Dr. Lewis “Bernie” Gratzer, the retired vice president of technology at Aviation Partners, passed away on Friday night. Gratzer, already a well respected aerodynamicist, joined Aviation Partners when the company was formed in 1991 to work on a blended winglet for the Gulfstream II. In 1994 he received patent #5,348,253 for his blended winglet design, the lynchpin technology of Aviation Partners’ winglet products. According to Aviation Partners, his winglet design is now flying on more than 6,000 airplanes “and counting.”
Interviews with people of interest in aerospace, including those in industry, government and AIN’s “Bizav Warriors.” Topics include announcements of personnel changes, awards and final departures.
Cabin Comfort Systems is expanding its capabilities to include helicopter customizing, refurbishment and maintenance services for third-party operators. In addition to expanding facilities and service centers in Hagerstown, Md., and Philadelphia, it has named Grayson Barrows as the director of marketing and sales for its cabin comfort systems division. “Grayson’s responsibilities will include business development for new helicopter completions, pre-owned aircraft refurbishments and MRO services,” said the company.
Spectrum Aeromed added three engineers. Jerick Hedges will be responsible for design, drafting and structural analysis of manufactured products, and will write the STC approval reports. Hedges was an intern at the company before his recent graduation from North Dakota State University (NDSU). Engineer Craig Hedstrom, also a 2014 NDSU grad with a B.S. in mechanical engineering, will be a mechanical engineering intern. Ryan Rensink has joined the company in the newly created position of quality engineer.
Constant Aviation has named Wade Potter as director of its Birmingham, Ala. maintenance operation. In addition to overseeing day-to-day operations, Potter will continue to be the single point of contact for all customers in Birmingham, providing daily project updates. “Wade joined our organization in 2008 as a maintenance supervisor. From the start, Wade showed true leadership and care for the organization, his team members and our customers.
Legendary aircraft designer Ed Swearingen died on Thursday at age 88, on the eve of the resumption of production of his persistent light jet–the SJ30–by current program owner SyberJet. It was 1986 when he unveiled the small, single-pilot jet powered by a new breed of turbofan engine by Williams International that would propel the airplane swiftly and far, with performance that outstripped most business jets of the era.
A wake will be held tonight for business aviation leader Jim Christiansen, who died on Monday at the age of 67. Visitation will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Becker Funeral Home in Westwood, N.J.“Jim was a trusted, passionate and dedicated business aviation professional, who will be remembered as a leader for his tireless efforts to bring our community closer together and move it forward,” noted NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.
Jim Christiansen, a giant in the business aviation industry, passed away last night at the age of 67. He led several large air charter firms, as well as NetJets, over his nearly 50-year career, most recently serving as vice president of business development at FlightSafety International.
Aviation associations are mourning the loss of former Rep. Jim Oberstar, a staunch advocate for general aviation (GA) who represented Minnesota’s 8th district for a quarter century. His district included Cirrus Aircraft. Oberstar died on Friday at the age of 79.
Charter broker Air Partner has named Vincent Kavanagh UK sales director; Andrea Giora sales executive in Italy; Marcus Hilchenbach product manager in Germany; and Gary Gennari sales representative for the U.S. The company also promoted Justin Lancaster from group cargo director to group commercial director. He succeeds Justin Bowman.