Falcon 8X cockpit

Aircraft Electronics Association

Aircraft Electronics Association

What It Is: The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) is a nonprofit 501(c)6 trade association representing manufacturers of general and business aviation avionics, instruments, test equipment, and airframes; certified international repair stations and instrument repair facilities; and avionics distributors, engineers, and educational institutions. Its missions include influencing regulatory and legislative processes. furthering members’ educations, encouraging development of quality processes, and enhancing members’ profitability. 

How It Grew: In 1957, before avionics for general aviation were even regulated, a group of some 50 leaders of the fledgling avionics community gathered in Minneapolis to create the AEA—the first of its annual conventions. A representative of the Civil Aeronautics Authority attended to address questions about potential regulatory issues. 

In 1964, the organization published the first official issue of Avionics News, now the field’s most widely read magazine, was published.

The AEA remained an all-volunteer trade group until 1977, when it recruited Monte Mitchell, a respected industry figure, as executive director. (He was later named president.) Over the next two decades, AEA expanded and added programs and services, including in 1990 the 501(c)3 AEA Educational Foundation to promote aviation maintenance careers.

In 1996 Mitchell retired, and Paula Derks—his daughter, who came to AEA directly from college some six years prior—became president. Today AEA represents nearly 1,300 member companies from more than 40 countries.

What It Offers: 

Training and education. Some three dozen training courses are available in classrooms and/or online, covering topics ranging from basic wiring and installation to digital data bus theory and analysis. This year the AEA Educational Foundation will award more than $100,000 in scholarships for maintenance career training.

AEA International Convention. This annual event showcases the latest avionics products and innovations.

Committees. Standing committees such as Government & Industry Affairs provide vital input on legislative and regulatory processes issues.

Publications. The organization’s glossy monthly, Avionics News, is an avionics-industry bible.

Notable Achievements: AEA played a key role in passage of the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994. Its Educational Foundation has awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships.

Recent News: At the AEA’s 62nd annual convention in March, Paula Derks passed the presidency to Mike Adamson. 



HQ: Lee Summit, Missouri

Employees:about 10 full-time 

President & CEO: Mike Adamson

Website: aea.net