Author Archives: Marcel Colon

April 2019

Maintenance Training Session a Success

One of the great benefits of owning and operating a Twin Commander is a robust network of Factory Authorized Service Centers. Service center maintenance is of a high standard in part because maintenance technicians attend type-specific training. The training, offered twice a year through Eagle Creek Aviation Services, is an eight-day course specific to the various models of Twin Commanders. The spring session was a big success, with two mechanics taking part in an on-site class at Eagle Creek, and nine attending at an operator’s facility in Canada. Mike Grabbe, a Twin Commander expert, wrote the course and teaches it through a series of classroom and hands-on aids. “Most mechanics are tactile learners,” he said. The sessions held at Eagle Creek in Indianapolis have the advantage of accessing aircraft in all states of repair or refurbishment. While the class is geared toward maintainers, Grabbe has had pilots attend in the past. He said most attendees have been techs for at least two years.

The next class is scheduled for November 4 through 13. Contact Mike Grabbe at [email protected] for more information.

Have You Seen the Latest Issue of Flight Levels Online?


What do a former professional basketball player, a flight to the Galapagos Islands, and the Garmin G950 have in common? They are all features in the latest issue of Flight Levels Online. The spring issue is out now, featuring John Hummer, a former NBA basketball player, successful venture capitalist, and now passionate Twin Commander owner.
Read about Hummer’s interesting use of the airplane.
Also in this issue:

and more.

Twin Commander Supporting Fleet with Free SB241 Kits


Twin Commander owners who have not yet complied with Service Bulletin 241 affecting certain models can now receive a free service bulletin compliance kit from Twin Commander aircraft. The kit has a value of $16,325 and includes the major components necessary to complete SB241, which is a compliance method for FAA Airworthiness Directive 2013-09-05 addressing potential cracking in the aft pressure bulkhead. SB241, and the A.D., apply to 690/A/B model Twin Commanders. Later-model Twin Commanders –– 690C/Ds and 695/A/Bs –– have a different wing-to-fuselage design and are not affected by the service bulletin or A.D.

To be eligible for a donated kit an owner must acquire the kit and have it installed at one of 13 Factory Authorized Twin Commander Service Center facilities, a worldwide network dedicated to Twin Commander service, sales, and support. Only two kits are available, so hurry to get yours and upgrade your Twin Commander.

Here’s a list of Factory Authorized Twin Commander Service Centers.

Owners Excited About Possible Twin Commander Gathering

Last month we asked how likely you are to attend a Twin Commander gathering, the planning for which is just beginning. Based on the strong response—53 percent said they were very likely to attend and an additional 37 percent said they were likely to attend—Twin Commander Aircraft has decided to continue detailed planning for the gathering. Stay tuned for announcements on dates and location.

Feb/Mar 2019

Twin Commander Reaffirms Commitment to Fleet Safety with 2 Free SB241 Kits

FAA Airworthiness Directive 2013-09-05 is a mandatory maintenance item for owners of Twin Commander 690/A/B models to repair cracks in the aft pressure bulkhead. Owners who have not yet complied with Service Bulletin 241, the AD’s compliance method, can now receive a free kit donated from Twin Commander Aircraft. The kit has a value of $16,325 and includes the major structural components necessary to complete the service bulletin, which addresses potential cracking in the aft pressure bulkhead.

To be eligible for a donated kit an owner must order the kit and have it installed at one of 14 Factory Authorized Twin Commander Service Center facilities, a worldwide network dedicated to Twin Commander service, sales, and support. There will only be two kits made available for this offer. Here’s a list of Factory Authorized Twin Commander Service Centers . Contact your Factory Authorized Service Center for complete offer details.

Twin Commander Now Offering an Extended Windshield Warranty


Twin Commander Aircraft is offering owners a significantly extended pro-rated factory warranty on replacement windshields purchased and installed through the Factory Authorized Service Center network. All new windshield purchases and installations completed at one of 14 Factory Authorized Service Centers worldwide will come with a 36-month pro-rata warranty that now almost doubles the previous warranty values.

Here’s a list of Factory Authorized Twin Commander Service Centers.

POLL: Come Gather with Other Twin Commander Owners

Twin Commander Aircraft is considering holding a gathering later this year of owners, service providers, and supporters of Twin Commanders. The event is expected to take place in September or October in a location that is easy to reach from both coasts.

The gathering would feature social events with other Twin Commander owners and operators, informative Twin Commander operating and maintenance sessions, and an airport display of owner and service center aircraft. It would take place over three days including travel time to and from the event.

View Poll

A Twin Commander in the Texas Hills

The Flying L Ranch was once a thriving fly-in community in the Texas Hills north of San Antonio. Unfortunately for pilots, the Flying L is now a resort and dude ranch sans landing strip, although the original clubhouse in the photo still stands. Do you know more about this airplane, or what brought the airplane to the Ranch?

Share it on Twin Commander’s Facebook page or email [email protected].

January 2019

Sultans of Service

With a legacy airframe, maintenance and support are the keys to retaining utility and value. As a Twin Commander owner the most comprehensive, informed, and experienced service you can get is at a factory authorized service center. The Twin Commander service center network is unmatched in supporting all Twin Commander model airframes, and it’s why the airplane has continued to thrive for decades. Read the latest issue of Flight Levels Online to find out more about what makes service centers special, where you can find them, and why it’s a great idea to take your airplane to an authorized service center.

The Thin Red Line

With so many different operating parameters, keeping tabs on what a turbine engine is doing can be quite difficult. That’s why Honeywell developed the SRL, or single red line computer. Turbine inlet temperature is the primary limiting factor in a turbine engine, but a standard temperature probe can’t survive in that environment. Like many turbines the TPE331 uses exhaust gas temperature as the major performance parameter. The relationship between TIT and EGT is calculated in the background using the single red line computer, and then displayed to the pilot. Want to know more? Check out Honeywell Engines Program Pilot Advisor Robert Erlick’s story in the latest issue of Flight Levels Online. 

Training the Techs

Twin Commander technician training is coming up. The next session will be held March 11 to 20 at Eagle Creek Aviation Services in Indianapolis. The course is taught by Eagle Creek’s Mike Grabbe, who has decades of experience both working on and teaching others how to maintain Twin Commanders. Although the course is open to all maintenance technicians, and even owners, it’s imperative for factory authorized service center technicians to attend. That’s because part of the commitment of being a factory authorized service center includes sending technicians to formal Twin Commander maintenance training. And it’s why owners have the assurance they are receiving excellent support when using an authorized service center. The eight-day course covers everything a technician needs to know to begin working on the Twin Commander, including documentation, systems overview, and more.

For more information contact Mike Grabbe at 317-293-6935 or [email protected]

Fun Fact

From reader John Wood: “Some pilots may think of the propeller as a fan, producing thrust and pushing the plane through the air. The British have the right idea in calling the propeller an ‘airscrew.’ At cruise your Twin Commander propellers turn one revolution for every 20 feet traveled through the air. They are truly acting as airscrews.
“You can see this when conditions are just right. Sometimes on a dark night flying through moisture there will be a trailing white cloud attached to each propeller tip. From the back seats especially, every time the strobe flashes you will see these spirals trailing along each side of the aircraft.”

Do you have an interesting fact about your Twin Commander that you would like to share? Send it to [email protected] and we’ll share it here and on Twin Commander social media.

Readers Are Equipping with ADS-B early

The FAA currently estimates that around 69,000 aircraft have equipped with ADS-B. That’s seemingly a large number, but it’s far below the estimated 180,000 aircraft that will eventually need to equip to continue to fly where a transponder is required today.

Twin Commander owners and Flight Levels eNews readers are ahead of the game. In the last issue we asked how many had equipped with ADS-B and the results were encouraging. Of those who responded, 73 percent had already equipped.

Contact a Twin Commander factory authorized service center today to schedule your install.

November/December 2018

‘Tis the Season

The holidays are fast approaching. This year give the gift of Twin Commander logoed merchandise. From bags to hats and jackets to t-shirts, you can show your Twin Commander pride with dozens of products offered through a partnership with Lands’ End. The store includes some of Lands’ End classics, such as canvas totes, contemporary jackets, luggage and newer high-quality offerings. To access the store, click here or if you’re on the website click Commander Gear at the bottom under Lifestyle.

After picking your gear and checking out, be sure to click the black ‘APPLY LOGO(S)’ button to ensure you get the Twin Commander logo.

2020 ADS-B Mandate Is Fast Approaching

The FAA’s January 1, 2020, ADS-B equipage deadline is fast approaching. Shop time is getting harder to schedule as owners look to upgrade in time to meet the deadline, and in some cases significantly improve the capabilities of their aircraft.

Twin Commander Aircraft is interested in knowing how the fleet is doing in this regards.

Would you mind taking a brief survey?

Your answer will help us know how best to serve the fleet. Thanking you in advance.

A Twin Commander Fun Fact

The propeller rotation speed on the Dash 10 version of the Honeywell TPE-331 engine is about 1,700 rpm. At this power setting the engine’s hot section turns at an incredible 40,000 rpm or more. The engine’s reduction gearbox ratio is 26:1 in order to get reasonable propeller rpms.

Do you have an interesting fact about your Twin Commander that you would like to share? Send it to [email protected] and we’ll share it here and on the Twin Commander social media.
Blue Skies!

October 2018

BEAT THE RUSH

Twin Commanders serve a unique and important role in helping to fight wildfires. Dozens serve as bird dogs or lead plane, helping to coordinate the aerial fire bomber response. As fire season begins to wind down, those airplanes will be flooding shops and companies will be buying parts while technicians furiously work on major maintenance packages, 150-hour inspections, and preventative maintenance in advance of next season’s flying.

Bird Dog Twin Commanders operate in a punishing environment. Airspray’s Paul Lane said, “We basically take the aircraft apart and put it back together again.” Like many other fire operators, Airspray has in-house maintenance, but they use the downtime to do more than just fix and inspect. “Over the years we’ve done interior changes, changes to panels, etc. It’s not just the maintenance side, it’s improving the aircraft.” The company operates seven Twin Commanders on active status, plus a few more in waiting that are used as corporate aircraft or ready spares. “690 and 695 are both the platform that everyone really likes,” Lane said.

In Canada, fire season is already winding down, but it remains strong in the United States. Beat the rush and get your Twin Commander into a service center and complete your 150-hour inspection before the rush of firefighting aircraft

SEAT BELT PROMOTION EXTENDED

Just because seat belts serve an essential safety function doesn’t mean they can’t also look great.

Upgrading your safety restraints not only improves the look of the aircraft, it can increase safety too. With a promotion from Twin Commander Aircraft and sister company Aircraft Belts, Inc. now is a great time to look at new equipment.

NBAA’s special promotion on safety restraints is being extended. Now through the end of the year Twin Commander owners will get special pricing on a set of customized engraved belts from Aircraft Belts. 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.

If you have another type of aircraft, Aircraft Belts can help. They are offering similar pricing, with a modest additional charge for artwork. Get your airplane’s front or profile view on your aircraft seat belts, and refresh a key piece of safety equipment at the same time.

Contact Twin Commander Aircraft’s Brian Harbaugh at 919-956-4385 or [email protected] for more information and pricing.

LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SALES AND USE TAX

You’ve successfully purchased your Twin Commander in a state that allows you to fly it away without paying sales tax, and you have determined no sales tax is due in your home state. That’s a good start, but you’re not free from a tax bill yet.

It’s time to determine if your state has a use tax on aircraft. “Use tax complements sales tax and is a tax on the consumer for the privilege of storing, using, or consuming within the state any tangible personal property,” writes Suzanne Meiners-Levy in the latest issue of Flight Levels. Meiners-Levy’s column explores the complex relationship between sales and use tax, and describes a few of the many exemptions that may be available to you.

Read more in the Fall issue of Flight Levels online

SIMCOM PURCHASED BY DIRECTIONAL AVIATION

AOPA Senior Editor Tom Horne flying the simulator with Flight Safety International Twin Commander instructor Fred Sandoval. Houston, TX USA www.mikefizer.com 07-564_086.CR2,Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II

Twin Commander simulator training provider SIMCOM Holdings, Inc. announced in late October Directional Aviation had acquired the Orland-based simulator center. The transaction is expected to close in November.

Directional Aviation is the parent company of fractional operators Flexjet and Flight Options, as well as Nextant Aerospace, and other aviation businesses. SIMCOM CEO Eric Hinson will remain in the top job at the sim center.

SIMCOM is the exclusive factory authorized provider of pilot initial and recurrent training for 690/A/B and JetProp models, held at its Orlando facility. A SIMCOM representative said there would be no changes to the training programs as a result of the sale, although there was hope of renewed investment in the company’s simulators.