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Experience counts in Winner Aviation’s Shop


Don Price,Jeff Williams, Ron Butler, Tom Hudak, Ron Backo, and Ted Miller (not shown) have a combined total of 210 years at Winner.

If, as Alphonse de Lamartine declared in 1847, “Experience is the only prophesy of wise men,” then the folks at Winner Aviation at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Ohio are indeed very, very wise men.

Six technicians at Winner have been working on Twin Commander airframes and engines for a combined total of 210 years. That’s right—more than two centuries of direct, hands-on experience making Twin Commanders fly well and true, just as they were designed to do.

Ron Backo is the newbie in the group. He began working on Commanders in Youngstown in 1988, a short 23 years ago. Jeff Williams began his 27-year career in 1984, and Tom Hudak in 1980. Don Price and Ron Butler each joined Beckett Aviation, the company that eventually became Winner, in 1969, 42 years ago.

But even they can’t beat Ted Miller, who claims more than 45 years experience at Winner and its predecessors. Miller still regularly works part-time for Winner.

Winner Aviation
CEO Rick Hale
“We are very proud of our experience,” says Winner’s owner and CEO, Rick Hale.

That experience is important to Winner’s customers, such as Tom Morse. Morse has been flying a model 980 Twin Commander since the airplane was bought new from the factory 32 years ago. That’s how long he’s been going to Winner, and its predecessor companies. The reason for his loyalty is Winner’s experience.

“That’s the whole key—who is in that shop,” he says. “Really, it’s the crew that makes the difference. They are a great bunch of people. After 32 years they have the ultimate insight of what’s going on inside the airplane. Winner is a good outfit. They bend over backwards for us.”

Founded in February 1995, Winner Aviation can trace its heritage to 1941 when Forrest Beckett opened Youngstown Airways at the brand-new Youngstown Municipal Airport. Beckett was a pioneer in aviation services and aircraft management, and one of the first to open an FBO, Beckett Aviation, dedicated to business aviation and factory authorized Commander service.

That was in 1964. More than a dozen years later Beckett sold to CSX Corporation, which later sold to Aero Services International. In 1995 Winner Aviation Services acquired Aero Services, and in 2008 Hale took over as owner of Winner.

Today Winner is authorized and fully capable of performing inspections, repairs, and modifications on all Twin Commander piston and turboprop models, and handling aircraft sales. The company also stocks and sells an extensive inventory of new Twin Commander replacement parts.

Complementing its Twin Commander service capabilities and experience is Winner’s long history maintaining the Honeywell TPE331 engines that power turboprop Twin Commanders. In fact, Winner holds the distinction of being the world’s oldest factory authorized independent Honeywell TPE331 major service center. It was named an authorized service center in 1967.

Winner also has been approved by the FAA to perform overhauls on TPE331 engines through the Dash 11 model.

The company recently expanded its facilities by acquiring a 12,000 sq. ft. hangar on the airport, and is in talks with the airport authority about further physical growth.

Along with its airframe and engine service, Winner has a full-service avionics shop that recently performed a Garmin G600 panel upgrade for a long-time Twin Commander customer. Winner recently placed a bulk order for the new Garmin GTN 750/650 Series of GPS flight management systems, and is offering “aggressive” pricing on installations, Hale said.

“Winner Aviation strives to provide the best service possible for all piston and turbine Twin Commanders,” Hale says. “The company’s commitment and dedication to Twin Commanders is as extensive as its long history in serving the Twin Commander community.”

For more information see the Winner Aviation website at; telephone 800-837-4964.

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