People in Aviation: September 2020

 - September 1, 2020, 9:00 AM

Offshore helicopter safety association HeliOffshore appointed Tim Rolfe as CEO. For the past 30 years, Rolfe has worked for Bristow Helicopters, starting as a helicopter pilot and rising to the position of director of safety for the EAMEA region and global safety assurance. Rolfe succeeds Gretchen Haskins, who stepped down as CEO at the end of April and has remained a board member of the group.

Gulfstream has appointed Josh Thompson to serve as CFO and promoted Wayne Oedewaldt to regional senior v-p of international sales for Asia-Pacific and Kirsten Krueger to regional v-p of sales for California’s central coast. Moving over from the CFO post at General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (OTS), Thompson succeeds longtime company executive Dan Clare, who is retiring at the end of September. Thompson has served as OTS CTO since 2018 and has held various positions with that and the parent company since 2004. Formerly responsible for the California central coast, Oedewaldt has served on Gulfstream’s sales team since 2001 and has a 40-year business aviation background. Most recently regional sales manager for the northwest and the west-central U.S., Krueger joined Gulfstream in 2017 and has 20 years of business aviation experience.

West Star Aviation has named Timothy Spihlman CFO. Spihlman brings more than 25 years of financial and operational leadership experience to his new role, having served with companies such as Vi-Jon and Solutia and held roles as a board member, CEO, president, and CFO.

Todd Anderson, previously Sheltair’s senior v-p of real estate and development, has been promoted to COO. An employee of the Florida-based aviation real estate developer and FBO operator for two decades, Anderson will now oversee its day-to-day operations.

The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) has named Bob Rufli, v-p and director of flight operations of Pentastar Aviation, as the new chairman. Rufli succeeds Magellan Jets founder and CEO Joshua Hebert, whose term expired June 30, 2020. Rufli brings more than 35 years of experience in FAR Part 135, 121 supplemental, and 125 corporate operations to his new role. Also elected to the board of governors were Todd Weeber, Bill Kolstad, and Ryan. In addition, Weeber was named vice-chairman of the association for the 2020-2021 term. Weeber has more than 30 years of aviation leadership experience, most recently as COO of Magellan Jets and previously as v-p of operational and quality standards for NetJets. Kolstad, director of safety for Northern Jet Management, previously served in the U.S. Air Force, as well as for RavnAir Group. Waguespack, senior v-p for the National Air Transportation Association, founded the Alabama Business Aviation Association and has also served as v-p of business development for Summit Aviation.

The National Air Transportation Association has appointed Jason Tepool as chairman of its Aircraft Maintenance and Systems Technology Committee. Tepool, a business development executive for Boeing, has served on the committee for two years. Phil Stearns, director of sales and marketing for Stevens Aerospace and Defense Systems, remains co-chair of the committee.

Leviate Air Group has appointed Chad Beaulieu as managing partner of aircraft sales and Eric Dufay v-p of fleet sales, both based at the company’s headquarters in Dallas. Beaulieu has 20 years of aircraft sales experience with Bombardier and Gulfstream Aerospace, as well as with aircraft brokerage and consulting companies. Dufay has 10 years of aircraft charter experience.

Thales has named Yannick Assouad executive v-p of Avionics, effective October 1. Assouad will step into the role held by Gil Michielin, who is retiring. Formerly CEO of Latécoère, she has a 35-year career that also has included serving at senior-level posts at Thomson-CSF's Radars & Countermeasures business, SECAN, and Zodiac.

Stevens Aerospace and Defense Systems has named Dendall Wood general manager of its mobile aircraft maintenance division. Wood has served with Stevens since 2005, initially as a quality assurance inspector and then as accountable manager/chief inspector at Stevens’s location at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.

FreeFlight Systems has promoted Ashley Ring to v-p of sales and marketing. Previously director of sales, Ring has served with FreeFlight Systems for nine years.

Jennifer Pickerel has been promoted to vice president at Aviation Personnel International (API). Pickerel most recently was director of client and candidate services at API and also has held roles at MedAire.

Bombardier Aviation has appointed Marc Rivest as general manager of its Dallas service center. Rivest has held customer-facing roles within Bombardier, including as a customer account manager, manager of preowned aircraft maintenance in Dallas, and most recently, manager of field service for Western North America and Latin America.

Elliott Aviation has hired Brian Leitschuck as Midwest regional sales manager. Leitschuck brings nearly 20 years of aviation experience to his new role, having previously held positions with Duncan Aviation, Engineering Resources, and Constant Aviation.

C&L Aerospace has appointed Javier Hernandez as regional sales manager for Central and South America. Hernandez, who brings a background in aircraft parts sales, previously founded JEH Enterprises and also served with Hurricane Aerospace Solutions and LEKI Aviation.

Metro Aviation has named Brian Bihler as director of operations. A former officer and pilot in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Aviation Unit, Bihler has served with Metro for more than a decade, joining in 2009 as a line pilot and most recently serving as chief pilot.

Keystone Aviation has added J. Dan Govatos as director of operations in Salt Lake City. A commercial and business aviation pilot for more than 30 years, Govatos has held roles as director of operations, director of safety, director of training, and chief pilot for Part 121 and 135 operations.

Jim Nypels has joined APOC Aviation’s new Engine Trading Division as the organization paves the way to step up its leasing and trading activity. Nypels has been with APOC since it began in 2015.

The International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) has named Erika Ingle director of operations. Ingle brings a background in small business, startups, branding, marketing, sales, event management, philanthropy, and video production to the new role.

Fargo Jet Center (FJC) has hired Anthony Manzella as a maintenance service adviser and promoted Bill Berg to assistant chief inspector and Keith Lowe to aviation maintenance technician lead. Manzella brings a 24-year aviation maintenance background in both civil and military service to the newly created role at FJC. Berg, who joined FJC in 2014, has 36 years of aviation experience, beginning with the U.S. Marine Corps in 1984. Lowe, who mentors other aviation maintenance technicians, has served with FJC since 2012 and also has a military background.

Final Flights

Long-time aviator and Duncan Aviation partner Harry Barr died on July 1 at his home in Raymond, Nebraska. Barr was born in 1935 in Clarinda, Iowa, and shared both a hometown and a passion for flying with Duncan Aviation founder Donald Duncan, Duncan Aviation said.

Once Duncan purchased a Beechcraft distributorship in 1956, Duncan and Barr partnered on various business endeavors, the company added. Barr also remained a pilot for Duncan Aviation from shortly after the company was founded until he died and maintained an office at the company’s Lincoln, Nebraska, facility.

Barr became a private pilot at the age of 17 and flew a gamut of aircraft, from aerobatics and experimentals to helicopters and jets. He joined Clay Lacy in obtaining a type rating on the Learjet 23 in 1964 and Duncan Aviation became one of six U.S. distributors of the then-new jet. He met Lacy during the first Learjet distributor meeting in Wichita and the two became lifelong friends.

In addition to their collaborations at Duncan Aviation, Donald Duncan and Barr jointly launched Panhandle Aviation, a helicopter service company, to support Boeing during the construction of the Atlas Missile site, and an FBO at Cheyenne, Wyoming.

“Harry…was a friend and mentor to people at Duncan Aviation for more than 60 years as well as throughout the aviation community…I had the greatest respect and admiration for this man who lived his life so well and so fully. He will be terribly missed,” said Duncan Aviation chairman Todd Duncan.

He was an active member of numerous groups, including the Midwest Aerobatic Club, the IAC International Aerobatic Club, the Experimental Aircraft Association, and the Warbirds of America.

James Wisecup, chairman of the Helicopter Association International for a term spanning from mid-2018 to mid-2019, died on July 30 following a battle with cancer. He was 71. Wisecup, who amassed 16,000 hours as a dual-rated pilot and was recognized with the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in late June for 50 years of safe flight, retired as assistant chief pilot for Air Methods in 2019. He also had just completed requirements for a bachelor’s degree in aviation science from Southern Utah University, according to HAI.

“Jim was a highly respected member of the rotorcraft community, and we will miss his knowledge and leadership,” said HAI president and CEO James Viola. “He was an advocate for safe flying, training, and mentorship, and he was always willing to share his experience and passion for flying.”

Born June 17, 1949, in Racine, Wisconsin, Wisecup grew up in Houston, flying there for the first time in 1966. Wisecup attended the University of Houston but left after a year to become a helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army.

He served as a member of the Comancheros in the 101st Airborne Division from 1969 to 1970 and was “shot down” three times. HAI noted that Wisecup remarked he had three engine failures caused by foreign-object damage—the first caused by a mortar round, the second by an artillery shell, and the third by a rocket-propelled grenade. For his combat service, he was awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Air Medal with 25 oak leaf clusters.

Discharged in 1971, Wisecup obtained fixed-wing ratings but began his commercial flying career as a line pilot in 1974 for Offshore Helicopters in Texas. He later became chief pilot for Bristow Helicopters' U.S. operations. His career then led him into the helicopter air ambulance sector in 1987, first with Rocky Mountain Helicopters. He joined Air Methods in 2002.

Wisecup also was actively involved with HAI, serving on its Air Medical, Flight Operations, and Heliport Committees, and ultimately as chairman.