Aero Instruments and Avionics, Inc. was founded in 1968 in a small shop at the Niagara Falls International Airport. In the early years the company concentrated on the repair and overhaul of aircraft instruments used in general aviation aircraft.
In the 1970’s as the business continued to grow, the company moved twice to larger quarters in the Tonawanda’s on Hackett Drive, and then on to Ward Road. As the industry entered into a new era of airline deregulation and overnight freight service, this location soon became too small for the increasing business.
In 1983 the company moved into its present location on Nash Road in the Town of Wheatfield where it occupies 55,000 square feet. During this period of growth, the company further broadened its repair and overhaul into avionics, autopilots, and aircraft accessories. As its service capabilities broadened, so did its market penetration. The customer base was expanded to the new segment of Regional Airlines. Ultimately AERO's market segment included commuter, regional, commercial airlines, and airfreight operators.
In 1996, AERO acquired the Martron ATE Division from Lockheed Martin. Martron produced automatic test equipment for commercial airlines and the military. AERO continues to support this equipment today for airlines around the globe. In 2008 the Portable and Shop Data Loader product lines (formerly Qualtair) were purchased from Interface Displays & Controls.
The company continued growing steadily and has earned a reputation for unparalleled quality, technical expertise, and customer service, thus developing a worldwide customer base.
During his tenure as Vice President then President and CEO, John E. (Jack) Blickenstaff led Aero Instruments and Avionics to become the largest aviation employer in Niagara County. Jack Blickenstaff, formerly with Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory is credited with the creation and operation of the superb test labs that enable AERO to service such a broad range of aviation equipment, and is the holder of US patents for engineering work performed at the Calspan Corporation.
Upon the retirement of Jack and Rose Blickenstaff in 2005, the company ownership was transferred to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan in which all of the employees participate.