Category Archives: April


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.

Connect with Twin Commander

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May 2022

Eagle Creek Earns FAA’s Diamond Award

Eagle Creek Aviation and the company’s associated First Wing Jet Centers have been honored by the FAA with the AMT Diamond Award of Excellence. The Diamond Award of Excellence is given for employers who have more than three maintenance technicians, 100 percent of whom undergo continuing education and training throughout the year. Eagle Creek is a Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center, and the company’s technicians underwent more than 1,500 hours of training last year, including the Twin Commander factory authorized maintenance technician training course. “As a company, we are committed to excellence in everything we do, including ensuring that we continue to invest in our technicians through training and education. We believe our customers are best served by professionals who are continually learning and utilizing industry best practices,” said Scott Dillon, President, Eagle Creek Aviation. “We are honored to be recognized by the FAA for that commitment.”

Last Chance to Save on Step Retract Link

Now through the end of May, take advantage of the factory’s discount program and Spend and Receive on a step retract link. Although the entry door to Twin Commanders sits relatively low to the ground, the entry step is a welcome touch that makes the process easier and more comfortable, especially for passengers. Now you can save 25 percent and keep yours in top shape and operating properly. The step retract link is PN 560000-41 (1001-1). The part is in stock and ready to ship now, and is available for models 680FLP, 680T, 680W, 681, 685, 685A, 690, 690A/B/C/D, 695, and 695A/B. Contact your preferred Factory Authorized Twin Commander Service Center for pricing and to schedule.

Cruise to the Latest Issue of Flight Levels Online

Every issue of Flight Levels Online is packed with stories of our community’s history, interesting people, market movements, and tips to get the most from your Twin Commander. The latest issue is free and available online now. In it you’ll find the story of Camanchaca, a fishing company in Chile that uses a Twin Commander to spot for fish off the Pacific Coast. For those interested in making your airplane even more powerful, learn how the Dash 10 upgrade can virtually pay for itself through longer inspection intervals. There are also tips on getting the most out of your insurance program through creative recurrent training, methods of programming visual approaches in your Garmin, a journey to the Galapagos Islands, and an early history of Fred Smith’s work developing the Aero Commander.


April 2021

Spring Flight Levels Online

Flying one airplane for 34 years is notable enough, but in public flying it’s even more rare. Bruce Stamey has had the distinction of flying the same Shrike for the State of Louisiana since he was hired in the early 1980s. It’s also rare to hear about a Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center changing hands. Read about Bruce Byerly’s recent acquisition of the Naples Jet Center. He and Eagle Creek’s Jim Worrell see continued improvement in the aircraft sales market.  Plus, this issue is packed with tips of flying, owning, and operating your Twin Commander. Read about fuel bladder installs, treating your piston engines well, getting the most of your Garmins, and where to fly as the world slowly reopens. That and more is all in the Spring issue of Flight Levels now online.

Eagle Creek Installs First DFCS 3100 Autopilot

The first Genesys Aerosystems digital 3100 autopilot has been installed in a Twin Commander. Eagle Creek Aviation worked with Genesys and Don Vollum, owner of a 980, to install and certify the first one. “The altitude capture and vertical speed hold are the best features, along with the overall precision with which the 3100 flies the airplane,” Vollum said. Taking on a new STC project can be fraught with challenges, but Vollum said the process was smooth. Eagle Creek has extensive experience with installs used as the basis for certifications. The company owns the Garmin G950 STC for Twin Commanders, and it helped develop the Dash 10 engine conversion and Radome to Tailcone refurbishment program. “I don’t think there is another shop I would trust for the first installation of an autopilot,” he said. The 3100 is a three-axis attitude-based digital autopilot with envelope control and electronic stability. It is now approved for 690, 690A-D, 695, 680W, 681, 500, 500A, B, S, and U, and 560A, E, and F models.

Legacy Aviation Answers the Call in Mexico

Great service sometimes means going where the customers are. That’s what Legacy Aviation Services recently did for one of its longtime customers. The operator, based in Mexico, flies an 840 that Legacy Owner RJ Gomez says is pristine inside and out. A broken windshield grounded the airplane at its home base in Culiacan. Schedules aligned as Twin Commander Aircraft had a windshield in stock as soon as Legacy had an opening on its shop schedule. Legacy sent a technician to uninstall the previous windshield and prepare the installation. Two days later the parts arrived, and in a total of five days the job was done. Gomez said the customer also operates a Learjet and a Hawker, but that the boss loves his Twin Commander. Legacy Aviation Services is a Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center, and is a certified repair station by the Mexican aviation authority.

Blue Goose Flies On

It’s the airplane that started it all. When Bert Bantle and Emmett Morris flew the prototype L-3805 that would become the first Twin Commander nonstop from Oklahoma City to Washington, D.C. on one engine, it made the airplane a sensation. The airframe was dubbed the Blue Goose, reportedly after the fruit company where they sourced some of the wood. From 1974 to 2006 the airframe sat on a pole at the state fairgrounds. It subsequently went to a technical school, where Tom Ray and Kenny Payton, engineers who worked at the Rockwell/Gulfstream factory, knew the history of the airplane and used their sheet metal classes to help restore it.

Between those efforts, and now with the support of Dave Amis and others, the Blue Goose has a strong future. Amis worked with the city of Bethany, which owned the airplane, to transfer the historic artifact to the Oklahoma History Center. He has gathered local businesses and Twin Commander supporters, and is soon planning to mate the wings, weld the landing gear, paint it, and eventually have it installed on a pedestal in a park immediately south of the Wiley Post airport in Oklahoma City. Amis, whose family has been involved in Commanders since the beginning, said it means a lot to him to help restore and highlight the airplane. “I remember this airplane in the early 1960s,” he said. “I would beg my dad to drive by the factory to see it.”

Supporters who want to help the cause can learn more at Amis’ GoFundMe page.