WHO: Ryan Reid
Sales Account Manager, Chief Pilot
Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics
Commercial Single Engine Land,
Commercial Multi-Engine Land,
CFI, CFII, AGI, IGI
1. Can you describe your role at Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics?
I have worn several hats over the course of my nine years. Some of my core responsibilities include customer visits, tradeshows, program development and flight testing. A recent focus of mine is expanding relationships with aircraft manufacturers and our distribution network. I use insight from those relationships to develop new product and service programs for customers all over the world. For fun, I recently calculated the total number of miles I have traveled for work and found the distance is equivalent to circling the Earth 18 times!
2. What inspired you to pursue a career in the general aviation industry?
I was inspired at a young age, soon after my family moved to Wichita, Kansas (the “Air Capital of the World”). At first, I planned to be an astronaut, but over time realized flying airplanes was what I wanted to do. So, I attended Kansas State University, completed the flight program and became a CFI. My dad is also a pilot and recently retired from a decades-long career in aviation. For years, I promised myself I was going to get my dad flying again (he had put flying on the backburner while raising a family). That day finally came. Thirty-two years after his last logbook entry, I signed my father’s logbook as his flight instructor. It was an amazing day for both of us.
3. Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics manufactures more than 20,000 units per year. What are some of the company’s most popular products?
Mid-Continent has a 54-year history. A few examples of our innovative achievements and industry-firsts include the 4300 Series Lifesaver Gyro, MD302 Standby Attitude Module (SAM) and True Blue Power lithium-ion aircraft batteries. Personally, I have an affinity for SAM as I was involved throughout the product’s conception, including flight testing for functionality and software changes. In terms of product popularity, we recently surpassed selling 30,000 True Blue Power USB charging ports. They are well received by the industry and are one of the highest-powered, TSO-certified, USB charging ports on the market.
4. What is the True Blue Power product line?
The True Blue Power product line includes USB charging ports, power inverters and converters, emergency power supplies and advanced lithium-ion batteries. Several products are engineered with Nanophosphate lithium-ion technology, which delivers smaller, lighter products that are less than half the size and weight of legacy units. True Blue Power products can be found in turbine aircraft from nose-to-tail powering personal electronics and entertainment systems, coffee makers, microwaves, lighting, outlets, special mission and emergency equipment. The list of lithium-ion, engine-start battery STCs continues to grow..
5. The avionics scene is rapidly changing. What happenings or trends do you envision occurring in the marketplace over the next decade?
The biggest buzz right now is connectivity. There is a growing demand for the use of personal electronic devices in-flight, especially solutions that don’t involve additional service plans. Bluetooth capabilities are becoming more and more common in new avionic systems. I also envision an evolution of autopilots that will adjust course for best routing, traffic and terrain. This would greatly reduce the workload for both pilots and controllers. And we can’t forget the rapidly expanding UAV market pushing to share airspace. A new round of “see-and-avoid” technology could find its way into GA aircraft.