Avionics pioneer Edward King, Jr., 90, died Sunday at his home near Eugene, Ore. After graduating from college in 1943, King took a job on the East Coast with RCA, designing aircraft radio equipment for the U.S. Navy. He later returned to the Midwest, and in 1948 he borrowed $10,000 from his in-laws and founded his first company, Communications Accessories Corp. (CAC), which in 1956 was purchased by Collins Radio (now Rockwell Collins).
King was CAC’s president until 1959, when he left to found King Radio, a company started in his basement. Eventually, the company employed thousands of workers who developed and manufactured navigation and communication equipment for general and business aviation aircraft. In 1985 King sold King Radio to Allied Signal/Bendix Aerospace–which is now part of Honeywell–and retired.
“Ed King was one of the most important figures in the development of modern avionics,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “His vision and entrepreneurial spirit helped establish and advance the state of the art for onboard electronics.”
NBAA recognized King’s accomplishments by presenting him with a special NBAA First Century of Flight Award in 2003. He also received NBAA’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award in 1988. Funeral arrangements are pending.