Meet Elbie Mendenhall
Owner, EM Aviation, LLC
Elbie Mendenhall’s career in aviation spans over 54 years and 25,000 accident free hours, flying over 140 makes and models of aircraft. Elbie delivered newspapers earning money to support his habit, model aircraft which he flew for over twenty five years. His love of aviation led him to Spartan School of Aeronautics in 1960.
Two years after completion of his Flight Instructor rating, Elbie was offered the job of setting up and managing a flight department at the East Central State College in Ada, Oklahoma. After working in Ada several years he moved to California when he was offered a job at Sierra Academy of Aeronautics.
Desirous of flying larger aircraft and having well over 4000 hours & the ATP written passed Elbie was hired by the contractor who did all flying for the US Atomic Energy Commission, flying the following aircraft: Beagle Aircraft Ltd 206s; Beechcraft D-35, D-18, D-50; Cessna L-19; Douglas C-47/DC-3, C-54/DC-4; Fairchild F-27F. All light twin aircraft and C-47/DC-3 were used for flying classified material and personnel all over the US, C-54/DC-4 weres used in support of various islands for Atomic testing in the Pacific Ocean; Fairchild F-27F’s (2) were used to transport personnel.
In 1972 after a cutback in personnel, he moved to the L.A. basin, obtaining a job instructing for Martin Aviation, SNA, where he remained until being hired by Air Cal nearly 10 years later. During this time he was Chief instructor of all light aircraft courses and Chief instructor of the Cessna Citation courses, operating 6 Citations for training. He was also an FAA Designated Examiner and Pilot Proficiency examiner for the Cessna Citation Business Jet.
After being hired by Air Cal as a first officer in Boeing 737, he was asked by the FAA to continue giving check rides and pilot proficiency rides, which the airline approved. In 1983 he moved to Washington state, commuting to work. In 1987 Air Cal was purchased by AA where he flew B-737, 757, 767, & MD-80 retiring in 2000. In 1968 he began experimenting with AOA’s, in 1972 the first successful system (?) was flown.
During his time in WA he continued his experimentation with AOA’s. In 1992 a local friend suggested using an LED display, came up with a prototype a few days later. Mr. Phil Peterson has been involved in the company since that time, and we formally introduced the RiteAngle AOA production in 1995 followed by RA-1 & RA-II (a hardware system correcting for flap position.
In 2000 we started work on a software driven system that automatically corrected for flap position, producing the RA-3 series with automatic flap correction, This system and its current version, the RA-5 series, have the same “closer than we can fly” better than one degree accuracy & repeatability our core versions have had since 2000.
We are currently making the RiteAngle BASIC+ & RiteAngle Buddy + for aircraft without flaps and the RiteAngle ELITE + (RA-5) and the RiteAngle Integrity (RA-5a) for FAA Part 23 certified aircraft. Most of our products up to the Integrity RA-5a have been for the Experimental Amateur Built or homebuilt aircraft with systems flying in 13 countries around the world. The Wipaire Fire Boss was produced with the RA-3b as part of the forest fire-fighting equipment.