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!

November 2016

STRAP IN FOR SAVINGS WITH ABI


Feeling a little less restrained than you’d like to be? That’s restrained as in securely strapped into your Twin Commander seat for takeoff and landing, and turbulence encounters. If the seatbelts in your aircraft are on the worn side, or in need of an aesthetic makeover, talk to Aircraft Belts, Incorporated—ABI—a sister company to Twin Commander Aircraft.

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 you contact ABI Customer Service Manager Brian Harbaugh directly at bharbaugh@airbelts.com or 919-956-4385.

TWIN COMMANDER UNIVERSITY POSTPONED


We’ve been asking you in a series of polls where the next Twin Commander University should be held. The results pointed to one of several Texas cities as the favored venue.

For a variety of reasons, we’ve had to make the decision to postpone the University, to spring 2018. A rebounding economy means that more companies, associations, and groups are having conferences. That has made it difficult to find an appropriate venue that can accommodate the University in our preferred time frame.

Also, we’ve been very busy at Twin Commander Aircraft with various projects, and we want to make sure we can devote the time needed to plan and stage the kind of University experience you’ve come to expect.

So, please adjust your calendar for a spring 2018 University. We’ll be talking more about it in future issues of Flight Levels.

CK203 FOR RUDDER AND ELEVATOR TRIM POTENTIOMETER


Twin Commander Aircraft has released Custom Kit (CK) 203 pertaining to the elevator and rudder trim potentiometer. The kit applies to all JetProp models (690C, 690D, 695, 695A and 695B). The elevator and rudder trim potentiometer detects position and movement of pitch and yaw trim control surfaces, and sends a signal to the cockpit trim indicators.

CK203 provides approval, instructions and piece parts for the elevator and rudder trim potentiometer replacement (part numbers 85026-503 and 850633-503). Those parts no longer were available, and service centers repairing potentiometers were having to buy alternative parts that required trimming and FAA 337 field approval. No trimming or field approval is required when installing CK203.

Estimated time to remove old parts and replace them with CK203 is 1 hour for the rudder and 1.5 hours for the elevator.

For more information, contact an authorized Twin Commander service center.

SPECIAL TWIN COMMANDER HYPOXIA TRAINING COURSE


Dr. Paul Buza’s Southern AeroMedical Institute—SAMI—is offering to conduct its DeSat slow-onset hypoxia training course exclusively for Twin Commander pilots.

SAMI’s DeSat program teaches the importance of recognizing the dangers of slow-onset hypoxia. The SAMI program was developed as an evolution of the standard FAA model, which focuses on rapid/explosive decompression.

The training is conducted in SAMI’s high-altitude chamber while flying a Garmin G1000 and utilizing a Zodiac Aerospace Mask System. Each pilot is provided a video recording of the chamber experience, which begins at 10,000 feet and climbs up to 22,000 feet. The pilot is in communication with ATC while flying the Garmin G1000 simulator panel. In addition to ATC communication, Dr. Buza supervises the pilot’s oxygen saturation levels and pulse to help them safely recognize a minimum of three lifesaving sensations.

The FAA and international high-altitude training standards involve large groups in altitude chambers where the time of useful consciousness is three minutes or less. In SAMI’s program, pilots are able to feel the effects of slow-onset hypoxia over significantly longer periods of time in a safe training environment. The video provided to the pilots is an excellent tool to use through the years as recurrent training.

The DeSat course, conducted at SAMI’s facility in Melbourne, Florida, includes four hours of ground school (three hours on hypoxia, and one hour on fatigue), a chamber training flight, catered lunch, a hypoxia training video, a hypoxia fingerprint card, a review with Dr. Buza of a video of your chamber session, and an altitude chamber certificate.

The special Twin Commander course would begin at 1:00 p.m. on a Friday and conclude the next afternoon. The price will be deeply discounted for the group.

The course is limited to 12 people. For more information about SAMI’s slow-onset hypoxia training, visit http://sami-aeromedical.com/hypoxia-training-programs/advanced-chamber-program/ or contact Jenelle Buza, SAMI’s Project Director, at jlbuza.sami@gmail.com, telephone 321-676-3200.

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!

September 2016

‘FOR 90 PERCENT OF WHAT I DO IT’S THE PERFCT AIRPLANE’

Ian Herzog-croppedIan Herzog was destined to own a Commander. Many years ago, while a freshman at the University of Oklahoma, he heard that completion of a flight-training course could earn him two college credits, so he convinced his father to front the $320 fee and signed up. Flying in the OK City area, he saw plenty of Aero Commanders, produced in nearby Bethany, Oklahoma. To the young student in a Champ 7AC, flying a sleek new twin-engine Commander would be the ultimate achievement for a pilot.

Herzog moved to Southern California to earn a law degree, and he continued to train for advanced pilot ratings and certificates. His first airplane purchase was a Cessna Turbo 210, followed by a Pressurized Baron. But as a very active pilot who flew for business and pleasure, he continually looked higher up the food chain for a more capable airplane, meaning pressurized, and turbine powered. That search culminated in 1991 with the purchase of a Commander 840.

About five years ago he traded the 840 for a Commander 1000 that he has upgraded with new boots, refurbished interior, new paint, new multifunction display, and overhauled engines. Herzog logs several hundred hours a year in the 1000, mostly for business flights for his Los Angeles law firm, Herzog, Yuhas, Ehrlich & Ardell APC.

The 1000 has RVSM certification, which Herzog finds useful for topping weather and achieving maximum range when flying eastbound. He’s flown it to the east coast, Alaska, Europe, the Caribbean, “and many places in between, north and south.”

Herzog had briefly considered a King Air, but after comparing performance specifications with a Commander, he dismissed the thought. He’s also looked at moving into a Cessna Citation (he has a CE500-series type rating), but has decided that the numbers favor the Commander. Insurance for the jet would be considerably more expensive, and his mission, which includes operating out of short strips, favors the turboprop. “For 90 percent of what I do it is the perfect airplane,” he says.

TWIN COMMANDER OWNERS:
TELL US YOUR STORY

It’s instructive, interesting, and fun to read about people like Ian Herzog, which means people like you—owners, operators, and pilots of Twin Commanders. What model Twin Commander do they fly? How do they 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 they 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 photographs of the airplane, and yourself. Email Sarah Love at sarahl@mathesonmedia.com.

NEW CUSTOM KIT OFFERS CIRCUIT BREAKER UPGRADE

Twin Commander Aircraft is now offering improved remotely controlled circuit breakers for 690A- and B-model Twin Commanders. The new breakers, instructions for installing, and approval for the change, are contained in Custom Kit (CK) 202. (Eight different versions of CK 202 are available depending on aircraft serial number.)

With original equipment circuit breakers in short supply, Twin Commander Aircraft redesigned the components for improved performance, and packed them in a Custom Kit. The new circuit breakers are located in the contactor box in the aft fuselage behind the pressure bulkhead.

The estimate to remove existing remote circuit breakers and replace with the improved version is six hours.

For more information about CK 202, contact your authorized
Twin Commander Service Center.