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Family Man


Talmadge may not be a Navy captain like his book mentor, but he calls himself the “morning captain” of his home. “I’m responsible for getting the first wave out on time. I get breakfast together and pack lunches.” One could say that Talmadge’s early Delta days prepped him to be his family’s early morning dispatcher. He leaves before 7:00 to make the hour drive from his home in Vero Beach, Florida, to work a full day for Avidyne in Melbourne. When he returns home in the evening around 6:30, the first priority is having dinner as a family: parents and sons together. “It’s important to us to eat dinner as a family together around the kitchen bar,” he says. “Now that we have a teenager, it’s our best chance to see and talk with him.” Dinnertime sometimes gives the native from Cajun country the chance to cook with his wife. “In South Louisiana, cooking is part of the culture and almost a sport,” he remarks. A favorite Talmadge family entertainment is to watch ‘80s movies during the winter months when it’s dark outside. (The late film director John Hughes would be proud.)


In addition to focusing on his wife and sons, Talmadge also makes time to fly a 1962 Cessna 172 he and his father own. “We just do it for fun, not for speed,” he says. “We’re just burning holes in the sky for $100 hamburgers and to shoot the occasional approach.”


Avidyne Man


While it seems that this busy man has enough challenges owning a store with his wife and raising two sons, he’s not shying away from challenges at Avidyne, because in challenges he finds opportunities. For example, with the FAA’S new ADS-B requirement being implemented, Talmadge and his sales team try to show operators that for a comparable price point to installing just bare-minimum compliant equipment, customers can get full-blown, integrated navigation and safety features that they’ve never had access to. “Helicopter pilots are mission oriented; they are always busy in the cockpit,” says Talmadge. “Our challenge is to bring them technology that helps them to safely complete their missions.” Avidyne’s approach to meeting this challenge is to keep things simple. “We don’t want pilots keeping their heads down to focus on using our technology,” he says.


He wants all pilots, especially helicopter pilots, focusing on their missions with their heads up. “With helicopters, flying is incidental to the higher mission, whether it’s law enforcement, fighting fires, or medevac. Helicopter pilots don’t want to spend a lot of time checking out every new feature in their avionics. They want it to give them the data they need so they can fly the aircraft to get their mission done,” Talmadge observes. “That’s not a knock on the fixed-wing folks; it’s just the nature of the beasts. Helicopters perform more diverse missions. Helicopter flying is more intense because it’s usually much closer to the ground.”


The Talmadge family on vacation on South Caicos Island in 2019 with wife Christian, and sons Jackson (15) and Cullen (9).


18 Jan/Feb 2020


Talmadge’s diverse career has given him the ability to speak from experience. From his childhood around helicopters, to serving as a Huey crew chief, to earning a degree in aviation science, to managing both global and regional commercial airlines, to offering advanced avionics to both the fixed-wing world and to rotorcraft on a mission, he’s had a lot to say. “I’m sorry I yakked your ear off; I love this stuff,” he concludes. We know, John. We do too.


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