Bizav Pioneer Alan Conklin Dead At 86

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Alan H. Conklin, co-founder of Conklin & de Decker, a leading business aviation research, consulting and education firm, died last week near his home in Orleans, Mass. He was 86. Conklin first began his aviation career as an instrument instructor pilot for the U.S. Army Air Corps in the early 1940s; later, he served as a cargo pilot for the U.S. Air Force. Once leaving the military, his career seemingly saw him staying ahead of business aviation's "wave": In the 1950s, he sold Aero Commanders, Trekker Gulls and eventually Cessnas through a Minneapolis distributor and went on to market King Airs for Atlantic Aviation in the 1960s. In the 1970s, he sold Falcon Jets for AiResearch then Pan Am Business Jets where he became National Sales Manager and met a young engineer named Bill de Decker.

The two shared an office as well as their concerns for a realistic set of operating costs and performance values for the Falcons. From their early collaboration, the Conklin & de Decker Company was born in 1989 after Conklin and his wife started Al Conklin Associates and began selling the "Aircraft Cost Evaluator," a business aircraft purchasing aid. “Al Conklin was a real gentleman with great integrity and fairness,” said Bill de Decker, co-founder of Conklin & de Decker. “He believed that if you do the best job you know how to do and take good care of your customers, the Good Lord will take care of the rest. That was the story of his life and he will be missed.” Al Conklin is survived by his wife of 64 years, Martha Conklin, and his daughter Chris.