Avionics News July 2019 - 50

Suggestions
for Success
Richard Snider, the founder of AEA
member company Aerosecure Avionics,
offered the following words of advice for
the general aviation avionics industry.
Details and organization
matter: "Extremely high attention
to detail and organization are critical.
Installations can be extremely
complicated, so you have to understand
how everything will integrate. Lots of
planning is required before you even
touch the aircraft, or it could be a
nightmare. The 50-hour job you quoted
could take 150 hours and snowball out of
control like you wouldn't believe."
Building a solid team: "Attracting
and retaining good team members takes
a happy, healthy work environment
with systems in place that help people
succeed."
Keep customers updated:
"When we anticipate changes, we tell
clients so that a work order can be
created. We take pictures, analyze the
problem and tell them whether or not
it's critical to flight safety. We educate
them as much as possible so that they can
choose how to proceed."
Best practices: "To make sure
we're using best practices, I talked with
lots of large shops around the country
and built a spreadsheet of industry
standard costs for every kind of plane I
work on. That was our initial baseline.
We continually refine it as we gain more
expertise and information."
Funding your business:
"Capitalizing the business without
borrowing money was a result of sheer
brute effort and a massive number of
work hours. I bought tools as I could
afford them. I worked over 100 hours a
week for several years. Even now I work
over 80. I feel like I'm slacking off, but the
business has always been profitable." q
50

avionics news

*

july

2019

THE CRASH THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
Continued from page 49

blue and calm all the way to Arizona. It felt like a milk
run since he had made this trip dozens of times without
any surprises.
Eighty miles east of Phoenix the terrain goes from
bad to worse. No roads, trails or flat ground within
gliding distance. Just canyons and mountain peaks.
"I had two 12-inch EFISs in the panel with synthetic
terrain and engine monitoring," Snider recounted.
"EGT warnings started jumping hundreds of degrees.
It didn't seem like a bad gauge since several cylinders
were showing problems at the same time. I started
adjusting my mixture and prop to determine what was
going on. Within seconds, the engine started running
rough."
Just a few years earlier, he guided Apache
helicopters over similar terrain at night, flying 120
knots only 5 feet above ground using FLIR, or forward
looking infrared. Situational awareness was "10 times
higher" than what general aviation required, but
that gap was quickly closing this day as the engine's
condition worsened. (Snider thinks part of a fuel filter
was sucked into the system, blocking the gas.)
Reducing power didn't help. The only way to keep the
engine running was by switching the boost pump to high.
That kept the RPM at 1,200, minimizing aerodynamic
drag.
"The Army trained us to do everything at once,"
he said. "You just deal with it. There was no panic.
Fly the aircraft. Communicate if you can. Work the
problem. Find a place to land."
Scanning for safe sites within glide range was
problematic since the best one was a short mountain
plateau with sheer, thousand feet cliffs on all sides. It
looked like a postage stamp.
"I thought 'If I land there, I don't know if I'll
survive. If I do, I'd better be able to contact somebody
since there's no way of climbing down.' The landing
zone was probably 500 feet long. If you don't get it
stopped, you're going headfirst into the ground."
Turning downwind, he spotted another butte further
below that was roughly half a mile long. It had a 10
degree down slope ending in a 1,500 foot cliff. Not
great, but better than a postage stamp. He quickly
changed course.



Avionics News July 2019

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