People in Aviation: August 2009

 - July 29, 2009, 5:46 AM

Two NTSB board members announced their resignations last month. Kathryn “Kitty” O’Leary Higgins is resigning her position effective August 3 to “pursue opportunities in the private sector.” Acting chairman Mark Rosenker also announced his resignation but said he will delay his departure until a new chairman and an additional Board member are confirmed to ensure a quorum remains at the NTSB.

Former Swissair CEO Philippe Bruggisser has replaced Bing Chen as chief executive of European charter group VistaJet. He is joined on the Switzerland-based company’s board by new chief commercial officer Scott Plumb, who has held various sales and marketing roles with Gulfstream Aerospace, Airbus and British Aerospace, and by non-executive director John Boo, CEO of asset finance group Comprendium.

Becker Avionics, the subsidiary of Becker Flugfunk, based in Miramar, Fla., has promoted Markus Schmitz from v-p of strategy and business development to president and general manager of the company’s U.S. operations.

Universal Weather & Aviation has appointed Kelvin Collard as the company’s new CFO. He most recently served as CFO for The Brock Group. The flight support provider also named Kimberly Hoepfel sales account manager for the Northeast U.S. Previously she was a flight operations dispatcher for Lucent Technologies.
The American Association of Airport Executives has elected a new slate of officers. John Duval, director of operations, planning and development of Beverly Municipal Airport in Massachusetts, was appointed chairman, while Jim Bennett was named first vice chair and Kelly Johnson second vice chair. Bruce Carter was selected as secretary/treasurer.

Colorado-based clean energy solutions provider Bye Aerospace has chosen Eric Snelgrove as v-p of legal affairs. Mason Whitney, a retired Air Force major general and director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security for Colorado, has joined the firm’s strategic advisory council.

Richard Crum, president of Airplus International, has been named president
of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives by the association’s board
of directors. He follows Doug Weeks, who resigned. Greeley Koch, director of strategic development for the Acquis Consulting Group, replaced Crum as head of the association’s Global Centre for Research and Education.

Private aviation services provider Air Partner announced that Charles “Chuck” Pollard has joined its board as a non-executive director. He is non-executive vice chairman of charter airline Omni Air international.

Cincinnati-based Delta AirElite Business Jets has named Brad Blettner its new director of sales and marketing. Most recently, Blettner served as v-p of business development for the Cincinnati Reds major league baseball team.

Jet Aviation has appointed Ian Ludlow as new managing director of the company’s Moscow Vnukovo maintenance operation. He joins the company from the UK’s Aeromobile, where he last served as v-p of aircraft operations.

Bobby Patton has joined turboprop aircraft engine upgrade specialist Blackhawk Modifications as distributor program manager. He was previously employed at Raisbeck Engineering as director of sales.

New York-based aircraft management provider and Part 135 charter operator Arcadia Aviation has named Oliver Wolcott director of business development. Recently, he served that role for a private membership club.

Ken Forester, CEO of air services provider Meridian Companies, has been elected to the National Air Transportation Association’s board of directors.

Gas turbine specialist Chromalloy has named Jimmy Ravenne general manager of its turbine engine repair and maintenance operation near Paris. Previously he worked at Brit Air/Groupe Air France as v-p of engineering and maintenance.

Satellite communications provider EMS Sky Connect has named Justin Steinke eastern sales manager. Most recently, he owned and operated a flight school, where he also served as chief pilot.

The Baltic Air Charter Association has appointed retired air charter brokerage owner Markham Jackson its first chief executive.

Gulfstream Aerospace has added two representatives to its international field service organization. Industry veteran Kannan Kumar will work with customers in India, while Eduardo Hernandez, previously a technical operations specialist with the large-cabin mechanical systems group at the company’s Savannah facility, will cover the Mexico and Central America region.

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has opened a European branch office in Brussels and hired Brian Davey as its director of European affairs. Before joining GAMA, he worked for APCO Worldwide in its European Union regulatory and public policy division.

Uvalde, Texas-based repair and modification specialist Sierra Industries has named Cecil Sloan its new regional sales manager. Recently he was customer service manager and regional sales manager for Garrett Aviation Services.

Lindsey McFarren, formerly with the National Air Transport Association, Air Charter Safety Foundation and the Transportation Security Administration, has established her own general aviation consulting firm, McFarren Aviation Consulting.

Tennessee-based Corporate Flight Management named Don Sullivan, formerly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to the position of v-p for government services.
Atlanta-based MRO specialist Precision Aviation Group named Phillip Fienen its new regional sales manager. He was formerly director of sales and customer support for Kansas Aviation.

Financial consultancy firm Seabury Aviation & Aerospace named four members to its industry advisory board. Geoff Dixon, former managing director and CEO of Qantas; Bryan Moss, president emeritus, Gulfstream Aerospace; Sir Ralph Robins, former executive chairman, Rolls-Royce; and Douglas Steenland

Final Flights

Dr. Sam Williams, 88, founder and chairman of Williams International, died on June 22. Williams patented the small turbofan engine and built on his company’s
success in manufacturing cruise missile engines to break into the rarefied world of civil turbine engines. Williams envisioned a new category of aircraft–lightweight
small personal jets–and his FJ44 engine line spawned development of new light aircraft such as the Cessna CitationJet series and the Sino Swearingen (now Emivest) SJ30. Williams was a recipient of the Collier Trophy, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy and the National Medal of Technology, and was inducted into both
the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Aviation Hall of Fame. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Barbara, two sons, a daughter and three grandchildren. 

Awards and Honors

Dr. John Tomblin, executive director of the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University, and Dr. Christian Widener, a research scientist for NIAR’s advanced joining and processing lab, were appointed honorary commanders of McConnell Air Force Base’s 22nd Air Refueling Wing and 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, respectively. The purpose of the honorary commanders program is to increase public awareness and understanding of the armed forces and their mission.

Huntsville, Ala.-based aircraft services provider WestWind Technologies has received several operational awards from the National Safety Council, including the Million Work Hours Award, the Occupational Excellence Achievement Award, and the Milestone Award for two incident-free years of operation.     n