From the renowned Kennedy Space Center to activity by industry leaders such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Florida is leading the way with an impressive network of aerospace companies.

More than 100 delegates from the Sunshine State were at the Farnborough International Airshow in July to showcase 18 businesses pushing the envelope in everything from space to robotics.

Present and future

TJ Villamil, senior vice president for international trade at Enterprise Florida, explained: “Florida is both the present and the future. So it gives me great pride to stand here at the Farnborough International Airshow with such great companies, showcasing Florida to the world.”

FINN took a whistlestop tour of the Florida pavilion, starting with Claudia Espinosa, vice president, commercial at Avionica, which specialises in complete flight data and communications management solutions.

She said: “We started in our garage 30 years ago, we’re employing over 100 engineers currently specialising in flight data communications management. We have about 9,000 of our units out in the field, ranging from commercial operators to business jet operators.”

Radar to training

Next up was Edward Zakrajsek, general manager of DeTect Global, a radar company, who said: “We started initially developing radar systems to detect birds to prevent bird strikes, for the US Air Force. They’re still one of our key customers.”

David Santo, chief training officer at Aerostar Training Services was also exhibiting at the show. Commenting on the service his company provides, he said: “We prepare pilots for placement all over the world, with zero experience all the way through either Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 type rating.”

Gerald Smolenski, director of sales and marketing at manufacturing company Loos & Co, highlighted the importance of networking at the airshow: “The ability to have meaningful conversations with all of our customers in one location in such a short period of time – if we were to do something like this it would take us probably a year to have these types of conversations that we can have in one short week.”

Confident customers

Silvia Gutierrez, president at TIC AEROSPACE, an FAA-certified 14 CFR Part 145 Repair Station, added: “We’re a minor facility, we do landing gears, airframe, we do overhaul repairs. We have a lot of certification to make our customers confident.”

Elsewhere on the Florida pavilion, Kevin Fesler, chief revenue officer at Red 6, which has developed an Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System, said: “One of the huge breakthroughs for Red 6 is we found that we’ve refined the technology path to be able to do augmented reality outdoors in dynamic environments. It’s true that we’re changing the military training paradigm. And we’re moving that into commercial use cases as well.”

Ned Bowers, president of Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners, was the final stop on the tour. He said: “We use the word innovation a lot and that is my key focus on Skybolt, to innovate in the aerospace fastener world. And when we come to an event like this, it gives us extreme excitement for planning on what direction that we want to go.”

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