Flying High with TruTrak

Flying High with TruTrak
Thursday, 17 May 2018 15:52

AADA TruTrakFounded in 1999, TruTrak Flight Systems is a leader and innovator in the experimental, light sport, and certified aircraft autopilot market. TruTrak introduced the first digital autopilot (and the now standard autopilot) servo for use in light aircraft. TruTrak autopilots are installed in a large variety of experimental aircraft, and are currently approved for installations in over 60 certified aircrafts. TruTrak was founded by Jim Younkin and Chuck Bilbe in 1999; by March 2000 they had produced their first prototypes of the DFC 250 and Digital Basic Servo. Andrew Barker, current President and CEO, was hired as TruTrak’s first employee in September 2000

As Barker gained experience and ownership of the company over time, he understood the feedback from their current clientele, and undertook the task of gaining approval to install their system in certified aircraft. About two years previous, the Experimental Aircraft Association catalyzed a more economical pathway to move experimental parts into the certified world. Barker said seeing this goal come to fruition was his passion. Thanks to Barker’s leadership, TruTrak has seen tremendous growth in the last 6 months, having more than doubled the number of aircraft for which their autopilot system is suitable. Barker also said that it was all possible thanks to the Arkansas World Trade Center and the Arkansas Aerospace and Defense Alliance, helping to connect Barker with the right people. 

TruTrak prides itself in its customer service and support; it drives their positive business reputation. They work to improve and understand the importance of service after sale. Following up with clients to answer questions and check in regularly. TruTrak strives for the long-term relationship with their clients, regardless if they do it directly or not. Barker recounted how a now friend-once-customer has bought six autopilots for aircrafts he’s owned and built over the years. “We see a lot of that,” Barker explained regarding how when they install TruTrak into one craft, “they love the product and keep installing in their other aircrafts!”

And they make sure to have fun while they do it! Barker likes to have fun and encourages a “work hard and play hard” balance with his employees. He works for his employees to create times that are just to relax and enjoy hanging out together; a key de-stress environment to encourage team building. Good customer service stems from content employees and TruTrak aims to do its best for them. 

Barker initially struggled with deciding whether to have TruTrak join the AADA’s membership, uncertain about how his company would benefit . But, through work with ARWTC, Barker happened to meet Chad Causey. “It was kind of one of those chance meetings really, meeting Chad, and talking it through with him,” Barker explained, “[after talking]it became evident that this was something we should participate in. Everyone was very supportive of such a small company participating in the AADA. Chad made a lot of effort to make me feel as though every company can benefit from being a member, and that has shown in the years since we joined.”

At previous summit events, TruTrak was able to connect with several companies that have been instrumental in both learning about the certification process and potential business partnerships.  While unable to attend the Hot Springs summit this year, TruTrak eagerly looks forward to the future opportunities for connections that will be found with others in the Alliance.  “Looking forward, we are really excited about the future of TruTrak with the AADA,” Barker said, “and we can’t wait for the next summit!”