Gerry Block


A lifelong aviation enthusiast, Gerry Block is a rare engineer with the vision and ability to develop technologies that make aircraft safer and more capable. A creative problem-solver, Block recognized in the 1990s that the emerging technology of rear projection could be used to produce compact cockpit displays. He launched Sandel Avionics to bring high performance, color-graphic avionics to underserved customers.

After a successful introduction of the ground breaking SN3308 Electronic HSI with ColorMap, he turned his company’s attention to Terrain Warning Systems. Sandel, under Gerry’s leadership, redefined fixed-wing TAWS by designing a full-color terrain warning computer/display with advanced algorithms for the air transport market that enabled entire fleets to improve safety.He and his team then redefined this technology to eliminate nuisance alerts in rotary- wing operations, giving superior safety benefits to helicopters only previously available to fixed-wing aircraft. This product family, called HeliTAWS™, includes the only practical and widely deployable wire alerting technology, called WireWatch™. This invention is finding wide application in both civil and military use.

Professional History

  • Youngest licensed Ham Radio operator –at age 8
  • Began a first career as an audio recording engineer in New York City
  • Earned a pilot’s license in 1980 and bought first aircraft, a Piper Arrow, while moving full-time into electronics design
  • In 1985, formed TimeLine, a company dedicated to developing electronic equipment for the motion picture and TV industry
  • Relocated to Vista, CA, to be closer to entertainment clients, purchased a Cessna 421 to commute to Los Angeles for business
  • In 1995, sold TimeLine and began looking into technology applications for aviation; he soon developed a prototype for an electronic HSI In 1997, formed Sandel Avionics after confirming the viability of his product; named the company after his children, Sandy and Elliot
  • Certified in 1998, the prototype became the SN3308, the first color EHSI/Map for General Aviation
  • In 2002, recognizing the need for a safe solution to the problem of controlled flight into terrain he invented the first compact, nuisance-free alerting TAWS, the ST3400
  • Continued to innovate, leading his team to design a 4ATI EHSI and a 4ATI Level-A EADI; implementing night-vision technology; and developing a full line of high vibration certified helicopter displays
  • In 2010, developed the first helicopter terrain avoidance system that incorporated nuisance-free alerting, making helicopter safety “a primary focus of the company”
  • In 2011, introduced WireWatch wire alerting technology

Awards & Accolades

  • 2012 HAI AgustaWestland Safety Award
  • Finalist, Aviation Week & Space Technology Innovation Challenge Award, 2011
  • Avionics USA Conference, 2010, featured speaker on helicopter terrain awareness
  • Aircraft Electronics Association Associate Member of the Year, 2006, for Sandel Avionics
  • Board of Directors, San Diego Air & Space Museum
  • Holds approximately 30 U.S. and international patents; Sandel has developed approximately 50 FAA Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs)

Pilot Ratings

  • Private Pilot Airplane Single Engine Land
  • Private Pilot Multiengine Land
  • Instrument Airplane
  • P/CE-500 (Private Pilot with CE-500 Type Rating for Cessna Citation S550)
  • More than 3500 total hours of flight time