Mark Landes

Aeronautical Science, Aviation Technology '92

Co-founder, Radiorax Aviation Systems

Q. How did LeTourneau University prepare you?

“After school, I moved to Southern California and began working in the sheet metal department of Ameriflight, Inc. in Burbank, Calif.  From there, I accepted an aircraft mechanic position at Roig West, Inc. in Van Nuys, Calif., and honed my skills working on Gulfstreams, Westwinds, Lear Jets, Falcons and many other business jets.  During this time, I discovered that what I really wanted to do was own my own business. I believe that this desire was the result of both a heritage of family members who were running their own businesses, and God leading me into a lifestyle of trusting Him more than an employer to make ends meet.  I made the move from a full-time employee to contractor, which opened up the opportunity to work with different aviation companies in Southern California.

“In the fall of 1999, the demand for contractors became sporadic, and the finances became tight as a result.  I began to earnestly seek God for His direction – something that I should have been doing all along. God answered my prayers with a telephone call from someone whom I had never met.  He asked me if I would like to rebuild his Cessna 182, and upgrade the avionics. 

“I accepted, and began my first foray into avionics installation.  Halfway through the installation, while mounting the avionics trays, I was hit with what I call a ‘God Idea.’  It occurred to me that avionics were still being mounted in the aircraft in much the same way as they had been from the beginning of avionics in aircraft.  God showed me a way to create a mounting rail that was fully adjustable, and did not require “backstrapping” of the avionics trays.  Soon thereafter, Victor (the aircraft’s owner) and I started developing the concept that grew into the company Radiorax Aviation Systems. Since then, our company has grown into the worldwide leader for avionics mounting hardware with patents to back our many avionics mounting configurations.  We now have systems capable of mixing Dzus-standard avionics with Tray Mount-avionics – all in the same stack.  Radiorax now offers complete avionics installation systems, with our STC covering over 500 different aircraft models.”

Q. What are some special memories of your time here at LeTourneau University?

“During my college years, I worked as an intern mechanic at Bemidji Aviation Services in Bemidji, Minn.  It was there that I discovered my love for sheet metal work.  I helped with building components for a flight control jig and learned how to rivet thin sheet metal components.  This real-world intro into aircraft structural component rebuilding gave me a great head start in Fred Ritchey’s structures course, which soon became one of my favorite labs, even though his classes were tough.  Other favorites were Welding Lab and Mr. Bitikofer’s  electrical course.”

Q. What advice would you have for students in the aeronautical science program?

“God is blessing the company.  I believe this is a result of my desire to honor and glorify Him through the business.  My advice to students is to first seek God, and desire always to be in the center of His will for your life.  My life has taken many unforeseen turns, many of which were painful lessons that could have been avoided by closer communion with my Creator.  I am here to say that even when we make wrong decisions, our God is faithful and capable of turning our messes into triumphant victories.”

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