March 28, 2019: Edward ‘Skip’ Koss, former vice president marketing at US-based Concorde Battery, has passed away at his home surrounded by family in California on March 19, the company announced.
It was Skip’s enthusiasm for lead acid batteries and his determination to prove they were suitable for use in aircraft that ultimately led to them being adopted by the US military. The US Air Force admitted it had found the Concorde batteries used in F-A, F/A-18, C-130, KC-135 and F-117A aircraft to be 100% reliable when during the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991.
Skip’s technical knowledge of aircraft batteries had come from his time as sales manager with Aero Quality Sales, the aircraft battery services and support equipment company.
Working with engineer Joe Mibelli, at JFM Engineering, he developed the first charger analzyer that could charge and discharge high currents at low voltages: the Superseder.
Skip worked as manager of OEM sales at Teledyne Battery Products in 1980, joined Marathon Power Technology in 1983 to 1987, then finally entered Concorde.
Getting the industry to accept VRLA batteries was, as Concorde says, ‘no small task because no operator wanted to be the first to prove the reliability, dependability and safety of the new technology’— but Skip would not give up.
According to the company, his close professional relationship with Lockheed’s Burbank Skunk Works led to an opportunity for him to demonstrate how lead acid batteries could replace nickel cadmium batteries in one of their vehicles.
Shortly afterwards, the Persian Gulf War started — and Skip discovered Concorde batteries had been used on its Stealth F-117A aircraft, having been ‘borrowed’ from Lockheed.
This opened the door for Concorde to enter the aviation industry as a supplier of sealed lead batteries, replacing nickel cadmium, and the company is at the forefront of that market today.
Skip was an active member of the International Electrotechnical Commission, the FAA Aerospace Committee and educational organizations that trained mechanics and pilots. In 2009 he was awarded the Charles Taylor ‘Master Mechanic’ Award by the FAA in recognition of his contributions to building and maintaining the safest aviation system in the world.
Concorde Battery is to organize a Celebration of Life to remember Skip.
He is survived by nine children, 18 grandchildren and two sisters.