NBAA Convention News

NBAA honors maintenance techs who maintain highest standards for decades

 - October 1, 2008, 7:12 AM

Donald Hunt has been aircraft maintenance manager for OSI Restaurant Partners, which owns the Outback Steakhouse chain and seven others, since 1993.

OSI operates three Dassault Falcon 50s, which Hunt said is his favorite corporate airplane to work on, as it’s “a great product, with great support.” OSI, which used to operate Westwinds, got its first Falcon 50 in 2002.

The flight department has eight pilots, an aviation manager, an administrative assistant and three maintenance technicians, including Hunt. “We do the smaller inspections in-house,” Hunt said, “and contract out the larger maintenance jobs.”

Hunt started working as a jet mechanic in the U.S. Navy in the early 1960s, maintaining F-4s, F-11As and PF-9Js. He said his long safety career is due to the fact that he has been “very fortunate to work for some great companies.” He worked for Page in Rochester, N.Y., in the 1960s, then joined Xerox in 1971. “My biggest break was to work for Dick Van Gemmert at Xerox, one of the icons in this industry. He had high standards and the department was run very professionally. My standards were set there.” After leaving Xerox, he worked for Manufacturers Hanover for 12 years and then set up the flight department for Mills Pride.

At OSI, he said, “We have a great team. It takes everyone together to make an organization successful.”

Hunt was on the NBAA Technical Committee for seven years and served on the board of the Westchester Aircraft Maintenance Association.

Tri C, the flight department for a private company, operates a Bombardier Challenger 604, but Joe Kobs said he actually likes working on the Westwind best. He was an IAI service rep on the Westwind before going to work for Tri C, where he was director of maintenance for 20 years. He was promoted to chief pilot recently. His successor as director of maintenance attributes Kobs’ safety record to the fact that “he’s a professional.”

Alberto Martinez is a maintenance supervisor for Honeywell Flight Operations and has worked for the company for 41 years, 30 in his present position. He told NBAA Convention News that his favorite corporate airplanes to work on are the Falcon series.

He said he became interested in aviation at a very young age when an older cousin who was a pilot took him to an airport in Mexico. In the military, he was a flight mechanic on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise, working on the Hawkeye E-2A.
Since he left the military, he has worked for Honeywell, through many of the company’s name changes–Signal Oil & Gas Co., AiResearch, Garrett-AiResearch, Garrett, Signal Co., AlliedSignal Co. and now Honeywell International.

The company over the years has operated Douglas DC-3s, Gulfstream I and IIs, Falcons, Merlins as well as a Piper Aztec, Beech Baron and King Air B100, Grand Commander, 731 JetStar, Hawker 1A, 3A, 700, 800, Learjet 35/36/55, Cessna Conquest and a Boeing 727. It now operates two Falcon 900EX EASy trijets in Phoenix, with six pilots and three mechanics. The company is looking to add another pilot and another mechanic.

Martinez attributes his long safety record to “training, conscientiousness, dedication, self-training and being safety minded.”