Avionics News May 2017 - 53
ABOVE: Brad Hayden (left) and his uncle, Dave Hayden, fly a Piper Cub. OPPOSITE PAGE: A 2-years young, Brad is pictured at his father's bench.
sensors in a platform using a water bladder as weight with a
parachute attached, triggered to open at a preset radar altitude,"
Brad said. "Some of the altimeters failed and exploded at
ground contact." Brad noted that they would put Bonzer decals
on the airplane fuselage for each radar altimeter that failed and
exploded, as if they were aces shooting down airplanes.
Steve also bought a gyrocopter, which he tried to
get flying. "There was always something going on
that was about aviation," Brad said. In addition to
a growing interest in aviation, it was at his grandparents' farm where Brad developed another lifelong interest - in military history. "My
grandfather was a farmer, but also a
brilliant amateur military historian;
he would give me lessons, and then
rigorous verbal tests to make sure the
dates and facts stuck," he said.
In 1969, Steve launched out on his own and opened Kings
Avionics at Johnson County Airport.
"The name didn't come from King Radio, but rather for
the FBO at the airport that was named King's Flying Service,
owned by Bill King," Brad said. "What's funny is that my
dad would often get packages intended for King Radio that
were misdelivered to him."
Five years later, Steve moved his family to Casper,
Wyoming, and opened a second location of Kings Avionics.
"Uncle Dave and Gary Morris, another Kings partner,
took over management of the Johnson County location and
eventually bought him out," Brad said. "When I was younger, everyone was expected to chip in and help. I would
sort parts, sweep the hangar, and do shipping. When
we moved to Casper, I learned you could sweep
a hangar, but the Casper wind blows the dirt and
tumbleweeds back in as soon as the hangar door
He also remembers his brother, Doug,
now a salesman at BendixKing,
skateboarding on the hangar floor.
"The hangar was a playground for
us," Brad said.
As Brad got older, his responsibilities increased. "I worked
on my first airplane when I was about 12," he said. "My dad
bought me a tool box with a King Radio sticker that I still
have. Of course, I was supervised closely, but I learned to
take off access panels, headliners and bulkheads. Avionics
repair work was my after-school job."
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