Avionics News July 2020 - 63

W

hen Adrian Eichhorn took the podium at a
graduating from Michigan Tech with a civil engineering
recent AirVenture Oshkosh event to accept the
degree, young Eichhorn had his sights firmly set on a career
Experimental Aircraft Association's coveted
as an Army aviator. Too bad, the military had other ideas for
Silver Lindy Award as the Reserve Grand Champion,
him.
Customized Aircraft, he was, as you might expect, extremely
"With my engineering background, the Army didn't see
proud. And a little surprised.
flying in my future and put me in the Corps of Engineers,"
he said. "I tried for four years to get transferred, but my
Eichhorn wasn't surprised that his only-one-of-its-kind,
engineering training was 'too valuable.'
V-tail Bonanza had won the award.
So, I decided to take care of my flight
After all, she had undergone a
training myself. I actually took my first
complete engine-out, tip-to-tail,
ADRIAN EICHHORN,
lesson while stationed in South Korea at
wings-off restoration, was fresh off
owner
the Osan Air Base flying club."
his around-the-world flight, and
After returning to the U.S. and a
in his opinion, is one of the "best
short stint at Fort Belvoir in Virginia,
Bonanzas in the fleet."
the Army transferred Eichhorn to San
No, what still took him by
Francisco to work with the Corps of
surprise was the fact that he actually
Engineers. While stationed there, he
entered his airplane in the contest in
bought into a partnership in a Cessna
the first place.
150 and earned all his ratings through
You see, in achieving his many
notable accomplishments as a
ATP in just three years. After selling his
civil engineer, pilot and aircraft
share of the 150, he bought into a Piper
"MY AIRPLANE IS THE WAY IT
mechanic, they were all the results
Seminole twin.
IS, NOT TO WIN AN AWARD,
of years of planning, dedication and
"The first year and a half, I put over
BUT BECAUSE I LOVE THE
work. Winning the Lindy Award
1,000
hours on the Seminole," Eichhorn
CHALLENGE OF RE-ENGINEERING
was simply the end result of doing
said.
"I
did a lot of instructing in that
THINGS TO MAKE THEM LOOK
something he loved to do: work on
airplane. One of my students was an
AND PERFORM BETTER."
his airplane.
A&P, and we traded maintenance on
"My airplane is the way it is, not
the airplane for flight time. He also
to win an award, but because I love
convinced me to get my A&P certificate,
the challenge of re-engineering things to make them look
so I started logging the hours I helped him work on the
and perform better," Eichhorn said. "From the day I flew it
Seminole."
home, I've been tinkering with every part of the Bonanza to
It turns out that trade would prove to be invaluable. After
make it different and better than the one next door."
receiving his A&P, Eichhorn pioneered the use of medical
While the Lindy Award is a testament to achieving that
borescopes to inspect piston aircraft engines. For that, and
goal, to totally appreciate what Eichhorn has accomplished,
his other career-long contributions, he was named Aviation
including his current "day job" as an Airbus A320 captain
Technician of the Year in 2016 by the General Aviation
for JetBlue, it's important to know how it all started.
Awards program and the Federal Aviation Administration.
"I was born in Germany, where my father was commander
of the Army's Straubing Air Base," Eichhorn recalled. "I
The wrong way to buy the right Bonanza
"When I got transferred back to Washington, D.C., in the
remember when I was around 7 or 8, they had an open house
early 1990s, I sold the Seminole and was without an airplane
at the base and my father let me sit in the left seat of a (de
Havilland) Beaver while he started the engine. I remember
for a while," he explained. "During that time, I looked at
the smoke, vibration and sound of that big radial. That's
every kind of airplane you can imagine. I made friends with
when I got the aviation bug and changed my life forever."
Fast-forward a few years, and after moving to Detroit and
Continued on following page
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Avionics News July 2020

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Avionics News July 2020 - Cover2
Avionics News July 2020 - 1
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