OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Commuter Air Technology (CAT), a global provider of customized aircraft modifications for commercial and government applications, recently hosted Thomas P. Stafford, a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General and NASA astronaut. General Stafford, a Weatherford Oklahoma Native, toured the CAT facility and met with several company executives to learn about the effective work that CAT is doing around the globe in support of US Special Operations Forces.
“We were honored to have General Stafford visit our facility and share his experience in the advancement of aeronautics,” commented Darryl Wilkerson, CAT President. “He is a true aviation hero and a proud Oklahoman.”
Wilkerson and his staff introduced General Stafford to several performance enhancements engineered by CAT including its Maximum Endurance Fuel Tanks and Special Mission Cargo Pods equipped for the Beechcraft King Air 350. General Stafford recalled many of his flight experiences during his service with the U.S. Air Force and was impressed with the advancements by CAT and its sister company Valair Aviation.
“I initially learned about Commuter Air Technology through my grandson who had met Darryl Wilkerson,” recalled General Stafford. “I am impressed with the level of technology available through CAT and how the company has used it to greatly improve the performance of small airframes that work abroad,” he stated.
Along the facility tour, General Stafford was introduced to several employees and each extended a hand to meet him.
“It was my honor and privilege to have met this man,” responded William Valigura, Avionics Manager for Valair Aviation. "General Stafford's involvement with the Apollo-Soyuz program paved the way for international cooperation between countries wishing to further their respective space programs. Apollo-Soyuz occurred at a time in my youth when I was looking for heroes. General Stafford was that hero.”
“I was waved over by Mr. Wilkerson to meet General Stafford whom I thanked for sharing his work through the Stafford Air and Space Museum that I have toured in Weatherford, Oklahoma,” added William Lyles, Customer Service Manager for Valair Aviation.
During his time with NASA, General Stafford flew aboard two Gemini space flights and in 1969 was the Commander of Apollo 10, the second manned mission to orbit the Moon and the first to fly a Lunar Module. In 1975, Stafford was Commander of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project flight, the first joint U.S.-Soviet space mission. A Brigadier General at the time, he became the first general officer to fly in space. He was the first member of his Naval Academy class to pin on the first, second and third stars of a general officer.
He made six rendezvous in space and logged 507 hours of space flight. He has flown over 120 different types of fixed wing and rotary aircraft and three different types of spacecraft.
About Commuter Air Technology
Commuter Air Technology delivers certified aircraft and customized aircraft modifications for commercial and government applications around the globe. Modifications range from flight performance enhancements and high-density passenger systems to cargo conversions and corporate reconfigurations. With over 30 years of experience, Commuter Air Technology offers a full line of technical support services, such as crew provision, training, program management, aircraft maintenance, engineering as well as STC process management and Airworthiness certifications. Commuter Air Technology is an AGC Aerospace & Defense company. Learn more at www.commuterair.com.
About AGC Aerospace & Defense
AGC Aerospace & Defense, the unifying brand of private equity group Acorn Growth Companies, is a global supplier of technologies, systems and services supporting commercial and military programs. Capabilities within the AGC Aerospace & Defense portfolio range from financing, engineering, and integration services to manufacturing, logistics, and aircraft modifications. AGC Aerospace & Defense is organized into four operating groups: AeroComposites, Finance, Integrated Defense, and Services. Learn more at www.agcaerospace.com.