Andrew Bonica

by Andrew Bonica on December 15, 2021

SAFE #: S0007734


Hometown: Newbury Park CA, United States

Home Airport: KCMA

Occupation: Technical Executive

Education: M.S. Engineering Management (SE), B.S. Electrical and Computer Engineering

Pilot Certificates: ASEL

Airplanes Flying/Flown: Cessna 152/172, Grumman Tiger

Educational Specialty: Electrical and Systems Engineering

Q & A

What drew you to aviation?: I always loved aviation as a kid, whether model aircraft, very basic pixellated early simulators, or making paper airplanes. The idea of soaring through the sky to me is the epitome of freedom. I had my first exposure to flying GA while in Civil Air Patrol in high school and decided I wanted to be a fighter pilot in the Air Force. Well, the summer before my senior year of high school, I ended up meeting a Marine recruiter and learned they had pilots too! So I enlisted in the Marine Corps because I figured, if I was going into the military, I'd take the toughest challenge I could. While I didn't end up flying in the military, I remained in aviation as a communications technician for deployable Air Traffic Control systems. After leaving the Marine Corps, I worked as a DoD Civilian designing ATC systems for the Marine Corps, Air Force, and more. For me, all aspects of aviation are fun, exciting, and a privilege to be a part of as they are all essential components that keep our world of aviation safe, efficient, and enjoyable.

How long have you been involved in aviation education?: My first educational role was actually in high school where I managed the Flight School for our Civil Air Patrol summer encampment at Otis Air Force Base. I would regularly tutor my classmates while in avionics/ATC tech school in the Marine Corps. Later, as a DoD Civilian, I would provide training to Marines and Airmen in the field on the maintenance, repair, overhaul, installation, and operation of ATC systems.

What's your favorite part of what you do in aviation education?: I love passing along lessons learned to the future generations so they can improve upon all the work that's come before them and make the world a better, safer place for everyone in the air and on the ground.

What's your least favorite part of what you do in aviation education?: Paperwork, what else?!? 😉

Do you have a memorable aviation experience you'd like to share?: Combat dive in a C-130 landing at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.

Why did you join SAFE?: I joined SAFE to not only keep myself up-to-date on the latest information and stay sharp with my skills, but also spread the message of aviation safety to others, leading by example.

What would you like to see change in aviation?: I would like to see the regulatory processes become more streamlined and efficient so we can encourage more people to participate in aviation without leaving the bad taste of bureaucracy in their mouths.

Any suggestions on how the above might be accomplished?: Modernize regulatory processes through consolidation and optimization while employing the latest technology to ensure compliance and safety.

Any accomplishments in, or noteworthy contributions to aviation and/or aviation education you'd like to mention?: I helped implement the first certified STARS system in a USAF deployable ATC environment.

Who are your role models in aviation?: Brig Gen Chuck Yeager, Maj Gen Billy Mitchell, Amelia Earhart

Anything else you'd like to add?: Stay SAFE, so you can stay flying!

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