Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics Mourns the Loss of Former President and CEO John W. Winter

Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics announced the passing of John W. Winter, former President and CEO, on May 27, 2024, in Wichita, Kansas. Winter was a well-known member of the aviation community whose ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit helped shape the industry, the company says.

“My father mastered a unique trio of skills, being an exceptionally good mechanical engineer, electrical engineer and astute businessman,” said his son, current Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics president and CEO, Todd Winter. “He set the bar high for himself and all to follow; supporting the pursuit of education as a means to achieve success. He taught us all not to shy away from obstacles or challenges, to be action oriented, and focus on achieving results. When I became president of the company, he handed me a commemorative plate with a picture of President Harry Truman, and one of his favorite quotes: The buck stops here!”

Winter’s passion for aviation began early, serving his country in the U.S. Navy as an electronics officer aboard the USS Leyte aircraft carrier during the last days of the Korean War. Throughout that time, Winter dedicated himself to upgrading and improving air search radar systems. As a result, he was nominated as a candidate for the Rhodes Scholarship by his commanding officer. LTJG Winter left active duty in 1955 and continued to be a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve until 1967, at which time he was honorably discharged.

Following active duty, Winter earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Yale University. He began working at Aircraft Radio Corporation in 1958 and later transitioned to the role of Chief Engineer and then President at Aviation Instrument Manufacturing Corporation (AIM) in 1961. It was there that he became a pioneer in the field of flight instruments and aviation gyros, developing one of the first general aviation autopilot systems. He served in similar roles at Narco Avionics and Aerosonic, after leaving AIM in 1975.

“My grandfather was ahead of his time,” said Van Winter. “His master’s thesis at Yale was the investigation and design of flush-mounted radio antennas. This interest stemmed from his naval experience when the ship’s operational readiness was compromised by damaged, protruding antennas on the World War II era aircraft,” he continued. “Ultimately, flush-mounted antennas became critical to the design of modern stealth aircraft.”

In 1980, Winter purchased Mid-Continent Instrument Company in Wichita, Kansas. During the next two decades, he and his son, Todd Winter, grew the organization and its commitment to serving aviators around the globe, adding new manufacturing capabilities and establishing a second location in California. Today, Mid-Continent operates a large, full-service instrument repair station.

John Winter was a long-time, highly regarded member of the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), serving on the board of directors from 1988 to 2000 and elected treasurer from 1994 to 2000. In recognition of his dedication to the industry he loved, he was named AEA’s Member of the Year in 1995 and received AEA’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, two honors that he was deeply proud to receive. 

Aviation was hiss passion and his legacy and commitment to quality, integrity and innovation live on through his family, the company, its employees and his many friends and colleagues within the industry, a company statement said.