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Software allows mechanics to keep track of repairs in the air
By Robert Baun
Tom Callen's not a pilot. Not even a mechanic. But the Fort Collins software
developer is as much a part of the helicopter business as anyone in the air or on the ground. Callen owns
CompuTrak, a software firm that makes maintenance tracking software. The software allows mechanics and
helicopter owners to keep abreast of which parts in the aircraft need service or replacement, simply by
logging the flight information on the computer. Callen, who also owns Micro Computer Systems, one of the first
computer stores in Fort Collins, was spurred to develop CompuTrak by his friend Larry Hansen. In 1979, Hansen,
owner of Century Helicopters, approached Callen about the maintenance paperwork problems in the helicopter
industry. Helicopters are subject to careful inspections and religious maintenance schedules. Each part needs
to be monitored, and requires overhaul or replacement after a certain amount of flight time. In the late
1970s, mechanics would have to manually log each part and contact the manufacturer about the part's history.
"It was very time consuming," Callen said. "Now, the computer does it in seconds."
Callen's product was the first maintenance software for small aircraft. Bigger aviation companies used
computers, but it was a stodgy process. "They'd' mail in the (flight) hours to a processing center,"
Callen explained. "Three weeks later they'd get a report mailed back saying what they need to do.
"Little operations didn't have that facility. Now everybody uses the computer." The CompuTrak
program is updated constantly, as Callen responds to needs of the customers. Today, users of CompuTrak
included the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Qwest Communications, the FBI and the Denver Police
Department. AS a division of Micro Computer Systems, CompuTrak represents about 75 percent of Callen's
revenue. Callen's come to be a fan of helicopters, and sometimes rides in the aircraft that use his software.
"To me it's much safer than being in an airplane," he said. He would know.
-- © Copyright 2001, the Fort Collins Coloradoan
© 2020 Copyright by CompuTrak. All Rights Reserved.
CompuTrak provides software that helps its global aviation customers manage their aircraft maintenance.
CompuTrak is aviation maintenance software by aviation maintenance professionals for aviation maintenance professionals.
Micro Computer Systems
515 Kim Drive,
Fort Collins, CO 80525. USA