All Hail The Aero-Heroes of 2009!
Final Compilations by ANN
Editor-In-Chief/Trouble-Maker, Jim Campbell
It is both the most "fun," and most
difficult, task facing the ANN staff at the end of every year --
determining who, or what, did the most to promote the cause of
aviation in the past 365 days... while also chastising those people
or entities that did all they could to undermine the many successes
the aviation/aerospace community has managed to accomplish.
Thankfully, 2009 was a year in which we saw the best and brightest
among us step forward and work tirelessly on behalf of us all. No
doubt about it... the challenges we faced in 2009 were numerous,
and ongoing... so was the quality of expertise and passion brought
to our defense by those who heroically demonstrated to the world
the very best side of aviation... via their deeds, words and
It is ANN's honor to recognize Ten persons/organizations or groups
that qualify as our Aero-Heroes for 2009... in something of an
informal order, starting from the 10th to the 1st. Let us know what
you think of our selections... whom YOU would have liked be
included or omitted from such a list. In the meantime, we thank the
folks who made this year's list. Thank you, folks... we really
needed you this year, and you didn't let us down.
ANN will list our Top Ten choices over the next few days's, but
in order to kick off the New Year right, let's enjoy another
selection from our Heroes List for 2009...
Aero-Heroes #7 -- John Uczekaj and The Irrepressible Aspen
To those of you who use your airplanes for real-live
transportation, especially when the weather heads for the deck, the
quality of one's instrumentation has never been more critical. And
along with the criticality of said panels, and the search for
solutions that fit a pilot's needs, comes the ever-delicate
balancing act between getting the capabilities you need for a price
you can afford.
While today's wunderboxes have never been more capable, the
prices have been climbing faster than an F-104 in full burner. The
search for a good IFR capable panel was getting to be as expensive
as a small house... and until recently, the trends indicated that
this was not about to change anytime soon... but, instead, amazing
changes took place because of the fine workl of some folks from
Thanks to the extraordinary foresight of the Aspen Avionics
Design Team, under the direction of John Uczekaj, there are now
amazing new capabilities to be had... for truly affordable dollars.
Whether one updates an "almost good enough" panel with just a PFD
or goes whole hog and builds themselves a three screen solution,
the Aspen Avionics program offers the BEST RETROFIT VALUE in
today's avionics. Period. As a matter of fact, the aforementioned
single PFD can be bought for less than $10K, while the three screen
solution (with incredible redundancy and system flexibility) can be
bought for well under $30K -- and those who have taken the plunge
are singing the praises of their newly reinvigorated airplanes.
Our flights in Aspen equipped aircraft have been impressive, the
displays are tremendously readable, the interface is easy to learn
and use, and the past year's experience detailed by user/owners
speak highly of Aspen's service and support system as well as the
rugged nature of the boxes themselves. To pilots who have much
loved older aircraft with a real need to use them in both VFR as
well as IFR environments, the Aspen Avionics system has been an
answer to a prayer and brought truly impressive new value to elder
An Aspen Avionics upgrade has turned out to be the one of the
few runaway "no-brainers" of 2009. Up against aggressive
juggernauts like Garmin, it's thrilling to see small companies with
great ideas come forth and beat everyone in a well-established
industry. We're impressed as hell with what Aspen has brought forth
this year and we CAN NOT wait to see what's next.
Great work, folks!