Stanley "Joa" Harrison, PE

President and Principal Engineer

If I had to summarize my career path to aviation it would be simple, "I eat, breath and sleep airplanes."  For some crazy reason I've had this passion and zeal for flying-things since I was a toddler… and it just won't go away.

Growing up in North Idaho I was constantly designing and building models of every shape and size: electric powered, gas powered, air powered, chuck gliders, rockets, sailplanes, control-line, R/C, free flight, and basically anything that I could make fly.  And really designing them too- right there on Dad's big drafting board in his home office.  I remember using algebra to figure out tail volumes for rocket-launched balsa gliders before I even knew to call it algebra.  I would go to the library and check out every book I could find on airplane design and pour over it until I found the answer or at least something close that I could understand.  Of course I devoured magazines like Kitplanes, and idolized guys like Burt Rutan and stories of his canards, and my favorite subjects always ended up being about aircraft design.

With such a passion it was pretty obvious that the only college field to go into was engineering.  So I started at the University of Idaho and managed to study pretty hard while still having a social life... that is until I found the machine shop.  Once I did, I spent as much time making metal chips and working on student design competitions as I did putting my nose to the books.  But my professors must have been impressed with my hands-on approach to engineering because I still managed to get good grades.  Of course I didn't give up flying-things.  The R/C planes just got bigger, faster, and lighter and I taught myself to fly an old hang glider... and even managed to stay out of the emergency room.

After graduating with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering I was hired into Precision Castparts Corp’s selective Management Development Program in Portland, OR.  Modeled after the very successful General Electric program, this intense engineering-focused leadership training rotated members though corporate departments and business units and provided a very thorough business foundation for my present career.
  After the 2 ½ year MDP program, I was transferred to the newly acquired PCC Schlosser division in Redmond, OR where I worked several years holding increasing positions of responsibility including manufacturing engineer, second shift plant manager, and company tooling manager.   PCC Schlosser is a world leader in highly complex aerospace titanium castings and I gained a strong insight into the highly regulated world of aerospace manufacturing.  This experience would become very valuable for my later work with the FAA-Parts Manufacturer Approval process.

While working at PCC my love of aircraft never waned, it just got more personal.  I bought a plane, earned my private pilot certificate and instrument rating, and even started wrenching on planes in the evenings and weekends to build time towards my FAA airframe and powerplant (A&P) license.  I was also strongly involved with amateur-built aircraft and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and was the Central Oregon EAA chapter vice-president and president for several years.

I continued to design R/C airplanes in my spare time and even kitted one of the early electric foamies which I called the Schoolyard Foamie and shipped all over the world.  Since then electric foam airplanes, and now even foam UAVs that look very similar to my original design, have really taken off so I feel privileged to have been part of the early efforts. 

Wanting to move to designing larger airplanes, I started Jean Claude Flabel’s excellent Aircraft Stress Analysis Certificate Program and was one of his earliest students.  This course really proved instrumental with introducing me to the next chapter of my career.

In July of 2001 I flew my plane to the Arlington Fly-In and while visiting with a friend involved with mission aviation heard about a new backcountry aircraft being developed near my hometown in North Idaho.  I immediately knew I had found my next calling.  The 10-place turboprop was called the Spirit 100 and was being designed by a small team called the Idaho Air Group with the design being led by an outstanding engineer named Evan Mortenson (who’s father Carl, along with help from Evan and his brother Ed, had designed and certified two other backcountry aircraft designs).   Hoping to “underpromise and overdeliver” the company was keeping quiet about their existence but I managed to negotiate my way into the door at their budding R&D facility in Priest River, ID and speak with Tom Hamilton, a co-visionary of the project.  They were building a production facility in Sandpoint, ID so I applied and was hired as a manufacturing and design engineer as the first new employee in their new facility.  Eventually they changed their name to Packer Air and then to Quest Aircraft and ended up naming the plane the Kodiak 100.

Wow, what a way to drink from a firehose during those early years on the Kodiak!  Decades ago I had switched from Dad’s drafting table, to 2D AutoCAD drawings, and then to early 3D modeling, but now it was total immersion.  Thousands of hours in Solidworks, SolidEdge, and NX designing aircraft systems, structures, manufacturing aids, you name it.  Year after year running hand and finite element analysis (FEA) calculations, writing reports, performing tests, developing process specifications, writing repair manuals, and doing the myriad of activities required to certify a new aircraft and bring it to market.   But what fun!  

One of the joys of working in a small start-up company is that you’re really stretched with wearing many hats.  Thankfully I had a pretty diverse and practical background before coming to Quest and it really came in handy, especially my airframe and powerplant experience. My coordination with the FAA over the years was valuable since it helped greatly with the certification process and to gain the confidence of the FAA in order to become a Designated Engineering Representative (DER) for aircraft structures and powerplant.  

And did I mention that while working at Quest I built my own experimental plane and flew it hundreds of hours, started a company for my wife selling vortex generators that I designed (, tested to become a Professional Engineer (PE), got my FAA inspection authorization (A&P I/A), and became a Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR) for amateur built and light-sport aircraft?

And now I have my first Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) and Global Alternative Means of Compliance (AMOC) to an Airworthiness Directive (AD) that affects a whole fleet of aircraft (WFA).  Ok, I made that last acronym up.  But I'm hard at work on the next stage of my career and having more fun than ever. 

But enough about  me... how can we use my passion and strong work ethic to help your project succeed?