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Maker of Aircraft Monitors Taken Over : Acquisitions: Airborne Closed Circuit Television becomes part of Air/Lyon, which hopes to sell Airborne's system for meeting fire-safety rules.

January 11, 1991|JOHN O'DELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEWPORT BEACH — Air/Lyon, an aviation services company, said Thursday that it has acquired the manufacturer of a new in-flight monitoring system for aircraft.

The acquisition of Airborne Closed Circuit Television Inc., which like Air/Lyon is based in Newport Beach, was made by Air/Lyon's Elsinore Aerospace Services subsidiary.

The purchase--Air/Lyon's fourth since it was founded a little more than a year ago--involved a combination of cash and a performance incentive program, but the terms and value of the deal were not disclosed.

Airborne Closed Circuit's security system uses closed-circuit infared television to enable flight crews to constantly monitor all passenger and freight compartments, even those that are not lighted.

New federal regulations require aircraft that carry both freight and passengers on the flight deck to improve safety measures. The requirements include the use, beginning later this year, of in-flight fire marshals to physically monitor aircraft compartments.

But Air/Lyon is petitioning the Federal Aviation Administration to approve the Airborne Closed Circuit system for use in such aircraft.

The company hopes the federal agency will allow carriers equipped with the system to use an existing member of the flight crew to monitor the aircraft rather than increasing costs by adding a fire marshal, said William D. Thomas, president of Elsinore Aerospace.

The closed-circuit security system, under development for three years, was recently purchased by Swissair for installation in three Boeing 747s that the Swiss national airline uses to transport passengers and freight, Thomas said.

Several other international carriers are discussing purchase of the systems, he said, and negotiations also are under way with Boeing Co., McDonnell Douglas Corp. and Airbus Industries for factory installation of the systems in most of their aircraft.

Thomas also said the company is studying other uses for the infared system, including use by the flight crew to monitor external runway conditions in foggy weather or other low-visibility situations.

Under terms of the acquisition, Airborne Closed Circuit and its 20 employees will become an operating unit of Elsinore. Thomas D. Henderson, founding president of 3-year-old Airborne Closed Circuit, will remain as head of the division and will direct marketing efforts.

Thomas said Airborne officials approached Air/Lyon about an acquisition late last year after deciding that the firm lacked the financial strength to operate successfully on its own. The deal, while announced Thursday, was completed Dec. 30, he said.

Air/Lyon is a flight services holding company founded in late 1989 by Newport Beach developer William Lyon--former co-owner of AirCal--and David Banmiller, a former AirCal president.

The company owns Martin Aviation, the largest aircraft maintenance, fueling and ground services operation at John Wayne Airport and a major national aircraft charter company; International Aircraft Support Inc., an international supplier of jet engines and engine parts, and Elsinore Aerospace, an international aircraft engineering, design, maintenance, overhaul and ground services organization.

With Airborne Closed Circuit, Elsinore has four operating divisions.

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