Avionics News July 2020 - 36

Airport. It was so busy that owner Don Dominguez had to
roll up his sleeves to turn a wrench doing installations and
pitot-static system checks to help his five-person staff that
includes three technicians. He admits he enjoys getting
Miller thinks his business will be 15% off what he
to work on aircraft in addition to handling his normal
projected this year. He is using his cash reserves to
workload - all the paperwork.
cover his monthly expenses such as rent, hangar fees
"We are doing fine, hanging in there with a good backlog
and insurance. "I have been in business for 40 years, and
of
ADS-B work," he said. There is a 10-week backlog
the coronavirus presents many unique challenges for
of projects to work through before the shop gets back
the aviation community," said Miller, who has talked to
to a normal pace. "I am still talking to customers (about
many vendors, manufacturers and shop owners about how
new projects), but this has slowed down, and few want to
aviation, a niche market, will respond. Following five hours
move forward and spend money until the situation (with
of surgery and up to six months of rehab, Miller hopes to
COVID-19) finalizes."
reopen for business by early July.
Dominguez remembers the slowdown during the Great
He referred a client who had purchased avionics and
Recession
that was in full swing in 2010 and 2011. "We
needed to have the installation completed without delay to
lost
a
lot
of
shops in California that have not come back,"
a competitor in Houston.
he said, adding that the ones that survived took advantage
Miller is trying to stay optimistic and hopes that
of all the ADS-B work. Some
conditions will not make it hard
newcomers found the ADS-B
for his business to bounce back
opportunity attractive enough to
when he goes back to work.
"FOR ME, I EXPECT TO HAVE
start a new shop
He was sorry to see the AEA
A THRIVING BUSINESS
San Luis Obispo is located
International Convention & Trade
INSTALLING ADS-B FOR AT
halfway
between Los Angeles
Show in Nashville canceled
LEAST ANOTHER YEAR."
and
San
Francisco
in a good area
this year because he talks to
to draw in aircraft located within
the leaders in the field there
JAMES E. MILLER,
200 miles. Many of Dominguez's
and figures out what is selling,
Brazos Avionics Inc.
customers, like most people in
what isn't selling and where his
America, are working from home
business fits in.
now and some have been furloughed from their jobs. He
Several clients have called him about installations they
still has customers he met when the shop first opened 20
want done, and most have told him that they can wait until
years ago.
he is back in business so he can do the work. One of his
Fortunately, for Dominguez, the federal and county
best customers is based in Phoenix, Arizona, where he flies
governments consider avionics repair business essential
a Gulfstream V to and from Hong Kong several times a
since it helps keep aviation going. There is no social
month for a multinational company. This customer owns
contact with customers in the front office any longer, and
an aircraft management company with several customers in
he even has customers bring their planes, park them in
the Houston area. He is sending in some of these Mooney,
front of his hangar, talk to him from a distance and leave
Cessna and other piston aircraft to Miller. This work will
the plane without any human contact.
help him get his business back on its feet. "He treats a
Staying safe in the work environment of a small shop is
customer's aircraft like it is his baby, and he won't let just
fairly
straightforward with one employee working on an
anyone work on his baby," Miller said.
aircraft on one side of the hangar and the other one on the
One thing the coronavirus canceled for Miller is
other side.
volunteering to repair avionics at the Les Morris Summer
"They wave to each other across the hanger," he joked.
Flight Academy run by his sister, Myra Walker, a
Even
a small shop uses Skype and Zoom for meetings so
retired FAA air traffic controller. The camp is run by the
as not to get too close together. His office assistant only
nonprofit Houston chapter of Black Pilots of America. The
comes in a few hours a week and works from home the
organization provides scholarships so minority students
rest of the time. Dominguez even attended the Aircraft
can learn to fly and take ground school. Flight instructors
Electronics Association's board of directors meeting this
donate their time as do many others. The summer camp
spring using the GoToMeeting application.
rents four general aviation aircraft.

SHOPS BRACE FOR A LEAN YEAR
Continued from page 35

On the West Coast, the San Luis Avionics shop was busy
in April in its facilities at the San Luis Obispo County
36

avionics news

*

july

2020

Continued on page 38



Avionics News July 2020

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