July 2016


Eagle Creek Commander 695A on display at AirVenture 2016

Every pilot knows that EAA’s AirVenture is the largest aviation gathering in the world, by a proverbial nautical mile. The combination week-long fly-in, daily airshow, and trade show happens at the end of July every year, and the 2016 edition may rank among the most successful yet, at least in terms of attendance. Organizers extended the aircraft parking area adjacent to Runway 36/18 to the south, well past the runway threshold, and by day two all parking spots on the airport were taken. Arriving aircraft were being sent to Fond du Lac and Appleton for lack of camping and tie-down space at Oshkosh.

Wittman Regional Airport is a veritable aviation city during AirVenture, teeming with people, displays, and airplanes—airplanes with pop-up tents set up under or beside their wings, airplanes on static display, and a constantly changing parade of aircraft—from certified production models to auto gyros, helicopters, ultralights, seaplanes, and squadrons of warbirds in formation—making endless circuits around the pattern beginning at 6:00 am and continuing nonstop until last light.

And in the thick of it this year is a gorgeous Twin Commander 695A Model 1000, the centerpiece of Eagle Creek Aviation Service’s AirVenture display near show center. Eagle Creek recently refurbished the Commander with a Garmin G950 panel and S-TEC 2100 Digital Flight Control System, freshly overhauled engines, a new interior, an Enviro air cycle machine conversion, and custom paint.

This is the second straight year that Eagle Creek has completed a G950 Twin Commander and delivered it to a customer at Oshkosh. It is going to a client who commutes from Seattle to San Francisco and New York, and who appreciates the versatility, reliability, and low costs for which the Twin Commander 1000 is known. This is the seventh G950 Commander that Eagle Creek has completed.

Garmin G950 in 695A Commander at AirVenture

As appealing as the Commander was to show-goers, the main attraction during the week was a Martin Mars, a gigantic four-engine, World War II-era water bomber that has been fighting fires in British Columbia up until a year ago. Coulson Flying Tankers brought the 200-foot-wingspan, 10,000-horsepower flying boat, named “Hawaii Mars,” to AirVenture and based at the nearby EAA Seaplane Base as the Mars has no landing gear. It did fly-bys every other day, releasing its 72,000-gallon load of fire-retardant-injected water that it scooped up from nearby Lake Winnebago.

Gigantic Martin Mars at EAA Seaplane Base at AirVenture.

“Hawaii” and its sister ship, “Philippines,” also owned and operated by Coulson, are the last of the five Mars built at the end of the war. Coulson retired them in favor of Lockheed C-130s, reportedly at the insistence of the BC government, which contracts with Coulson for fire-fighting services. Coulson is willing to part with one of the Mars for a mere $3.5 million. Or, if you are a bargain shopper, you can pick up both for just $5 million. You’ll definitely have bragging rights to the largest airplane on the field.


Twin Commander Aircraft has a deal for you. The new CK190 LED cabin flood-lighting system is on sale. From now until Labor Day the kit is 10 percent off. These LED lights positioned on each side of the headliner provide brighter, more even lighting in the Commander passenger cabin. The LED technology produces low heat from the lamps and improves longevity.

Installation is simple and quick—the four existing power supply units are replaced with four new plug-and-play units, and eight LED bulbs, each with a printed circuit board, are installed in existing fluorescent bulb receptacles. That’s it—no wiring harnesses to remove and replace, no major component replacement.

CK190 is available for all 690A and later Twin Commander models. The discount applies only to in-stock inventory, which is extremely limited, and as noted the sale ends this coming Labor Day. Don’t delay, order your cabin lighting system upgrade kit today from your authorized Twin Commander Service Center.


Every Twin Commander owner has a story. What’s yours? We are looking for Twin Commander owners and operators with an interesting story to tell—something special about your aircraft; great places you’ve flown to; how you use your Commander in your business and/or personal life; other kinds of flying you do. If you have an interesting story or two to tell, please let us know. Go to What’s your story? and tell us something about yourself, your airplane, your flying.


As you know, we’ve been polling Twin Commander owners and operators about where you’d like to see the 2017 Twin Commander University take place. First we asked which region of the country you’d prefer for the spring event (typically the University convenes in the month of May), and the winners were the Northeast and Southwest. Last month we asked you to narrow the regions down to specific cities, and the top vote-getters were all in the Southwest: Santa Fe, New Mexico; San Antonio and Austin, Texas; and Scottsdale and Sedona, Arizona.

Now it’s time to cast your vote for one of those five cities. We’ve been to Scottsdale a number of times and it is a great place to have our biennial owner/operator/pilot get-together. Sedona, north of Scottsdale, is surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls, and pine forests. It’s noted for its mild climate and vibrant arts community.

Santa Fe is a wonderful city and area of the country—the high desert with a mountain backdrop, steeped in Native American history and culture, and a world-class center of art and artists.

San Antonio is the most-visited city in Texas, and for good reason. There’s the Alamo, of course, and also the Riverwalk—a canal that loops through downtown that is lined with restaurants, shops, music, and beautiful landscaping. Austin, the state’s capital city at the foot of Texas hill country, is young and progressive and known as the “Live Music Capital of the World.”

Any of these five cities will make for a great setting for the 2017 University, but we need you help in choosing which one. Cast your ballot today.

Santa Fe at night


G1000-Twin-CommanderDave Ellison grew up and learned to fly in Oklahoma City, so it was not at all unusual for him to be around Commanders, which were manufactured in nearby Bethany. Dave and his brother went on to found Statewide Service Center, which distributes farm supplies to customers within a 500- to 600-mile radius of Oklahoma City. Last year they decided that, instead of chartering aircraft—mostly King Airs—to meet with customers, they would buy and fly their own. But instead of a King Air, the company bought an airplane they knew to be “fast, very efficient, and capable of short-field takeoffs and getting into places others can’t.” They bought a Commander 840.

They base the airplane at Legacy Aviation Services at Clarence E. Page Airport in Yukon, Oklahoma, east of Oklahoma City, not far from where it was built. Legacy recently finished a complete refurbishment of the interior in Statewide’s Commander, and updated the panel with Garmin GTN750 and 650 flight management systems and Garmin 345 and 335 ADS-B-compliant transponders. The update slimmed the Commander down about 80 pounds, and the new all-leather interior looks and feels first-class luxurious and comfortable, so much so that Dave, who still is an active pilot, prefers to let the company’s professional pilot do the flying while he relaxes in the passenger cabin, enjoying the view out the landscape windows.

Read more about Statewide’s 840 in the upcoming Flight Levels.


Every Twin Commander owner has a story. What’s yours? We are looking for Twin Commander owners and operators with an interesting story to tell—something special about your aircraft; great places you’ve flown to; how you use your Commander in your business and/or personal life; other kinds of flying you do. If you have an interesting story or two to tell, please let us know.

Go to What’s Your Story form on our website and tell us something about yourself, your airplane, your flying.


Who needed a calendar to remind us that at 6:34 p.m. ET on June 20, summer officially began—plenty of the country was already sweltering with mid-summer temperatures and humidity. What better time, then, to think about airframe icing. After all, when you are flying in the flight levels, airframe icing knows no seasons.

Ice protection equipment on Twin Commanders includes inflatable wing leading edge deice boots outboard of the engine nacelles. Did you know that Twin Commander offers a Custom Kit (CK 158) containing parts to install inflatable boots inboard of the engine nacelles? What’s more, the kit is on sale.

CK 158 contains hardware, plumbing, and approvals for installation of inboard deice boots for models 690, 690A, 690B, 690C, and 695 Twin Commanders. (The boots are obtained separately through an authorized Twin Commander service center.) Adding inboard boots means you’ll have deice protection along the full length of the wing. The boots also add to your Twin Commander’s appearance.

CK 158 is on sale for just $1,175, but only for a limited time. For more information, contact your authorized Twin Commander service center and ask about CK 158-501 for the 690 and 690A/B, or CK 158-1 for the 690C and 695A.


The world’s largest fly-in, airshow, and general aviation trade show—EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh—is coming up Monday through Sunday July 25-31, and Twin Commander will be there. Eagle Creek Aviation Services, a factory-authorized Twin Commander service center in Indianapolis, plans to have a fully refurbished Commander 1000 on display on the main show grounds just southeast of Boeing Plaza and north of the Vintage Red Barn at booth 395. The Commander will be equipped with the new Garmin 950 multi-display electronic panel and S-TEC 2100 digital flight control system.

Representatives from Eagle Creek and its sister company and factory-authorized service center, Naples Jet Center, will be on hand to show the airplane and answer questions.


We’re gearing up for the next Twin Commander University, and we need your help in identifying potential venues. In last month’s Twin Commander eNewsletter we asked you which region in the country would be ideal for the next University. Factors to be considered are that it will be held in the spring (most likely late April/early May) of 2017, and the last University took place in the Southeastern U.S. (Savannah, Georgia).

The top vote-getting regions in last month’s University poll were the Northeast and the Southwest. This month we’re asking you to narrow the choice to a specific state. From there, we’ll look at candidate cities as sites for the 2017 Twin Commander University.

Thanks for participating.


G1000-Twin-CommanderAll pilots are schooled in the importance of continuously and skillfully practicing see-and-avoid to ensure that your day doesn’t end badly due to a collision with another aircraft, especially in the terminal area. One way to help other pilots be successful at seeing you is to retrofit your Twin Commander with a new High Intensity Discharge Light kit with pulsing technology. And, Twin Commander is running a special limited-time offer of a $600 discount on the price of the kit.

The kit (Custom Kit 182) contains hardware to install the HID pulse light on the nose gear on a variety of Twin Commander models. It can be installed as a retrofit to an existing non-pulsing incandescent light, a factory installation, or as a first-time nose-gear light. The impossible-to-miss high-intensity pulsing light provides excellent conspicuity for your aircraft.

CK182-1 is for 500S, 680W, 681, 685, and 690A/B Twin Commanders without a nose recognition light. CK182-2 is for a 500S, 680W, 681, 685, and 690A/B with CK151 (incandescent light kit) installed. CK182-3 is for the 690C/D and 695/A/B with factory-installed nose landing lights.

The $600 discount goes away May 1, so order yours today. Contact a factory-authorized Twin Commander Service center for more information.


With the next Twin Commander University a year away, it’s time to start thinking about where it should be held. As was the case for the very successful 2015 university in Savannah, Georgia, Twin Commander Aircraft is asking you to help out in the selection process.

The first step is identifying a region in the United States where you would like to see the University “campus” established. Then we’ll propose various venues in the region from which to select. Eventually we’ll narrow the choice to two or three locations from which a final selection will be made.

So let’s get started. From the following list of regions, please select your first and second choice. We’ll report the results in the next newsletter, and ask you for your favorite destinations within that region.

Thanks for participating.


Twin Commander Aircraft has issued a Maintenance Alert calling for inspection and, if necessary, replacement of the elevator bobweight support arms on 690D (Model 900) and 695A and B (Model 1000) Twin Commanders.

The bobweight inspection is to occur at the next 150-hour aircraft inspection and every 150 hours thereafter. The inspection focuses on the area where the bobweight is attached to the support arm. Cracks have been found in that area on an affected aircraft.

The bobweight assembly is located beneath the baggage compartment floor. Its function is to provide consistent elevator control force at all airspeeds.

The procedure detailed in the Maintenance Alert calls for inspection of the support arms at the weight attachment point as well as the hardware associated with the attachment (the 530534-501 arm and the 530546-501 channel attachment to the 530535-1 collars and 530542-1 shaft), for cracks and/or loose fasteners or other damage. If cracks are found, the 530534-501 arm and the 530546-501 channel must be replaced with a new 530534-501 arm and 530546-503 channel. The 530546-503 channel has been lengthened to nest with the 530534-501 arm for the full length, providing better structural arrangement at the weight attachment point.

If loose fasteners or any other damage are found at the collars and shaft attach points, contact Twin Commander Aircraft.

The inspection must be performed even if the arms have been previously replaced, and results of the inspection should be reported to Twin Commander Aircraft.

For more information contact your
Twin Commander-authorized service center


Getting a bit tired of receiving unsolicited emails inviting you to revel in the latest Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram posts by Taylor Swift, Daniel Tosh, or Donald Trump? Wouldn’t you rather devote your precious time to social media that is relevant to your interests? Then check out Twin Commander Aircraft’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram postings.

Whether its news about authorized service centers, photos of Commander owners on memorable flights, or aviation events attended by Commander owners, you’re sure to find something interesting. Just go to the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram websites, search for Twin Commander Aircraft, and select “Like” (on Facebook) and “Follow” (on Twitter and Instagram) to stay current with the latest news and trends involving your favorite aircraft and people.


G1000-Twin-CommanderTwin Commander Aircraft’s official website, www.twincommander.com, has been redesigned with an improved look, easier navigation, and more features.

The home page features a loop of dramatic new photos of various Twin Commander models—in flight, taxiing, and an interior.

Major sections of the website—Models, Ownership, Custom Kits & Modifications, Service Centers, and About Us—are accessed with prominent buttons at the top of the page. Towards the bottom, click on icons to find out What’s New; to access Twin Commander’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram offerings; and to sign up to receive periodic newsletters and announcements.

There are also links to sign up for and read current and archived Flight Levels online, and to sign up to receive twice-yearly printed editions. There is no charge to subscribe to Flight Levels or newsletter.

The bottom of the home page has more detailed navigation information including links to important Resources—indexes to Service Bulletins, Service Letters, and Service Information; an AD list; and a Revision list. And be sure to check out the Media Gallery and Twin Commander Gear for sale. Take a few minutes and enjoy the new www.twincommander.com.


Twin Commander Aircraft has released two more Custom Kits designed to prevent moisture-related corrosion beneath the dorsal fin on various model Twin Commanders.

Earlier we reported on Custom Kit (CK) 193 for Twin Commander models 690A/B, which is comprised of a weep-hole system of parts, including shims, to be installed under the existing dorsal to provide channels for moisture to drain out of the cavity. Or, better yet, opt for CK 196, which replaces the original plastic dorsal fin with one constructed from stronger, more durable composite laminate material. The new dorsal fin also incorporates channels to disperse moisture. CK 195 is the new replacement dorsal fin for Twin Commander models 500S, 681, 685 and 690.

The latest Custom Kit for the Dorsal Water Evac System is CK 198 for late-model Twin Commander Jetprops (690C/D, 695, and 695A). The kit includes shims that are placed under the existing dorsal to allow moisture underneath the dorsal to drain and evaporate. CK 200 is a complete replacement composite laminate dorsal shell for Jetprops that incorporates channels to disperse moisture underneath the dorsal.

Contact your Twin Commander-authorized Service Center for more details.


One of the important benefits of doing business with a factory-authorized Twin Commander Service Center is the corps of highly experienced technicians who will attend to your aircraft. One of the requirements for achieving and maintaining authorized service center status is that technicians who work on Twin Commanders receive initial and periodic factory training. That training, combined with the years of experience many technicians have with Twin Commanders, means you’ll get the best from the best.

Two seven-day Twin Commander Maintenance Initial training classes have been scheduled for 2016, one for May 9-17, and another September 12-20. The class takes technicians through the various systems on the aircraft, using training aids for visual and tactile reference. Participants also will have access to live aircraft for reference.

Participating technicians are issued a training binder with a printed copy of the presentation and various handouts.

The class culminates with a graded exam. Upon successful completion of the class, technicians receive an official certificate and record of the training.

The two maintenance training classes will be held at Eagle Creek Aviation Services in Indianapolis. For more information, contact Mike Grabbe at [email protected]; telephone 317-293-6935 or cell 317-752-3708.

Special Discount on Enviro Air Cycle mod

Get some climate change going in your Twin Commander. Twin Commander Aircraft is offering a special discount off the list price for Custom Kit (CK) 183 to convert a Sundstrand bleed-air environmental system to an Enviro system. CK 183 is applicable to all serial-number 690Cs, and Ds, and all 695s, 695As, and 695Bs. If you fly a 690C or 695 that has had CK 141 installed, you can upgrade to CK 183 for even better airflow at a fraction of the cost of the complete CK 183 install. The special discount applies to CK 183 kits ordered before the end of the year. Plus, take an additional 10 percent off all parts required to complete the installation of an Enviro air cycle machine that isn’t already included in the CK183 kit. Kits are in stock and available for immediate shipment.

For more information, contact an authorized Twin Commander Service Center. For a list of authorized Twin Commander Service Centers, visit our Service Centers Page.

Custom Kits Offer Choice of Improved Dorsal Fin

A recent Maintenance Alert issued by Twin Commander Aircraft addresses the potential for corrosion to develop as a result of moisture that becomes trapped under the dorsal fin on Model 690A and B Twin Commanders. The original dorsal fin design for the 690A/B does not allow for dispersion of moisture that builds up on the fuselage beneath the dorsal, and this can lead to corrosion on the fuselage skin.

The trapped moisture problem can be eliminated by installing Custom Kit (CK) 193, which is comprised of a weep-hole system of parts, including shims, to be installed under the existing dorsal to provide channels for moisture to drain out of the cavity. Or, better yet, replace the original plastic dorsal fin with one constructed from stronger, more durable composite laminate material. The new dorsal fin also incorporates channels to disperse moisture. CK 195 is the new dorsal fin for Twin Commander models 500S, 681, 685 and 690; CK 196 is for the 690A/B. Contact your Twin Commander-authorized Service Center for more details.

Flight Levels Online Ready for Viewing

If you haven’t yet seen it, a new issue of Flight Levels has been posted on www.flightlevelsonline.com. The issue features Desert Air, which operates four soon to be five Twin Commanders in the southwest coastal African nation of Namibia, known for the variety of its plentiful wildlife. Desert Air uses its Commanders for charters, and taking tourists to Namibia’s colorful deserts and lush, wildlife-rich grasslands.

Winner Aviation, an authorized Twin Commander Service Center in Youngstown, Ohio, and its new president, Neal Gallagher, are celebrating Winner’s 20th anniversary, and the occasion warrants a profile in this issue of Flight Levels. Winner, which grew out of the original Youngstown FBO founded in 1941, is a full-service service center with highly experienced technicians.

The Internal Revenue Service has sent you a notice indicating that they intend to audit your aircraft ownership or operation company. What next? How do you navigate this process without it taking over your life or leading to more taxes that are unwarranted or unsupported? In her column “Business Flying and Taxes,” Suzanne Meiners-Levy offers a few tips to help keep you sane as you approach one of the most feared government actions: the IRS audit.

And, though it may seem highly unlikely that you’ll ever encounter an active volcano while flying, you might be surprised to learn that there are more than 1500 active volcanoes throughout the world. In his “Flying the Engine” column, Honeywell TPE331 Pilot Advisor Helmuth Eggeling details the devastating effects that ash expelled by an active volcano can have on turbine engines.

The next Flight Levels will be a print issue, as well as electronic, to be distributed in mid-November. Sign up for a free subscription at www.twincommander.com; click on the “Flight Levels Registration” button.

Legacy Acquires Parts Overhaul and Repair Business

Legacy Aviation, an authorized Twin Commander Service Center, has acquired the landing gear and component repair and overhaul business from Higher Planes, a long-time provider of parts for Twin Commanders and several other airframes.

Legacy has moved tooling, equipment, inventory, and FAA-approved data from the Higher Planes facility in Conroe, Texas, to Legacy’s base at Clarence E. Page Field in Yukon, Oklahoma, west of Oklahoma City. The business will be renamed Legacy Aviation Components. Higher Planes founder Barry Cain is serving as a consultant to Legacy during the transition. Trey Wallace will make the move from Higher Planes to become shop supervisor at Legacy Aviation Components.

“Higher Planes has been in business for 23 years,” noted Legacy President and CEO RJ Gomez. “Every Twin Commander Service Center uses Higher Planes for landing gear, hydraulic, and component overhaul and repair.”

The Legacy Aviation Components shop should be fully operational by the end of 2015, Gomez said. There should be no interruption in providing parts, nor any decrease in the quality of repairs and overhauls as a result of the transition, he added.

For more information, contact RJ Gomez at Legacy Aviation Services at 405-350-2100.