Avionics News July 2020 - 68

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t an aircraft hangar in
Hampton, Georgia, just south
of Atlanta, Charles Lee eyes
the numbers on a TIC T-48D test set
as he troubleshoots the transponder
and encoder on a Piper Cherokee.
He's not in a hurry and doesn't
feel the pressure of a long line of
demanding clients.
Lee's goal isn't to make a profit
but to stay active in aviation after
retiring from a 26-year career as an
inspector for the Federal Aviation
Administration. He opened Air Check
Aircraft in 2016, limiting his time to
68

avionics news

*

july

2020

With...

Charles Lee of Air Check Aircraft

serving friends who fly recreationally
along with flying and maintaining his
own aircraft.
Over the years, Lee served as
a director of maintenance for the
historic Wheeler Airlines, the first
black-owned airline in the United
States, and as an A&P instructor for
the Air Force. He holds a bachelor's
degree in public administration, an
A&P certification with inspection
authorization, and an FAA repairman
certificate - radio and instruments
ratings, commercial pilot certificate
with instrument rating and an
advanced ground instructor
rating. He has written articles for
aircraft maintenance and airport
management journals.
Above all, Lee loves tinkering with
aircraft and avionics. He's been testing
and troubleshooting, inspecting and
installing instruments and avionics for
more than 40 years.
What was your first
exposure to repairing
equipment?
As a teenager, I gained a working
knowledge of mechanics and
electronics while repairing the lawn
mower I used to earn money in
the summer. I quickly learned to
troubleshoot and switch parts from
salvaged mowers to make them
work. Since most problems were
ignition related, I got good, practical
experience and a few high-voltage
shocks in the process. As I got better,

I was able to move on to cars.
My band members and I started
making alterations and repairs to
musical equipment like guitars,
organs and amplifiers. We learned
by experience about resistors,
transistors and vacuum tubes.
With an 8-range $5 Radio Shack
multimeter and a little solder and
an iron, we could usually complete
our modifications and repairs.

What was your first
job in aviation?
I was taking flying lessons
at Wheeler Airlines in Raleigh,
North Carolina. I worked as a
temporary ticket agent in the
early morning. Then, over the
summer, I washed airplanes,
cleaned the hangar and
helped mechanics by pulling
panels and greasing wheeling
bearings. Later, when I was in
college, I worked in the parts
department. I standardized the
inventory and shopped for the
best price versus delivery time.

When did you realize
you had a talent for
understanding aircraft
electronics?
I was working at Wheeler
Airlines. The president, who was a
major airline pilot, replaced most
of the airlines' Navajos and Cessna



Avionics News July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News July 2020

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Avionics News July 2020 - Intro
Avionics News July 2020 - No label
Avionics News July 2020 - Cover2
Avionics News July 2020 - 1
Avionics News July 2020 - 2
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