All About HeliTrak

Our People and Our Passions

HeliTrak was co-founded by longtime friends, business colleagues and avid pilots, John Mercer and Peter Hambling, based on an insight that John had while piloting his own rotorcraft.


Airborne Inspirations

Commuting in his Robinson R22 to work to avoid long hours by car, John began to think about reducing pilot workload and improving flight safety. From those musings came the inspiration for both a low-cost, light-weight autopilot, and an innovative safety product called the collective pull-down, or CPD.

From Idea to Reality

Reasoning that reaction time was key in the event of engine or drive system failure, the CPD is a simple device designed to sense a reduction in main rotor RPM and pull the collective down to assist the pilot in entering a stable auto-rotation.

After a short development and certification effort, the CPD STC was approved by the FAA and is in production for both the R22 and R44 rotorcraft. These approvals were an important milestone for HeliTrak, validating the CPD concept and its value as a device that could contribute to the overall safety of the pilot and their passengers. John proudly flies with a CPD installed in his personal R22, and the HeliTrak team wouldn’t be without the device in our R44.


Next Up

With the CPD in commercial release, we’re now concentrating our efforts on completing the development and obtaining FAA approval for an autopilot designed for the R44. While the initial product will provide 2-axis capability for basic autopilot control, the flexible high-integrity hardware and software architecture supports 3, and 4-axis capability. The goals are to build an autopilot for the R44 that reduces pilot workload and improves safety, is easy to use, feature rich, lightweight, affordable, and uses the latest technological innovations.

HeliTrak Staff

Our mission is to design and manufacture innovative and affordable safety products for the aeronautics industry. Our products contribute to the safety of pilots and their passengers, and bring peace of mind to their families.

Chris Nehls


Suzanne “Suzie” Steiner

VP Marketing & Sales

Ray Debs

VP Engineering

Ryan Schab

Manufacturing Lead

Derek Vetter

Mechanical Engineering Manager

Tom Kearns

Systems Engineering Lead

Bart Bartel

Software Engineering Lead

Jeff Pitman

Control Systems Engineer

Mitch Lund

Electrical Engineer

Jason Pothier

Electrical Engineer

Zach Parsons

Mechanical Engineer

Phil Schwartz

Mechanical Engineer

Ritupriya (Ritu) Patil

Systems Engineer

David Hudson

Systems/Embedded Software Engineer

Drake Main

Software Engineer

Cole Evans

Systems Engineering Intern

Marc Aparicio

WIBC, LLC - HeliTrak Western Regional Representative

Kelsey Downie

Administrative Specialist

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