December 2017

NEW BILL BRINGS CHANGES TO AIRCRAFT TAXATION

The tax bill signed by the president includes some important changes to taxation for aircraft purchases and use. The National Business Aviation Association Tax Committee has summarized the most important of those provisions as follows:

100-Percent Expensing (Bonus Depreciation)

A 2015 Act extended bonus depreciation for qualified property (including commercial and non-commercial aircraft used in a trade or business with a recovery period of 20 years or less) through 2019, with a phase-down over time from 50 percent to 30 percent.

Under the Tax Bill, however, the current law would be amended to provide for 100-percent expensing, which will allow taxpayers immediately to write off the cost of aircraft acquired and placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2023 (Jan. 1, 2024 for longer production period property and certain aircraft). Through the efforts of NBAA and a coalition of general aviation groups, the new law would permit 100 percent expensing by the taxpayer for both factory-new and pre-owned aircraft so long as it is the taxpayer’s first use of the aircraft.

For tax years after 2022, the bill provides for a phase down of bonus depreciation in increments of 20 percent each year for qualified aircraft acquired and placed in service before Jan. 1, 2027 (Jan. 1, 2028 for longer production period property and certain aircraft).

Like-Kind Exchanges

Under current law, when property (including business aircraft) held for productive use in the taxpayer’s trade or business or for investment is exchanged for property that is “like-kind,” a special rule under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 1031 provides that no gain or loss is recognized to the extent that the replacement property is also held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment purposes.

The Tax Bill modifies this special rule only to allow for like-kind exchanges of real property. As a result, taxpayers will no longer be eligible to defer taxable gain on the sale of aircraft via a like-kind exchange, and the gain would be subject to recapture for tax purposes. This provision is effective for transfers after 2017, and is a permanent repeal of application of IRC § 1031 rules to exchanges involving aircraft and other tangible personal property.

However, a transition rule preserves like-kind exchanges of personal property if the taxpayer has either disposed of the relinquished property or acquired the replacement property on or before Dec. 31, 2017.

For a more detailed summary of provisions in the new tax bill that affect aircraft owners and operators, see the upcoming issue of Flight Levels magazine.

NEED A NEW BELT FOR THE HOLIDAYS?

Still searching for that perfect holiday gift—for yourself? Here’s an idea: new seatbelts for your favorite Commander. And, there’s a special 25 percent off holiday sale going on.

A sister company to Twin Commander Aircraft, Aircraft Belts, Inc. (ABI), manufactures aircraft restraint systems for both crew and passengers, and is offering Commander owners a special discount on replacement restraints for their aircraft. Configurations range from traditional three-point restraints (lap and shoulder harness) to five-point crew restraints. Restraint buckles are available in lift-lever, push-button, and rotary configurations.

ABI also is offering replacement restraint systems that feature distinctive custom engraved lift lever lids featuring the Twin Commander head-on or profile view.

The restraint belts are available in hundreds of colors, so you’re sure to find one that matches your style and interior.

If the restraints in your aircraft 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.

For more information see aircraftbelts.com.

LAND’S END OFFERS TWIN COMMANDER SWAG


While you’re adding style to your aircraft interior, why not add some Twin Commander style to your own wardrobe, home, or office. Twin Commander Aircraft has a partnership with Land’s End to provide a full range of quality men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories to Commander owners, pilots, and enthusiasts. A variety of Twin Commander promotional products also are available from Land’s End.

To see Land’s End Twin Commander products, click here:

Depending on the clothing or promotional products you select from the site, you will be given the option of having the Twin Commander logo applied. In many cases, you can specify the logo color and where on the item it will be applied.

September 2017

MT CERTIFIES COMMANDER FIVE-BLADE COMPOSITE PROP


MT-Propeller Entwicklung GmbH has received FAA Supplemental Type Certification of its “Quiet Fan Jet” five-blade scimitar composite propeller on the Twin Commander 690/695 series with either the Honeywell TPE-331-5 or Dash 10T engine. The installation is already EASA certified.

MT-Propeller President Gerd Muehlbauer says the installation offers a number of advantages over conventional metal props:

  • An approximate 10-percent reduction in takeoff distance (MTOW, SL, ISA conditions).
  • Slightly faster cruise performance (3 to 4 kts at MTOW and ISA).
  • Cooler ITTs during engine start up, therefore less engine wear and reduced risk of hot start.
  • Lighter than the original propellers by 8 kg (17.7 lbs) per propeller assembly.
  • A reduction in Cabin noise of between 3-5 dB(A).
  • The STC complies with strict German noise regulations for unrestricted airport operations in Germany and other European countries.
  • Serious ramp appeal.

The MT-Propeller has no life limitation, and is repairable in the event of FOD-related damage. The prop has bonded nickel alloy leading edges for erosion protection. The five-blade prop also provides near vibration-free propeller operation.

TBO is at 3500 or six years, with plans to increase that to 4000 hours or six years. The retail price for a pair of five-bladed, constant-speed propellers with feathering and nickel leading edges is $98,500.00 (including exchange for the existing propellers and spinner assembly). Freight from Germany and Installation are additional.

The STC Kit includes two five-blade full-feathering constant-speed propellers, spinner assemblies, slip ring assemblies, and deice kits.

For more information contact Mike Laver at Air 1st in Aiken, South Carolina, the exclusive distributor for the MT Twin Commander props; telephone 803-641-9999 or email mike@air1st.com.

TWIN COMMANDER SERVICE CENTERS AT UPCOMING NBAA


Several Twin Commander factory-authorized service centers will have displays at the National Business Aviation Association Convention and Exhibition at the Las Vegas Convention Center October 10-12.

Banyan Air Service, based at the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Executive Airport, will be at the Avfuel collection of service providers in Booth 4314 and the FXE booth, N924. Executive Aircraft Maintenance, based at the Scottsdale, Arizona, Municipal Airport, will be at Booth #11438 in the Central Hall, and National Flight, based at the Toledo, Ohio, Express Airport, will be in Booth C10836.

If you will be at the NBAA Convention and Exhibition, plan to stop by these Twin Commander Service Centers to see what they might offer in the way of service and parts support for your Twin Commander, and in the case of Banyan and National, FBO services when flying to KFXE or KTOL.

WEATHER THROWS PUNCHES AT COMMANDER SERVICE CENTERS


Hurricanes Harvey and Irma dealt some damaging blows to Houston, Texas, and Naples, Florida, where two authorized Twin Commander Service Centers are located, but fortunately both escaped major damage.

Global, located in the Tomball Jet Center at David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport in northeast Houston, escaped the major flooding or damage that affected much of the Houston area, but the area surrounding the airport was flooded. Global was shut down for five days after Harvey because the water was high “all around the airport,” said Sherrie Ray, who along with her husband Doug own and operate Global. “It’s still slow going, but we are thankful we came through it okay,” she said.

Naples Jet Center at the Naples, Florida, Municipal Airport, took a near direct hit from Hurricane Irma that made landfall in Florida in early September with winds clocked at 143 mph at the airport. NJC had moved all the airplanes in its storage and maintenance hangars, and no staff were on site when the storm hit. The Category 4-strength winds destroyed the mesh doors on two large storage hangars owned by NJC, but no other significant damage was reported.

The company resumed operations several days after the storm. The two hangar doors will be replaced.

MORE OF WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR ON TWIN FACEBOOK PAGE


“All the news that fits” is an appropriate slogan for the hefty New York Times, but limited space in the Twin Commander eNews and Flight Levels magazine sometimes forces us to limit the photos or words accompanying a story. Well, to use another famous media slogan (this one from Paul Harvey), “the rest of the story” often can be found on Twin Commander Aircraft’s Facebook page.

For example, in last month’s eLetter we published a dramatic photo of a Shrike Commander in formation with an F-86 Sabre, P-51 Mustang, and T-28 Trojan taken during EAA’s 2017 AirVenture. The occasion was a tribute to the legendary Bob Hoover, who flew all of those aircraft in his post-war career.

We had more great photos of the formation, but no room in the eLetter to publish them, so they have been placed on Twin Commander’s Facebook page.

You can find lots of other interesting information and photos on the Facebook page, which has grown dramatically in popularity since it was launched two years ago—more than 1,000 people have “Liked” the page.

For all the news that fits Twin Commander, see our Facebook page.

August 2017

SHRIKE FEATURED IN HOOVER TRIBUTE

PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Slocum

The opening day of AirVenture 2017 was an experience Bruce Byerly will never forget. Byerly, of Byerly Aviation in Peoria, Illinois, was aboard the Shrike Commander that participated in the Bob Hoover Tribute flight on Monday, July 24. Hoover, who died October 25, 2016, was revered for his flying skills, which he demonstrated at air shows by performing one- and two-engine-out aerobatic routines in a Shrike. He performed the routine at Oshkosh for years, and continued to attend the event after he stopped performing. AirVenture paid tribute to Hoover this year with a fly-by and missing man formation featuring four of the North American/Rockwell aircraft he flew—an F-86 Sabre, T-28 Trojan, P-51 Mustang, and the Shrike.

PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Slocum

Months before AirVenture Byerly was asked if he knew anyone who could provide a Shrike for the planned AirVenture Tribute flight. “I’ll be there!” he answered. Byerly called Pat Hossman, Jr., to whom he had sold a Shrike, and Hossman offered his airplane for the AirVenture event. Byerly picked it up in North Carolina and arrived at OSH Sunday evening. The next day all the pilots involved in the Tribute flight met for a detailed briefing, and then took off for a formation photo shoot followed by two low-altitude formation fly-bys for the tens of thousands of AirVenture spectators. On the second pass the P-51 slowly pulled up and out of the formation in a missing man tribute to Hoover.

Byerly flew in the Shrike with veteran air show pilot Doug Rozendaal. “We made a plan, and it was executed like clockwork with military precision,” Byerly said of the Tribute.

“It was an honor and a privilege,” Byerly said of the experience. “Bob Hoover is my hero. He was there from the birth of flight through the jet age, and those guys are few and far between. It was an honor to have known him.”

EAGLE CREEK DISPLAYS COMMANDER 1000 AT AIRVENTURE

Eagle Creek Aviation Services was on the ground at AirVenture with a prominent display featuring a Commander 1000 fitted with the new Garmin 950 electronic panel. Eagle Creek, a regular participant in AirVenture, occupies a spot in the manufacturers’ display area that is on the main thoroughfare adjacent to air show center. Thousands of people walk by the display daily, and it is a preferred spot for watching the air show, especially the Friday night air show.

Eagle Creek also hosted a Tuesday evening barbecue for customers at its RV compound in Camp Scholler, a large campground just to the west of KOSH Runway 18-36 that operates only during AirVenture.

Many companies host evening social get-togethers during AirVenture, and Eagle Creek plans to make the barbecue an annual event.

PERSONALIZE YOUR COMMANDER BELTS

Aircraft restraints—seat belts—typically don’t get much consideration when it comes to adding style and presentation to your 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 for both crew and passengers. Configurations range from traditional three-point restraints (lap and shoulder harness) to five-point crew restraints. Restraint buckles are available in lift-lever, push-button, and rotary configurations.

ABI also is offering replacement restraint systems that feature distinctive custom engraved lift lever lids featuring the Twin Commander head-on or profile view.

If the restraints in your aircraft 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.

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

LAND’S END OFFERS TWIN COMMANDER SWAG

You have the option of having the Twin Commander logo applied at this phase of your purchase.

While you’re adding style to your aircraft interior, why not add some Twin Commander style to your own wardrobe, home, or office. Twin Commander Aircraft has a partnership with Land’s End to provide a full range of quality men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories to Commander owners, pilots, and enthusiasts. A variety of Twin Commander promotional products also are available from Land’s End.

To see Land’s End Twin Commander products, go to:
https://business.landsend.com/store/twin_commander_aircraft/

Depending on the clothing or promotional products you select from the site, you will be given the option of having the Twin Commander logo applied. In many cases, you can specify the logo color and where on the item it will be applied.

SUMMER FLIGHT LEVELS IS IN PRINT


The Summer edition of Twin Commander’s Flight Levels magazine has been published and distributed to subscribers and authorized service centers.

The issue features a profile of Commander 980 owner Steve Binnette, a senior American Airlines pilot who, with his wife, owns and operates a business requiring frequent travel to a variety of U.S. cities. Binnette, who had flown piston Commanders as a young freight pilot, says that when he went looking to upgrade from a Cessna 421, “My earlier experience with Commanders left quite an impression on me. I wanted to get back into a Commander.”

The issue’s “Service Center Profile” features Naples Jet Center, a busy Twin Commander Service Center in Naples, Florida. The accompanying “Commanding Profile” is on Scott Dillon, Executive Vice President of Naples Jet Center and its parent company, Eagle Creek Aviation Services in Indianapolis. Dillon rose from a newly certificated A&P mechanic at Eagle Creek to managing all the company’s properties, which also includes Montgomery Aviation at Indianapolis Executive Airport.

In his “From the Factory” column, Twin Commander LLC President Matt Isley writes about how the concept of reinvention realizes its highest form in Twin Commanders. Advances in airframe, engine, and avionics technology and service have kept Twin Commanders on the sharp edge of the turboprop market, Isley says “Change…is an absolute necessity if you want an airplane that keeps pace with contemporary standards of performance, comfort, and reliability.”

If you do not currently receive Flight Levels, you can sign up for a free subscription at www.twincommander.com

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

FLO

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?

IMG_2635-728x406

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.