People in Aviation: June 2020

 - June 1, 2020, 9:19 AM

June 2020 People in Aviation

Camber Aviation Management co-founder and completions specialist Tom Chatfield has taken the role of CEO. Chatfield, who helped found Camber six years ago, has 35 years of aviation experience, including with Stratus Aviation Services and Qatar Airways, among others.

Markus Haggeney was named secretary-general of Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the World Air Sports Federation, effective immediately. Haggeney, who had been acting secretary-general since in December, had previously served as FAI sports and events director and has competed in, organized and officiated ballooning championships.

The International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) appointed a board of directors for its AircraftExchange pre-owned aircraft search portal: Chris Meisner of Meisner Aircraft is president and treasurer; Walt Wakefield of Jeteffect is v-p and secretary; and Lee Thomas of Eagle Aviation is also v-p. In addition, board members at large are John Bowman of Hatt & Associates, Matt Stringfield from Soljets, Nick Newby of Exclusive Aviation/Fargo Jet Center, Patrick Lynch of Guardian Jets, and Tyler Bowron from QS Partners.

The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) elected Priester Aviation president and CEO Andrew Priester to the organization’s Board of Governors. Priester has spent more than two decades with his family firm and is the former chair of the National Air Transportation Association.

Will Wyatt joined Global Jet Capital as senior counsel. Wyatt had worked with Global Jet Capital while he was an associate at Vedder Price LLP.

The Ritchie Group appointed Rodger Renaud v-p of aircraft sales. Renaud has a 40-year aviation career, beginning with Rockwell International and later serving with Midcoast Aviation/Jet Aviation and West Star Aviation.

USAIG made a number of promotions and personnel changes: MC Ernst, who was Airline Underwriting Department manager, was promoted to senior v-p; Stephen Zarzecki, a member of the General Aviation Claims Department, was also promoted to senior v-p; and Robert Kehoe, senior claims representative in the Hull Loss Claims Division, has been become v-p. Further, Sam Greene was promoted to assistant v-p and assistant underwriting branch manager in Los Angeles, while Christopher Parlier was named to a similar role in the Dallas, and Mitzi Rasmussen similarly in Chicago. Also, Andrew McMurray in the Eastern branch office was promoted to senior underwriter. Brenda Riech, assistant v-p, has taken on policy language analyst duties in the Customer Care Department, and, Margaret Kucala, assistant v-p, assumed the responsibilities of senior underwriting analyst within the Airline Underwriting Department.

JetAVIVA promoted three sales advisors to sales director positions: Max Oberbroeckling, Dustin Walker, and Jordan Scales. Oberbroeckling will be responsible for jetAVIVA’s Beechcraft King Air sales. Walker is handling the Citation CJ1-series jets, while Jordan Scales is steering Legacy Citation sales for the company. JetAVIVA also named Collin Weems a senior sales advisor.

Awards and Honors

Erik Peterson, a lead maintenance technician for Bismarck Aero Center, was recently honored as the North Dakota Aviation Mechanic of the Year. Peterson, selected by the ND Professional Aviation Mechanics Association (NDPAMA), is the fifth aviation maintenance technician for Bismarck Aero Center to receive the award. An A&P mechanic for 16 years, he has been with Bismarck Aero Center for nine years and earned his inspector authorization there. In 2014, he was promoted to lead maintenance technician. “Erik has been a key piece of our success over the years,” said Bismarck Aero Center CEO Jon Simmers.

The British Business Aviation Association (BBGA) honored Tim Scorer with its Michael Wheatley Award for Outstanding Services to the general aviation industry. Scorer, a long-time aviation lawyer and currently a consultant at Kennedy’s Law Firm, was recognized for decades of support to the OEMs, airlines, private flyers, and BBGA. A licensed pilot since the age of 30, Scorer was qualified as a solicitor in 1965 and represented a number of cases involving the UK Civil Aviation Authority during the 1970s. One such high-profile case involved his assistance to the CAA in prosecuting an Irish wolfhound breeder in Norfolk who had fired a gun at aerial crop sprayers. His aviation practice spanned a number of firms, including Barlow Lyde and Gilbert, where he was a partner for 12 years, and ultimately at Kennedy’s. In addition to the CAA, he represented BAE, British Airports Authority, several international airlines, and general aviation operations.

Final Flights

Elling Halvorson, a pioneer in helicopter tourism, and the founder and chairman of Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, died on April 16. He was 88.

Halvorson established Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters in 1965, giving the company claim to “the world's oldest and largest” aerial sightseeing company, typically flying some 600,000 passengers each year on tours.

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota on Jan. 2, 1932, Halvorson had moved numerous places as his father was in the construction business. After graduating from Willamette University in Oregon with a degree in economics, he followed his father into construction, establishing his own company that specialized in geographically remote projects, according to the Helicopter Association International (HAI).

Halvorson bought his first helicopter, a Bell 47G-3B-1, in 1960 for a project his construction company was undertaking for AT&T in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. His air tour company, initially Grand Canyon Helicopters, was born out of a project in which Halvorson and his team used helicopters to lay pipe into the Canyon. The project involved the building of a 13.5-mile water pipeline connecting the North and South Rims. Halvorson used several helicopters for the project, including a Sikorsky S-61, Bell 204B, and Sikorsky S-55, along with a fleet of Bell 47G-3B-1s and Hiller SL-4s, he told HAI’s Rotor magazine.

The backdrop of the flights left a strong impression on Halvorson and his team, who began asking for chartered helicopter flights during off-hours, HAI added. This was the genesis of his foray into air tourism.

Halvorson ventured into different technologies, asking helicopter manufacturers to develop quieter aircraft and developing “Whisper Jet" technology for helicopters that sported rotor systems with more blades and passive noise-reduction features that quieted the engine.

In 1986, he co-founded the Tour Operators Program of Safety that drew together air tour operators in an initiative to develop operating standards and safety best practices that surpassed regulatory requirements.

Throughout his career, he remained active in the industry, serving two terms as chairman of HAI’s board of directors and participating in NBAA, the American Helicopter Society, National Parks Overflight Advisory Group, US Travel Association, and US Air Tour Association. In 2016, he was inducted into the Vertical Flight Hall of Fame as part of the Living Legends of Aviation Awards.

Married to his wife Barbara in 1953, Halvorson had five children, eight grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. His daughter Brenda is CEO of Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters and Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines, and son Lon is CEO of Rainier Heli Lift International. His other children are Kent, Randal, and Rodney.

William H. “Bill” Wells Jr., the former president and owner of Cashmere, Washington-based Cascade Helicopters and past chairman of the Helicopter Association International, died on April 15. He was 86. Wells, who joined Cascade Helicopters in 1962 as a pilot training and mechanic, amassed 11,500 hours and remained active in the helicopter community during his more-than five-decade career.

Born on Feb. 25, 1934, in Seattle, Wells became an Alaska communications system specialist with the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1953, according to HAI. Five years later, he returned to Washington, attending Perry Technical Institute. He received his A&P license in 1960 and a year later became a private fixed-wing pilot. After joining Cascade Helicopters, he earned his FAA commercial rotorcraft license in 1963 and his CFI license in 1964.

During his career, he was involved in agricultural spraying, search and rescue, fire suppression, government contracting, and transmission-line repair, among many other missions. He became owner and president by 1988.

He was deeply involved in HAI serving as chairman from 1994 to 1995 and chaired its Government Safety Committee, as well as serving on the Government Contracting Committee. HAI honored Wells in 2001 with its Salute to Excellence Pilot of the Year Award. Wells retired in 2002 and closed Cascade Helicopters but had expressed the sentiment that the hundreds of rescues he performed were what “being a helicopter pilot was all about,” according to his obituary information.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Diane Wells, son Steve Wells and daughter Shelley Winterer, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Robert (Bob) Fox, Jr., the aircraft maintenance manager for Global Jet Capital for the past three years, died March 19 at the age of 61.

Born in Manassas, Virginia, Fox had an aviation career that spanned more than four decades. An aviation maintenance technology graduate of the Spartan School of Aeronautics, Fox began his career with Piedmont Aviation in 1978. He spent the next 35 years at Piedmont, which later became Piedmont Hawthorne Aviation and then Landmark Aviation, working his way up to director of maintenance at Landmark. He served in that capacity for eight years

In 2015, Fox launched his own consultancy, Fox Aviation Resources, specializing in project management, and stepped into his position with Global Jet Capital in 2017.

“Bob will be deeply missed, and not just for his dedication, leadership, and keen problem-solving abilities, but for his sincere kindness, willingness to help, and love for his family and friends,” said Global Jet Capital CEO Shawn Vick.

He is survived by his wife, Kricket, daughters Hope and Stephanie, and three grandchildren, Savannah, Gabriel, and Mason.

Kirby Harrison, who spent 18 years as a journalist with AIN, has died. He was 78. Born June 1, 1942, Harrison had joined a Syracuse University advanced photojournalism program through the U.S. Navy and then served as an associate editor at Naval Aviation News. After retiring from the service in 1987, he earned his bachelor’s of science degree in photojournalism and journalism from Syracuse in 1991. He joined the staff of AIN in 1995, serving as senior editor, writing about numerous topics related to aviation. He retired from the company in 2013 but kept his hand in freelance journalism.