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Executive Watch - Mark Tyler, Precision Aircraft Services

Posted 4 years 152 days ago ago by Admin

For over two decades, Precision Aircraft Services (PAS) has been steadily building and maintaining a reputation as a top-tier avionics and maintenance shop. Located at Atlanta Regional Airport in Peachtree City, the company garnered the Garmin Award for Performance Excellence and in 2013 became an Authorized Dealer and Service Center for Robinson Helicopters. The next year, PAS became an Authorized Service Center for Airbus Helicopters. The subsidiary of Precision Aviation Group (PAG) is now an avionics dealer for over 80 manufacturers, and is known for its 24/7 service availability. At the helm of this smoothly running maintenance machine is Precision Aircraft Services Vice President and General Manager Mark Tyler, perhaps the only vice president we’ve profiled that keeps a toolbox within reach as a stressbuster. “If it gets too stressful in the office, I get out there and turn some wrenches to relax,” he says.

He’s fully qualified to do so. The Sylacauga, Alabama, native was raised by parents that worked in the local cotton mill. When Tyler turned 16, he followed their path to the mill; however, he remembers, “While growing up, all I wanted to do was join the military.” So, he joined the Air Force in 1980. While in basic training, he was asked to go into aircraft mechanics. The mechanically inclined enlistee took that guidance into a new skillset and career. “I feel I got into aircraft mechanics by the grace of God, because I didn’t know anything about it when I enlisted,” he says. After training, Tyler was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, and worked on the oldest jet in the Air Force, the T33. Tyler separated from the Air Force in 1985 and attended Alabama Aviation and Technical College where his instructor informed him about new maintenance job openings in Fort Rucker, Alabama. Tyler passed his technical interview and started working on helicopters at Fort Rucker. (as there are not many T33s to be found on that helicopter base.). “I fell in love with rotorcraft because there are so many moving parts on a helicopter that it’s like putting a puzzle together. You have to balance out vibrations, and things like that intrigue me,” he says.

HEMS Love Affair

That burgeoning helicopter love affair swept Tyler away to Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham, where he maintained their LifeSaver helicopter. “My first day on the job in helicopter EMS (HEMS) maintenance was life changing. When you know that your job is helping people, it changes the way you think. I fell in love with HEMS.” He became director of maintenance until the hospital-owned LifeSaver program eventually shutdown. Tyler then migrated to HAA operator Omniflight in 2005 as their Eastern Region maintenance manager and also worked for them as a base mechanic after Omniflight was acquired by Air Methods Corp. “I got to work hands-on. I had a Bell 407, a pilot, nurse, and medic to directly take care of, which was a great feeling,” he fondly recalls.

Didn’t See That Coming

In 2016, David Mast, the President & CEO of PAG called and asked to take him to breakfast.  While he wasn’t sure what the meeting would be about, he was intrigued to meet with David as PAG’s reputation in the industry was well known. David wanted him to be his vice president and general manager for Precision Aircraft Services. “While I was extremely happy at Air Methods, I listened and made the hard decision to leave my position and move my family to Georgia. A couple of items sealed the deal for me: First, there were people of integrity and character that I trusted at the company. Second, Mast agreed that I could sow into (or train) my people with values and skills I wanted them to have. He kept his word; all of our guys go through annual training. In fact, we try to get them training at least twice a year,” says Tyler

Looking back, the former cotton mill worker finds himself blessed, because he never foresaw himself as a VP. “It’s not something I consciously thought about. It sounds cheesy, but I just concentrated on doing the right thing over and over again. That’s just kind of that,” he concludes humbly. “I think my career chose me. If things hadn’t happened the way they did, if my instructor at Alabama technical school hadn’t told me about the job openings at Fort Rucker, things wouldn’t have unfolded the way that they did.”

A key to that serendipitous unfolding has been Tyler maintaining an almost spiritual outlook. “I’ve always tried to go the extra mile—and go that extra mile with a good attitude. Whether it’s an employee or customer needing something, I always try to go that extra mile. 

Tyler sharpens employees, but he carefully selects those he works with. He says, “The first thing I look for—and it can be hard to detect in just an interview—is I absolutely want people with integrity, people you can trust. I also want someone with a great attitude; someone with a bad attitude can bring everyone down.”

When Tyler once hired the wrong person, it came back to cut him. “Years ago, as a manager, I allowed an employee to stay past the time for us to part ways. I thought I could reform him. I learned that when someone shows you who they are, you need to believe them. Now, when someone gives me a real reason to dismiss them, I don’t dilly around with it,” he says with hard-learned experience.

Despite that setback, Tyler has had more than his share of success. He says, “At the end of the day, when all is said and done, I think my greatest accomplishment will be the relationships I built. I’ve gotten to know so many different people with something to offer. They’ve all sharpened and shaped me. People are what it’s all about.” In fact, one of the things he enjoys most about being vice president is that his responsibilities have him interact with more customers and potential customers, you know—people. “I get involved more in sales now, which requires talking to people. I love doing that and building those relationships,” he happily says. “You know, I absolutely love it. I work 10-12 hours a day and I can’t get enough of work.”

Mission Ready and Capable

That’s a good thing because it looks like more work is heading Precision Aircraft Service’s way. “One of the issues that’s facing our industry is government-mandated ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast). Those systems are going to be critical for the next several months. Changing avionics and upgrades is a big opportunity for installs.” These new opportunities do not delete the service company’s traditional work. “Helicopters don’t break only Monday through Friday, 8:00-5:00. They go 24/7. So we strive to be available 24/7; I think that’s very unique in the Part 145 repair station world. Our customers have my cell phone number and the accountable manager’s cell number. All of us here come from the operator world; we’ve been out in the field and understand aircraft need to be off the ground and in the air. If we have to get out in the field to help them, we hit the road and go to them. We want them to be mission-ready and capable,” says the self-described “servant leader” who built his career on being mission-ready and capable, but also relatable.