Jay Yu has provided a seed investment and joined private aviation services company Flewber Global as co-founder, president, and member of the board of directors. Yu, a dynamic private investor and CEO of Financial Ventures Group, joins Flewber founder and CEO Marc Sellouk in helping to establish and grow the company.
Keith Cochran joined lithium-ion battery safety and thermal management specialist Kulr Technology group as president and CEO. Cochran has more than 25 years of operations and business management experience, most recently senior v-p of Jabil Greenpoint's Global Business Units in Singapore.
The Mojave Air & Space Port appointed Todd Lindner CEO. Lindner has more than 30 years of aerospace and aviation experience, most recently as director of Cecil Spaceport for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.
Flight Data Systems appointed Anthony Rios as president. He succeeds Darren Privitera, who will remain with the organization to collaborate on developing long-term strategies. Rios has two decades of experience with aviation technology companies, most recently as CEO of Avionica.
Jet Access Aviation appointed Desiree Ward president. Ward has more than 20 years of executive management experience with firms including NetJets and Starbase Aviation. She takes the role of company founder Jack Lambert Jr., who is continuing as chairman and CEO.
SmartSky Networks named David Claassen chief technology officer. Claassen, who holds multiple patents in mobile communications technology areas including satellite and air-to-ground communications, previously held senior roles with Telepad, WFI, and Nextel Communications.
Dave Connor, managing director of RVL Group, has joined the board of The Air Charter Association. Connor has more than 14 years of aviation experience.
Sir David King, former chief scientific advisor to the UK, has joined LanzaJet's board of directors. Founder and chair of the Center for Climate Repair at Cambridge and senior strategy adviser to the President of Rwanda, King served as the UK government’s chief scientific advisor from 2000 to 2007 and as the Foreign Secretary's special representative for Climate Change from September 2013 until March 2017.
Blackhawk Aerospace named Steve Cook senior v-p of engineering. Cook previously spent 28 years with L3, primarily in the flight test department as a flight test engineer and test director.
Rolls-Royce appointed Megha Bhatia v-p of sales and marketing for Business Aviation at its North America headquarters in Washington, D.C. Bhatia has spent 10 years with Rolls-Royce, holding customer business roles within its Civil Aerospace and Marine units and most recently as customer services manager for Business Aviation.
Jet Linx appointed Christof Pignet v-p of client experience and a member of the operator’s leadership team. Pignet has a background in the luxury hospitality industry, including the Acqualina Resort and Residences on the Beach in Sunny Isles, Florida, and The Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Bombardier appointed Ève Laurier as v-p of communications, public affairs, and marketing. Laurier has more than 20 years of public relations, communications, and marketing experience, most recently as general manager of the communications firm Edelman.
AeroParts named Michael Busby v-p of sales. Busby has more than 15 years of parts, MRO, and OEM experience, including with Inventory Locator Service, Dassault, Dallas Aeronautical Services, Applied Composites Engineering, and Bombardier.
Ross Aviation promoted Helyne Medeiros to general manager for Hyannis (HYA) and the Islands (Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard). Medeiros, who joined Ross in January 2018, most recently was station manager at HYA.
Michael Lawrence was promoted to general manager at Premier Jet Center (PJC) in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Lawrence, who has 25 years of aviation experience, joined PJC in November 2017 as operations manager.
Desert Jet Center hired Peni Nelson to serve as customer relations advisor. Once honored by a former mayor of Palms Springs with a proclamation decreeing July 16, 1997, as Peni Nelson Day, Nelson has 36 years of business aviation experience, playing a role in the development of the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport and serving as a founding partner of one of the first FBOs there.
Metro Aviation appointed Justin Painter as chief inspector of its repair station. Painter joined Metro Aviation in 2010 as a hangar mechanic and in 2018 was promoted to assistant chief inspector.
Todd Wheeler returned to Elliott Aviation to serve as director of maintenance services at its Des Moines, Iowa facility. Wheeler, who has more than 30 years of aviation experience, began his career with Elliott Aviation and most recently served with Dallas Airmotive.
The Yellowstone Regional Airport Joint Powers Board appointed Aaron Buck as airport director. Buck brings more than 10 years of airport experience to his new role, including Casper/Natrona County International Airport and Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming, and Provo City in Utah.
Wendy Bartos joined Universal Avionics as director of contracts. Bartos formerly served as director of the law department for aircraft interiors at Collins Aerospace and also has held positions with Honda Aircraft, Gannett-Fleming, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM.
Engine Assurance Program (EAP) hired Stephen Hubble to serve as director of technical engine solutions. A 27-year industry veteran, Hubble most recently was international sales director for StandardAero and also has worked for Raytheon, Bombardier Aerospace, and Garrett Aviation.
Jim Coates has joined Traxxall as an aircraft maintenance analyst. Coates joins Traxxall from Camp Systems, where he was a helicopter manager and previously has served with Evergreen/Erickson Helicopters, Galvin Flying Service, and Airwork Corporation.
West Star Aviation promoted Sharon Klose to director of satellite/MRT and engines. Klose joined West Star in 2017 after spending more than 10 years with Duncan Aviation.
Inflite The Jet Centre at London Stansted Airport added Steve Bull to its management team as senior sales and business development manager. Bull previously was customer support director for TAG Maintenance and also has held senior roles with Signature Aviation companies H+S Aviation and Dallas Airmotive.
ITPS/ITTC added Billie Flynn to the team as a consultant in the development of 5th Generation flying, training, and test pilot capabilities. Flynn brings a background as a global senior experimental test pilot, recently retiring from Lockheed Martin.
Awards and Honors
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has announced the recipients of its 2019-2020 Industry Excellence Awards, recognizing five aviation executives for their leadership, customer service and professionalism, safety and training, and partnership efforts.
NATA is honoring Diane Crews, president and CEO of Orlando Sanford International Airport, with the Airport Executive Partnership Award in recognition of her “outstanding efforts to nurture the relationships between aviation businesses and airport operators.”
Todd Shellnut, CFI academy standardization manager for ATP Flight School, is the recipient of the Excellence in Pilot Training Award, which recognizes an individual or organization “that has made outstanding contributions in safety, professionalism, leadership, and excellence in the field of pilot training.”
Ernest Felix, a line service technician for Bohlke International Airways, was selected for the Safety 1st Certified Line Service Professional Award. The honor recognizes the efforts of certified line service professionals “to raise awareness of the positive impact they have on safety, service, and business success.”
Betsy Santos-Torres, a customer service supervisor for Bohlke International Airways, was named as the recipient of the FBO Customer Service Representative Award, which recognizes “the valuable impact FBO CSRs have on the success of our industry.”
The association further is honoring GrandView Aviation COO Jessica Naor with its Future Leader Award, which is presented to an individual “who has shown outstanding promise, passion, and professionalism within the general aviation community.”
Benjamin F. Thomas, a founding member of the Organization for Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP), has passed away, the organization announced. Thomas founded OBAP in 1976 when he was a young African American pilot with Eastern Airlines, leading an effort to create a body that could address discrimination in the airline industry.
OBAP said he invited 37 African American pilots—who represented almost 50 percent of the total in the industry at the time—to join the organization, originally called the Organization of Black Airline Pilots. OBAP, which honored Thomas as Founders and Pioneers Hall of Fame inductee in 2016, said his “legacy is carried forward by his family and dear friends, as well as the hundreds of black aviators and aerospace professionals who followed in his footsteps.”
Long-time Canadian business aviation executive Ric Cade died on February 18. Cade, who called himself an “aviation lifer,” had spent nearly five decades holding roles ranging from a pilot to an FBO manager to a corporate jet sales executive.
The bulk of his career was with Innotech-Execaire in various capacities and he also worked for Field Aviation. He was base manager for the FBOs in Toronto and Calgary and was involved with technical sales in Vancouver, as well as corporate jet sales. Cade retired in 2010 and became a consultant.
In honoring his death, the Canadian Business Aviation Association noted that “almost everyone in aviation in Canada and abroad” knew Cade.
Nikita “Nips” Offenberg, 91, who was among the earlier corporate pilots and had a career that spanned nearly four decades, died on April 28 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Born May 18, 1929, in New York City, he was the stepson of Michael Gluhareff, one of the key Russian aeronautical engineers who worked with Igor Sikorsky in the development of flying boats and rotorcraft.
Learning to fly at Bridgeport Flying Service in Stratford, Connecticut, in 1947, Offenberg became a pilot flying an L-18 Lockheed Lodestar for Kollsman Instrument and in 1956 joined the US Industries corporate flight department in White Plains, New York. There, he obtained an airline transport pilot certificate and became type rated on the Douglas DC-3 and Convair 440. He flew for Radio Corp. of America (RCA) and ultimately joined Great Lakes Carbon (GLC) in 1960.
Offenberg flew for GLC for 25 years, retiring in 1985 as chief pilot. Based at Sikorsky Memorial Airport, he flew a Convair-580 and Lockheed JetStar all over the world.