He received his airframe and powerplant mechanic certification in 1990. After leaving the Coast Guard, he worked as lead mechanic for Raytheon Aircraft Systems performing depot level inspections on Navy T-34/44s. He also served as a crew chief for Ozark Aircraft Systems at Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA). In that capacity, he supervised the inspections and line maintenance for American Eagle Emory Air 145/135s.
In 1999, he began his career with Wal-Mart Stores as an aircraft technician maintaining their corporate fleet. In January of 2000, he was granted inspection authorization by the FAA and joined Wal-Mart Aviation's quality assurance team. He was also named manager of their nondestructive testing program. In 2004, he was promoted to Wal-Mart's maintenance manager. In that position, he helps maintain a fleet of more than 20 corporate aircraft including Lear 31s, 35s, 45s, Global Express and a Challenger. Last year, the aircraft of Wal-Mart Aviation flew over 16,000 hours throughout the world.
Branham represented the Little Rock FSDO as well as the FAA's Southwest Region. This year's other regional AMT winners include John Joseph Connolly of Centerville, Maine (FAA New England Region); William David Cruey of Batavia, Ohio (FAA Great Lakes Region); Fred Everett Hetrick of Berryton, KS (FAA Central Region); Roy Merritt Hines of Raleigh, NC (FAA Southern Region); John Charles Perry of Rangely, CO (FAA Northwest Mountain Region); and Bobby Gene Speaker of Sun City, AZ (FAA Western Pacific Region).
2005 AVIONICS TECH OF THE YEAR: Charles Hanner
Charles Hanner's first exposure to the world of aviation came through stories told to him by his grandfather, a World War II Navy veteran who maintained Vought F4U Corsairs and North American P-51 Mustangs. These stories planted the seeds that later germinated into a career as a professional avionics technician.
His interest in electronics developed through his participation in a basic high school electronics course. After graduation, he decided to pursue that interest further and enrolled at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City, Iowa. While there, he majored in telecommunications and graduated in 1990 with a degree in telecommunications technology.
Armed with this training, he applied for a position in 1990 as an avionics technician at the headquarters facility of Duncan Aviation at Lincoln Airport (LNK) in Lincoln, NE. A member of the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), Duncan is an FAA repair station as well as a full service FBO. With more than 1800 employees, they have service centers in Lincoln as well Battle Creek, MI. Initially, Hanner performed component level repairs on autopilots and flight director systems while also doing some line maintenance. His introduction to general aviation aircraft test flights was on a Lear 25D and what an introduction that was!
In January of 1998, he was promoted to avionics line team leader and continues in that position today. In that capacity, he schedules aircraft maintenance, coordinates work on aircraft, mentors other technicians, works directly with customers and supervises the daily operations of Duncan's avionics line maintenance team. He also finds time to continue his professional education by taking systems training, management and team-focused courses. In addition to an FAA repairman certificate, he also holds an FCC general radiotelephone license with a ship radar endorsement.
Hanner represented the Lincoln FSDO and the FAA's Central Region. This year's other regional avionics technician winners were Kirt Thomas Sanderbeck of Sherman, IL (FAA's Great Lakes Region); Andrew James Scanlon of Ellsworth, ME (FAA's New England Region); Edward Ernest Stertmann of Pine Bluff, AR (FAA's Southwest Region); Thomas Patrick Supon of Rincon, GA (FAA's Southern Region); and Harold Webster Wells of Peoria, AZ (FAA's Western Pacific Region).