Legend Skip Koss will be Missed
It is with great sadness that Concorde Battery Corporation announces the passing of Edward “Skip” Koss, long-time vice president of marketing and great friend of the aviation industry. Skip was surrounded by family at his Redlands, CA, home, March 19, 2019, at the time of his passing.
Skip is survived by two sisters; nine children: Kathy Katz, Eve Arnett, Paul Koss, Amy Koss, Pete Koss, Erin Thompson, Pamela Little, Jill Duke, Mark Koss; and eighteen grandchildren.
Skip, a legend in aviation and the industry’s battery authority, started his aviation career at Detroit City Airport in the summer of 1949 where he enthusiastically washed and polished airplanes and swept hangar floors. He went on to attend Aero Mechanics High School the following September at age 16 and continued to work at the City Airport with every free moment. Nothing could keep him away from airplanes. At 17, Skip passed his written exams for his FAA Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic certification but had to wait until he turned 18 to take his practicals.
Skip went on to work for General Motors Air Transport section for 13 years as a licensed A&P before moving on to act as the director of maintenance for Midwestern Airlines, Omni Aircraft Sales and Sunstream Jet Center. Skip chose to accept a position as sales manager with Aero Quality Sales in 1973. There he became the industry’s battery authority, and he used this knowledge to work closely with engineering expert Joe Mibelli, JFM Engineering, to develop the first charger analyzer that could charge and discharge high currents at low voltages: the Superseder.
In 1980, Skip joined Teledyne Battery Products as the manager of OEM Sales. He then worked for Marathon Power Technology from 1983 to 1987. He ultimately joined Concorde Battery Corporation in 1987. Skip’s enthusiasm for Concorde’s new AGM technology led to him joining the Concorde team.
As is often the case with new technology, getting the industry to accept RG® batteries was no small task. No operator wanted to be the first to prove the reliability, dependability and safety of the new technology — but Skip didn’t give up. His longstanding relationship with Lockheed’s Burbank Skunk Works facility allowed him the opportunity to present lead-acid batteries to replace the high-maintenance nickel-cadmium batteries Lockheed was using for a “vehicle.” Lockheed emphasized their lack of interest in Concorde’s batteries, but, soon after, Navy batteries began to disappear from the depot. Skip had a hunch that the USAF was borrowing the stock for use on the “vehicle.” The Persian Gulf War started, and the F-117A Stealth became world-famous. After the war, Lockheed sent Skip a letter stating that Concorde batteries were on the Stealth and thanked Concorde for the support! The U.S. military had found Concorde batteries to be 100% reliable in F-4, F/A-18, C-130, KC-135 and the renowned F-117A aircraft during the war.
This success led to additional military certifications on the T-1A and BeechJet 400A. It ultimately allowed Concorde to enter into the commercial market when Skip facilitated Beechcraft with the KingAir's switch from nickel-cadmium to Concorde’s sealed lead-acid battery as original equipment. Skip’s business prowess and aircraft knowledge propelled Concorde into the strong position held today by way of designing drop-in replacement batteries, providing pilots and mechanics a dependable, low-maintenance solution. Skip made significant developments in sales and marketing over more than 30 years of dedication to Concorde and will forever be a rich part of Concorde’s history.
Skip’s passion for aviation was second-to-none, and he contributed much to the industry. Skip was an active member of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the FAA Aerospace Committee for the development of U.S. aircraft battery specifications. Skip was also a member of EAA and PAMA, donating endless hours to the education of mechanics and pilots. Skip’s contributions to the industry were recognized in 2009 when he was awarded the Charles Taylor “Master Mechanic” Award by the Federal Aviation Administration in recognition of his contributions to building and maintaining the safest aviation system in the world through practicing and promoting safe aircraft maintenance for 50 consecutive years.
Skip was a visionary, a great industry leader and a friend to all he met. A celebration of life is being organized. More details will be available through Concorde Battery Corporation as details are finalized.