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UCM’s Department of Aviation has enjoyed an outstanding safety record with its fleet of training aircraft. For more than 28 years, Rod McLaughlin has played an instrumental role in helping to make this possible through his work at Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport. McLaughlin has retired as director emeritus of aircraft maintenance.
After working as an aircraft mechanic for Star Aero in Warrensburg for three years, he took a job with the university in 1979 as assistant chief of maintenance, and was promoted to chief of maintenance in 1994.
While serving the university, McLaughlin’s cast duties at the airport included hiring and supervising full-time and part-time employees, overseeing the scheduling of aircraft maintenance, ordering parts, controlling inventory, and assuring compliance with Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Aviation Administration regulations. He performed maintenance inspections on a fleet of about 40 aircraft ranging from single-engine Cessna training-type airplanes to the A90 King Air; supervised all production activities in the airframe, powerplant, and components areas; and performed final airworthiness determination and release of all items to service.
In addition to ensuring that the university’s air fleet was in top-notch condition, McLaughlin served since 1995 as an instructor of airframe and powerplant courses for UCM’s Extended Campus.
Over the years, he has been active in groups such as the Antique Aircraft Association and the Cub Club, while also earning numerous professional certifications in his field.
McLaughlin attended high school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and is a UCM alumnus. He furthered his professional career through opportunities such as Flight Safety King Air A90 Training, Pratt & Whitney PT6-20 Training, and the Beech 76 School.