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PROFILE Within a year, he outgrew that


facility and bought an industrial property next door. Soon, he had so many windows to repair that he needed to store them in the parking lot. Cupery invested the fi rst $10,000 he made into creating a professional brochure that he mailed to his DOM friends worldwide. When they learned they could repair windows for 75 to 90 percent less than the cost of replacing them, business took off quickly. “I asked for a leave of absence to


expensive,” he explains. “So, after replacing the windows, I asked my boss if I could take the old ones home to see what I could do with them.” Cupery disassembled them, polished up the glass, and resealed the windows. Using an ultrasound machine he bought for $3,000, a lot of money for him back then, he was able to measure the thickness of the windows to 1/10,000th of an inch. “I showed my boss what I had done and he told me to put them back on the airplane,” he added. “That’s how Aircraft Window Repairs (www.awrepairs.com) was founded in 1979.” Over the next few years, he


developed the FAA’s fi rst manual for window repair stations from his tiny warehouse offi ce. “I knew the FAA would never


approve my garage as a repair station, so I rented a small building in an industrial center where I could hang my repair station shingle,” he explains. “It had no air conditioning and one old phone that sat on a home-built desk, but the FAA approved the setup.”


14 DOMmagazine.com | dec 2017 | jan 2018


grow the company even faster, but Northrop offi cials said I was too valuable to leave, so I wound up quitting in 1981,” Cupery explains. “It was a big risk for me with two small children at home. But, I felt in my heart that I needed to give it a try. Besides, I was confi dent that if it didn’t work out, I could always return to Northrop in some capacity.” Eventually, he acquired another


parcel of property to create a 6,000-square-foot repair facility, which is still more than enough space to meet current business demand. But, Cupery wasn’t done innovating.


SEEING THE LIGHT His reputation in the aviation industry for saving money resulted in Marty Owens, with Dassault Falcon Jet, approaching him with a problem. His company had to replace landing light lenses on the Falcon 50 after only 100 hours of use because the material became so opaque that light wouldn’t shine through the lens. Fortunately, Cupery’s uncle, Martin


Cupery, was a chemist, and he formulated a proprietary coating that was then baked onto the lens. After testing the product for one year, there was no sign of wear on the coating, which meant the lenses didn’t need to be replaced.


“Customers were so happy with the coating on the landing lights that they wanted me to do the same thing on navigation lights,” he explains. “Today, companies buy lenses and ship them to us where we remove any defects, apply the coating to any polycarbonate material, and ship them back.” Since developing the coating, Cupery had only one lens returned after fi ve years of use. His staff fi xed it up and shipped it back to the fi rm in Germany. He hasn’t had any other returns and, today, his company is certifi ed to apply the coating to any lens.


PROUD OF SAFETY RECORD Of all the things he has accomplished in his career spanning 55 years in the aviation industry, Cupery is most proud of all the money he has saved companies around the world while improving safety at the same time. “The fact that I could improve safety means a great deal to me,” he explains. “In the past, windows would blow out of aircraft all the time because replacing windows was so expensive that people defered maintenance. Today, it is rare to hear reports of a blown-out window. The ability to help make aircraft lights burn brighter is just icing on the cake.” Cupery has so much fun working,


he can’t imagine retirement, although he does manage to squeeze in more fi shing expeditions into his schedule. Plus, he gets to spend more leisure time with his wife, Kathi. “I could not have laid out my life


any better,” he added, citing his faith in God for opening his eyes to new opportunities as they emerged. “He laid out my path. I just needed to follow his direction. Rather than just asking for things all the time, I started thanking God for everything he has already done — and God gave me even more than I ever desired.”


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