Avionics News June 2020 - 36

SPARRING WITH CORONAVIRUS
Continued from page 34

One company based at Cleveland Hopkins
International Airport has seen a spike in business for the
MicroShield 360 application to aircraft interiors. Dan
Podojil, chief operating officer of Constant Aviation, said
his company completed interior treatments on 350 jet and
turboprop aircraft in March. Prior to that, only 80 aircraft
had been treated. The application is a two-step process
that takes two hours or less. It costs $3,500 to $5,000
depending on the size of the aircraft. Constant Aviation
is sole distributor of MicroShield 360 in aviation and can
send partners from the detailing industry to any of 150
airports in the United States.
Constant claims MicroShield 360 can protect aircraft
surfaces from having pathogens or viruses live on them
for up to a year. "It kills 100 known germs, viruses and
bacteria," Podojil said. The company has run tests that
show that Part 1 of the treatment kills COVID-19, while
tests should be complete in a few weeks on whether Part
2 does, as well. Constant Aviation MRO facilities in
Cleveland and Sanford, Florida, have also been treated
with MicroShield 360.
Keeping aviation employees out of harm's way with
COVID-19 had an additional wrinkle in business aviation.
By late March, the Flexjet fractional ownership company
began using its own aircraft to ferry flight crew members
to the aircraft assigned for their next mission. Project Lift,
as it is called, is designed to limit the possibility that a
crew member might contract COVID-19 when traveling
by commercial airlines to an assignment.
Each aircraft used in the lift has been treated with
MicroShield 360. FlexJet has also treated its offices and
facilities around the world with this disinfectant product,
but cabins are also disinfected after every flight. FlexJet
operates this shuttle from several strategically located
airports within easy driving distance for most of its flight
crew members.
At International Jet Service Corp. located at Tulsa
International Airport, the phones went silent when
COVID-19 hit until the airlines announced they would
be limiting flights. Then they started ringing again,
according to avionics manager Joseph Hensley. IJSC is a
Mitsubishi factory-owned service center that also works
on Piaggio, Cessna Caravan and other aircraft.
Hensley said that when the crisis hit, wealthy people
who found themselves stranded were paying premium
prices for charter flights, Part 135 operators needed
aircraft on standby to fly at a moment's notice, and
business jets were carrying company personnel and family
36

avionics news

*

june

2020

members to avoid exposure to the virus at the airlines.
Meanwhile, doctors were flying their own aircraft to see
patients, business owners were shipping products on
business aircraft as other forms of shipment slowed down
during quarantine, and former customers were calling
IJSC to say they might want to own an aircraft again.
The company also established a full set of COVID-19
protocols, allowed employees to take sick leave or vacation
days and promised to pay them for two weeks if the company
shuts down during the COVID-19 crisis for any reason.
Hensley said the company would probably shut down for two
weeks if an employee tested positive for the virus.
At Carpenter Avionics at Smyrna/Rutherford County
Airport 12 miles south of Nashville, Tennessee, two
employees tested negative for COVID-19 in April.
Operations had to be scaled back because it took
nine days for test results to come back on one of the
employees, and some workers were not comfortable
going to work until the results were known.
President Mark Lee noted that the Tennessee governor
issued a stay-at-home order effective April 1. The
company scaled back to a skeleton crew on-site to handle
prioritized essential services and activities on avionics
projects with administrative staff working from home. 
Fortunately for Dewey Conroy, vice president of
Pacific Coast Avionics Corp. at Aurora State Airport, it
has been largely business as usual since coronavirus hit.
One downside is spring is the time of year when many
customers walk into the company's interactive show
room to explore new avionics options. Now the company
only lets one customer into the show room at a time.
The company has COVID-19 protocols, and it's
not hard to keep 12 installers more than 6 feet apart
since they are working on a single aircraft each. The
company's two lines of business are online sales and
installations. Mail-order business was off as much
as 60% in early April with phone calls and avionics
shipments out the door. But the harness shop is keeping
busy creating the harnesses customers want with a new
avionics system. Many of these systems are ADS-B
transponders.
When it comes to installations in the three hangars with
18,000 square feet of space occupied by the company at
Aurora, the five-month backlog is holding up without
cancelations. However, not a lot of people were calling
in to schedule new jobs in April. "Everyone is just a little
worried about what is going on," he said. Many workers
are wearing masks even though they are not required.
But the clock is ticking. "We just can't wait around
for government money to come in," Conroy said. "The
country has to get back to work." q



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