The luckiest people in this world are the ones who can turn their passion into a profession.
Andy Gold’s passion was airplanes.
“Every kid likes airplanes,” Gold said. “I always have.”
While building a kit airplane in the late ’90s, Gold got the idea to compile newsletters from the plane’s manufacturer into a do-it-yourself guide replete with tips and techniques for builders.
Gold called the manufacturer, got the go ahead, and wrote his first book.
“When it came time to do the second edition of that book, I realized I’m spending all this time and money to advertise my own book while there are other people out there writing things,” Gold said. “One book we were starting to sell became six or seven or eight books that we were starting to sell.”
And just like that, the Aircraft Technical Book Company was born.
Gold’s company, based in a nondescript office off of U.S. Highway 40 in Tabernash, now stocks more than 1,000 titles by more than 75 publishers, including a number of books published in-house.
It’s one of the world’s leading suppliers of aviation maintenance, aircraft homebuilding, and flight training materials.
Gold estimates that he sells between 70,000 to 75,000 books, including e-books, per year, but that number will soon be much higher, he says.
To the stars
Last month, SpaceTEC, the National Science Foundation’s center for aerospace technical education, chose Aircraft Technical Book Company to develop materials for a new certification for aviation and aerospace avionics technicians.
Major aerospace interests have pressed the Federal Aviation Administration for such a certification for a long time, Gold said, but the FAA’s obduracy prompted those interests to look elsewhere, namely the National Science Foundation.
Gold, who was already in a position to help develop such a curriculum, wanted to go a step further.
If SpaceTEC was going to develop a new certification, Gold thought, why not make it compliant with both the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency?
“Because we know people in SpaceTEC, we found ourselves in the midst of this thing and were able to persuade the people at SpaceTEC that this qualification that’s going to be developed would be better if it was developed by this international standard,” Gold said.
The result will be a certification that’s not only valid at home, but also in any of the many countries abroad that follow the EASA system.
“We got tapped and we were chosen because the international standard makes sense,” Gold said. “Because we’re totally immersed in the industry, we get to write the books.”
Aircraft Technical Book Company will write all of the theory – books, curricula and tests – for the course, while a Florida-based company will develop the practical components of the certification.
The certification has a college-level curriculum and will be taught at schools around the country, including Redstone College in Denver.
Because the certification is the first of its kind, Gold said he expects the market for his new product to be massive.
“Right now we sit here competing with four or five other companies for the U.S. market,” Gold said. “There are no other companies in the world that are selling this set of EASA compliant textbooks that is designed for the college curriculum.”
Right now, Aircraft Technical Book Company has completed around 12 of the 17 modules for the curriculum, and Gold said the grand introduction is set for a trade show in April 2015.
The company has eight full-time employees, but after the rollout of the new curriculum, Gold said he expects his Tabernash location to expand significantly, not to mention adding new overseas distribution points.
And Gold is certainly looking forward to it.
“It’s going to be fun,” he said. “We’re picking the colors for our corporate jet.”
For more information about Gold’s company, visit actechbooks.com.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.