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   Melbourne Fl CFO Convention 2014

Melbourne, FL
CFO Convention

As we seek out potential convention sites we start by looking for something interesting going on in aviation. Across the years we have visited a number of interesting aviation sites, including manufacturers, museums and areas of high interest in aviation.

For the 2014 convention we were attracted by the advances in avionics and our universal quest for the right way to integrate ADS-B into these digital panels. Several companies have been developing quickly, but we were especially attracted to the story of Avidyne.

As we learned more about the company and their efforts to bring high end avionics from the turboprop market into general aviation, we got to know their Director of Marketing, Tom Harper. When he invited us to bring the group to Florida to tour their factory we thought it was a great idea.

As our plans developed we learned there were a number of interesting aviation in the area, including Powerflow, Embraer and, for flying close to the ground, NASCAR at Daytona.

In the end the team at Avidyne really rolled out the red carpet and showed us a great time. Darren at Powerflow gave us a great insight into what it takes to build their products, and we had a great time seeing a range of other interesting places, people and things.

So after a big 'Thank You' to Tom Harper for bringing us to Melbourne, let's review the list together as we go through a few photos of our time there.

Click on any image to load a larger version.

av__baer air.jpg

We were welcomed to Melbourne Florida by Baer Air, who's classy facility was just down the taxiway from a large, if somewhat rustic parking area which was home to our Cardinals for the week.


Our first stop was at the Avidyne factory, where they seemed to be expecing us.


The welcome feeling continued as we arrived at the front door.


We started the tour with an overview about what goes on in this building and the products which Avidyne is building for our aircraft. Our host was Tom Harper, Director of Marketing.


We were split up into groups, with one group starting with a discussion of how ADS-B will affect us and how Avidyne products will be delivering that functionality, along with an overview of how their various devices work together. Special thanks to Steve Lindsley, Director FMS for his discussion of the design considersations and engineering perspective.


Another group started right out in the factory. Here we're looking across a room of workstations where Avidyne radios were undergoing assembly, calibration and testing.


We got to look over the shoulder of the technicians who were doing board level inspection, as I recall, to confirm the quality of the wave solder operation.


There were opportunities to talk with several of the employees who were bulding the products. Special thanks to Roger Mitchell, VP of Operations for the factory tours.


A highlight of the tour was watching the parts placement machine as it populated the boards in preparation for wave solder.


These reels contained the parts which were being placed into the boards, many of them so tiny that you could lose them in the palm of your hand. A camera watches each one get placed and confirms it's location, rotation and orientation.


There was another session of technical info, always more to learn as the technology around us evolves.


With so many little parts it seemed like everyone needed a microscope to look at the parts they were inspecting. Everyone was very friendly and glad to share what they were doing.


Henry Pearce won the door prize provided and presented by Avidyne, which was an Apple iPad.


The 'Welcome CFO theme continued as we were invited to lunch behind the factory.


It turns out this was a standard employee Friday special lunch break and barbeque, with the management team flipping burgers and several awards and recognitions given out to employees. We were glad to be included in this friendly gathering.


Our next stop was the show room at Embraer, where we saw a lot of really nice jet mockups.


We had the chance to sit in the demonstrators and think about the exact features we'd like in our own Phenom.


That also gave us the chance to see if we'd look good in one...


And of course we got to see how those in the back of the plane would be living also.


Evidently Florida pitched in to help Embraer build a very nice design center which was just starting to be in use when we arrived for our visit.


We toured the facilities in three groups, and got a shot of each group in this building.


And heres the third group. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures in the factory, but we got to see several jets undergoing construction there. It was a very interesting visit, especial for those of us who deal with peeking into corners of old airplanes... nice to see them coming together so clean and new.


Our next stop was Daytona! Here the group came together and checked in for our tours.


On the bus, headed to points unknown...


Next thing we know, we're on the track! There was a general concensus that the bus driver should floor it, but (perhaps fortuntely) he wasn't taking suggestions from us...


It was fascenting to see the view that the racers see as they come in and out of the corners. Turn #3, at the end of the back straight, looks like a wall coming at you, I can only imagine how that feels at 200 MPH.


The banking on the curve at the start/finish line was dramatic, we had the chance to wander up and down and get a feel for the slope.


It really was enough slope that you could sit down, almost as if it were a chair or recliner. Very interesting to experience!


Here's the tour group at the bottom of the start/finish line looking toward Victory Lane.


And again in victory lane.


The closer, official portrait. Great looking group!


We also got to visit the museum, full of significant artifacts from the history of NASCAR. It was fun to be able to touch these historic objects and hear a few stories of their past.


There were pictures from across the history of the track, starting from the beach racing years.


And the technology was also interesting to observe. Things have come quite a way since these times.


Our next stop was the Powerflow factory, where we were expected!


Our visit started with snacks, which pleased just about everyone! This is the hangar where the design magic happens.


In recognition of the timing of this event, with Halloween just a day or two away...


Darren Tillman started us out with a presentation about the products and process.


There were even some visual aids as he explained how their system improves performance and efficiency.


We got to see all the parts that go into building our exhaust systems, some assembly required. I think this was the FG system


The final parts, all welded up, which make up a complete RG exhaust system kit.


We also got the chance to watch the welding process, where the parts are turned into assemblies. It was interesting to see how these skilled craftsmen made sure the parts were built correctly.


Dinner was at a nice downtown reseaurant along the inner costal waterway, at the edge of town.


We enjoyed a nice meal on this halloween evening, after which many in the group walked down the main street of Melbourne and took in the holiday events, which included a pub crawl and a sort of free form costume party on main street.


Morning at the airport, with airplanes to see!


As usual the group went from airplane to airplane, learning about each owner's experience and plans.


Charles Rush


Palmer and Faye


Tom Saxon


Curtis Berry


Rogers Faden and Sydney Schneiderman


Sheila & Fred Schlafly


Jack Bartholet


Robert Oetjen


Keith and Debbie Peterson


Gil Hamilton


Lunch was in the hangar. It was a little chilly for Florida, but we had a heater and good jackets.


Plus we were in good company... jets and Cardinals, who could ask for more?


As usual at our conventions, we pulled a couple of cowls and dug in to learn a few technical details.


There is always something new to learn. As I recall these two airplanes are in pretty good shape.


Sometimes you have to gain the right perspective on things...


Darren shares some insights on this exhaust system.


There was a theme at foot here, as a few members got creative with their T shirt art.


This is all preparation for a Cessna gathering at Oshkosh, where the Cardinal crowd is making quite an impression.


We enjoyed a nice banquet at the hotel on our last evening, with door prizes provided by Jon "Tyler" Reed of Embraer.


Paul had initiated a halloween costume contest, to see who could decorate their Cardinal with the best halloween costume. Rogers Faden and Sydney Schneidman were the winners


And this is their entry in the Haloween costume contest, a play on one version of the Disney "Planes" theme..


Barry Gamblin won the 'Fledgeling award" as the most recent purchaser of a Cardinal, having purchased his in March of 2014. He has been attending for a while in his 172, it was nice to see him join the Cardinal flock!

The "Wet Wings" award was won by Robert Smith. This is our award for the most recent IFR rating for those in attendance.


Robert also won a new award for this year, the "Flew most in the last year" award. I suppose that's how he got that IFR rating... we might have to re-think these categories!


The Hard Luck Award was awarded to Henry Pearce who  had a vacuum pump go out at 6,000 feet 15 miles over the water after stopping twice for weather (once in Savannah)


Gil Hamilton won the Perseverance Award for getting to the show in the face of adversity, having the best story in the opinion of the attending group. He experienced winds so bad they reminded him of flying a 172, stopped for lunch and was told there was the best BBQ restaurant in walking distance, but after walking there they found it closed!


Jon Baxter won the "Flew Furthese" award for his flight down from Cape Cod, MA.


Palmer Gehring won Best Cardinal of Show.

Overall it was a great time with some outstanding people. We always enjoy the chance to get together with our Cardinal friends and Melbourne was a real surprise in it's aviation diversity. Thanks to all who came and helped to make this a memorable event for all.

Keith, Debbie and Paul.

Copyright Cardinal Flyers Online LLC 1997-2024

The following people registered their plans to attend this CFO Convention:

Attendee NameRegistration NumberArriving fromComment
Keith & Debbie PetersonN177KP Hampshire, Illinois We are looking forward to a great event hosted by Avidyne! See you there. 
Palmer GehringN35086 Winter Haven, Florida Looking forward to seeing everyone in Melboune. 
Woody BeckN1345C Athens, Georgia  
J C BreleticN6259R Ellijay, Georgia We may costume our Cardinal for Halloween to appear to be a Toyota Camry. 
Peter CarterC-FJPC Markham, Ontario  
Bruce HutchingsN52061 Lancaster, New Hampshire I\'m not sure if I\'ll be coming by car or with a fellow Cardinal Flyer. 
Sydney SchneidmanN177LF Wilmette, Illinois  
Jack BartholetN132SM Columbus, Georgia  
Paul MillnerN177SD Ontario, California We are looking forward to seeing y\'all! 
Jonathan BaxterN34221 Centerville, Massachusetts Looking forward to seeing everyone again 
Don GandyN410EK Weatherford, Texas Looking forward to another great event !!!! 
Terry GlavesN177TG Roxbury, Connecticut  
Ms Leo Ford-BarberN35816 Hartfield, Virginia  
Gil HamiltonN52835 Waterford, Virginia  
Robert OetjenN50770 Hilton Head Island, South Carolina Looking forward to gaining info and input on avionics upgrade 
Tom SaxonN478TS Leesburg, Virginia Another great time with my Cardinal buds... Awesome..! 
Sheila SchlaflyN52890 Miami, Florida We plan on arriving Thursday night or Friday morning 
Berry GamblinN7550V Leesburg, Virginia  
Rogers FadenN177LF Northbrook, Illinois I\'m ready for some heat and Cardinal fun! Looking forward to seeing everyone. 
Miguel FernandezN19419 Merritt Island, Florida Can wait for the Avidyne tour! 
Gary GrimsleyN34728 Fernandina Beach, Florida  
Al Van LengenN912GM Locust Grove, Georgia  
William PovilaitisN30900 Landing, New Jersey  
Richard ChaltryN52047 Citrus Springs, Florida  
Richard ChaltryN52047 Citrus Springs, Florida We will be attending ONLY the Saturday Morning; Lunchtime; Afternoon events. NOT the awards Dinner 
Robert SmithN444AP Orlando, Florida Looking forward to the technical sessions & Avidyne tour 
Curtis BerryN52543 Williamsport, Maryland  
Charles RushN1813Q Ocoee, Florida Have a wonderful time; I\'ll see you for Saturday events!