Common sense and high standards are the ‘secrets’ of accident-free ops
By: Mary F. Silitch
October 21, 2009
Each year, NBAA recognizes the top aviation maintenance and avionics technicians with excellent safety records who work for member companies. Maintaining corporate aircraft or avionics for three accident-free years is the minimum requirement for an NBAA Safety Award but the actual number of years for many of the top technicians adds up to four decades or more.
NBAA Convention News spoke with the top A&Ps and avionics technicians for 2008 to learn about their backgrounds and safety philosophy (some were prohibited by company policy to be interviewed, which makes it difficult to honor them for their hard work and contributions to aviation safety). The top five collectively have 198 years of accident-free corporate aviation involvement.
Meridian Teterboro/Meridian Air Charter
After graduating from high school, John Bahrenburg joined the U.S. Air Force and became a mechanic, working on single-engine jet fighters. He was stationed in Japan for two years as a heavy maintenance technician, performing flight-line maintenance and repair. He spent the rest of his service at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C.
After leaving the military, Bahrenburg worked as a mechanic at Red Bank Air Taxi in Red Bank, N.J., and earned his A&P license. He became a shift supervisor for line maintenance, working on a broad variety of aircraft and engines, and then moved to Linden Airport, where he worked for Matco for seven and a half years. He was responsible for customers’ aircraft maintenance, primarily the fleets operated by Texaco and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, which included Gulfstream Is and IIs, Pipers, Cessna Citations, a JetStar and Beech airplanes.
Bahrenburg then joined American Cyanamid in Teterboro, whose Part 135 fleet included GIIs and GIIIs and Bombardier Learjets, from the 25 through the 60. Engines Bahrenburg worked on included the Rolls-Royce Spey, Garrett TFE731, GE 610 and Pratt & Whitney Canada PW305. He worked there for more than 15 years before the aviation department was dissolved. Fortunately, the local Million Air FBO started offering jet maintenance in the same American Cyanamid hangar and hired Bahrenburg as director of maintenance. Million Air became Meridian Jet Center in 2006.
Bahrenburg said his long, safe career is the result of “caution, a lot of patience and general know-how.” He said his favorite airplane to work on was definitely the Lear 25.