GRAND RENAISSANCE PROGRESSES
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The 38th Grand Renaissance Twin Commander to be built is well underway at Eagle Creek Aviation Services in
Indianapolis. The Grand Renaissance is being prepared for the Kern County, California, Fire Department, which
plans to use it in an aerial command and control role for fighting wildfires in the county.
The Grand Renaissance Twin Commander is the world’s only factory-authorized and monitored twin-turboprop airframe
restoration program. It represents the only option for a buyer interested in a like-new airplane at a price
that is far less than even the least-expensive new-production twin turboprop, and most single-engine turboprops as well.
That alone is unique, but what also distinguishes the Grand Renaissance is the Honeywell TPE331-10T engine upgrade
that significantly boosts climb and cruise performance. The Dash 10T—essentially a standard TPE331-5 engine fitted
with an upgraded hot section that increases the engine’s thermodynamic rating—also has a 5,000-hour TBO and a single
mid-life hot-section inspection. The final major upgrade in a Grand Renaissance is retrofitting an optional
state-of-the-art Meggitt MAGIC electronic panel and 2100 Digital Flight Control System, which Kern County has chosen
for its airplane.
The Grand Renaissance program begins with a stock Twin Commander turboprop (690A/B, or one of the JetProp models—a 690C/D or 695/695A).
The airplane is completely stripped of engines, interior, and paint, and subjected to an extremely thorough inspection that covers the airframe and all systems and components. It is then reassembled with a combination of overhauled and new parts and components; upgraded engines, avionics, and electronic instrumentation; and new paint and interior.
The finished airplane is inspected by Twin Commander Aircraft to confirm that it meets factory specifications and quality standards, and only then is it released to the customer.
The entire process, which takes some 8,000 man-hours to complete, produces an airplane that looks and flies like new, but does so with better-than-new 300 knots true airspeed performance. It is delivered with a one-year, 200-hour parts and labor warranty or optional two-year 400-hour warranty.
As of this writing, Eagle Creek reports that the lower wing skin panels have been replaced on Kern County’s Grand Renaissance following installation of a new lower spar cap. The airframe is being prepared for installation of the Dash 10T engines. Following inspection and treatment of the upper wing skin area, new steel straps will be installed—all part of SB 237. New deice boots have been fitted to wing and tail leading edges, and new fuel cells were ready to install. Landing gear components also were being installed.
In the cockpit, work is underway on the new instrument/avionics panel. At this stage all new wiring is being installed prior to the arrival of the new Meggitt electronic hardware. Kern County’s Grand Renaissance also will be fitted with specialty communications radios that will enable an observer to direct firefighting efforts in the air and on the ground.
Other phases of the project underway include replacement of all control cables, preparation of new winglets for installation, and installation of a nose-mounted recognition light kit.
The project is slated to be completed this fall.
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