by Cathy Hansen, special to Aerotech News
ASB Avionics, Inc., an FAA certificated repair station since 1991 is a family-owned and -operated business based at the Mojave Air and Space Port.
ASB provides avionics modernization system design/build/installation services and equipment for aircraft ranging from Cessna 172s to Boeing 747s, with its business balanced among general and business aviation and upgrading antiquated avionics with state-of-the-art equipment on large aircraft. A recent focus across all classes of aircraft has been ADS-B and “2020” compliance and CNS/ATN “glass cockpit” upgrades.
Duane McNutt, ASB Avionics’ founder and president, joined the Navy after high school where he was a flight radioman serving on Lockheed Constellations (“Super Connies”) in the VVW1 and 3 Squadron in Guam. After his Navy service, he worked for 20 years as an avionics tech for Aero Equipment in Van Nuys, Calif. Following a four-year aviation stint in Alaska, he moved to Santa Barbara, Calif., to work for Tracor Aviation as avionics manager/technician.
In 1990, McNutt opened his own business as “Avionics of Santa Barbara,” and later opened a second facility at the Mojave Airport. In 1994, the company name changed to ASB Avionics, Inc.
McNutt shared the company’s vibrant history, which includes installing the cockpit avionics for NASA’s Boeing 747, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a complete FAA certified cockpit and autopilot upgrade for the L382/C-130 family of aircraft, and developing a patented and FAA certified HF Shunt antenna for L382/C130 Lockheed Hercules and Boeing B707/KC135 and B747 Classic that the company builds under FAA PMA. ASB has served more 1,000 individual customers.
The company now maintains a 39,000 square foot hangar at Mojave Air and Space Port, including fabrication, bench repair, and sheet metal shops, and employs more than 20 technicians and other professionals including experienced systems engineers and program managers. To expedite customers’ return to service, ASB uses a modular design concept that allows for assembly and testing of the installation and equipment prior to arrival of the aircraft for mods.
While growing into a reputable full-service global business, the company is still a family affair. McNutt’s sons Brian and Tom act as general manager and facility manager, while his granddaughter Crystal serves as ASB Avionics’ office manager. McNutt’s wife Mary worked at ASB until recently.
Both Duane and his son Brian are pilots, and the ASB Avionics team are passionate about improving pilots’ ability to communicate and navigate, even in remote locations or over long oceanic routes. They own and fly a Cessna 182 for business and pleasure.
ASB Avionics especially enjoys customizing projects to meet each customer’s unique needs and will send teams just about anywhere to install upgrades and/or train partner companies.
“I love what I do,” said McNutt. “I don’t know that I’ll ever really retire.”
ASB AVIONICS History of Dorsal Antennas
ASB Avionics, under contract with the NOAA, developed a Dorsal HF (High Frequency) Shunt Antenna for their WP-3 fleet. The P-3 HF Shunt Antenna builds on ASB’s history of HF Dorsal Antennas for L-382/C-130, KC-135, 707, 737, and 747 aircraft.
The P-3 HF Shunt Antenna eliminates the requirement for the existing dual long-wire HF antennas and replaced the existing dorsal leading edge allowing the antenna couplers to be mounted within the pressure vessel.
This antenna requires minimal maintenance, is immune to precipitation static buildup, lighting strikes, and damaging antenna wire breakage, and also reduces drag; improving fuel specifics. The new antenna is designed to be installed on all P-3 variants.
ASB Avionics has been serving the air transport, corporate, military and general aviation avionics industry with the highest quality in avionics repairs, retrofits, and fabrication installations for 30 years.
“Our team at ASB Avionics is well-known and respected by manufacturers and service providers around the world for our quality of service, expertise and our work ethic,” McNutt said.