MANSFIELD ─ In Jeffrey Turner’s eyes, Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport is a “gem” that is too easy to overlook.
“The National Guard is here, so the runways are huge. The growth potential is huge. That really spoke to me here, ”he said. “If I want to get on larger jets or smaller turboprop aircraft, the airport can handle it.”
Turner relocated Modern Avionics and Maintenance, Inc. from Medina to Mansfield in February 2018. The following year, the company moved to a larger 19,000 square meter hangar at Lahm Airport to accommodate the growing business.
Jeffrey Turner moved his company to a larger hangar at Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport in 2019. The location can accommodate at least 12 small aircraft.
“We’ve grown 33 percent each year since I took over (ownership),” said Turner of the company’s gross sales.
In fact, the best year was 2020, the year the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy. Turner said people were flying more on their planes amid the pandemic because there wasn’t much to do.
Modern Avionics and Maintenance provides avionics installation service in Mansfield and performs aircraft inspections and maintenance at Medina Municipal Airport. It has mainly focused on small single engine aircraft.
Turner, an aircraft technician, said the avionics were cumbersome to install. He has to take out all of the old avionics, radios, and cables on an airplane and deploy the new and modern systems.
It’s more than just pulling out one device and inserting another device, however. He has to make sure that the subsystems are connected to the main system and do the paperwork. The process must also comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
He adapts every installation to the needs of the customer. He said he recently upgraded a Beechcraft Bonanza F33A made in 1970. The engine instruments of the single-engine aircraft are now fully digital and equipped with a GPS.
“It’s like switching from the flip phone to the iPhone 10,” said Turner of the upgrade.
The larger the aircraft, the longer it takes to install. Turner said a large project could take up to six months. Even so, he has worked to reduce the time required and improve customer satisfaction.
Turner did not choose to join the aerospace industry. When he was in high school, he had no idea what career he would do after graduating. The Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics happened to be giving a presentation at his school and drew his attention. The Pennsylvania-based institute has trained aircraft mechanics and avionics technicians for more than 90 years.
After completing the two-year program, Turner moved to Cleveland and started working for the regional airlines. For four years, he said he had been replacing sections of skin on damaged aircraft most of the time. But a job that follows the routine and has limited interaction with people wasn’t for him.
In 2016, at the age of 27, Turner purchased Modern Avionics and Maintenance. At the time, the company was based in Medina and focused on maintenance service.
Turner expanded its service to the installation of avionics equipment. The hangar in Medina, which is only suitable for two aircraft, cannot keep up with business growth and eventually got Turner to move to Mansfield.
The move came with a price. Turner said he lost a quarter of maintenance-related customers when he moved to Mansfield. Most of them were based in the Cleveland area and didn’t want to fly to mid-central Ohio just for an annual inspection. That is why he opened another location in Medina last September.
Modern Avionics and Maintenance received the Garmin Bronze Award for Achievement for its 2019 achievement.
Modern Avionics and Maintenance received the Garmin Bronze Award for Achievement for its 2019 achievement. Turner said it means the company has the top third of global sales of Garmin aerospace products.
He remembered jumping up and down and booting everyone in the office when he got the news. He said the company is likely to win another one for 2020 as sales have increased 35 percent.
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