After a hiatus caused by the economy, Clinton Heinen has reopened his avionics business at the Lenawee County Airport, 2627 Cadmus Road.
After serving in the Navy, where he worked on aircraft, and then becoming a licensed pilot, Clinton Heinen decided he wanted to put his training to good use by starting his own avionics repair shop.
The New Jersey native-turned-Lenawee County resident opened Heinen Avionics LLC at the Lenawee County Airport more than 20 years ago. Even during a stretch where he worked for a couple of different airlines, “I always maintained my own shop,” he said.
Then the recession of several years ago forced him to shut his business down for a time. He reopened two or three years ago. Now that he’s at a point where he’s been able to add brand-new equipment that allows him to run a full-service avionics operation, he’s having a “grand re-opening” for his new repair station.
“Now that we can offer full service, all the aircraft on the field can come to us,” he said.
The word “avionics” refers to an aircraft’s electrical equipment, specifically its communications and navigation systems. It’s a field that, with new technologies, has changed a great deal over the years Heinen has been in the business. When it comes to flying from one place to the other, for example, “a lot of it used to be just looking out the window for landmarks,” he said.
But today, Heinen said, aircraft might be equipped with GPS, weather-monitoring equipment, terrain-following radar, traffic systems and advanced autopilots “that take you right where you want to go.”
Heinen can do a wide range of avionics work on aircraft flying in and out of the county airport, including installation, repairs and certifications. Up until recently, his business has been a one-man operation, and “I’ve worked really hard,” he said. But his fiancée, Carla, recently became part of the operation and “our hard work together has gotten us to the point where we can expand,” he said. “We really want to make it a family business.”
Heinen Avionics is at the FBO (fixed base operator) in the airport’s main terminal, 2627 Cadmus Road in Adrian. Business hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Heinen can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The business’s website is www.heinenavionics.com.