Avionics News April 2018 - 56

WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT?
Continued from page 55

► Mark Cote, vice president of component
services, parts sales and satellites
for Duncan Aviation
What keeps me up, first and foremost, is the problem of trying
to replace experienced technicians with new techs who do not
have the same level of troubleshooting skills at the component
and aircraft levels. You just don't see the interest level that you
used to see with this generation of technicians.
Today, that type of component level troubleshooting skill
set just isn't taught in the curriculums like it used to be.
Troubleshooting the new units is more about exchanging boards
and components and that kind of thing. You can see how those
critical troubleshooting skills are diminished. But they are still
needed in this business.
We continue to serve many of those types of products that
need that skill set. There are times you must troubleshoot
those boards at a component level, so that's a challenge today
that I think will continue to be a challenge in the future. The
tribal knowledge that those experienced technicians have
cannot be lost.
How do you handle it?
One of the things we are doing now that has been very
effective is we're putting together coaching and mentoring
programs that partner a more-experienced technician with one of
the new-generation technicians. It's helping transfer those years
of experience and know-how, not only in the component-level
troubleshooting area, but also on how to look at problems and
where to look and why to look for it.
We have also put together some cross-training, not just in
one area, but in multiple areas of our component repair group so
they get different experiences on different platforms. They also
gain a broader set of experiences by spending time with multiple
technicians. Everyone knows something different.
In addition, we are aligning ourselves with local high
schools and technical schools. These relationships with local
technical training schools have led them to modify some of their
curriculum to support some of the educational needs we have for
our specific technicians here at Duncan Aviation. We don't have a
large need for adding new technicians annually, but when we do
they have been very good about keeping some of that curriculum
as part of their program. Those partnerships are important to
maintain as technology changes.
Training the next generation of pilots and technicians is
something the industry must get involved with and make sure
we have a plan for replacing these experienced people. We need
to help the educational industry know that this is an area where
there is going to be a need - soon.
56

avionics news

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april

2018

► Chuck Gallagher, president of Eastern
Cincinnati Aviation Inc.
I guess meeting schedules now days is the big thing. When
you're booking three or four months in advance and one job slips
back a few days, you have a trickle-down effect on all the jobs. If
for some reason a product isn't available on time, you have issues.
We also get instances where we find things that need to be
fixed in the aircraft that we weren't anticipating. No two airplanes
are the same behind the panel. A simple swap-out can turn into a
whole rewire project. That kind of schedule change is something
that most customers understand.
Now you have to start backing people up. We also get times
when a customer will change their mind or add something to the
project - by the time they get here, they haven't said anything
until they arrive and say they want to add this or that - that tacks
on days to a project. You may be planning on three days for an
ADS-B installation and now you're looking at seven days, if you
have the equipment available. They are all good problems, and
it's just the way you handle it that matters.
How do you handle it?
We try to schedule a buffer in there - that's very hard to do.
Something always fills it up. Everybody wants it yesterday.
Recently, I had a couple of jobs get delayed because of the
customer - nothing I can do about it. It's easier to pull people
forward than push them back - if you get an opening, it's easy to
get someone else to fill that slot.
We haven't been scheduling this many months in advance
in a long time - if ever. Right now, our projects are a bit of
everything. ADS-B of course, but we also have some big
jobs coming in on a regular basis - full glass panels, autopilot
upgrades - guys are buying used airplanes and are budgeting new
avionics into the price. Of course, they want it done as soon as
they close on the airplane.
It's a balance of keeping a few big jobs going and filling in
with small ADS-B type jobs. The best way to handle it all is good
scheduling and working it all out.
► Rick Ochs, president of Spirit Aeronautics
I run a small business, and that keeps me up at night.
No matter how good or bad things are, there always are
responsibilities that can be very daunting. Things aren't in your
control sometimes, and you must have faith that it will be OK.
We have a great team here, and everyone gets along well. Even
the best employees and clients come with significant challenges
and issues that sometimes become mine to solve. My faith allows
me to persevere when there seems to be no good options left.
How do you handle it?
I'm in the middle of a business book by T.D. Jakes that's
about following your own instincts and how it's a sixth sense to



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News April 2018

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Avionics News April 2018 - Intro
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