid pilot, had an idea that would ultimately revolutionize aircraft communications. If someone could pick up a telephone and call anyone direct, why isn’t it possible to do the same with an aircraft in-flight? After many months of long nights and weekends working in his garage, Jensen pioneered the technology that enables direct dialing an aircraft while in-flight using its own unique telephone number. The Global One Number was born, Satcom Direct Inc. was established, and Jensen received his first patent in 1999. Jensen’s passion to create connectivity solutions didn’t stop there. His vision led him to connect with David Greenhill, SD president, and together they established SD Communications in 2003, and began offering airborne internet to business aviation, military and government customers.
Fast forward to today, SD now has 18 locations throughout the world, more than 400 talented team members and a new state-of-the-art world headquarters and data center in Melbourne, Florida. SD’s spirit of innovation continues as it prepares to launch new solutions such as the Cyber Security Solutions Portfolio that will help the industry meet the demands in both the cabin and cockpit.
Satcom Direct has been an active member of the AEA since 2001. SD participates in training and exhibits at the AEA International Convention & Trade Show and the AEA Connect Conferences.