Author Archives: marcel

February/March 2023

Wilson Visits Service Centers

One of the most valuable aspects of a Twin Commander Service Center is a close connection to the factory. Technicians receive factory training, use factory approved methods, and are the exclusive providers of factory parts. The people make all that possible. Last week Twin Commander chief Bob Wilson got a chance to strengthen those connections with site visits to three Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Centers. He spent time at Winner Aviation in Youngstown, Ohio, National Flight Services in Toldeo, Ohio, and Eagle Creek Aviation near Indianapolis. “Our fleet is only as strong as the people who support and maintain it,” Wilson said. “It was my pleasure to meet so many dedicated professionals who have the passion and expertise that make our community so strong.” Wilson said he was impressed by the facilities at each location, but more than that, it was the history of supporting Twin Commanders and the incredible depth of knowledge that really astounded him. “I have complete faith in our Service Centers to do what’s best for the operator, and I am excited to do our best for them from the factory.” You can find a full list of Factory Authorized Service Centers online.

Winter Flight Levels Out Now

Flying is delicate balance of regulations, operating practices, and personal procedures. While the regulations leave no wiggle room, that’s not always true of operating practices and procedures, which are more local or airplane-specific. Then there’s avionics, which combine everything into one—sometimes very confusing—mix. In the latest issue of Flight Levels Online, out now, up your Garmin game by learning how to better program departures and arrivals, two of the more difficult functions of the box. Through a combination of in-flight experience and knowledge gained through reading and watching videos, you can become more comfortable in the buttonology, which leads to more consistent procedures, and ultimately safer operations. Read this story, and more in the latest issue.

An Airplane with a Story

You are obviously drawn to the Commander because of the performance, the range, the useful load, and the way it makes you feel when you fly it. But, we know you love the history and the lore of the airplane, too. There’s no denying that flying a descendant of one of the first certificated civilian twin engine airplanes, one that served as Air Force One, and of course, one that wowed audiences for years through the deft hands of Bob Hoover has a special place in aviation history. You can read the whole story in Dave Duntz’s fantastic book, Stars and Commanders: The Life and Vision of Ted Smith. Duntz had unrestricted access to Smith’s files, his unpublished memoir, and more. Through his research and dozens of first-hand accounts, he creates the ultimate story of the origins of the Aero Commander and its many subsequent iterations. Anyone who is a fan of the airplane will love the book, which can be purchased online.

January 2023

Bob Wilson Takes the Helm

Longtime aerospace professional Bob Wilson has taken the head of Twin Commander Aircraft’s business line within parent company Ontic. The job also includes the responsibilities for the type certificate of the Metro/Merlin range of aircraft, which is now within Ontic’s combined type certificate group based in Creedmoor, North Carolina. Wilson came to the position from Elbit Systems, where he served as the commercial aviation services director. Wilson has experience in hands-on maintenance, maintenance management, engineering, sales, and management. He will be responsible for all areas of Twin Commander’s business, including engineering, sales, service, and support.

Wilson’s appointment to the top job is one of a number of changes Ontic made to Twin Commander staffing as part of its goal to efficiently combine the Metro/Merlin and Twin Commander type certificates under one roof. Pam Moore is now the customer account manager, interfacing directly with customer support needs, while Pam Brown now focuses exclusively on purchasing. Conan Fox, an experienced engineer for Metro/Merlin, will lend engineering support to Twin Commander, especially as the company searches for a new full-time replacement for Alan Wright, who retired last year.

Twin Commander Seeking Tech Rep

Supporting customers, using detective skills to find solutions to complex problems, and identifying areas for improvement. This describes a typical day for most maintenance managers, and it’s also a good skillset for Twin Commander Aircraft’s next technical support engineer.

The factory is seeking a technical support engineer to serve as the primary contact for all technical support tasks related to Twin Commander. The candidate will also act as a primary member of the Service Difficulty Review Board. As the conduit between customers and factory engineering resources, the technical support engineer is in a unique position to help generate improvements and solutions that help the fleet.

According to Ontic’s job posting, the ideal candidate will have a degree in engineering and 15 years of aircraft experience, or 20 years of relevant experience. Hands-on knowledge of Twin Commanders is a plus, as is knowledge of TPE-331 engines. Most importantly, the right person will use a customer-focused attitude to solve challenges by utilizing original drawings and documents.

You can find the job posting online, and apply directly via the website.

Read the Latest Flight Levels Online

If you’ve seen a Twin Commander on YouTube, there’s a good chance it’s been Tim Timmons flying. Timmons is the man behind Flying Wild AZ, a channel where he features dozens of videos about his life flying a 690B for Ponderosa Aviation. The channel has videos about what it’s like to fly medevac, various Twin Commander systems, and more. You can find the full story in the winter issue of Flight Levels Online, available now. While you’re there, learn why it’s important to share good news from component inspections, get the latest on 2023 tax incentives, and brush up on the gotchas of programming  arrivals and departures. You can find these stories and many more in the latest issue of Flight Levels Online.

Share Your Content

Pilots love to share their passion for flight. Whether it’s great photos or video like Flying Wild AZ, we want to see what you’ve shot. Share your fun, educational, or awe-inspiring content with us and we’ll share it with the rest of the community so that everyone can experience the amazement and joy of flying a Twin Commander. Send your photos and video links of your content to [email protected] and thank you!

November /December newsletter

Legacy Aviation Services Filled with Commanders

November has been a busy month for Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center Legacy Aviation Services. The Oklahoma City-based facility has worked on 11 different Twin Commanders over the past two weeks, with no signs of slowing down. Legacy’s RJ Gomez said the customers had come in from all over North America, including three from Mexico, and others from the West Coast, New York, Florida, and Arizona. Gomez attributes the recent success to Legacy’s central location, their reputation and expertise in maintaining the airplane, and their on-site hydraulic component repair and overhaul facility. The company also stocks an extensive array of Twin Commander parts, which makes 150-hour inspections faster and more efficient. “We’re serving our customers well from our in-house parts inventory,” he said. “And we’re doing our best to promote Commanders all over the world.”

Byerly Aviation Maintains Focus on Twin Commanders

Owners and operators often lament that there is a lack of specialization in aviation, especially amongst shops. Technicians are generalists who don’t fully understand the airplane and how to troubleshoot problems, the thinking goes. That’s why the Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center Network is such a compelling resource, and why Byerly Aviation is a great example of how institutional knowledge and a focus on serving a specific community can raise the bar. The privately owned full-service FBO has been involved with Twin Commanders for nearly 70 years, and the commitment continues today. CEO Scott Welch is an accomplished pilot and is passionate about the future of the company, and serving Twin Commanders owners and operators. “There’s never been an aircraft made to replace the Commander,” he said. The airplane still makes up 80 percent of Byerly’s maintenance business, and he doesn’t see that changing. “We’re Commander people.” You can read the full interview and much more, in the latest Flight Levels Online.

Ike’s Bird Helps Celebrate Air Force History

Every Commander has history, but only one can say it flew a president. Dubbed Ike’s Bird, a Twin Commander L-26B now owned and operated by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), was used by President Dwight Eisenhower to reach his farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The airplane, which was restored a few years ago, was asked to help celebrate the recent seventy-fifth anniversary of the Air Force at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Andrews is of course home to the 89th Special Missions Air Wing, the unit that operates a fleet of executive aircraft, including the Boeing 747s that currently serve as Air Force One. The wing operated Ike’s Bird as an executive transport from 1955 to 1960, and was one of a handful the Air Force ordered for the job. Since Eisenhower was a pilot, he was known to personally fly the airplane to and from the farm. The CAF owns and operates the only flying example of an L-26B used by the unit, but others exist in museums.

Name That Model

Turbine engines, a large picture window, and a shorter wing. All these are clues that can help narrow down the choices for this issue’s Name That Model, but the most important detail can’t be seen in the photo. Yes, we know it’s cheating, but even so,

Can you name that model?

October/November 2022

Byerly Aviation is Built on Twin Commanders

As one of the only privately owned full-service FBOs at a large airport, Byerly Aviation maintains a unique position in the market. And they got there in part by focusing on Twin Commanders. As one of the most experienced Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Centers, Byerly brings together its long history of selling, servicing, and overhauling every model of Twin Commander to benefit operators and bring value to the fleet. In the latest issue of Flight Levels we sit down with Scott Welch, the pilot turned turn-around specialist who helped inject new life into the business during the economic downturn of the early 2000s. Welch is all-in on Twin Commanders and sees serving the community as integral to the future of the business. The conversation with Welch is just the beginning. In the latest issue you can find stories on new faces in the community, how to pick one speed to increase proficiency, reminders about engine service requirements, a trip to Europe, and much more. Check out the latest issue online.

Stay Up-to-date with Technical Documents

Maintenance management is a fun and challenging part of the owner/operator experience. Keeping proper records is only one side of the equation. Pilots and technicians must also be sure they are complying with the latest guidance from the manufacturer. This can come in the form of flight manual supplements, service manual updates, service letters, and more. Twin Commander Aircraft maintains a list of current service bulletins, service letters, airworthiness directives, and all other required maintenance and service information. Head to and click on Technical Resources under the Ownership menu, or scroll all the way down to “Resources” in the footer of the website to see all the technical documents available. To subscribe or order single documents, reach out to your preferred Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center. The parts department will be happy to guide you through the process.

‘Spend and Receive’ on Dorsal Fin Custom Kit

Spend a little and get a big discount. While supplies last, get 20 percent off the list price on Custom Kit CK200, a modern dorsal fin replacement. The kit is quick and easy to install and includes a composite laminate dorsal shell with an integrated moisture dispersion system. In 2011, Twin Commander Aircraft issued a Maintenance Alert on the factory dorsal fin of the 690A, 690B, 690C, and 695A models for excessive corrosion. Moisture can become trapped under the original dorsal fin, causing potential problems in that area. Custom Kit CK200 alleviates the issue, and depending on the condition of your current dorsal fin, there’s aesthetic benefits as well. Contact your preferred Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center for pricing and to schedule your installation.

Naples Jet Center Weathers Hurricane Ian

“We’re up and in business,” said Bruce Byerly, owner of Naples Jet Center.Despite the massive damage Hurricane Ian inflicted throughout Southwest Florida, and despite several feet of water covering the Naples airport, the Jet Center was able to reopen soon after the storm passed and the water receded. Byerly said only one of 10 of their hangars stayed dry, and lots of ground equipment was damaged. But great foresight on the team’s part meant that all the airplanes were either flown out or moved, and none sustained damage. The team took one day to clean up the facilities, and were promptly back in business serving customers.

Name That Model

Identifying this classic isn’t easy. It’s one of two visually identical piston models. The three intakes on the engine nacelle should help narrow it down.
Can you name that model?