People in Aviation: December 2008

 - December 1, 2008, 10:37 AM

James Ballough, the FAA’s long-time director of the Flight Standards Service, has announced that he will retire at the end of the year. Deputy director John Allen will succeed him. Also retiring effective January 3 is Ruth Leverenz, who most recently has served as acting deputy administrator of the agency. No replacement has yet been named for Leverenz.

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) board of directors has elected its new leadership. Mark Van Tine, Jeppesen’s president and CEO, was selected as chairman, while Honeywell president of business and general aviation Robert Wilson was tapped as vice chair, in addition to continuing as chair of the technical policy committee. Jim Ziegler, Jet Aviation’s CEO, was chosen as chairman of the organization’s international affairs committee.

NBAA has appointed two new officers to its board of directors: Richard Shine, CEO of Manitoba Recycling and operator of a Mitsubishi MU-2, and Dr. Charles Reagan, overseer of the KSU flight department and captain for the university’s Cessna CitationJet. Each will serve a three-year term on the 18-member board.

Richard Leach, president and CEO of Trans States Holdings, has been elected chairman of the Regional Airline Association’s board of directors.

Airborne communications provider Aircell announced that John Wade has joined the Broomfield, Colo.-based company as senior v-p and general manager for business aviation services. Before joining Aircell, he served as chief technical officer and general manager at in-flight communications specialist OnAir.

Jay Hoffer has been appointed to manage Sabreliner’s largest aircraft repair, overhaul and maintenance facility in Perryville, Mo. He most recently served as president of BiltBest Products of Ste. Genevieve, Mo. Craig Anderson has been appointed senior director of quality and product integrity for the company’s Southeast Missouri operations in Perryville, Ste. Genevieve and St. Mary. 

Bombardier Aerospace has named Jason Liao director of sales for Bombardier Business Aircraft in China. Formerly with Hawker Beechcraft, Liao is the vice chairman and a founding member of the Asian Business Aviation Association.

Israel Aerospace Industries, which manufactures the Gulfstream G150 and recently announced G250, has appointed David Dagan corporate v-p and general manager of its commercial aircraft group. He replaces Gadi Cohen, who is now general manager of the engineering and development group. 

ATR has named Ivan Lauthier its new v-p for training and flight operations. He succeeds Jean-Michel Bigarré. Since 2006, Lauthier held a managing position at Comex-Nucléaire, a France-based firm in charge of the design, development and maintenance of nuclear facilities.

Allianz Aviation Managers has hired several former AIG employees for its U.S. insurance operations. Will Lovett, previously president of AIG Aviation North America, is the new managing director, while Peter Guy and Keith Wright have been named v-p for claims. All three will be based in Atlanta.

Lindsay McFarren has joined the aviation consulting firm Simat, Helliesen & Eichner as manager of safety and security systems. She served previously as director of the National Air Transportion Association’s Air Charter Safety Foundation, and with the Transportation Security Administration as assistant general manager for programs in the office of general aviation.

Cincinnati-based Aviation Research Group/U.S., (ARG/US) hired the founders of recently acquired Avmosys company, Scott Liston and Mike Midkiff, to continue developing the new business and also assume key responsibilities within the company.

Scottsdale, Ariz. aviation consultancy firm Sextant Advisory has added aviation industry veterans Richard Schuller, president and CEO of Schuller Aerospace Services International, and Christopher Crum, former CEO of Royal Jet Group, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and one of the founders of the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) to its staff.

Vanderlei Anjos da Silva has been appointed Latin American sales manager for Fairchild subsidiary DAC International. He most recently served as an avionics salesman for Lider Taxi Aereo.

London-based aerospace and commercial law firm Gates and Partners has appointed Aoife O’Sullivan as equity partner.

Randy Groom, former president of Beechcraft and former president of global customer support for Raytheon Aircraft, has formed aviation consulting company Groom Aviation. Areas of practice for the company include increasing client business performance by improving business strategy; sales; distribution; marketing; product development; customer support; due diligence; interim management; and board leadership. Prospective clients for Groom Aviation include established and start-up airframe manufacturers, suppliers, FBOs, aftermarket companies and private-equity firms seeking to acquire general aviation assets.

Final Flights

Bill O’Brien, retired FAA inspector and national resource specialist, died on Sunday, November 9 at the age of 65. See column on page 72.

Henry “Hank” Esposito, 85, of Saddle Brook, N.J. died on November 5. Enshrined in the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame, the man known as “Mr. Teterboro” was a fixture at the airport, spending 59 years working there following his WWII overseas Army Air Corps service. Starting with Atlantic Aviation in 1949, Esposito eventually rose to management positions and looked after four visiting U.S. Presidents and numerous other celebrities. He is survived by his brother and sister.

Lowell Swenson, 86, died in Bemidji, Minn., on October 16. Swenson founded U.S. regional carrier Mesaba Airlines in 1978 with his sons; the airline was later sold to Northwest Airlines. He is a recipient of the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for his service during World War II, in which he flew 50 B-24 Liberator bomber missions in Europe. He is survived by his four sons and nine grandchildren.

Jerry Smith, 61, a regional sales manager for Garmin, was killed in a crash while piloting his Cessna Cardinal on business on November 11, near Mena, Ark. As one of the first aviation sales managers hired by the company, Smith was a vital member of Garmin’s aviation sales team, as well as a commercial pilot with instrument, multi-engine and instructor (CFII and MEI) ratings who logged more than 20,000 hours. Smith was involved with the aviation industry for four decades and held positions at BF Goodrich Aerospace, where he did research flying for Stormscope and TCAS, King Radio and others. He is survived by his wife, Sandy; his mother and stepfather; one son; two daughters; and five grandchildren.

Cale Kastanek, 28, a corporate pilot and flight instructor flying for Rider Jet Center FBO out of Hagerstown, Md., died on Sunday, November 9 when his car left the track and crashed during time-trial competition at Summit Point Raceway, Summit Point, W.Va. Kastanek was a champion motor sport driver and was well known and
respected in the National Auto Sport Association. He is survived by his mother, father, stepfather, one sister, one step-sister and a step-brother.