Avionics News January 2021 - 28

SHOPS DISCUSS AVIONICS PANDEMIC INTERACTIONS
Continued from page 27

news, that's usually good news. If a customer wants
an in-flight review of the installation, I'm willing
to do that, and we wear masks, " which Minnesota
requires for all commercial businesses. " We're all
trying to avoid a silent, unseen bogey, and a lot of
people don't respect it. You may not respect the fact
that it's out there, but I need to keep my doors open
and I need to err on the side of caution, " he said.
" Business didn't fall off a lot with the pandemic.
We had a good backlog of work on the books. Today,
we're doing some sort of digital primary flight display
or GPS, and some customers say, 'Oh, by the way, I
didn't comply with the ADS-B requirement, so maybe
we should do that, too.' But most of my customers
are ADS-B compliant. " Shipping delays are another
challenge. " I don't know that I can blame that on
COVID or that it's just a sign of the times that a lot of
shops continue to be busy and OEMs are just trying to
keep up. "
Trego Dugan Aviation, Grand Island,
Nebraska: Caleb Hopkins
" We've never had a mandatory mask order here in
the state of Nebraska or in the city. It's an optional
thing; we don't require them for customers or
employees, but if you want one, we have them for
you. A lot of customers wear masks when they fly
in to drop off everything. " Disinfection is perhaps
the biggest change. " It's the step after cleaning all
the customer areas in the facility, and we disinfect
customer airplanes, when they come in and when they
go out, with chemicals that are effective but not too
harsh to damage interiors. "
As one of two shops in the state serving general
aviation pistons, as they did before COVID, " sales
usually begin with a phone call and follow-up with
emails, " he said. " When COVID hit in March, we
had a lot of cancellations, some jobs postponed, and
a number pulled it all out because the stock market
plunged. Counting on that for their retirement, instead
of spending bucks for new radios and panels, they
decided to hold off. We picked back up in May and
June, but that has faded. I attribute that to the election
28

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january

2021

cycle and what that will do to the stock market. We also
have a lot of farm customers, and it's harvest season. "
Now a three-person shop, it lost two employees in
March, who found employment elsewhere. " We're
a diverse company with more than 1,200 employees
nationwide, most in airline ground handling. When the
airlines stopped paying their bills in March, we took
a hit. Wondering what was going to happen before the
airline bailout, they found new jobs, and we have not
replaced them. "
Avionics Services, Norman, Oklahoma:
Philip Steele
" There hasn't been that drastic a change. We
experienced a week, week and a half when the phone
didn't ring (except for sales and robo calls) right at the
start of the pandemic. There's been a dip in business,
but it seems to be coming back. We're a two-man shop,
at the far end of the airport, so we're already kind
of isolated. We don't have any mask issues. The city
requires masks in all stores, and the university requires
masks, so we follow those guidelines and for social
distancing. " With ramp-side drop-off, " we don't do that
many customer checkrides. We test what you need to
test on the ground, and test flights for autopilots, but
checkouts are at the customer's discretion. "
Chandler Avionics, Chandler, Arizona:
Eric Scopellite
" It's been pretty standard; make sure everything is
clean and sanitized and wear masks with customers.
Other than that, it's been business as usual. We all got
tested early on; my fiancée is a nurse, and she gave
me a heads-up on what she was seeing. With that
information, we figured out a plan of attack to make
sure a small five-person shop can keep operating. If
we have an outbreak here, we're not going to be in
business anymore. As soon as anyone has symptoms,
they get tested and can't come back to work until
they test negative. We all live lives that mitigate the
infection risks, and given my fiancée's occupation, I
get tested monthly, " he said.
" We do a lot of large GA installs, full glass cockpit
integrations with autopilots, and those airplanes can
be here for over a month. With the onset of COVID,
we had some issues with companies and states



Avionics News January 2021

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Avionics News January 2021 - Intro
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Avionics News January 2021 - Cover2
Avionics News January 2021 - 1
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