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Freedom of Flight Award Highlights Affordable Avionics

Andrew Barker, Robert Hamilton receive EAA’s highest honor

By Ti Windisch, EAA Staff Writer

July 24, 2018 - EAA’s highest honor, the Freedom of Flight Award, will be presented to Andrew Barker, EAA 309420, and Robert Hamilton, EAA 712650, on Wednesday during the EAA Annual Membership Meeting at 8:30 a.m. in Theater in the Woods.

Andrew is the CEO and owner of TruTrak Flight Systems, and Robert is the president of Dynon Avionics. EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board Jack J. Pelton said both companies have taken risks to help introduce STCs that are good for all of general aviation.

“They’re always unbelievable people who win this award, but what these two have done the last two years collaboratively with EAA to get the STC done on the Dynon EFS D10A/D100 and to also get the TruTrak Vizion autopilot into an STC that we hold for the certified world is breakthrough stuff,” Jack said. “This is the kind of stuff that general aviation pilots yearn for: low-cost, safety enhancing equipment.”

As someone who grew up with the space age, Robert said being in the company of a certain other Freedom of Flight award-winner was an honor for him.

“I was incredibly honored, and also a little bit humbled,” Robert said. “Anytime you can be on the same list as Neil Armstrong, that’s an incredible honor.”

Andrew said his goal with TruTrak was to change general aviation for the better, so the recognition of the Freedom of Flight award aligns perfectly with his own goals.

“I personally think it is exactly what I wanted to do with TruTrak,” Andrew said. “It was one of the reasons I wanted to take over the company and get the autopilot certified, was to be able to contribute. For that contribution to be recognized, I think, is exactly what I wanted to see happen with TruTrak.”

Both recipients of the 2018 Freedom of Flight Award spoke highly of each other, and Robert said he knew right away that Andrew would be the other winner when he heard there were two.

“My first thought was oh, I bet you I know who the other person was,” Robert said. “And I was absolutely right, it was Andrew. He totally deserves it. He’s been working just as hard, pushing the envelope, and doing new things. Both of us are in the same business trying to take modern technology and make it affordable.”

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