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No limit in the skies

Posted: December 28, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: December 28, 2011 1:30 a.m.

When John Allen got around to fulfilling his childhood dream of securing a patent, he designed a car top cover to protect car interiors and reduce heat.

What he didn’t expect was for his business California PopTop to catch on in the television and law enforcement fields.

That is, until Allen’s product was introduced to Angel City Air, which operates helicopters for aerial production and TV news shows broadcasts.

Today, he supplies covers for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and air medical emergency transport companies, and sells the product in 37 different countries.

By mid-December 2011, Allen landed another new customer: the Glendale/Burbank police Air Support Unit, a joint effort between the two cities to suppress crime.

“I showed the pre-production helicopter cover to Officer Michael Woolner of the Glendale PD for review,” Allen said.
“He was very satisfied with the design and fit, and approved the manufacturing of two covers for their MD520 helicopters.”

The covers are currently being assembled, and Allen said he expects to deliver them Jan. 3.


Allen said he often works out a deal with a customer, if a PopTop is ordered for a helicopter model that he has yet to cover.

“The Glendale/Burbank Joint Air Support Unit agreed to provide me access to its helicopter for one free cover,” he said.

The method of operation allows Allen to build his inventory and business at the same time.

“As a result, this provides me with a new product and an endorsement for that model cover,” he said.

California PopTop’s arrival in the television and law enforcement fields began when one of the Angel City Air reporters used Allen’s product for his own car, and thought it would be a good idea to design the product to cover the cockpit of a helicopter.

Pilots in both the television reporting and law enforcement fields have one requirement, Allen said: The cockpit covers need to be easy to put on and take off in under a minute by one person.


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