Skip Koss, the former v-p of marketing for Concorde Batteries who was a driver in the introduction of lead-acid batteries into the aviation industry, died on March 19. He was 83.
A long-time aviation mechanic, Koss began his career as a teenager, taking a job washing and polishing airplanes and sweeping hangar floors at Detroit City Airport in 1949. He continued working there through high school, and at 17 passed the written exams for his FAA Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic certification. But he had to wait until he turned 18 before he could take the practical portion of testing.
He then served as a licensed A&P for General Motors’ Air Transport section for 13 years and subsequently as director of maintenance for Midwestern Airlines, Omni Aircraft Sales, and Sunstream Jet Center.
Koss began to build his knowledge in batteries in 1978, when he joined Aero Quality as a sales manager. There, Concorde said, he became a leading industry authority on aircraft batteries and worked with engineering expert Joe Mibelli, of JFM Engineering, to develop the “Superseder,” the first charger analyzer that could charge and discharge high currents at low voltage.
After later becoming manager of OEM sales at Teledyne Battery Products and then Marathon Power Technology, Koss joined Concorde Battery, where he spent his next 30 years. There, he embraced lead-acid battery technology, introducing it to Lockheed’s Burbank Skunk Works facility. While Lockheed initially appeared uninterested, it later acknowledged its use on the F-117A Stealth Fighter. That success served as a springboard to numerous other military and commercial applications, including the Beechjet and King Air.
“Skip's business prowess and aircraft knowledge propelled Concorde into the strong position held today by way of designing drop-in replacement batteries that provide pilots and mechanics a dependable, low-maintenance solution,” Concorde said, adding his “passion for aviation was second to none and he contributed much to the industry.”
A member of the Experimental Aircraft Association and Professional Aviation Maintenance Association, Koss was active in the FAA committee that developed U.S. aircraft battery specification and donated numerous hours to pilot and mechanic education. He was awarded the FAA’s Charles E. Taylor “Master Mechanic” recognition.