Friday, December 29, 2017

Tim Dyer: This pilot founded a clean energy company

Tim Dyer made a career in aviation before going into green energy.

As a native of Prairie du Chien, Tim Dyer lived and played on the Mississippi River.

“The river was my backyard,” Dyer said.

Fishing, deer and duck hunting were yearly activities and even as an early teen, Dyer and fellow “river rat” friends spent leisurely days on a flat bottom boat and camping along the shores. School activities included football, wrestling, track and field with pole vaulting as his specialty.

Dyer earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

“The first two years were general college courses such as calculus, physics, psychology, technical writing. The last two years of the degree focused on subjects such as aerodynamics, meteorology, flight physiology, flight physics. It’s a mixture of physics, general math and calculus incorporating aerodynamics with aircraft systems,” Dyer explained.

His intent was on making a career out of aviation. Dyer put all his effort into the program and graduated magna cum laude. Besides earning the aeronautical science degree, his time at Embry-Ridder allowed him to earn a private pilot certificate and an FAA instrument rating. His last year at the university, Dyer received the commercial multi-engine aircraft and certified flight instructor ratings.

In the summer of 1998, Dyer was an intern for U.S. Airways. Through the pilot network, he learned that the Wisconsin Air National Guard was hiring pilots. During his last semester in college, Dyer prepared for the tests that would be vital in being granted an interview and he turned in his application to the Wisconsin Air National Guard.

Immediately after graduation, Dyer moved to Chicago and became a flight instructor for General Aviation. As a commercial pilot, he also became part of WBBM radio station’s traffic watch, piloting the reporter and photographer in a Cessna 172 looking for accidents, bottle necks and construction.

“This was pre-9/11 and we could get right up close,” Dyer said. “Being a flight instructor sounds fun but there’s not much money in it,” Dyer said.

When Dyer was contacted for an interview with the Wisconsin Air National Guard, everything fell into place and he eventually was chosen to go to U.S. Air Force pilot training. For the next two and one-half years he trained in a variety of Air Force Bases. From Knoxville, Tennessee, to Valdosta, Georgia, to San Antonio, Texas, Dyer spent his time training to fly T-37’s and T-38’s and eventually learned to fly as wingman for the F-16. After POW and survival training at Fairchild AFB, he was able to move to Madison in April 2003. Duties and training include alert pilot, flight lead upgrade, Squadron Officer School, supervisor of flying, instructor pilot upgrade Air Command and Staff College, mission commander upgrade, standards and evaluations check pilot and Air War College.

As a lieutenant colonel, Dyer worked eight months in a year with a drill weekend once a month. The Truax Field is home to 35 pilots, 1300 support staff and 20 aircrafts of F-16’s and C-26’s.

“It takes a lot of people to make the machine work and brings in $62 million to the local community,” Dyer said.

Dyer has been deployed to Iraq five times as well as to Africa, Iceland and Okinawa.

“I was on orders eight months last year to help with the alert mission while our pilots deployed to Korea,” Dyer said.

As exciting and rewarding as his aviation career has been for him, Dyer is always looking for the next career. Besides being gone much of the time, flying F-16’s is hard on pilots and takes a physical toll.

“Many go on to being airline pilots. I wanted to add value in other areas I am interested in,” Dyer said.

From his aircraft high above a brightly lit African port, Dyer was amazed, even with night vision goggles, to see complete darkness beyond the city. There was no utility infrastructure. He was shocked to realize once the sun goes down, people can’t just turn on the lights.

“Overseas, some of the most troubled areas with the most violence appeared to have the least safety and the worst energy independence,” Dyer said.

It did turn on a light for Dyer to think there is a need for cheaper, reliable energy. He decided to start in his own backyard, in his own community with Safer Better World Solar LLC, a solar energy company. From missions that took him around the world, for the past five years Dyer has been developing his mission to “safely and efficiently create the highest quality, lowest maintenance solar electric generation system possible.”

“I had a rudimentary background in solar energy, but I understood electronic theory and how electricity works from a physics standpoint,” Dyer explained. To Dyer it makes the most sense. Why not use resources (sun) in our own backyard and keep the money in our own state?

“Any money spent on energy for fossil fuel is money out of state,” Dyer said. “Solar energy is more reliable to the grid; cleaner and local people can build solar arrays.”

Some claim Wisconsin is too cold and too far north for solar to be successful. Germany has similar climate and generates more solar power than any other country. In addition, northern states actually have more sun during the summer than southern states, according to Dyer.

As for cleaner, “the average house in Waunakee burns 40 pounds of coal a day and creates 72 pounds of carbon dioxide. It’s chemistry 101,” Dyer said.

Installing roof panels and ground mounts, Dyer and his employee and “wingman,” Asa Odegard, serve residential homes and commercial buildings. Farms benefit most from ground mounts because of the amount of electricity used and good sun exposure. Some of his customers include a robust farm in Johnson Creek, Royal Oaks Elementary School in Sun Prairie.

Story and photo ➤

No comments:

Post a Comment