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Thu, Jul 31, 2008

'The Brain Performs Only As Long As The Butt Can Endure'

It's All About Comfort At Oregon Aero

by ANN Correspondent Dave Slosson

Ask most pilots wandering AirVenture what Oregon Aero sells, and they'd tell you seat cushions, shoe insoles, headset upgrades and aircraft interiors. But the business established in Scappoose, OR in 1989 is so much more. They specialize in a variety of products enhancing the comfort of the occupant, making existing products more painless, safer or quieter.

Mike Dennis started Oregon Aero based on a headset cushion he developed to eliminate the headaches his wife, Jude, suffered when flying. From then on, it's been all about solving customer problems related to comfort. They develop and sell "forgettable" products, items that help the customer forget what was hurting or loud before they bought Oregon Aero's solutions. Mike didn't realize it when he first started the business, but he was carrying on his dad's legacy.

In addition to being a teacher, preacher and counselor, Jim Dennis -- Mike's dad -- was a speech and hearing therapist who designed hearing aids and other related products. Included in some of his designs were aviation helmet ear seals, ear cups and communication systems. It wasn't until Mike had the business established that his mom told him about all of his Dad's inventive ideas that helped people to hear better.

In his other roles, his favorite expression was, "The brain can perform only as long as the butt can endure." Who knew that, one day, his son would prophetically take up that challenge. Jim died at age 50, when Mike was still a teen.

As the business took off, Mike added more and more products. Soon the military came to him to solve headset and seat problems, and Oregon Aero expanded from there. Now, in addition to the high-profile products, they make cushion slides, parachute pads, full aircraft interior upgrades, headset and helmet accessories, military pilot survival kits, knee pads, and headset, helmet and utility bags. They also sell an adjustable plier wrench made by Knipex, and surveillance systems or touchscreen controllers made by Oregon Camera Systems.

This year, they are sponsoring Suzanne Asbury-Oliver's skywriting artistry, on display Wednesday morning at AirVenture. Suzanne and husband Steve are the world's only husband-and-wife professional acrobatic and skywriting duo. Suzanne is a true skywriter, not to be confused with computer-generated skytypers. Suzanne's skywriting is freestyle, like in the old days.

Check out the products for yourself in Hangar C, booth 3137 and pick up a free Squooshie. They term it chewing gum for the hand, but it's some of their foam used in headset cushions. A great stress relief for those that need it, maybe after AirVenture.

P.S. Unpaid Endorsement -- Knowing I was going to be working this show, I ordered a set of Shockblockers shoe inserts about a week ahead of AirVenture. I broke them in a bit before coming, and after spending four days of walking the grounds, I don't have to think about my feet or legs. They're quite happy. Thank you, Oregon Aero!

FMI: www.oregonaero.com

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