Photo courtesy of: Russ College of Engineering and Technology
Jul 6, 2012
By Colleen Carow and Richard Heck
David Arthur Quinet, a senior program engineer with Ohio University's Avionics Engineering Center, died in May in San Diego, Calif., after a brief illness.
A sought-after expert in aviation navigation technology who consulted for national aviation-related agencies and airports across the globe, Quinet was a 1984 electrical engineering graduate of Ohio University, serving as both a research assistant and a student intern with an assortment of scholarships.
In his work at the Avionics Engineering Center, part of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, Quinet and his team were often the most funded research team at the Ohio University campus during the past 15 years. They routinely secured more than $3 million a year from sponsors ranging from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to industry leaders such as Northrop Grumman to international agencies.
"Dave was known all over the world for his easy manner, and above all, for his expertise. Few people know this, but he was one of the Center's staunchest advocates within the university," said Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin. "To me, he was an old and dear friend who was always there to listen. But sometimes I had to listen – when an issue would arise in the center, he could also be counted on to broker a solution."
At the center, Quinet helped develop a series of innovative electronic devices that included a data collection package to monitor the performance of combined VHF omnidirectional Range (VOR)/Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN) system – helping to ensure reliable and safe operation of an aircraft.
He also developed a device to monitor the snow level at Instrument Landing System (ILS) installations, giving advance warning of distortions to aircraft radio beams that act as landing paths in conditions of low visibility; a new Microwave Landing System tracking device to provide up-to-the-second landing guidance to military and civilian aircraft; and an electronic warning system for two or more aircraft in flight, providing an automated way to help pilots identify and avoid possible collisions.
Over the course of his career at the center, Quinet performed technical services for at least 20 governments around the world and provided expertise for airport installations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and South Sudan.
Interim Director of the Avionics Engineering Center Mike DiBenedetto, Quinet's classmate at OHIO, said that Quinet's contributions to the national and international aviation communities are well known and respected.
DiBenedetto shared that as a student, Quinet used then-novel microprocessors to help design, build, test and operate a digital radio theodolyte telemetry system that allowed Ohio University aircraft to test installations of ILS installations around the country. Per DiBenedetto, this enabled the nation's airport authorities, from the smallest to the largest, to achieve certification from the FAA reliably, in the least possible time and at the lowest possible cost.
"Early on, it was clear to me that Dave was a caring and generous person, giving of both his talents and time for the benefit of his co-workers, the Avionics Engineering Center, the Russ College, and Ohio University," DiBenedetto said. "We have received numerous emails, cards and phone calls from sponsors and colleagues of Dave's from near and far expressing their condolences as well as sharing their fondness memories and stories."
Juan Pedracova, director of systems for AENA, the world's leading airport operator and the fourth-largest air navigation services provider in Europe, was one of many who sent condolences.
"We are shocked by Dave's sudden passing," said Pedracova, whose division is responsible for the development and operation of the Spanish air navigation system. "It is indeed a great loss for the whole avionics research and development community."
In his career, Quinet authored or co-authored more than 200 technical reports and technical summaries.
"He and his navigation team found to vexing electronic system problems that, in some cases, no one else in the world had been able to solve," DiBenedetto noted.
Quinet and colleagues were honored in 2007 with a special commendation from the president of Ohio University for their research success. That same year, he was presented with the Federal Aviation Administration's Navigation Services Superior Performance Award for his many years of outstanding support for the agency.
In 1980, 1995 and 2005, he received of the Russ College's Avionics Engineering Center Directors Award, which recognizes employees who contributed to the center's success. As a student at OHIO, he became a member of Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi engineering societies.
Quinet is survived by his wife, Pat Robson of Athens; his parents,
Arthur and Betty Lou Quinet; a sister, Diane Hendrex (Steve), a niece, Stephanie, and a nephew, Kevin, all of Tennessee.
An Ohio University memorial service will be held later this summer. Donations in Quinet's memory may be made to the University of San Diego Medical Center Bannister Family House, 200 West Arbor Drive, MC# 8961, San Diego, CA 92103.