PS Engineering Celebrates 25 years of Innovations and remember their roots!
PS Engineering celebrates their silver anniversary by remembering their roots
Lenoir City, Tenn. In 1985, as Ronald Reagan began his second term as President and pop stars recorded “We are the World” for famine relief, two young graduates of engineering shcools went to work in a basement to solve a problem; conversations in a small airplane cockpit are uncomfortable at best, impossible at worst.
Eric Persson (Mr. P) and Mark Scheuer (Mr. S) sketched some circuits, connected some parts, and ultimately started a business called PS Engineering. PS Engineering was initially a generic name, but a quarter century later, it stands as a silver standard in aircraft audio performance, utility, and value.
That same year, Americans got the first taste of a new technology called Compact Disc, a new way of making entertainment portable that will eventually revolutionize the places we listen to music.
In 1985, a Seattle-based computer company introduced something called “Windows” as an operating system to make PCs easier to use, like the year-old Apple Macintosh. Two and a half decades later, Windows and Apple are still creating news with ever increasing capability and innovation, just like PS Engineering. The first intercoms were sold out of the trunk of a car, at airshows and eventually through a small ad in Trade-a-Plane. The grass-roots marketing was boosted by word-of-mouth popularity and one critical factor; the things worked better than anything else available at the time. Innovations, such as independently gated microphones, outperformed any competition, and gained recognition in the aviation community.
By the time George H. W. Bush takes the White House, PS Engineering took the next step, and introduced the PM1000 (Panel Mount) intercom. This lead to FAA certification of the product and the manufacturing facility, and the company moved into more and bigger airplanes and markets.
After 10 years, the company took on another project where performance was lacking, the audio control panel. Dubbed by Mark Scheuer, the “Rodney Dangerfield” of avionics, referring to the late comedian’s inability to get respect. Until that time, audio panels were a collection of switches, and a place to park the marker beacon receiver. Functional, but not value added to the cockpit experience. The PMA6000M, introduced in 1995, combined the performance of the popular PM1000 intercom with an audio selector panel and marker beacon. The combination resulted in a product greater then the sum of the parts, as new capabilities, such as split mode, and swap functions, were introduced to general aviation for the first time.
Swap mode (ability to switch transmitters from a control wheel switch) became the first of many PS Engineering patented innovations. Split mode (pilot and copilot on different communications radios at the same time) added new capability in crew resource management that was formerly only found in large airplanes.
Less than two years later, in 1998, PS Engineering introduced another revolution with IntelliVox®, a patented automatic intercom squelch protocol that has seen 70,000 successful applications to date. By eliminating the need to fiddle with manual intercom squelch, conversations in the cockpit become comfortable and reliable, improving the flight experience.
The innovations in audio control did not go unnoticed at the airframe level, and PS Engineering found themselves as a supplier to Piper, Mooney, Raytheon, Aero Commander, and Bell, flying atop radio stacks by Bendix/King and Garmin. The company has partnered with Honeywell, UPS AT (Apollo), L-3 Communications, and Avidyne as their preferred audio control provider.
But PS Engineering is never far from the grass-roots aviator that made the company successful. Today, the company ships as many intercoms as all the competition combined. This includes the benchmark PM1000II (most popular intercom in the known galaxy) the PM3000 stereo intercom (recently enhanced for LSA application), and the PM1200, specially designed for the worst noise environments in warbirds and open cockpit airplanes. Remember that CD that debuted in 1985? PS Engineering discovered that their customers wanted the same capability in their airplanes as they had in their cars, so the company pioneered and perfected the integration of entertainment into general aviation, including the first FAA-approved stereo intercom, with their legendary SoftMute® circuit. Today, PS Engineering offers everything from a stereo intercom, to a complete FAA-certified DVD system designed specifically for general aviation. Their flagship product, the PMA8000B MP3, even includes a built-in MP3 player.
Each of the company’s products is the result of listening to the customers and dealers, a relationship that is built on the personal contact of Mark Scheuer and his team. Twenty five years has seen many changes in aviation and the world, but PS Engineering’s commitment to innovation and the “voice of the customer” has not deviated from the days of walking around the airshow grounds telling their story and proving their worth.
To see a short presentation of the humble beginnings to the present day PS Engineering, Inc. visit www.ps-engineering.com/Silver.shtml
Located near Knoxville Tennessee, this avionics manufacturer offers a slate of intercoms, audio control panels and in-flight entertainment systems with over 20 product families to address the needs of general aviation. With a network of over 600 authorized dealer/installers worldwide, the company is a leader in retrofit avionics as well as a supplier to other major avionics manufacturers for their audio panel requirements. To learn more about our products and innovations, visit www.ps-engineering.com
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