Service Center Focus: Naples Jet Center and Byerly Aviation
As one of the most active brokers of Twin Commanders, and with leadership positions in two Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Centers, Bruce Byerly has the pulse of the community. He’s been working for three years to expand the company’s footprint at the Naples Airport in Florida. A new 20,000-square-foot hangar is nearly completed “with a floor you could eat off,” and they’ve recently begun construction on a second hangar. At Byerly Aviation in Peoria, Illinois, Tim McKune, the company’s longtime manager, has been promoted to president, where he oversees the company’s numerous Commander dealings. Byerly said they are chocked full of Commanders, with Garmin improving lead time on parts to enable panel upgrades, and other exciting projects, soon to be announced.
Despite increased economic headwinds, Byerly said used inventory remains low enough to keep prices solid. “There’s still a ton of demand for Commanders.” The Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center network is the only source for parts and factory trained service technicians. The independently owned and operated facilities have capabilities that range from inspection and repair to paint and panel upgrades. Find the full list of service centers online.
A History of Innovation
When Ted Smith designed the prototype for the Aero Commander, he knew he had something special. But even great designs can be improved upon, and the company’s long history of innovation began almost immediately. Soon after receiving $400,000 in funding for production, Smith and 10 other early employees moved to Oklahoma City in order to begin production. There the team made 14 significant design changes, including industry firsts, such as electric trim and electric fuel shutoff valves. It’s also when they adopted the geared Lycoming GO-435 engines.
The storied history of Ted Smith and the many models of the Twin Commander he helped to produce can be found in Stars and Commanders: The life and vision of Ted Smith, by Dave Duntz. Make sure to check out every issue of Flight Levels Online for an excerpt of the book that details the airplane’s incredible history. You can purchase the book directly from the Stars and Commanders website.
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