Avionics News January 2016 - 47
"PART OF OUR COMPANY
PHILOSOPHY IS TO
STAY IN CLOSE CONTACT
WITH OUR CUSTOMERS,
MANY OF WHOM ARE BASED IN
Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics
house. That's when Winter realized he wanted to be a pilot.
Winter earned his private pilot license, although he is no
longer current. "I am typical of people who are working and
traveling, but I am fortunate to have friends who own and fly
airplanes," he said. What's more, Mid-Continent Instruments and
Avionics also owns a Bonanza and a 1941 Staggerwing. Yes, a
Staggerwing as a corporate aircraft.
"Part of our company philosophy is to stay in close contact
with our customers, many of whom are based in small towns,"
Winter explained. "We know they are based at an airport, so the
Staggerwing is efficient."
Winter estimates the Staggerwing is being flown about 250
hours a year in pursuit of business. The best part, however, is
when the company bought the airplane, Winter didn't realize
how much other people would enjoy it.
"We love traveling in it," he said. "When we land, everyone is
smiling. It makes us happy; it makes our customers happy."
Along with the airplane, Winter has a maintenance release
tag signed by Lloyd Stearman, an A&P who had worked on the
As for the Bonanza, Winter said, "We put in a nice panel
upgrade so it's extremely reliable and a good sales tool. We basically put our money where our mouth is. We do aviation; we fly
aircraft so we can intimately understand what our customers deal
with and what they're experiencing. Our aircraft help us stay in
touch with the industry."
When it was time for junior high, Winter's parents suggested
he may enjoy going to a school back east. "I had one unusual
interest besides aviation - I liked to ice skate," he said. When he
and his father visited some schools, one coach wanted him for
the swim team, but Winter wanted to play hockey. So, he attended Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and played
defense for the school hockey team. "I still have my skates and
sticks," he said.
At the time, Deerfield Academy was for boys only. When
it came time for college, Winter returned to Texas to attend
Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
"After Deerfield, cute girls in Texas were a great draw for
me," he said. Winter started studying engineering, and half-way
through, calculus hit him.
"I changed to the business school - the Cox School of
Business at SMU - so I got a good mix of engineering and business," he said. It was also at SMU where he met one particular
"cute girl" - this one from Kansas City. It was his wife, Ellen, to
whom he has been married 34 years.
While in college, Winter worked a variety of jobs. He was a
party photographer where he'd attend a local party, shoot multiple
rolls of films, and sell the photos back to the students. He worked
in a kitchen counter manufacturing plant and drove trucks from
Texas to Louisiana and back. He also was a chauffeur.
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