Avionics News July 2012 - 51

FACILITIES: 15,000 total square feet, which includes 5,400 square feet of showroom, bench repair, fabrication and office space, and 9,600 square feet of aircraft hangar space.

WHAT THEY DO: An FAA-certified repair station, Aerotronics sells, services and installs avionics on general aviation, commercial and experimental aircraft.

FOUNDED: In 1962 by Richard Van Luchene and A.J. Lundquist CURRENT OWNERS: Steven Vold & Gary Wirrell AEA MEMBER SINCE: 1972

F

ifty years ago, Richard Van Luchene and A.J. Lundquist started Aerotronics in a small garage in Billings, Mont., outfitting customers’ aircraft with instruments and avionics. “At the time, vacuum tubes were state of the art, and a Narco MK-12 was top of the line,” said Steven Vold, co-owner, general manager and 37-year veteran of the company. Today, Aerotronics sells, services and installs avionics on general aviation, commercial and experimental aircraft for both domestic and international customers. The Federal Aviation Administration-certified repair station also coordinates closely with local aircraft interior upholstery experts, as well as an aircraft maintenance facility, making Aerotronics a one-stop shop for customers. Vold and Gary Wirrell, co-owner and vice president, oversee 20 employees in more than 15,000 square feet of hangar and office space. Much of the equipment they work on, from traffic avoidance systems to primary flight displays, is so sophisticated, so advanced it would have been unrecognizable as avionics during the company’s early days. “We service a majority of general aviation aircraft from Super Cubs to light jets, from helicopters to military aircraft,” said Vold, who enjoys flying his 1949 Piper PA 11 Cub Special over Montana’s Big Sky Country. “We also provide service to a great variety of experimental aircraft for avionics and instrument maintenance. Each day can bring new surprises and challenges for our staff.” Expanding into Experimental In 1995, Aerotronics expanded into experimental- and sport-built aircraft avionics. Martin Elshire, another owner in the business at the time, spearheaded the move. By adding support for experimental aircraft, the new division diversified the company’s capabilities and brought in more customers. “It also added growth and technical advantages rarely found in a single avionics company,” said Wirrell, who manages Aerotronics’ experimental division today. The expansion turned out to be a revelation for the owners. Working on experimental aircraft took considerable

time and effort, and it quickly became the most labor-intensive part of the business. “It may take several years of involvement with the customer, continually keeping them up-to-date on changing technology until they are truly ready for the system,” Vold explained. “Documentation of drawings, photography and equipment requires great detail and organization as it could be years before the system we create is installed, and we must be prepared to support that system seamlessly and quickly.”

In the blue and white Cessna 310Q, Aerotronics installed a Garmin G500 PFD/MFD, Garmin GNS 530W and an S-TEC 55X.

Wirrell added that the extensive design and testing that goes into each customer’s plug-and-play panel is a timeconsuming task. Aerotronics creates ready-to-install, plugand-play panels with CPC plugs that easily accept the customer’s existing aircraft wiring. “Usually each plug-and-play panel is created without the customer being on-site,” said Wirrell, who learned electronics and communications while in the Air Force and later learned to fly as a civilian. “Therefore, much time is spent in two-way communications offering equipment options, instrument layouts, matching colors and finishes, and making sure their input is accurately addressed to meet their satisfaction.” To ensure quality and help make the panels easy to maintain for the owner-builder, the company’s customer service
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Avionics News July 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News July 2012

Point of Communication
AEA Now
The View From Washington
International News and Regulatory Updates
Going Glass
Member Profile
Extra Avionics
Member Profile
Glass Panel Upgrades
Aviation Aces
Business Basics
Member Profile
A Conversation With...
Making A Difference
Theory & Practice
Legal Ease
Meet the AEA Staff
What's New
Marketplace Classifies
Avionics News July 2012 - Cover1
Avionics News July 2012 - Cover2
Avionics News July 2012 - 1
Avionics News July 2012 - 2
Avionics News July 2012 - 3
Avionics News July 2012 - Point of Communication
Avionics News July 2012 - 5
Avionics News July 2012 - AEA Now
Avionics News July 2012 - 7
Avionics News July 2012 - 8
Avionics News July 2012 - 9
Avionics News July 2012 - 10
Avionics News July 2012 - 11
Avionics News July 2012 - 12
Avionics News July 2012 - 13
Avionics News July 2012 - The View From Washington
Avionics News July 2012 - 15
Avionics News July 2012 - International News and Regulatory Updates
Avionics News July 2012 - 17
Avionics News July 2012 - 18
Avionics News July 2012 - 19
Avionics News July 2012 - Going Glass
Avionics News July 2012 - 21
Avionics News July 2012 - 22
Avionics News July 2012 - 23
Avionics News July 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News July 2012 - 25
Avionics News July 2012 - 26
Avionics News July 2012 - 27
Avionics News July 2012 - Extra Avionics
Avionics News July 2012 - 29
Avionics News July 2012 - 30
Avionics News July 2012 - 31
Avionics News July 2012 - 32
Avionics News July 2012 - 33
Avionics News July 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News July 2012 - 35
Avionics News July 2012 - 36
Avionics News July 2012 - 37
Avionics News July 2012 - Glass Panel Upgrades
Avionics News July 2012 - 39
Avionics News July 2012 - 40
Avionics News July 2012 - 41
Avionics News July 2012 - 42
Avionics News July 2012 - 43
Avionics News July 2012 - Aviation Aces
Avionics News July 2012 - 45
Avionics News July 2012 - 46
Avionics News July 2012 - 47
Avionics News July 2012 - Business Basics
Avionics News July 2012 - 49
Avionics News July 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News July 2012 - 51
Avionics News July 2012 - 52
Avionics News July 2012 - 53
Avionics News July 2012 - A Conversation With...
Avionics News July 2012 - 55
Avionics News July 2012 - Making A Difference
Avionics News July 2012 - 57
Avionics News July 2012 - Theory & Practice
Avionics News July 2012 - 59
Avionics News July 2012 - Legal Ease
Avionics News July 2012 - 61
Avionics News July 2012 - Meet the AEA Staff
Avionics News July 2012 - 63
Avionics News July 2012 - 64
Avionics News July 2012 - 65
Avionics News July 2012 - What's New
Avionics News July 2012 - 67
Avionics News July 2012 - 68
Avionics News July 2012 - 69
Avionics News July 2012 - Marketplace Classifies
Avionics News July 2012 - 71
Avionics News July 2012 - 72
Avionics News July 2012 - Cover3
Avionics News July 2012 - Cover4
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