Edward King, founder of King Radio, was one of the most important figures in the development of modern avionics, the head of the National Business Aviation Association said this week.
“His vision and entrepreneurial spirit helped establish and advance the state of the art for onboard electronics,” Ed Bolen, NBAA president and CEO, said in a statement.
King died June 3 at the age of 90.
NBAA, which presented King with a First Century of Flight Award in 2003, marked his death this week.
King was born on his parents’ farm near Jetmore in 1921. He attended Dodge City Junior College before earning an engineering degree at Kansas State University.
After graduation, he took a job with RCA designing aircraft radio equipment for the U.S. Navy.
In 1948, he founded his first company, Communications Accessories Corp. (CAC), which was purchased by Collins Radio Corp. (now Rockwell Collins) in 1956.
In 1959, he founded King Radio Corp. in his basement, then moved it into a farmhouse in Lenexa.
Eventually, the company employed thousands of people producing navigation and communication equipment for all types of general aviation aircraft.
King sold the company to Allied Signal/Bendix Aerospace in 1985 and retired.
In 1991, he joined his son and other members of his family to found the King Estate Winery near Eugene, Ore., now one of Oregon’s largest wineries.