People in Aviation: August 2019

 - August 1, 2019, 4:45 AM

Romain Trapp was appointed president of Airbus Helicopters' U.S. subsidiary, Airbus Helicopters Inc., and head of the North America region for helicopters. He succeeds Chris Emerson, who is assuming the role of president of Airbus Defence and Space. Trapp served as CFO of Airbus Helicopters Inc. in Grand Prairie, Texas, beginning in 2008 and became Airbus Helicopters COO in 2016 and president of Airbus Helicopters Canada in 2013.

Christian Sasfai was named president of South Carolina-based MRO provider Stevens Aerospace and Defense. Most recently v-p and COO for FBO chain TAC Air, Sasfai returns to Stevens after serving as its director of business development and financial planning from 1995-2002.

Emlyn David was named president and CEO of Skyservice Business Aviation, effective June 30. He succeeds Marshall Myles, who retired as CEO after serving with the company since 2008. Myles will continue to serve the executive team in a consulting capacity. David has been a director of Skyservice and has held the role of president since 2012.

StandardAero appointed Roger Ross president of its Airlines & Fleets division, based at the company’s Scottsdale, Arizona headquarters. Ross, who has 25 years of aerospace leadership experience, has managed various operations for Goodrich and previously was president of Esterline Technologies, Sensors, and Systems.

Gulfstream Aerospace has expanded its European sales team with the addition of two regional vice presidents. Chris Edwards was appointed regional v-p of sales for Northern Europe, covering the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia after serving in that same role with Embraer Executive Jets. Alessandro Scarpellini, most recently Embraer’s director of sales in Africa, was named regional v-p of sales for Southern Europe, including Switzerland.

Joe Gibney has been promoted from director of business development to v-p and COO for aviation services provider TAC Air and will also oversee business management of sister company Keystone Aviation. Aaron Fish was promoted from controller at Keystone to v-p and COO, reporting to Gibney.

Andreas Roelofs joined United Technologies Corp. as v-p of research on July 1. Roelofs, who will lead the United Technologies Research Center, holds more than 20 patents and has a background as physicist, start-up founder, industry executive, and former leader of a government research facility, including as director of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory and as founding director of Argonne National Laboratory's Chain Reaction Innovations.

Argus International named Doug Schwartz v-p, leading the Operational Excellence Program. Schwartz, who spent 20 years with FlightSafety International, recently retired from Conoco Phillips as general manager of global aviation services.

Noble Aerospace (formerly All Metals Processing Holdings) added Brad Morton to its board of directors. Morton, most recently president of Eaton Aerospace, has also held senior executive roles at AlliedSignal and subsequently Honeywell.

Leon Silva rejoined Sikorsky Commercial Systems & Services as director of aftermarket programs. Silva, who has more than 28 years of program management and engineering experience, previously served as chief engineer for Global Military Systems & Services and director of Sikorsky’s S-76 line of commercial helicopters in his former roles with Sikorsky. 

Bob Sanchez was named director of government business development for Universal Avionics, overseeing efforts to promote the company’s commercial products to government customers worldwide. Sanchez joined Universal Avionics in March 2014 as program development for military and government and before that, served with BAE systems and spent 11 years in the U.S. Air Force.

FlightSafety International promoted Suren Meras to executive director of operations. Meras, who will oversee the range of training operations and development for the company’s global network, joined FlightSafety’s Toronto facility in 2007 as assistant center manager and director of training and later was promoted to director of training operations and then senior director of operations.

Kevin Sullivan joined Freestream Aircraft as director of business development. Sullivan has an extensive background in Part 135 operations and served with the Time Warner/Warner Brothers flight department.

Duncan Aviation announced several personnel changes. The company named Michael Kussatz regional avionics sales manager, supporting the company’s East Coast Satellite Avionics Shop network. Kussatz has more than 26 years of industry experience, working with West Star Aviation and Garmin International, in addition to Duncan. Luke Swager was appointed manager of customer service for its Battle Creek, Michigan location. Swager joined the Battle Creek facility as an airframe mechanic on the Falcon/Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) team and later became project manager and assistant manager of customer service. Joe Cugnetti moved over to Duncan Aviation’s aircraft service sales team as a Bombardier service sales representative. Cugnetti, who joined Duncan in 2013, previously was a lead technician in the company’s Battle Creek, Michigan airframe department. Finally, the company named John Petersen regional manager for the Northwest U.S. Petersen, a U.S. Navy veteran, has also served as an avionics field service engineering representative, support manager, and sales representative for Honeywell.

Daniel Bull joined Harvest Aviation, a subsidiary of the Prax Group, as aviation manager. Bull brings 20 years of experience to his new role, previously holding positions involving international contract negotiation, business management, quality assurance, supply chain development, analytical research, and B2C sales.

Summit Aviation Manufacturing added Tara Connell to its sales team as a business development representative. Connell previously was a senior buyer for Honda Aircraft, Major Structures, and before that spent several years at Northrop Grumman.

Linda Pfeifer joined Immaculate Flight as regional sales manager for the Southeast Florida market. Pfeifer has a deep background in sales, previously spending 11 years with Enterprise Holdings and 11 years with Avis Budget Group, where she was director of ancillary sales.

West Star Aviation appointed Kenneth Rivers satellite manager of the MRO’s Scottsdale, Arizona (SDL) location. Rivers, who has more than 25 years of aviation experience, previously was satellite manager and lead tech at West Star's Chicago (PWK) location and also has held leadership roles at JA Aviation.

Peter Schmitz has helped found Risk Management & Insurance Solutions with Mark Church to provide aviation insurance advising, expert witness availability, due diligence reports, risk management outsourcing, and project-based consulting. Schmitz is president of the new firm, while Church is a partner. Each brings more than 30 years of insurance experience to the new venture.

Awards and Honors

Steve Padgett, co-founder and chairman of Alliance Aviation Services (formerly Alliance Airlines) and founder and managing director of Flight Options (Australia), Universal Training Systems, and SJP Aviation, was honored with the Medal of Order of Australia for outstanding achievement and service. Padgett was recognized for playing an instrumental role in developing new aviation business and contributing to the fabric of aviation, Flight Options said. He additionally is a life member of the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, a council member of the Australian Air Force Cadets National Council, and chairman of the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame.

GAMA is presenting its 2019 Edward W. Stimpson Aviation Excellence Award to Ericka Hardin, who is planning to attend Moody Aviation Technology in Spokane, Washington, in the fall. Named after the long-time head of GAMA, the $2,000 scholarship is awarded to a graduating U.S. high school senior who is enrolling in an aviation degree program at a college or university. Hardin plans to earn a bachelor of science degree in missionary aviation technology-flight. An active member of the Civil Air Patrol, she has received numerous recognitions, including the Mary Feik Achievement, the Wright Brothers Award, and the Lindbergh Achievement.

Final Flights

Karl Bergey, a long-time aeronautical engineer who led the development of the Piper Cherokee, died on May 27 in Norman, Oklahoma. He was 96. A retired University of Oklahoma professor and chairman of a small wind turbine manufacturing company, Bergey grew up in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, and began his studies at Penn State before joining the Navy and attending flight navigation school, according to obituary information. After WWII, he returned to college to receive a degree in aeronautical engineering and later a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from MIT.

Bergey worked with companies including Grumman Aviation and North American Aircraft in California before he joined Piper Aircraft in 1957. There he oversaw both development and certification of the Cherokee, which became one of the best-selling general aviation aircraft. He subsequently served as v-p of engineering for Aero Commander, where he spearheaded development of the Aero Commander 114.

He joined the staff of the University of Oklahoma School of Aeronautical, Mechanical, and Nuclear Engineering in 1970, teaching and mentoring students for the next 40 years. He also became involved in the wind power market, founding Bergey Windpower with his son Michael.

Bergey has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and an Outstanding Engineering Alumnus award from Penn State.

Roger Béteille, a founding father of Airbus, died June 14 at the age of 97. Béteille is credited with shaping not only the first Airbus commercial aircraft, the A300B, but also Airbus Industrie. Born in Aveyron, France, in 1921, Béteille studied at Supaéro in Toulouse. He then joined SNCASE, which later became Sud Aviation, in 1943. A pilot and flight test engineer, he was part of the flight test team on the Caravelle’s first flight. By 1967 Béteille had become chief engineer for the A300 program at Sud Aviation. When it became known that Air France and Lufthansa wanted a smaller product, he began working on the 250-seat A300B in secret. His fuselage cross-section design for that aircraft is still in use today on the A330.

Béteille has been credited with numerous innovations that culminated with the launch of the A320, a single-aisle aircraft that featured a wider fuselage and fly-by-wire flight controls, in 1984. He retired from Airbus Industrie as president in 1984.