Avionics News November 2015 - 68
MY LIFE IN AVIONICS
J E R R Y
G O R D O N
This is fifth and final installment
of a series that focuses on the
avionics career of Jerry Gordon,
who recently turned 80 years old.
For many years, Gordon wrote a
column for Avionics News titled
"The Technician's Notebook." The
column offered experienced advice
and procedures to assist avionics
technicians in performing their
duties on a daily basis. During
his career, Gordon helped start
13 avionics shops from scratch.
Readers will enjoy reliving a bit
of avionics history through the
eyes of a man who dedicated his
career serving the industry. The
first article told a fascinating tale
about how the author was first
introduced to avionics through
the United States Air Force in the
1950s. The second article outlined
his educational experiences. The
third article reviewed his time with
the commercial airlines, while
the fourth focused on Gordon's
introduction to general aviation.
What a thrill to drive all the way to California with our
possessions in our motor home and our Chevy pickup
bringing up the rear. My family pulled into Camarillo and the
old Oxnard Air Force base, which was now a civilian airport.
I immediately found the owner of the Cessna dealership
whom I had called from a pay phone looking for work.
But I sensed he was a little uneasy. He had already hired a technician
to build an avionics shop, and he was on-site working. He told me to wait
while he sprang the news to his new avionics technician. I was uneasy and
wondered how I got into this mess 3,000 miles from home with no money
and no place to stay.
After what seemed like an eternity, the shop owner came back and told
me his tech was overjoyed I was there since he didn't have any idea how
to create a working shop. I started breathing again. Together, we made a
great and profitable shop. It was wonderful working together with his tech,
as he was an excellent installer. Business was good at the time for Cessna
dealers, and the new aircraft were ordered from the factory with only basic
avionics. We had all the good dealerships and even attended Cessnasponsored training meetings for their line of equipment. We customized
these bare-boned planes for the new owners. This was 1978, and the latest technologies were DME and RNAV.
Our hangar was an old military type and was next door to another in
which part of the movie "Stripes" was filmed. I saw Robert Conrad from
"Baa Baa Black Sheep" along with Larry Hagman from "Dallas" and many
others. They all acted like normal people. I also went to Los Angeles and
experienced several TV tapings at CBS, which was next door to the Farmer's Market. It was an exciting area and time in my life.
Then, I heard a business in Santa Barbara was interested in starting an