Airway Pioneer Member
Ken Coonley

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Ken Coonley
Frederick, MD

In November of 1949, I was contacted by Frank Comer the CAA resident engineer at GE Plant in Syracuse, NY, asking if I would be interested in joining his team who were overseeing the procurement of the ASR-2 radar system. I accepted his offer and reported to work in January 1950. This was the beginning of 30 plus years employment with the CAA/FAA.

In the fall of 1952 I took over as the CAA resident engineer in charge of the ASR 2 procurement. I remained in that position until the fall of 1953, when I was transferred to Towson, MD to join the ASR-3 and PAR-2 (precision approach radar) procurement team at Bendix Radio. Initially I was assigned to oversee the PAR-2 procurement. Then in September 1955 I took over as resident engineer in charge of both the ASR-3 and the PAR-2 procurements at Bendix Radio. In the fall of 1957 my daughter was going to begin school, so I wanted to be assigned to one location. I requested that I be reassigned to Washington headquarters. My request was granted and in June 1957 I transferred to Washington headquarters, where I was placed in charge of all PAR radar procurement and installation activities.

With establishment of the Systems Research and Development Service in 1961, I requested and was transferred to the Performance Assurance Branch of that Service. I was promoted to Electronic Engineer GS 14 shortly thereafter. Upon further reorganization of the Systems Research and Development Service in the mid 1970's, I applied for and was selected as Program Manager of Primary Radar research and development as a Supervisory Electronic Engineer GS-15. I remained in that position until I retired from the FAA in September 1981.

Following my retirement from the FAA I did radar systems consulting for a number companies until 1992, at which time I retired permanently.

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