Category Archives: 2022

April 2022

Spring Issue of Flight Levels Online Available

Imagine circling for hours, on a moonless night, hundreds of miles offshore. It’s all in a day’s work for Fredy Castillo and the pilots of Camanchaca, a fishing company based in Chile. Using a 500S, the crews coordinate with boat captains to gather as many fish as possible. You can read the entire story in the latest issue of Flight Levels Online, available now. Also in this issue, learn how National Flight Services brought back the Dash 10 conversion and how it might fit into your upgrade plans. Decide for yourself whether the market is still red hot or starting to stabilize, figure out if maintenance training is right for you, and get a primer on aircraft tax benefits. All this, and much more is available online in the latest issue of Flight Levels out now.

Eagle Creek Teams Meshing Well with New Ownership

As we reported last November, Jet Access recently purchased a majority share in Eagle Creek Aviation and its associated charter, maintenance, and FBO lines of business. Prior to the merger, Jet Access had a charter fleet of some 50 aircraft, but no in-house maintenance capability. Eagle Creek had a smaller charter group, but is renowned for its maintenance expertise. By coming together, Jet Access will have much-needed support, while Eagle Creek gains additional resources for growth. Eagle Creek’s Scott Dillon said the change has been fantastic for both companies, and he is enthused for the future. Although Eagle Creek’s charter group will be absorbed into Jet Access, and the First Wing FBOs will also likely be rebranded, Dillon said there are no immediate changes anticipated for the maintenance side of the business. “We’re not shifting to only serve in-house maintenance,” he said. In fact, the company is continuing to prioritize long-term clients, and adding staff to handle company assets. In addition, Eagle Creek’s top people remain in place, and longtime owner Matt Hagans is on the company’s board of directors, and he retains an equity stake in the new company.

Kerry Leifeld Earns Taylor Mechanic Award

Kerry Leifeld, left, receives the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award from Clive Adams, regional FAA Safety Team program manager

 

Kerry Leifeld was recently presented with the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award by Clive Adams, regional FAA Safety Team program manager, at a ceremony in Bartonville, Illinois. Leifeld worked for Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center Byerly Aviation for more than 42 years, retiring as the Director of Maintenance, a position he held for 36 years. He began his career in 1968 with the U.S. Navy, where he served as a plane captain on the McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom. Leifeld started with Byerly in 1974, earning his inspection authorization, and a pilot certificate along the way. Becoming a pilot helped him to better understand the concerns of his customers, he said. In 2016 Twin Commander Aircraft awarded Leifeld a Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his longtime service to the community.

Factory Continuing to Expand

If you happen to call the Twin Commander Aircraft offices and hear lots of commotion in the background, don’t be alarmed. They’re expanding. In an effort to make room for additional lines of business among Twin Commander’s many sister companies, Ontic is undertaking a massive expansion of the Creedmoor, North Carolina, facility. They expect to add approximately 70 staff over the year, or about four times what it was just a few years ago. The construction project will add 30,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space.

Spend & Receive a Big Discount on Step Retract Link

Sometimes the little things make all the difference. Even though Twin Commanders sit relatively low to the ground, the entry/exit step is a nice creature comfort, especially for passengers. Keep your step functioning in top form with this month’s Spend and Receive promotion. Now through the end of May, take 25 percent off PN 560000-41 (1001-1), the step retract link. 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.

 

 

 

February 2022

Ontic Acquires Merlin, Metroliner Type Certificates

One of Air Chathams’ Metroliners courtesy of Biponacci/commons.wikimedia.org

Twin Commander Aircraft’s parent company Ontic recently acquired the type certificate of the Fairchild Merlin II, III, and IV, and the military version C-26 from San Antonio, Texas-based M7 Aerospace. The full product lines, equipment, and staff will be moving to Ontic’s facility in Creedmoor, North Carolina later this year. The acquisition gives Ontic its second complete line of production aircraft after its acquisition of Twin Commander in 2018. “We’re excited to add the Fairchild Merlin Metro II, III, and IV, and DOD C-26 certificates,” said Ontic CEO Gareth Hall. “We have had success with our initial Twin Commander acquisition, and we feel this will fit perfectly with our capabilities and our growth initiatives.” Twin Commander and Merlin align well. Both are twin turboprops powered by Honeywell TPE-331s, and many are owner operated or in non-scheduled commercial use. By combining forces, Ontic will hold greater purchasing power with common vendors, bringing savings to both communities.

Maintenance Training Set for March, April, and October

The schedule is set for this year’s slate of factory-approved Twin Commander maintenance training. The first session will be virtual, starting on March 7 and wrapping up on March 16. If the pandemic situation allows, the second and third sessions will be conducted in person at Eagle Creek Aviation’s facilities near Indianapolis. The first of these live sessions will run from April 4 to 13, and the second from October 17 to 26. All sessions feature eight days of in-depth instruction on virtually all aircraft systems. Students are issued full presentation and reference materials, and the class concludes with a 100-question exam. Successful completion leads to an official certificate of training and a record of training document. The cost is $5,000 per student. To register or for more information contact Mike Grabbe at 317-293-6935 extension 404 or [email protected]

Dash 10 Conversion Brings Numerous Benefits

Raise your hand if you want to go more than 300 knots, have full power to 16,000 feet, make it to Flight Level 290 in 12 minutes, all the while burning less fuel and spending less on maintenance. That’s the kind of oomph a Dash 10 conversion gives the Honeywell TPE-331 engine. Upgrading your Dash 5s to Dash 10 engines can bring serious performance enhancements, reduced maintenance costs, and especially in this market, a significantly higher resale value. In recent years the cost of parts from Honeywell made the conversion financially challenging, but thanks to a new exclusive agreement with National Flight Services, a Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center, the conversion is once again feasible. This is great news for owners who are looking to save money on maintenance while gaining performance enhancements. While National Flight, through Honeywell, is the exclusive provider of the engines, the conversion can be done at any Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center. Find your preferred center online and call today to receive a quote.

Save on a New Dorsal Fin

From now to the end of March, Twin Commander Aircraft is offering a 25 percent discount on Custom Kit 200, a new dorsal fin design that reduces trapped moisture. The original factory dorsal fin design has a tendency to hold moisture that can lead to corrosion on the original skins underneath. Various Custom Kits have addressed this issue over the years, but Custom Kit 200 is the latest, and also comes with a completely new dorsal fin. The kit features a new composite design with integrated water channeling. By upgrading to Custom Kit 200 on your 690C/D, 695, or 695A you can protect your aircraft and improve the look of the fuselage as well. Contact your favorite Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center today for a quote and to schedule the simple installation.

January 2022

Ashcroft Assumes TCA Leadership

Longtime Ontic manager Derek Ashcroft has assumed the role of Business Unit Director for Twin CommanderAircraft in the wake of Brian Harbaugh’s retirement late last year. Ashcroft is intimately familiar with the company and its customers and suppliers, having been with Ontic’s sister companies in Creedmoor, North Carolina, for many years. He joined in 2013, serving in various management and engineering roles, and as Business Unit Director for Firstmark Aerospace and Controls, and now Twin Commander, Aircraft Belts, and Centroid. “I have worked closely with the great people at Twin Commander Aircraft for many years,” Ashcroft said. “Their passion for the airplane, the owners, and supporting the entire community is always palpable, and I look forward to becoming a more involved member of the team.” Ashcroft said he hopes to further strengthen the ties with the Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Centers, and learn how the factory can better support owners and operators.

What Dash 10 Announcement Means for Owners

When Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center National Flight Services announced late last year that it had secured a deal with Honeywell to sell Dash 10 upgrades, there was some question as to what it would mean for owners. As the current aircraft market continues its hot streak, it’s clear that the Dash 10 upgrade is now a worthy investment. Eagle Creek Aviation’s Jim Worrell said that hasn’t been the case since at least 2008. But now, he said, “it’s a no brainer.” That’s especially true of 840s with timed-out engines. And there are scores of benefits, including better climb, hot and high performance, 35 knots in cruise, 30 percent reduction in operating costs, and more. If you have a Dash 5-equipped airplane and are looking for better performance and lower life-cycle maintenance costs, contact your Twin Commander Factory Authorized Service Center for a quote.

Stay Up to Date with Twin Commander

When owning and operating a legacy aircraft, you can never have too much help. Start by emailing Pam Brown, operations lead at the factory, at [email protected] to get on her mailing list. Brown sends out pertinent information about everything from manual updates to service bulletins, and is your best source for required factory updates. You can also engage the larger community of owners through the factory’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.

You can also connect with an independent community of operators at the Twin Commander Flyers Facebook page and online forum Twin Commander Group. Finally, make sure you are signed up for this email by joining the mailing list at www.twincommander.com