In a couple of weeks Candace and Woody Cottner’s company will begin making a fleet of Air Force jets safer for troops traveling on them.
And work on the $32.2 million contract means the Cottners’ Global Aviation Technologies will increase its staff of 22 employees by nearly 50 percent.
The contract, awarded by the Air Force in May, calls for Global Aviation to upgrade the avionics on its fleet of 19 C-21 jets.
“It will make it viable for the next 20 years,” Woody Cottner said.
Cottner said because of the new contract he expects to hire 10 more workers, a combination of aircraft mechanics and avionics technicians, before the end of the year.
“When the plane shows up, we’ll be going to two shifts,” he said.
Cottner said he expects to receive the first C-21 – the military version of the Wichita-built Learjet 35A business jet – on Nov. 28.
His staff will begin the process of tearing out old instruments and related electronics and replacing them with electronic flight instruments displayed on LCD screens, weather radar and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast, or ADS-B.
ADS-B uses satellite navigation and periodically transmits an airplane’s position to air traffic control and other planes sharing the same airspace. The Federal Aviation Administration, which has mandated that all aircraft flying in controlled airspace have part of the ADS-B system by 2020, says ADS-B will increase aviation safety and efficiency.
According to the Air Force, the C-21’s mission is to provide cargo, passenger and medical evacuation airlift. The aircraft are also frequently used to provide transport for general officers and other distinguished visitors.
Global Aviation, 6545 W. Pueblo Court, is a 15-year-old aircraft maintenance, engineering and parts manufacturing company specializing in out-of-production business jets and turboprop planes.