MANSFIELD — Aaron Crowl has been surrounded by planes, trains and automobiles his whole life.

Growing up watching his uncle fly a Cessna 172 from his backyard landing strip, Crowl was interested in planes.

He didn’t think he would work on them as a career.

After three years at the company, Crowl celebrated his April 2022 promotion to managing partner of Modern Avionics and Maintenance at the company’s Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport hangar Thursday with family members and local officials.

Crowl was a freight train conductor at CSX in Willard for almost 10 years before he saw an Indeed job posting from Jeff Turner, then-owner of Modern Avionics, asking for applications for apprentices.

After training under Turner for 18 months starting in 2019, Crowl earned his own Federal Aviation Administration repairman certificate, allowing him to independently install updated electronics in aircrafts and certify planes as safe for the air.

“Jeff, from day one, told me that his goal was for me to become a partner at some point, but it was supposed to be in five years,” Crowl said. “We’ve progressed and grown fast enough in two and a half years.”

Crowl said he hopes to hire one or two more aviation technicians by 2023 if the company keeps growing as it has recently. At Modern Avionics and Maintenance, employees learn and perform the technical skills of aviation installation, as well as maintenance inspections of aircrafts.

Currently, Modern Avionics and Maintenance has five employees: two licensed mechanics and three unlicensed mechanics. The unlicensed mechanics aren’t certified to perform aircraft inspections on their own or certify planes as safe.

Jeff Furay, aircraft inspector and head of the maintenance department, has to supervise the work of unlicensed mechanics as they operate from an FAA checklist for planes’ required annual inspections.

Furay said the Modern Avionics team tries to schedule at least one inspection a week for consistent revenue.

“If we take on more work and we get really busy in the future, which is what we’re hoping, we’ll have to hire another mechanic,” Furay said.

Modern Avionics and Maintenance has only offered avionics installation and maintenance in the same facility for about four years. Maintenance used to be located in Medina, with avionics separate in Mansfield.

Furay said he thinks offering maintenance and avionics installments in the same place is beneficial to customers.

“In my history of being a mechanic, most small shops that I’ve worked in we just did maintenance,” he said. “None of our mechanics were certified or trained to do avionics installs.”

Furay said inspections of small planes could take four to six hours uninterrupted, but the maintenance team might have to fix flat tires or quicker needs in the middle of inspections, so Modern Avionics asks customers to give the team a full week for scheduled inspections.

Furay said he is happy to see Crowl become a managing partner to have another person supervising work every day, as Modern Avionics’ owners Turner and Andy Jones have other jobs outside of Mansfield, in addition to being active daily in the growth of the business. 

“I think it allows someone who’s invested in the company at the ownership level to monitor what’s going on because the other two owners are not here every day,” he said.

Crowl said his work weeks have been busy and long since he became a partner, but he is looking forward to expanding the business and local employment opportunities.

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