People in Aviation: July 2020

 - July 1, 2020, 9:00 AM

Asian Sky Group (ASG) brought Wu Zhendong on board as chairman, working alongside managing director Jeffrey Lowe. Wu brings 35 years of general aviation experience, including founding and serving as chairman of Avion Pacific Group, owning AOC company Kings Aviation, and serving as chairman of the Asian Business Aviation Association.

Luxaviation UK CEO and co-founder Patrick Margetson-Rushmore retired on May 31, handing over the reins solely to co-founder and managing director George Galanopoulos. In addition to taking on the CEO duties, Galanopoulos will continue as European head of charter for the Luxaviation Group. Supporting Galanopoulos will be Martin Hilder, who is being promoted to COO; Kimon Daniilidis, who was named chief customer support and strategy officer; and Tony Medlock, who remains CFO.

Thommen Aircraft Equipment brought in Daniel Grosch to serve as the Swiss company’s CEO. Grosch joins the aircraft instrument provider with 15 years of aerospace and defense experience, including serving as a company director and director of business development for MSI Defence Systems as well as v-p of global sales for Arktis Radiation Detectors.

Aviation Partners Inc. (API) promoted Gary Dunn to president, permanently naming him to the position he has held in an interim capacity since the unexpected passing of company co-founder Joe Clark. Recently v-p of sales and marketing for API, Dunn brings nearly 30 years of experience to the role, more than 20 of which have been spent at the Seattle-based blended winglet developer.

The Bob Hoover Legacy Foundation named Vincent Mickens executive director. A U.S. Navy Intelligence veteran, Mickens has a career that began in television and radio broadcast journalism, transitioned into association business development including with AOPA and NBAA, and subsequently formed his own consultancy, Private Air Media Group.

Inflite The Jet Centre appointed Steve Hughes as general manager of Excellence Aviation Services Limited & Excellence Aviation Limited. Hughes previously served as CAMO general manager for Luxaviation and brings 35 years of aviation maintenance experience to his new role.

Doug Shane joined Ampaire as general manager. Shane, an engineer and test pilot, was the first employee at Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites, later served as chairman of The Spaceship Company, and was part of the team that won the Collier Trophy in 2004 for the SpaceShipOne program.

Gulfstream Aerospace promoted Naveed Aziz to v-p and general manager of the Gulfstream Dallas facility, overseeing service center operations and Gulfstream G280 completions. Aziz, who joined Gulfstream in 1996 as part of an engineering coop designing avionics and electrical systems for the Gulfstream IV and V, most recently was director of completions research and development.

Flight Data Systems (FDS) named Pete Ring v-p of sales and marketing. Ring joined FDS after serving with sister company FreeFlight Systems for nine years, most recently as v-p of business development and strategy officer.

Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics promoted Cindy Highbarger to senior v-p of finance and operations and named Matthew Harrah as senior v-p of technology and products. Highbarger has served with Mid-Continent for more than 24 years. Harrah previously held leadership roles at Astronics AeroSat Corporation and Garmin International.

Helicopter Association International named Robert Volmer v-p of marketing communications. Volmer brings 20 years of experience to his new role, formerly serving as a founding partner of Crosby~Volmer International Communications strategic communications firm and manager of corporate communications at the Air Transport Association.

Fargo Jet Center (FJC) promoted Rick Omang to director of operations and Bobby Meyers to chief pilot. Omang, who has more than 30 years of aviation experience, has served with the FJC charter department for six years. Meyers has been a part of FJC for seven years and has 15 years of aviation experience.

Precision Support Services appointed Grayson Barrows general manager of the repair station. Barrows has 20 years of aviation experience in marketing, sales, and business development, including with Mecaer Aviation Group, Aviation Search Group, Texas Aviation Services, and Evergreen Helicopters.

TAC Air promoted Christina Lang to general manager of its FBO in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Lang has served with TAC Air for six years, most recently in a system-wide role in Dallas as manager of administrative services.

Michael Fantaski joined Traxxall as regional sales director. Fantaski previously has held sales management roles with Haggan Aviation, Professional Aircraft Accessories, Flightcraft, Dassault Falcon Jet, and Western Aircraft.

David Mayfield joined Gulf Avionics as general manager of its facility at Valley International Airport (HRL) in Harlingen, Texas. Mayfield has more than 20 years of MRO experience.

Duncan Aviation named Tyler Spurling assistant manager of its MRO Rapid Response Team. Spurling joined Duncan as a mechanic in the engine line shop 12 years ago. Duncan also appointed Robert Montano as an engine tech supporting Rolls-Royce engine customers at its Lincoln, Nebraska facility. Montano, who served six years in the U.S Army, joined Duncan Aviation in 2014 as an engine line technician and most recently was a lead tech for the Duncan Aviation Engine Line shop.

Woolpert hired Jeff Mulder as a senior consultant in the firm’s infrastructure sector. Mulder brings more than three decades of aviation experience to his new role, previously as the director of airports in Florida, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.

Steven DiGesualdo joined King Aerospace as capture manager for the business development team. DiGesualdo previously provided international military and commercial capture management for Vertex Aerospace and spent almost 25 years with DynCorp International.

Scott LaFleur joined AOne Parts & Logistics as client relations advisor. LaFleur has nearly 30 years of business aviation experience, primarily with aftermarket airframe and avionics component distribution and more recently selling airframe maintenance and support for a full-service MRO.

Awards and Honors

The Aircraft Electronics Association named Kevin Miesbach, components/OEM business development manager for Duncan Aviation, as the 2020 AEA Member of the Year and EDMO Distributors AEA Associate Member of the Year.

Miesbach, a 38-year Duncan Aviation employee, began his career in 1982 as an avionics technician with Lincoln Avionics, which at the time was partly owned by Duncan, and later transferred to Duncan Aviation. He since has held positions of increasing responsibility, moving into management roles.

He first attended an AEA regional meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska in the early 1980s and since has been a regular attendee at AEA events and coordinated and supported training sessions for the association.

Ed Lansberg and Morris Brown formed EDMO in 1971 and became the distributor of avionics test equipment, IFR Systems. Now it is a global supplier to the aviation industry with customers in more than 180 countries. A member of AEA since May 1977, EDMO is a regular exhibitor and sponsor of AEA events.

Nicole Cain, a student at Aviation Institute of Maintenance’s Norfolk campus, was named as the recipient of the James Rardon Aviation Maintenance Technician Student of the Year Award for 2020. To be presented at the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) annual conference now scheduled for September 13-16 in Fort Worth, Texas, the award recognizes outstanding achievement among aviation maintenance technician students. A wounded veteran, Cain has devoted time to assisting other student veterans through the Veteran Resource Center, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA and tutoring fellow students

Final Flights

Rudy Frasca, a pioneer in the flight simulation field who founded Frasca International in 1958, died of natural causes on May 11 at the age of 89. “Rudy was truly larger than life. His contributions to the aviation industry will not be forgotten,” Frasca International said.

Rudy Frasca
Rudy Frasca

Born on April 19, 1931, in Chicago, Frasca had an affinity for aviation early on, taking flight lessons at the age of 14. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1949 and served as a flight instructor at Glenview Naval Station.

He later attended the University of Illinois and conducted research in aviation psychology. According to Frasca International, this helped sharpen his interest in flight simulation as he worked with the early generation of pilot training devices that ultimately led to the launch of the company that was first called Frasca Aviation.

Along with his interest in training, he became a collector of unique and antique aircraft, many of which were lent to the Experimental Aircraft Association Museum for public display.

Married to his wife Lucille in 1955, he had eight children and eighteen grandchildren. Several of his children have worked in the family business, including his son John, who took over as CEO in 2011.

Oscar “TAM” Flowers, a long-time employee of TAC Air, recently passed away at the age of 76. Flowers joined the FBO chain in 1998 and held roles as its general manager of TAC Air’s Shreveport, Louisiana, facility, director of safety and security, and procurement manager.

Born Dec. 11, 1943, in Wilson, North Carolina, Flowers spent a number of years with Amtrak, serving as chief of onboard services. His career led him into aviation with AMR Corp., Ogden Air, and ultimately TAC Air, according to The Wilson Times.

“Always prepared with a story, Oscar acted as the backbone to the TAC Air family and aviation community and was an example to everyone,” TAC Air said.

William McShane, 61, v-p of business development and special projects for Sheltair who made his mark as a business aviation advocate in Long Island, New York, died on May 12 after a battle with glioblastoma.

Revered by the Long Island Business News as a “Long Island aviation icon,” McShane was credited for bringing the Bethpage Air Show to Jones Beach on Long Island more than 15 years ago and ensuring it became an annual attraction. His advocacy led him to become a founding member, former president, and board member of the Long Island Business Aviation Association. He also had served as a board member of the New York Aviation Management Association and founded the nonprofit Aerospace Education Corp., NBAA said.

He had spent more than a dozen years with Sheltair in business development management roles. McShane steered the FBO’s expansion in New York.

NBAA honored McShane in 2014 with the NBAA Silk Scarf Award for his contributions to the business aviation industry. “Bill was highly admired in the aviation community, with a career marked by service, professionalism, and insightful leadership,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.