I’ve probably mentioned this before, but one of the things I really love about going to the various air and trade shows is getting to talk to Genesys Aerosystems customers. No matter where they are in the world or what they do for a living or what type of airplane they fly – they all share a common bond: one that stretches way beyond being Genesys/S-Tec customers.
Anyway, at this past AirVenture I had the pleasure of catching up with Adrian Eichhorn. If you’re not familiar with his story, Adrian, whose day job is flying left-seat on an Airbus A320 for JetBlue, recently rebuilt his vintage (I can’t believe I’m calling anything built in 1962 ‘vintage’), P35 Bonanza and flew it 23,014 nm around the world. That’s an amazing accomplishment on so many levels.
So why did Adrian stop by the Genesys Booth? Pretty much just to thank everyone at Genesys/S-TEC for helping him out during the final leg of his globe-trotting adventure. What exactly did we do? I’ll let Adrian tell the story:
“The long and short of it is on my second oceanic leg from the Azores to France, the autopilot would not engage. I tried everything. Finally, after pressing the buttons countless times and resetting the circuit breaker as many times, it finally came to life. And it worked great for the rest of my trip until I got to the Marshall Islands and landed in Majuro, which is the capital city.
“Anyway, when I took off on the 15-hour leg to Honolulu, the System 30 refused to wake up. Again, I tried everything, but with no joy this time. So I hand-flew the trip. The Bonanza is a treat to fly, so it wasn’t that big a deal until I got into the final four hours approaching Hawaii in the dark. That’s when fatigue set in and I asked myself, ‘What are you doing…?’”
“After landing in Honolulu, I parked at Hawaiian Air Services. They put my airplane in a hangar and I started making some calls. I certainly didn’t want to fly my longest over-water leg (17-hours) to Oakland, California with no autopilot.
“At the time there was no avionics shop in Hawaii. But I was fortunate to find a guy named Pat who is in the process of opening EastWest Avionics. While he wasn’t an authorized S-TEC dealer, he did help me try to troubleshoot the System 30.
“After a bit of work, we determined that the problem was in the panel-mounted controller. I called S-TEC in Mineral Wells and explained my situation. I have no idea how old the System 30 is, but it’s long out of any warranty. Anyway, what they did was amazing: They took a brand-new controller off the shelf, configured it to my specific system needs and sent it overnight to Hawaii.
“We plugged it in and it worked perfectly. I put my original unit in the box and sent it to back to S-TEC for repairs. They fixed it and had it ready when I arrived back in the States. It’s now back in my airplane and performing perfectly.
“Needless to say, the people at S-TEC went out of their way to help me and didn’t charge me a dime for any of it! That’s incredible customer service and I can’t thank them enough for stepping in to help. Without the new autopilot my flight to Oakland would have been a lot harder and much less safe.
“My thanks goes to everyone at Genesys/S-TEC for making great products and for being there when I needed them most.”
That’s very kind of you Adrian. Everyone at Genesys Aerosystems congratulates you on your successful flight and is happy to have been a small part of your success. While we can’t send everyone a “loaner” controller, Genesys Aerosystems and our dealers stand ready to support our customers in any way we can.
You can read all about Adrian’s adventure on the Fly Blue Horizons website: http://flybluehorizons.com
Until next time, fly safely,