Progressive Aerodyne recently made history, becoming the first company to pass the FAA’s new Light-Sport Aircraft Prototype Audit, obtaining airworthiness certification from the FAA Orlando Manufacturing Inspection District Offices (MIDO), which will allow the company to begin building ready-to-fly aircraft.
Shepherding the project through the process of meeting relevant ASTM standards and FAA regulations was Abid Farooqui, operations manager.
Immigrating from Pakistan in 1989 to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology, he graduated with a degree in computer science. Fascinated by aviation since he was a young child, he settled in Tampa with his family and started flying lessons. Initially he flew trikes, started importing them from Europe, and solved many design issues for the American market. As a CFI, he trained more than 50 pilots on the trike while running Apollo Aircraft with its three compliant trike models.
In 2009, Abid and his partners formed a new company called Evolution Trikes, featuring a super trike called the Revo, which won many awards and, as an American product, was exported all over the world. It was the first time that an American company exported a high-end trike to South America, Australia, China, Europe, South Korea, Malaysia and Israel.
In 2012, Abid let his partners take over day-to-day company operations. While at SUN ’n FUN, he walked over to the SeaRey booth just to chat and meet the principals of Progressive Aerodyne. One thing lead to another and in June 2012, he was put in charge of finishing the ASTM compliance project of the SeaRey.
Leading that project as a consultant, Abid, with his team and the team at Progressive Aerodyne, worked at an extremely fast pace to accomplish the engineering compliance testing and design a production and QA system that was able to pass the FAA’s AIR-200 Compliance Audit program successfully in November.
Joining Progressive Aerodyne in December as operations manager, he is now busy implementing the production system that met the FAA’s approval in the compliance audit, while also working on certification of the Elite model and on Chinese certification for the SeaRey.
By J. Douglas Hinton