Employees of Quad Cities-based Elliott Aviation are very busy working to help jet owners add new technology and meet new, federal requirements before 2020 arrives.
The company has a contract with Garmin to install an avionics package called the “G-5000.” Conrad Theisen, Elliott’s avionics sales director, says their shops in Moline and Des Moines have installed more G-5000’s than all competitors combined.
He adds, it’s a misconception that private jets are a luxury. Theisen says, “They are tools to companies out there and downtime is a very key factor for these owners and companies to get their airplanes back and put them back in service to get people to and from business trips versus a couple of days with the airline.”
Theisen says Elliott Aviation buys from Garmin in bulk, then passes the savings along to customers. He gives most of the credit to the company’s employees. “It’s our processes in place, it’s the people we have in place to turn these airplanes in, in a timely manner, and get them flown off,” Theisen says. “It’s the technical knowledge that our technicians have to insure a good airplane upon delivery.”
Like many companies that rely on skilled labor, Theisen says it’s “a challenge at best” for Elliott to find new hires. “There is definitely opportunity, especially for high school kids today who have that little bit of mechanical itch or drive, if you will,” he says. “There’s definitely opportunity out there to join a team like ours.”
A federal mandate requires all business aircraft to be equipped with “next-gen” air traffic equipment by the first of the year. It’s called “Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast” and it’ll send more data to air traffic controllers. Theisen hints the next big thing from Garmin will probably be “auto-landing” for new planes.
(By Michelle O’Neill, WVIK, Rock Island)