Global Navigation Sciences Inc., a Hayden-based aerospace product development company, has leased a 515-square-foot office space at The Depot retail center building, at 112 E. Hazel, in Coeur d’Alene, where the company plans to open an office.
Craig Hunter and Rob Kannapien, both of Coldwell Banker Commercial Schneidmiller Realty, handled the office lease transaction.
“Right now, we’re at a pretty small scale, and that’s why we’re renting a small office,” says Matt King, owner of Global Navigation Sciences.
The company manufactures USB charging accessories for commercial and military aircraft.
“I came up with a product that can take the 1950’s-designed light deck out and replace it with an upgraded LED, that’s lower power, but also includes a USB port with it,” King says. “So, they’re not cutting into the airplane and running wires, they’re simply pulling a light out and putting my product in its place, like a retro fit.”
King says prior to 2011, airlines used to require pilots to use flight bags filled with charts and paperwork on each flight. The flight bags were bulky, expensive, and usually weighed about 40-pounds.
Those flight bags were eventually replaced with iPads and created a market for Global Navigation Sciences to produce portable USB chargers.
“In the very beginning, as an electrical engineer, I knew I could make a product that they could charge an iPad without incurring a large cost to modify an airplane,” King says. “To put it on an airplane, you have to pull aircraft panels and wires and mount and balance and take it out of service. It’s a tremendous thing.”
King says not only are airplane modifications expensive, but they’re also time-consuming.
“If a USB charging port in an airplane takes longer than eight hours to install, it requires the installation to be performed during a maintenance cycle, and it becomes a huge logistical mess for companies like United and Delta, to modify their fleets. They also found that in two to three years, once fleets were totally upgraded, the USB consumer technology changed. So they spent all that money and labor costs for what?”
In contrast, Global Navigation’s USB accessories can be installed overnight, King asserts.
“It’s a huge labor savings,” he says.
Global Navigation’s portable chargers also can be replaced with minimal effort as technology changes, he explains.
Global Navigation has three employees currently and will hire two to three more as production needs increase.
King says Global Navigation uses local suppliers to manufacture its USB charging accessories, including Spokane Valley-based Tate Technology Inc., Spokane-based Sytech Inc., and Altek Inc., of Liberty Lake.
“Everything is local with the exception of parts like wires,” he says. “I’d say about 80% of the sourcing is local.”
King says the microchip shortage has been challenging to overcome and has reduced his business production by about 80%.
Recently, though, Global Navigation obtained 1,400 critical chips with another 2,600 anticipated to arrive in September.
“We’re trying to get a consistent supply, but it’s been really difficult,” King says, adding that when the shortage eases, he hopes to produce about 7,000 units annually.
King says Global Navigation’s business is focused on supplying accessories to Boeing fleet carriers and securing military contracts.
“We’ve got customers, and we’ve got demand,” he says. “We just have to keep the supply going, which is hard.”
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