People in Aviation: May 2010

 - May 10, 2010, 6:27 AM

Randy Groom, formerly president of Hawker Beechcraft’s global customer service and support and its Beechcraft division and founder of general aviation consultancy Groom Aviation, was named executive v-p of sales, marketing and customer support at Piper Aircraft. 

Sentient Jet has named former senior v-p Marty Guinoo its new CEO. He succeeds Steve Hankin, who joined private equity firm Starwood Capital as managing director.

Dassault Falcon has promoted Frank Youngkin from v-p of customer service for the Western Hemisphere, to senior v-p of western hemisphere customer service.

Larry Roberts has joined Bell Helicopter as senior v-p of commercial business. Previously he was v-p of sales, marketing and customer support at American Eurocopter.

Pratt & Whitney Canada has promoted Maria Della Posta from v-p of customer service to senior v-p of sales and marketing. She succeeds Keyvan Fard, who is taking on another role within the company.

Christian Gras has been named Eurocopter’s executive v-p of customers. He was previously senior v-p for Latin America in parent company EADS’ strategy and marketing organization, and succeeds Philippe Harache, who is leaving the company. Matthieu Louvot, formerly an industry, energy and transportation adviser to the French president, was selected as v-p, head of corporate strategy and company development. 

Heath Patrick, formerly v-p of technical sales and sales operations for Honeywell’s air transport and regional businesses, has been named COO at aviation medical services provider MedAire. 

FlightSafety International has promoted Mike King from manager of the company’s learning centers in Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Memphis and St. Louis, to director of business development. He was replaced by Angela Gremard, previously assistant manager of the company’s St. Louis center.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based management and charter provider Corporate Jets has named Woody McClendon, previously senior v-p of sales and marketing at PrivatAir, as its new v-p of business development.

The National Air Transportation Association has hired Dennis van de Laar as its new manager of regulatory affairs. 

Gulfstream Aerospace has promoted Pete Buresh from manager, international sales development to international sales director, responsible for Africa. 

Melville, N.Y.-based composite structures manufacturer Park Electrochemical has promoted Gregory Strand from director of aerospace structures engineering to v-p of aerospace structures engineering.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Northern Jet Management has appointed Mark Serbenski v-p of sales. Previously he was the company’s director of maintenance.

François Tarel has been named executive v-p of Safran subsidiary Aircelle. Previously he led the parent company’s modernization project for human resources, finance, information systems and purchasing functions. 

Craig Acton has joined private aviation provider Wayfarer Aviation as CFO. The Purchase, N.Y.-based company also named Keith Ruggirello, formerly director of 

sales and acquisitions for Infinity Aviation Group, director of business development. 

Aircraft services provider Flightworks has hired Jeff Wright, formerly a sales manager at MedAire, to head the company’s new sales office at Atlanta’s Peachtree-Dekalb Airport.

Aviation services provider Elliott Aviation has hired James Mitchell as an aircraft sales manager based at the company’s Eden Prairie, Minn. facility. 

Airborne communications provider Aircell has named Dave Salvador to the newly created position of corporate sales manager. He was previously director of aviation sales and business development at I.D. Systems.

Alpharetta, Ga.-based Flight Display Systems has hired Vic Potter as its new general manager. 

Engine repair and overhaul specialist Chromalloy announced that Dennis Miller, previously v-p and general manager at Smiths Group, will lead the company’s Midwest City, Okla., gas turbine engine maintenance and service center. He replaces Connie Van Fleet, who retired.

Lynnwood, Wash.-based Crane Aerospace & Electronics has promoted Brian Barrett from director of repair and overhaul services to v-p of aftermarket services for the aerospace group. 

MRO specialist West Star Aviation has named Tony Koprivnik director of Challenger and Global Express programs at its East Alton, Ill. facility. 

Helicopter and aircraft services provider Texas Aviation Services has added Maria Isabel Perdomo as a sales representative, based in Colombia. 

Aviation maintenance software provider Continuum Applied Technology has named former IT consultancy CEO Brian Traudt its director of sales.

North Charleston, S.C.-based aircraft brokerage Chase Aviation has hired Kelvin Boyette, formerly an avionics sales manager for Landmark Aviation, as a sales and maintenance consultant.

Patrick Dulac has been promoted from assistant center manager at FlightSafety International’s Paris Le Bourget facility to manager.

Joe Stratman, formerly a manager and master technician with Bristol Myers Squibb’s flight department, has joined Midwest Aviation Consulting as a partner.

Million Air Toronto has promoted Bernard Frank to FBO line service manager, while the FBO chain’s Houston location has added Reene Bradshaw to its customer service team as a sales representative.

Awards & Honors

Graham Stephenson, former head of ExecuJet Aviation Group’s FBO operations, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the organizers of BA Meet-Up, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the industry. 

Westchester Aviation Association president and former NBAA chairman Jeff Lee received the NBAA Silk Scarf award, given to individuals for special contributions to the business aviation community during their careers.

Final Flights

William Laidlaw, 83, a former combat and test pilot, engineering executive and former president of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, died on April 2. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII while still in high school, and later earned engineering degrees from MIT. As an executive with North American Aviation, he led several programs including the contract to develop the Apollo command and service modules and the support of the XB-70 Valkyrie supersonic bomber and X-15 flight test programs. He later founded Flight Systems, which evaluated flight testing for military and civil programs including Canadair’s (later Bombardier) development of the Challenger series jet.

John “Mike” Gilbert, 60, manager of client relations at Jet Aviation’s Palm Beach facility and an employee of the company for nearly a quarter century, died on March 21. A former Marine who served in Vietnam, Gilbert joined the general aviation service industry in the early 1980s. He was the recipient of numerous company service awards and was also a member of the Jet Aviation Care team of volunteers who assist families in times of aviation crisis.

August Bellanca, 83, son of pioneer aircraft designer Giuseppe Bellanca and a noted aerospace engineer in his own right, died on March 16. He began his six-decade long aviation career working in his father’s factory before receiving an aeronautical engineering degree in 1950 from NYU. He went on to work for several major airframers before forming his own company, which developed novel construction methods to produce an all-composite kit aircraft, the Skyrocket II. At the time of his death, Bellanca was still working as an engineer and senior designer with the Conceptual Design Center of the Naval Warfare Center at Patuxent River, Md.

Sergio Garcia, 48, a Gulfstream V captain and chief pilot for Mexican media conglomerate Grupo Televisa, died on February 16 after a battle with cancer.