Author Archives: marcel

June 2017

EAGLE CREEK LANDS FIFTH COLOMBIAN GRAND RENAISSANCE


Eagle Creek will be doing a fifth Grand Renaissance overhaul of a Colombian Army Twin Commander.
Twin Commander 840 (model 690C) will serve dual roles in the Colombian Army as a military executive transport and medevac aircraft.

In addition to the extensive Grand Renaissance airframe inspection and refurbishment, Eagle Creek will complete service bulletin work, interior refurbishments, and manage the exterior repainting of the aircraft. The aircraft will receive an extensive avionics panel upgrade including installation of a Garmin G950 panel–a first for the Colombian Army.

The Grand Renaissance process involves disassembly of the aircraft to its aluminum shell, followed by a comprehensive refurbishing of all systems and virtually all components using new or overhauled components. Optional Honeywell TPE 331-10T engines are fitted to Commander models powered by standard TPE331-5 series engines. The result is a certified aircraft of superlative quality, performance, safety, and long-term value.

“We are fortunate to be known as a leader in Grand Renaissance overhauls for both individual owners and government and military operators,” said Matt Hagans, CEO of Eagle Creek Aviation’s family of companies. “The fact that this is the fifth recent Grand Renaissance contract secured for Colombia speaks volumes about our capabilities as a premier aircraft refurbishment supplier and a trusted partner for government and military operators.”

Eagle Creek also has performed Grand Renaissance overhauls for the Mexican Navy and for the County of Kern, California.

The Colombian aircraft refurbishment project will be conducted in cooperation with Asesorias Y Representacion Para Ingenieria S.A. (ASERPA) of Bogota, Colombia. ASERPA is a Colombian aviation advisory company and a provider of aviation parts, maintenance, repair, training, logistics, and other services for non-regular operators using helicopters and small aircraft, and for the army in Colombia.

PERSONALIZE YOUR COMMANDER SEAT BELTS


Aircraft restraints—seat belts—typically don’t get much consideration when it comes to adding style and presentation to your Twin Commander interior. Aircraft Belts, Inc. is out to change that perception.

A sister company to Twin Commander Aircraft, Aircraft Belts manufactures and sells aircraft restraint systems. The company is offering replacement passenger restraint systems that feature an engraved lift lever lid featuring a stylized depiction of the unique Twin Commander head-on view and one of the aircraft ascending. The additional fee for engraving and polishing the aluminum lift lever lid is $175.00 per restraint, above and beyond the standard per-passenger restraint price of $111.00.

If the restraints in your Twin Commander are looking a bit worn, or are a mismatch with your interior colors, Call Brian Harbaugh of Twin Commander Aircraft at 919-956-4385, or email him at bharbaugh@twincommander.com. He will refer you to Aircraft Belts, Inc. for a quote on a stylish and distinctive set of new restraints.

If you are going to EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh, which runs from Monday, July 24 through Sunday, July 30, look up Aircraft Belts. They will be in Epic Aircraft Exhibit Hangar C, Booth 3070 with a selection of crew and passenger restraint systems including lap belts and three-and five-point harnesses with rotary buckles and push button and lift lever releases.

For more information see http://aircraftbelts.com/.

TWIN COMMANDER AT EAA AIRVENTURE

Eagle Creek’s AirVenture display is next to Vintage aircraft section.
irVenture stops. As it has done for the past several years, Eagle Creek will have a Twin Commander on display in spot 395, in the southeast corner of the Main Aircraft Display next to the GoPro display. It’s a great location just west of the flightline, ideal for enjoying the daily afternoon airshow under the welcome shade of the Commander’s high wing. When this eLetter went to press Eagle Creek was not certain which airplane it would have on display at AirVenture. If you want more information about the Twin Commander presence at AirVenture, contact Eagle Creek at 317 293-6935, or Twin Commander Aircraft at 919-956-4300.

April-May 2017

TWIN COMMANDER OFFERS REPLACEMENT ECU COUPLINGS

coupling

Twin Commander Aircraft LLC has engineered a solution to replacing certain wear items in Sundstrand Environmental Control Units used on various Twin Commander model aircraft.

The problem has been unavailability of replacement flexible hose couplings used in Sundstrand ECUs on the 690C, 690D, 695, 695A, and certain serial-number 695B Twin Commanders. The couplings connect metal piping in the ECU, and protect the piping from vibration and thermal expansion. The couplings are made from special materials to withstand the high temperatures and pressures. The largest of the couplings is about six inches long and four inches in diameter.

Twin Commander Aircraft recently designed, developed, and certified replacements for the couplings, and parts are available. The replacement parts do not come in a kit, and can be ordered individually. However, it is recommended that if one coupling needs replacing, a full replacement set should be installed. Some units require five flexible hoses, some seven, depending on aircraft model and serial number.

For more information about the replacement Sundstrand couplings, contact your authorized
Twin Commander Service Center.

FAA AWARDS EAGLE CREEK, NAPLES JET TECHNICIANS

Eagle Creek Aviation Services and its family of companies have received the AMT Diamond Award of Excellence from the FAA for participating in the 2016 Aviation Maintenance Technician Awards Program. This is the sixth consecutive year that Eagle Creek Aviation and Naples Jet Center—both authorized Twin Commander Service Centers—have received the award, and the first year for Montgomery Aviation under new ownership by Eagle Creek.

AMTs at Naples Jet Center hold Diamond Awards from the FAA

The FAA AMT Awards program encourages individual AMTs and their employers to invest in continuing education. The Diamond award is reserved for companies that achieve 100 percent participation from eligible employees. In 2016, 35 AMTs at Eagle Creek Aviation and its family of companies spent more than 1,500 hours in training—online, in the classroom, and on the job.

“As a company, we are committed to excellence in everything we do, including ensuring that we continue to invest in our technicians through training and education,” said Eagle Creek Aviation CEO Matt Hagans. “We believe our customers are best served by professionals who are continually learning and utilizing industry best practice. We are honored to be recognized by the FAA for that commitment and look forward to achieving the Diamond award again next year.”

For more information about the AMT Diamond Award of Excellence, visit https://www.faasafety.gov/AMT/amtinfo/.

NEW FLIGHT LEVELS AVAILABLE ONLINE

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In the last Twin Commander eLetter we told you how Jean-Luc Pous went from a 10-year-old refugee from French-occupied Algeria to a top-level engineer and manager at Schlumberger to a professional pilot and, now, the owner of a 690B Twin Commander. The new issue of Twin Commander’s Flight Levels magazine, available at http://www.flightlevelsonline.com/, has the full story of his remarkable life and dual careers. The new issue also takes a look at the three most important considerations when transitioning to a Twin Commander, written by J.R. Bob Husky, an experienced Commander instructor and mentor pilot. Jim Worrell assesses the market from the buyer’s and seller’s perspectives, and Air Journey founder Thierry Pouille reports on flying your airplane to Cuba. You can read the entire issue at http://www.flightlevelsonline.com/.

TAX REFORM: TIME TO UPGRADE YOUR AIRCRAFT?

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With few details about the Trump Administration’s proposed tax reform package available, it’s too early to scrutinize the full extent of its potential effect on aircraft owners. However, some observations can be made. Following is a portion of the “Business Flying and Taxes” column in the current issue of Twin Commander’s Flight Levels, now available for reading at www.flightlevelsonline.com. The column was written by Suzanne Meiners-Levy, Esq., Legal Advisor for Advocate Consulting Legal Group, PLLC.

One cornerstone of the Trump tax plan is a significant decrease in corporate tax rates, as well as taxes paid by owners of flow-through businesses, including S corporations, partnerships, and Schedule C businesses that flow through to 1040 returns. Current corporate rates at 35% are proposed to be cut to 15% in the Trump plan, and although that may be not be politically feasible, the Kiplinger Tax Letter believes that a top rate of 25% is politically likely. Perhaps even more significantly, flow-through profits from S corporations, partnerships, and Schedule C businesses that currently are taxed at the owners’ 1040 rates are also subject to significant cuts, with a proposed rate of 15%. (The House GOP Blueprint calls for 20% corporate rates and 25% flow through rates. The Trump plan calls for both rates to cap at 15%.)

Why does this rate shift make purchases of new equipment installed on aircraft in 2016, and likely 2017 (contingent upon the date of reform), a unique opportunity? Deductions taken for expensing property or depreciation are commonly referred to as “timing differences,” given that any deduction taken, to the extent that it exceeds the actual loss in value in the property, is subject to recapture at the time the property is sold or no longer used for business. While there is no reason to believe at this time that recapture would not occur in future tax years, that recapture would be treated as ordinary business income in the year the property is taken out of service. Assuming a significant and potentially lasting change in business tax rates, the deductions taken for the property in years before rate cuts are likely to save significantly more tax dollars than those due at the time the property is sold, given the potentially large reduction in rates. For example, if corporate taxes decrease by 50% as proposed, the tax savings at purchase will double that owed upon disposition. This, combined with 50% bonus depreciation in 2017 and the $500,000 expensing election, may make this the ideal time to upgrade equipment on your aircraft.

Feb-March 2017

COMMANDER OWNER ‘LIVING THE DREAM’ IN THE USA

Jean Luc Pous

Jean-Luc Pous has an interesting, and impressive, resume:
Born in French-occupied Algeria just before the start of an eight-year war, at age 10 and under fire he fled the country. He later earned a mechanical engineering degree in France, but wanted to become a military pilot—a childhood visit to a military base with his father had ignited a passion to fly. However, lacking the required eyesight, he used the expertise he had gained as a parachute instructor in college to join the French military as a paratrooper. It was the proper thing to do “to repay them (French paratroopers) for their support in the war,” Pous says. “They were the only ones who protected us.”

After completing his military service in 1979 he went to work for Schlumberger, then the largest oil services company in the world, and spent the next 10 years as a logging engineer and manager throughout the Middle East. At the end of his Middle Eastern stint Pous took flying lessons in France. His next Schlumberger assignment was in the U.S., where his responsibilities grew to eventually manage much of the company’s manufacturing operations—16 centers with 2,500 employees.

Pous left Schlumberger after 29 years to follow his childhood dream of flying. He earned all the necessary certificates and ratings to fly professionally, and within a year of retiring from Schlumberger he bought the airplane he had been renting—a Shrike Commander. Three years later he and a partner upgraded to a 690B Turbo Commander that he used for charter. The partner eventually left, but Pous kept the airplane, which he now uses exclusively for his own use.

“I enjoy executive flying with my wife and two cats,” Pous says. “Typically, I go to the Bahamas, Santa Fe, Colorado—anywhere in USA I desire to visit.”

Pous has earned four type ratings, three of which are for warbirds. He flies a variety of aircraft professionally, instructs in Commanders, and owns a Jet Provost with partners. He will admit he is living the dream. “You don’t realize how much America has to offer unless you come from someplace else,” he says.

For the rest of Jean-Luc Pous’s story, be sure to read the next issue of Twin Commander’s Flight Levels magazine.

NEW NOSEWHEEL FENDER DEFLECTS FOD

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Twin Commander Aircraft has developed a solution to the problem of damage to Commander fuselage belly skins caused by debris thrown up by the spinning nose wheel. The solution comes in the form of the new Custom Kit (CK) 199 Belly Skin Protection System. The heart of the system is a small fender positioned immediately aft of the nose wheel that deflects debris picked up on the takeoff and/or landing roll, preventing it from striking and possibly damaging the fuselage belly skin.

CK199, which also includes mounting braces and installation instructions, is expected to be available in late April at factory authorized Twin Commander Service Centers.

The low-slung Commander profile puts the extended nose wheel in close proximity to the belly of the airplane, making it vulnerable to damage from nose wheel FOD, especially when operating from grass, gravel, or deteriorating paved runways. The predecessor company to Twin Commander Aircraft had developed a nose wheel fairing intended to deflect debris, but the design caused significant drag, which forced the pilot to use lower airspeeds and angles of attack when the nose wheel was extended.

Twin Commander Aircraft used a supercomputer to apply computational fluid dynamics to identify sources of the drag, and to test more advanced, lower-drag solutions. The result is the fender in CK199, which has less than half the drag of the previous design while significantly reducing the potential for FOD.

The new design was tested on a Commander in September 2016. Ground taxi and flight tests were performed to confirm its effectiveness while ensuring the kit does not contribute to nose wheel shimmy or nose wheel extension or retraction problems.

The installed kit does not interfere with the use of a tow bar or most powered tugs.

For more information about CK199, contact your authorized Twin Commander Service Center.

COMMANDER TRAINING UNDERWAY AT SIMCOM IN ORLANDO

SIMCOM Aviation Training has begun training Commander pilots at its Orlando headquarters facility.

SIMCOM is moving the Commander program from its Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas, training center to its Lee Vista center north of Orlando International Airport. The 690B simulator is now operational at Lee Vista. SIMCOM can conduct initial and recurrent training on the simulator and the first customer training class was held in their Level B 690B simulator in late February. FAA requalification of the 690B is expected within the next 60 days, at which time customers will be able to count instrument approaches conducted in the simulator toward instrument currency. In the meantime, customers receive course completion certificates but no instrument credit.

The 1000 simulator is scheduled to be operational at Lee Vista in mid-April. It will be inspected by the FAA for requalification at some point after it is operational. SIMCOM will be able to conduct 1000 training on the 690B through differences training until the 1000 sim is operational.

For more information please contact the SIMCOM Sales Department at 866-238-4468.

MAINTENANCE TRAINING CLASS SCHEDULE RELEASED

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One very important reason to use an authorized Twin Commander Service Center is the factory’s requirement that technicians receive formal, Commander-specific training. That ensures your airplane will receive the best, most informed care.

Two such Twin Commander Maintenance Initial training classes have been scheduled for 2017: May 8-16, and September 18-26.

The seven-day course takes the A&P mechanic (or equivalent) thru the various systems in a classroom environment using AMM and AIPC documents along with associated publications and physical training aids. The technicians also have access to live aircraft. Each student is issued a training binder with a printed copy of the presentation and various handouts. The course concludes with a graded exam. Upon successful completion, clients receive an official certificate of training and a record of training.

The classes are held at Eagle Creek Aviation (KEYE) in Indianapolis. For more information about Twin Commander Maintenance Initial training classes contact Mike Grabbe at Eagle Creek at 317-293-6935, cell 317-752-3708, or email mgrabbe@eagle-creek.com

January 2017

GLOBAL AVIATION SERVICES RELOCATES

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Global Aviation Services has moved! The factory-authorized Twin Commander Service Center relocated in January to David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport (KDWH) from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH), where it had been based since its founding in 1987.

The new location at David Wayne Hooks, a privately-owned public-use general aviation airport in Tomball north of downtown Houston, is far more accessible to customers, especially those flying in, than was Houston’s huge airline airport, explained Doug Ray, president of the company. Global is operating out of Tomball Jet Center on the west side of KDWH.

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Global is an FAA-approved repair station authorized by Twin Commander Aircraft to provide the full range of inspection, repair, modification, and upgrade services and parts sales. Global also services avionics with an emphasis on Garmin equipment.

Global was founded by Jim Ray to provide brokered maintenance services, primarily to AiResearch (now Standard Aero) located across the runway. When Jim’s son Doug and his wife Sherrie took over the business in 2001, they brought maintenance in-house. Since then the Rays’ strategy has been a steady, deliberate growth with an emphasis on customer relationships and preserving aircraft.

The company specializes in turboprop and jet services, but Commander work has been its “bread and butter,” Doug said, especially during the sluggish economy of the past several years.

Two things customers appreciate about Global are its small size and stable workforce, Doug said. “We are a smaller shop, and customers are happy to see the same crew servicing their aircraft. We have a loyal work force that is very knowledgeable. One example is our landing gear overhauls—we have no repeat or warranty claims on the work we do.”

For more information, contact Global Aviation Services at 281-443-3533 or visit the website at http://www.global-aviation.net.

AOPA LOOKING INTO EXCESSIVE FBO FEES

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Think you’ve paid excessive fees at some FBOs in the past? AOPA would like to hear from you. AOPA says its review “has found indications that some fixed-base operators may be charging excessive fees for fuel and other services. According to federal law, prices and services at airports that receive funds under the Airport Improvement Program must be ‘fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory,’ but AOPA members have reported experiencing issues with things like landing fees, ramp fees, and fuel pricing,” mostly at larger airports where FBO consolidation has occurred. AOPA would like to hear from Twin Commander owners and pilots who believe they have been subject to excessive FBO charges.

To read more, and to contact AOPA with your experiences, go to: https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2017/january/13/high-prices-at-certain-fbos-under-review

PARTICIPANTS HELP GROW TWIN COMMANDER’S SOCIAL SIDE

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Twin Commander Aircraft has been notably social over the last two years. The proof is in the numbers, including a doubling of followers of Twin Commander’s Facebook page, Twitter postings, and Instagram photos and videos.

Social media is a powerful tool for engaging customers and enthusiasts, keeping them informed of the latest developments, sharing interesting trips and events, and making it possible to communicate instantly and directly.

Twin Commander thanks those who actively participate in its social media platforms, and encourages everyone to join in the conversations and sharing. To join in the social conversation and stay connected with all ‘things’ Twin Commander, click on one of the icons above.

December 2016

TWIN COMMANDER TRAINING MOVING TO ORLANDO

Ian Herzog-cropped

SimCom Aviation Training is closing its Dallas Training Center just north of DFW airport and moving Twin Commander simulators and training programs to its Lee Vista Orlando Training Center north of Orlando International Airport.

SimCom acquired the Twin Commander pilot training program from FlightSafety International in 2011, and moved it from FSI’s Houston center to SimCom’s newly acquired Dallas facility, which also supports other manufacturer make and model training programs. The decision to now close the Dallas center is the result of several factors, including lack of space to handle the larger full-flight simulators that SimCom plans for its future growth in other training programs, SimCom President Eric Hinson explained. Also, some of the Dallas center’s busier training programs are replicated at SimCom’s Lee Vista and Scottsdale, Arizona, facilities. “We’ll be able to adequately serve the market with two locations instead of three,” Hinson noted.

SimCom will operate two full-motion Commander simulators at its Lee Vista Orlando center including one configured as a JetProp 1000 with TPE331-10 engines, Garmin 530, and visual display with day and night depiction. The second is configured as a 690B with Garrett TPE331-5 engines, a Garmin 530 and 430 in the panel, and a visual display that duplicates both day and night conditions. The company will no longer use a fixed-base visual-motion device configured as a 690A. “It has limited capability, and we’ll have more than enough capacity using the two motion sims,” Hinson said.

The move to the Lee Vista Orlando Center should prove beneficial to the Twin Commander program because of better technical support—24 simulator technicians on site at Lee Vista compared to four at the Dallas Center—and dedicated software engineers on site, Hinson added. That support should improve the reliability of the two Twin Commander sims, an issue that Hinson acknowledged is a concern for customers. Improving reliability is one of the prime reasons for moving the program to the Orlando facility, Hinson said. “It will allow us to deliver a better product.”

SimCom is exploring options for upgrading the avionics in the two Twin Commander sims with newer-generation Garmin products including a G600, GTN750/650, or some combination, Hinson said. He asked Commander customers to weigh in on the decision. “I encourage the market to give us feedback,” he said. “We’d like to hear from customers.”

One factor that SimCom must consider when upgrading the avionics is that it serves more international than domestic Twin Commander customers, and many operate older models with analog cockpits.

SimCom’s Twin Commander pilot training options include a five-day initial, three-day recurrent, three-day second-in-command recurrent and a two-day express recurrent.

SimCom also offers several specialty courses including:

  • Crew resource management
  • High-altitude endorsement
  • Multi-engine instrument refresher
  • Pinch-hitter
  • Turbine transition for piston pilots

AIRCRAFT BELTS EXTENDS SALE

Twin Commander Aircraft has extended the 15-percent-off sale on replacement seatbelts for your Twin Commander. Aircraft Belts, Incorporated—ABI—a sister company to Twin Commander Aircraft, is a leading provider of aircraft crew restraint systems, and the company is offering a discount on any of its products to Twin Commander owners.

ABI can provide complete crew restraint systems (buckles, webbing, connectors, and attachments for two-, three- or four-point restraint systems), passenger restraints, medical restraints, rewebbing of your existing restraint belts, replating of your existing restraint hardware, and 24/7 AOG service. Twin Commander owners will receive a 15 percent discount on ABI products if your contact ABI Customer Service Manager Brian Harbaugh directly at bharbaugh@airbelts.com or 919.956.4385.

TWIN COMMANDER SWAG FOR THE HOLIDAY

Searching for a last-minute gift for your favorite Twin Commander enthusiast—or yourself? Check out the unique Land’s End Twin Commander-logoed apparel and promotional products here.

Shirts, sweaters, pants, blazers, shoes, outer wear, even maternity clothes can be ordered with the attractive Twin Commander logo sewn on. Promotional products include drinkware, bags, blankets and towels, and a host of other useful items.

Show your pride in Twin Commander. Check out the merchandise.

TWIN COMMANDER OWNERS: TELL US YOUR STORY


Where are you headed for the holidays? Will it be snow-covered mountains or a warm, sandy beach? How about a vibrant, colorfully lit city, or to Grandma’s house for family time? We’d like to know how Twin Commander owners and operators use their aircraft to take full advantage of the holiday season.

Even if you are staying put for the holidays, we’d like to know more about you. What model Twin Commander do you fly? How do you use it? What were the factors that led to the decision to go with a Twin Commander rather than another make and model? What have you done to the aircraft to upgrade it and keep it contemporary?

We’d like to hear your answers to those questions, and more. Tell us your Twin Commander story, and be sure to include some high-resolution photographs of the airplane, and yourself. Email Sarah Love at sarahl@mathesonmedia.com.

Thanks, and enjoy the holidays!