Author Archives: Marcel Colon

November 2019

Pole to Pole in a Twin Commander

Robert DeLaurentis is on a mission for peace, and his vehicle for change is a tricked-out 1983 900. Having previously flown around the world via the equatorial route, DeLaurentis will soon be leaving on a trip that will stretch his airplane to the limit. He’ll be flying from the United States through South America, over the South Pole, through Africa, Europe, and up over the North Pole before coming back home again. He calls it a mission for peace because the North and South Poles have perpetual peace, and he will be connecting the world between the two far-flung regions. Over the past two years he’s been prepping the aircraft through the help of more than 90 sponsors, and in a first he plans to cross both poles on biofuels. He’ll need all the fuel he can cram into the airplane because the leg to the South Pole and back is more than 4,000 miles, a stunning distance for a Twin Commander. You can find out more about his extensive modifications and preparations at Flying Thru Life.

Legacy Aviation Services Excels in Hydraulic Overhauls and Repairs

Have any landing gear or hydraulic component part that needs a refresh? Yukon, Oklahoma-based Legacy Aviation Services is a Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center with special capabilities to repair and overhaul your Twin Commander’s landing gear and hydraulic components. With the purchase of Higher Planes in 2015, Legacy Aviation gained the ability to do component repair and overhaul on-site, significantly decreasing downtime for pilots who fly in and quick turnaround for domestic and international customers. Their wide range of capabilities includes landing gear components, flap actuators, brake controllers, hydraulics accumulators and more. For more information visit Legacy Aviation.  For detailed descriptions of all the Legacy/Twin Commander component repair and overhaul capabilities, download the full brochure.

Show your Twin Commander Spirit
This Holiday Season

One of the most enjoyable things about owning and flying an airplane is showing everyone how much you love doing it. Show the world your Twin Commander love with apparel and accessories from the Twin Commander store at Lands’ End. You can choose from shirts, sweaters, jackets, drinkware, golf accessories and more by going to Commander Gear and choosing your favorite items. Lands’ End makes the process easy. Shop for your favorites as you would any online store and the company will engrave, embroider, or print the Twin Commander Aircraft name and logo on the item. Be sure to click ‘Apply Logo’ when checking out. And because it’s Lands’ End you know the quality is good and the prices are reasonable. So swag up and let the world know you’re a Twin Commander pilot or owner.

October 2019

Gemini Air Group Named Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center

Twin Commander Aircraft, an ONTIC company, is pleased to announce that Scottsdale, Arizona-based Gemini Air Group has been named a Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center. Gemini Air Group joins a robust network of 12 other independently owned and operated aircraft sales, maintenance, and overhaul facilities that have the experience, expertise, and capabilities to service and maintain the Twin Commander fleet of legacy aircraft.

Established in 1997 as an aircraft management company by Tim Carpay, Gemini Air Group has grown to become a successful aircraft charter, maintenance, and services operation. The company occupies a 60,000-square-foot facility at the Scottsdale Airport. Gemini Air Group’s extensive Twin Commander experience includes decades of operating Honeywell TPE331-powered aircraft. Owner Tim Carpay has owned and flown many Honeywell TPE331-equipped aircraft, and General Manager Greg Laabs, as the former turboprop lead for Duncan Aviation, has hands-on experience inspecting and maintaining the engines. For additional support the Gemini Air Group is located near Scottsdale’s TAE Aerospace, one of the largest TPE331 engine facilities in the United States. As part of the Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center network, Gemini maintenance technicians undergo factory authorized training and the company stocks genuine Twin Commander parts.

“I am excited for the opportunity to serve the wonderful community of Twin Commander owners and pilots,” said Carpay. “As fellow aircraft owners, operators, and pilots, we have unique capabilities to help keep your aircraft safe and modern, and to make your ownership experience the best it can be. I believe that if we focus on the details of safety and service, everything else will fall into place.”

Twin Commander Aircraft Business Unit Director Brian Harbaugh said, “We are thrilled to welcome Gemini Air Group into the Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center Network. We are committed to bringing value to our owners, and I know Gemini feels the same about its customers.”

Gear Warning Horn and Fuel Filler Now Available

Components for the gear-down warning horn in Custom Kit (CK) 204 and replacement parts for the fuel filler nozzle are now in stock. CK 204 provides a gear-down warning horn for models 685, 690, 690A, and Shrikes. The previous horn was no longer manufactured, so Twin Commander Aircraft created a mounting bracket and hardware for a new replacement horn. Installation is estimated to be two hours. Call your favorite Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center and ask for CK 204.

Is your fuel filler nozzle bent, corroded, or missing the fuel siphon protection? If so, the entire fuel filler nozzle housing (part number 630216-503), is now in stock. Applicable to all models, the single part will be a quick installation at any Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center.  Owners of early models that didn’t come with the anti-siphon flap can increase safety and add it as part of Custom Kit 87A.

Take a Journey with the Fall Issue of Flight Levels Online

In the latest issue of Flight Levels Online we take you across the Americas for a look into Legacy Aviation and its founder RJ Gomez, to Byerly Aviation’s resurrection from Central America of a 900 to Peru and the air force’s outstanding 690B. Continue the trip around the world in Adventure Travel, or stay close to home and get some business done by the end of the year with Business Flying and Taxes. For pilots, read about sequencing your Garmin after a missed approach, the benefits of a Convective Outlook, and how to avoid bog down.

You can find this and much more in the fall issue of Flight Levels Online 

New Pressurization Hoses Soon Available

Twin Commander models with the older-style pressurization system with fiberglass hoses will soon be able to get relief from older and inconvenient exhaust ducts. Twin Commander Aircraft is working on Custom Kit 173, which will replace the fiberglass exhaust duct hose with a more modern rubber accordion-style hose. The kit makes for easier aircraft serviceability by making it more convenient to access inside the tail section. It will also make the pressurization system more reliable and safer. Check for updates around the end of the year.

August 2019

Byerly Aviation Supports the Troops

Twin Commander Authorized Service Center Byerly Aviation recently pulled together all its resources and supported three military charter flights. Members of the Illinois National Guard were headed from Byerly’s location in Peoria, Illinois, to Biggs Army Airfield at Fort Bliss, Texas, for training. Soon after the units are scheduled to head to Afghanistan. Byerly Line Service Manager Chuck Atkins said 12 of Byerly’s 13 line staff worked the charters, which were Airbus A-320s from Allegiant Airlines. The team fueled one aircraft and loaded around 450 soldiers and their bags and equipment between the three flights. “It was an all-hands-on-deck type of operation,” Atkins said. Military charters are one of many services Byerly Aviation offers in Peoria. They also sell, service, and upgrade Twin Commanders, service other makes and models, run a full-service FBO, and have the local airline fuel contract.

Twin Commanders Serve During Fire Season

The North American fire season is in full swing. That means across the continent there are dozens of Twin Commanders going to work helping to support aerial firefighting efforts. Twin Commanders are a favorite bird-dog platform. On a fire the Twin Commander is typically crewed by an experienced pilot and an Air Attack officer. Together they scope out a fire’s footprint and help the tankers fly the correct paths through the blaze. It’s a testament to the strength of the airframe that the conditions are often marginal VFR, turbulent, and sometimes at low altitude. While August is typically the most active fire month Conair’s Jeff Berry says things have been slightly below average in much of Canada and the United States, with the exception of Alaska and the Yukon. Conair operates eight Twin Commanders. These airplanes help maintain a dispatch rate of more than 98 percent. Not only are they reliable performers, Berry says, they also shuttle parts in AOG situations, helping the rest of the fleet stay in the air.

Airborne Support Adds 500B to Fleet

Houma, Louisiana-based Airborne Support has added a Twin Commander 500B to its fleet of oil spill response aircraft. Based deep on the Mississippi Delta, Airborne Support flies a variety of piston and turbine aircraft to help oil clean-up efforts. Large air tankers with 1,200 or 2,000 gallons of dispersant help to contain and clean spills, an operation that’s coordinated from a Twin Commander. Typically the company uses a 690 in the spotter and coordination role, but President Brad Barker said they needed a backup for when the 690 is undergoing an inspection or when things get really busy. He said they turned to another Commander because there is no better choice for their mission, which includes long stretches over water up to 200 miles offshore, and a need for great forward and downward visibility. Bruce Byerly found the 500B for Airborne Support, and helped prepare it for the demanding new role.

Longtime Twin Commander Guru Morris Kernick Dies

Robert DeLaurentis, left, and Morris Kernick, right check out DeLaurentis’ Twin Commander.

Morris Kernick, the Stockton, California-based Twin Commander expert, died this month after an illness. Kernick was well known in the Twin Commander community for his expertise, flying adventures, and his eagerness to pass on knowledge to owners. Kernick began Commander Services in 1977 and came to be seen as a great resource for all types of Commanders, both piston and turbine. Twin Commander owner Robert DeLaurentis, who is planning to fly his airplane around the world, posted a video to YouTube two years ago about his relationship with Kenrick. He said Kernick was a patient teacher. “It’s great to be around someone who is willing to share all his knowledge like he does.” Many friends and longtime customers shared remembrances on Facebook. Jim Metzger said he had many fun flying adventures with Kernick, including ferrying a resurrected Twin Commander from Alaska to Alabama where they dodged unhappy FBO managers and even an F-15 due to a flight plan mix-up. “I miss you Morris,” he said.


July 2019

Ike’s Bird to Be at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

You may think of Air Force One as the massive and imposing Boeing 747, but that name is reserved for any aircraft on which the President of the United States is currently a passenger. Back in the 1950s, Air Force One was often an Aero Commander 560A carrying President Dwight Eisenhower back and forth between Washington, D.C. and a grass strip on his farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Eisenhower even flew the aircraft at times. The Commemorative Air Force recently purchased the aircraft and is displaying it at this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.


Visit Eagle Creek Aviation at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

If you are a current Eagle Creek Aviation Services, Naples Jet Center, or First Wing Jet Center customer, or are curious about what a Twin Commander Authorized Service Center can do for you, make sure to visit them at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh next week. The company will be displaying some of its panel upgrade capabilities at Booth #395 near Boeing Plaza along the flightline. They are also holding a cookout for friends and family on Tuesday evening in Camp Scholler. You’re invited to come by and meet the folks at Eagle Creek, Naples Jet Center, and First Wing Jet Center. RSVP here .


Summer Issue of Flight Levels in the Mail and Online

The Summer issue of Flight Levels is in the mail, and Flight Levels Online is now available. This issue we take you across the Atlantic with friends, through Central and South America with an owner, inside Twin Commander Authorized Service Center Aero Air, through the ins and outs of the Garmin touchscreen navigators, in-depth on a consequential tax case, and much more. Read it today .


POLL: Why Trust Your Commander to a TCASC?

Last time we asked how many of you use a Twin Commander Authorized Service Center for your maintenance, repair, and upgrade needs. Half of you said you frequent one of these high-quality independently operated facilities.

This month we want to know why you trust your aircraft to a Twin Commander Authorized Service Center.




May 2019

Turn to Eagle Creek Aviation Services as Your Race Headquarters

They call it the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. This year’s Indianapolis 500 is the 103rd running of the iconic race, and Eagle Creek Aviation at Eagle Creek Airpark is a perfect base to enjoy the weekend. This Friday through Sunday will bring hundreds of thousands of spectators to Indianapolis. With a Twin Commander you can beat the crowd and land at Eagle Creek’s 4,200-foot runway. Only five miles from the track, EYE is the closest airport to the action.
The Factory Authorized Service Center has ample parking, an adjacent restaurant, and full concierge services. Make your reservations today.

POLL: Who Does Your Periodic Inspections?

The inspection requirement for Twin Commanders is a generous 150 hours time in service, or annually, whichever comes first. We’re interested in hearing where you have your Commander inspected. Please choose one of the following. Thanks for participating.



Twin Commander Has Two Free SB241 Kits to Give Away

Could You Be One of the Recipients?

 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 AD 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 AD.

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.