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.

July 2016

EAGLE CREEK IN THE THICK OF AIRVENTURE

G1000-Twin-Commander
Eagle Creek Commander 695A on display at AirVenture 2016

Every pilot knows that EAA’s AirVenture is the largest aviation gathering in the world, by a proverbial nautical mile. The combination week-long fly-in, daily airshow, and trade show happens at the end of July every year, and the 2016 edition may rank among the most successful yet, at least in terms of attendance. Organizers extended the aircraft parking area adjacent to Runway 36/18 to the south, well past the runway threshold, and by day two all parking spots on the airport were taken. Arriving aircraft were being sent to Fond du Lac and Appleton for lack of camping and tie-down space at Oshkosh.

Wittman Regional Airport is a veritable aviation city during AirVenture, teeming with people, displays, and airplanes—airplanes with pop-up tents set up under or beside their wings, airplanes on static display, and a constantly changing parade of aircraft—from certified production models to auto gyros, helicopters, ultralights, seaplanes, and squadrons of warbirds in formation—making endless circuits around the pattern beginning at 6:00 am and continuing nonstop until last light.

And in the thick of it this year is a gorgeous Twin Commander 695A Model 1000, the centerpiece of Eagle Creek Aviation Service’s AirVenture display near show center. Eagle Creek recently refurbished the Commander with a Garmin G950 panel and S-TEC 2100 Digital Flight Control System, freshly overhauled engines, a new interior, an Enviro air cycle machine conversion, and custom paint.

This is the second straight year that Eagle Creek has completed a G950 Twin Commander and delivered it to a customer at Oshkosh. It is going to a client who commutes from Seattle to San Francisco and New York, and who appreciates the versatility, reliability, and low costs for which the Twin Commander 1000 is known. This is the seventh G950 Commander that Eagle Creek has completed.

G1000-Twin-Commander
Garmin G950 in 695A Commander at AirVenture

As appealing as the Commander was to show-goers, the main attraction during the week was a Martin Mars, a gigantic four-engine, World War II-era water bomber that has been fighting fires in British Columbia up until a year ago. Coulson Flying Tankers brought the 200-foot-wingspan, 10,000-horsepower flying boat, named “Hawaii Mars,” to AirVenture and based at the nearby EAA Seaplane Base as the Mars has no landing gear. It did fly-bys every other day, releasing its 72,000-gallon load of fire-retardant-injected water that it scooped up from nearby Lake Winnebago.

G1000-Twin-Commander
Gigantic Martin Mars at EAA Seaplane Base at AirVenture.

“Hawaii” and its sister ship, “Philippines,” also owned and operated by Coulson, are the last of the five Mars built at the end of the war. Coulson retired them in favor of Lockheed C-130s, reportedly at the insistence of the BC government, which contracts with Coulson for fire-fighting services. Coulson is willing to part with one of the Mars for a mere $3.5 million. Or, if you are a bargain shopper, you can pick up both for just $5 million. You’ll definitely have bragging rights to the largest airplane on the field.

SPEAKING OF BARGAINS – CK190 On Sale!

Twin Commander Aircraft has a deal for you. The new CK190 LED cabin flood-lighting system is on sale. From now until Labor Day the kit is 10 percent off. These LED lights positioned on each side of the headliner provide brighter, more even lighting in the Commander passenger cabin. The LED technology produces low heat from the lamps and improves longevity.

Installation is simple and quick—the four existing power supply units are replaced with four new plug-and-play units, and eight LED bulbs, each with a printed circuit board, are installed in existing fluorescent bulb receptacles. That’s it—no wiring harnesses to remove and replace, no major component replacement.

CK190 is available for all 690A and later Twin Commander models. The discount applies only to in-stock inventory, which is extremely limited, and as noted the sale ends this coming Labor Day. Don’t delay, order your cabin lighting system upgrade kit today from your authorized Twin Commander Service Center.

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?


Every Twin Commander owner has a story. What’s yours? We are looking for Twin Commander owners and operators with an interesting story to tell—something special about your aircraft; great places you’ve flown to; how you use your Commander in your business and/or personal life; other kinds of flying you do. If you have an interesting story or two to tell, please let us know. Go to What’s your story? and tell us something about yourself, your airplane, your flying.

WHERE WILL 2017 TWIN COMMANDER UNIVERSITY PLAY OUT?
50 CANDIDATES NARROWED DOWN TO FIVE.


As you know, we’ve been polling Twin Commander owners and operators about where you’d like to see the 2017 Twin Commander University take place. First we asked which region of the country you’d prefer for the spring event (typically the University convenes in the month of May), and the winners were the Northeast and Southwest. Last month we asked you to narrow the regions down to specific cities, and the top vote-getters were all in the Southwest: Santa Fe, New Mexico; San Antonio and Austin, Texas; and Scottsdale and Sedona, Arizona.

Now it’s time to cast your vote for one of those five cities. We’ve been to Scottsdale a number of times and it is a great place to have our biennial owner/operator/pilot get-together. Sedona, north of Scottsdale, is surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls, and pine forests. It’s noted for its mild climate and vibrant arts community.

Santa Fe is a wonderful city and area of the country—the high desert with a mountain backdrop, steeped in Native American history and culture, and a world-class center of art and artists.

San Antonio is the most-visited city in Texas, and for good reason. There’s the Alamo, of course, and also the Riverwalk—a canal that loops through downtown that is lined with restaurants, shops, music, and beautiful landscaping. Austin, the state’s capital city at the foot of Texas hill country, is young and progressive and known as the “Live Music Capital of the World.”

Any of these five cities will make for a great setting for the 2017 University, but we need you help in choosing which one. Cast your ballot today.

Santa Fe at night

STATEWIDE GOES WITH WHAT IT KNOWS

G1000-Twin-CommanderDave Ellison grew up and learned to fly in Oklahoma City, so it was not at all unusual for him to be around Commanders, which were manufactured in nearby Bethany. Dave and his brother went on to found Statewide Service Center, which distributes farm supplies to customers within a 500- to 600-mile radius of Oklahoma City. Last year they decided that, instead of chartering aircraft—mostly King Airs—to meet with customers, they would buy and fly their own. But instead of a King Air, the company bought an airplane they knew to be “fast, very efficient, and capable of short-field takeoffs and getting into places others can’t.” They bought a Commander 840.

They base the airplane at Legacy Aviation Services at Clarence E. Page Airport in Yukon, Oklahoma, east of Oklahoma City, not far from where it was built. Legacy recently finished a complete refurbishment of the interior in Statewide’s Commander, and updated the panel with Garmin GTN750 and 650 flight management systems and Garmin 345 and 335 ADS-B-compliant transponders. The update slimmed the Commander down about 80 pounds, and the new all-leather interior looks and feels first-class luxurious and comfortable, so much so that Dave, who still is an active pilot, prefers to let the company’s professional pilot do the flying while he relaxes in the passenger cabin, enjoying the view out the landscape windows.

Read more about Statewide’s 840 in the upcoming Flight Levels.

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

Every Twin Commander owner has a story. What’s yours? We are looking for Twin Commander owners and operators with an interesting story to tell—something special about your aircraft; great places you’ve flown to; how you use your Commander in your business and/or personal life; other kinds of flying you do. If you have an interesting story or two to tell, please let us know.

Go to What’s Your Story form on our website and tell us something about yourself, your airplane, your flying.

SPECIAL DISCOUNT ON INBOARD DEICE BOOTS


Who needed a calendar to remind us that at 6:34 p.m. ET on June 20, summer officially began—plenty of the country was already sweltering with mid-summer temperatures and humidity. What better time, then, to think about airframe icing. After all, when you are flying in the flight levels, airframe icing knows no seasons.

Ice protection equipment on Twin Commanders includes inflatable wing leading edge deice boots outboard of the engine nacelles. Did you know that Twin Commander offers a Custom Kit (CK 158) containing parts to install inflatable boots inboard of the engine nacelles? What’s more, the kit is on sale.

CK 158 contains hardware, plumbing, and approvals for installation of inboard deice boots for models 690, 690A, 690B, 690C, and 695 Twin Commanders. (The boots are obtained separately through an authorized Twin Commander service center.) Adding inboard boots means you’ll have deice protection along the full length of the wing. The boots also add to your Twin Commander’s appearance.

CK 158 is on sale for just $1,175, but only for a limited time. For more information, contact your authorized Twin Commander service center and ask about CK 158-501 for the 690 and 690A/B, or CK 158-1 for the 690C and 695A.

TWIN COMMANDER AT
AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH


The world’s largest fly-in, airshow, and general aviation trade show—EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh—is coming up Monday through Sunday July 25-31, and Twin Commander will be there. Eagle Creek Aviation Services, a factory-authorized Twin Commander service center in Indianapolis, plans to have a fully refurbished Commander 1000 on display on the main show grounds just southeast of Boeing Plaza and north of the Vintage Red Barn at booth 395. The Commander will be equipped with the new Garmin 950 multi-display electronic panel and S-TEC 2100 digital flight control system.

Representatives from Eagle Creek and its sister company and factory-authorized service center, Naples Jet Center, will be on hand to show the airplane and answer questions.

WHERE IN THE WORLD—OK, WHERE IN THE U.S.—WILL TCU LAND?


We’re gearing up for the next Twin Commander University, and we need your help in identifying potential venues. In last month’s Twin Commander eNewsletter we asked you which region in the country would be ideal for the next University. Factors to be considered are that it will be held in the spring (most likely late April/early May) of 2017, and the last University took place in the Southeastern U.S. (Savannah, Georgia).

The top vote-getting regions in last month’s University poll were the Northeast and the Southwest. This month we’re asking you to narrow the choice to a specific state. From there, we’ll look at candidate cities as sites for the 2017 Twin Commander University.


Thanks for participating.