Brian Harbaugh Announces Retirement
Twin Commander Aircraft head and longtime fixture Brian Harbaugh recently announced his retirement from the company, set to take effect at the end of this year. Harbaugh came to Twin Commander through the Firstmark brand of companies when it acquired the type certificate in 2008. Since then he has held roles in parts and technical support and as the head of the company, responsible for customer support, interfacing with the Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Centers, strategic parts initiatives, FAA regulatory requirements, and more. “The history, the people who own, operate, and maintain this airplane today, and the incredibly dedicated employees here at the factory make Twin Commander special. I have loved every minute of my time with all of them,” Harbaugh said. “I have complete faith in Ontic’s strong support of our community and for this airplane.” Although an immediate successor hasn’t yet been announced, Harbaugh said Ontic is actively working on plans to offer even more value to the brand through strategic investments and other support. For example, the company recently hired David Allison as the new technical service representative. He joins the team with decades of aircraft maintenance experience. Look for more about Allison in the upcoming issue of Flight Levels Online. Best wishes to Harbaugh on this next chapter.
Eagle Creek Aviation Merges with Jet Access
Indianapolis-based Eagle Creek Aviation, one of the most active members of the Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center network, recently announced it is merging with Jet Access. Eagle Creek will come under the umbrella of the Jet Access name, which also includes 10 FBOs, 40 charter aircraft, 11 flight schools, airport management, aircraft rental, and more. The combined company will operate 50 aircraft to become the twelfth largest charter company in the country, and will have approximately 380 employees, including 110 pilots and 75 technicians. Eagle Creek’s Matt Hagans will remain with the company. He said, “We believe when we combine Eagle Creek’s decades-long technical expertise and reputation in the industry with the innovation and growth orientation of Jet Access, we will unleash the potential to become the country’s preeminent provider of the full scope of aviation services.”
Turning to Experts for Protection in a Hot Market
The used aircraft market is at levels not seen in more than a decade, and depending on which measure you use, possibly in a generation. That’s good news for sellers, but it can be a challenging time for buyers. As supply tightens, finding a quality airframe can be difficult. When you do find the right airplane, make the effort to take it to the right place for a proper pre-purchase inspection. All the facilities in the Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center network are experienced and adept at pre-purchase inspections, so you really can’t go wrong by picking any shop in the network. Aircraft-specific knowledge, tooling, parts, and resources put service centers a notch above other pre-purchase inspection options. Even better, if the airplane you’re thinking of buying has been serviced by a Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center, you know you’re buying an airplane maintained to the factory’s and industry’s highest levels. Read more about pre-purchase inspections in the upcoming issue of Flight Levels Online and find the full network of service centers here.
Rethinking Maneuvering Speed
From the earliest days of private pilot training we’re taught that VA, the airplane’s maneuvering speed, provides a margin of safety such that the wing will stall prior to the airframe being overstressed by G-inducing gust loads. While this may be true, its usefulness as a real-world tool for turbulence may be overstated. Writing a few years ago for IFR Magazine, Douglas and Stewart Boyd suggest that VB or turbulence penetration speed, is a better target. This will protect the airframe from the inevitable gusts associated with strong turbulence. The challenge for pilots is that these speeds are only required to be published for transport category aircraft, which doesn’t include Twin Commanders. Various authors suggest different strategies for determining a maximum VB speed. The Boyds suggest 1.6 VS, while O.C. Hope, writing in Air Facts, suggests splitting the difference between VS1 and VA. Do you have a VB speed for strong turbulence? Let us know at [email protected], and look in the upcoming issue of Flight Levels Online for more.
Survey: Tell Us How Much You Flew This Year
Twin Commander flown by Erick Teeters & John Kelley.
Compared to the pandemic doldrums of last year, there’s no question that flight activity is up in 2021. But what about your personal or business flying? Tell us in the survey below how much you flew compared to last year.