The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

A Day in the Life of a Radar Unit at Duncan Aviation [Video]

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, May 24, 2016 @ 03:21 PM


Spring is here and that means storm season is upon us! Because radar is a great tool to avoid severe weather, spring is not the time to find out your radar is not functioning properly. For this reason, the Duncan Aviation avionics and instrument shop is kept very busy, servicing thousands of radar units every year.

Watch the video (below) and follow a radar as it makes a roadtrip through our Lincoln, Neb. facility during a routine inspection.

Radar Rotable Exchanges

Also every year, we process hundreds of radar exchanges. In order to meet this growing demand, we continually increase our radar exchange and outright inventory options so AOG customers don’t have to wait. There is also a loaner pool available.

To save you money and provide peace of mind, we offer one year warranties and flat rate exchange options on rotables that are notorious for add bills. To keep our pricing low and to avoid the ever-dreaded add bill, we use serviceable parts from hundreds of on-site core units.

Duncan Aviation Parts Sales is running a June promotion on radar rotables.  If we receive your core back at our Lincoln facility within five business days of the radar exchange unit shipping, we will issue a $50 credit to your Duncan Aviation account for future business.  Contact any Duncan Aviation Parts & Rotabale Sales Contact. 


Tags: Parts & Accessories, Videos

Hawker 800/800XP ADS-B Out STC Featuring the Honeywell Primus II

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Thu, May 19, 2016 @ 10:53 AM

ADS-B_Illustration_2.jpgADS-B Out

Fly today with a complete solution and prepare for the future with Duncan Aviation's Hawker 800/800XP ADS-B Out STC. By Jan.1, 2020, all operators must have Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast capability. As a staple in NextGen technology, ADS-B Out increases efficiency, strengthens situational awareness and allows aircraft to transmit information to Air Traffic Control ground stations by using satellite signals instead of ground radar and navigational aids. As a result, ATC is able to keep your aircraft properly spaced in high-density traffic areas.

Duncan Aviation's Hawker 800/800XP ADS-B Out STC# ST01811WI provides:
  • Reduced separation and highly accurate departure and arrival times
  • Surveillance in areas that do not currently have radar coverage 
  • Information to tower for a clearer view of aircraft and vehicles on runway to avoid collisions and or delays
  • More efficient spacing and optimal routing in non-radar environments, including the busy airspace in the Gulf of Mexico, mountainous regions of Colorado and the lower altitudes of Alaska

Honeywell's Primus II Radio System

When you upgrade your existing Honeywell Primus® II Radio and add a stand-alone GPS receiver, you’ll enjoy a cost-effective solution combined with the latest configuration to meet the ADS-B Out mandate. And, when you replace your old CRT display units with LCD displays with Duncan Aviation's ADS-B Out STC, you'll receive two new RMU-855's, designed to increase visibility and seamlessly integrate with your current configuration. Fly with confidence with Honeywell's Primus II Radio equipped with a Mode C transponder to fulfill ADS-B Out requirements and ensure your future travel plans.

Duncan Aviation's ADS-B Out Program

As an added benefit, Duncan Aviation's ADS-B Out STC offers Hawker 800/800XP operators an exclusive discount on Honeywell's Avionics Protection Plan. Learn more about this offer and upgrade your Hawker 800/800XP with an integrated solution at a Duncan Aviation maintenance facility: Lincoln, Nebraska; Battle Creek, Michigan; Provo, Utah; or at one of their satellite shop locations throughout the United States*.

Learn More

Tags: ADS-B, Hawker, NextGen

Duncan Aviation Avionics/Instrument Techs Tackle “No Fault Found”

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, May 17, 2016 @ 03:51 PM

NoFaultFound.jpgNo one in the aviation industry likes to see an instrument or piece of avionics equipment labeled as No Fault Found (NFF). So Duncan Aviation technicians take great care to tackle these head-on to find faults.

Equipment is labeled NFF when the squawk it is sent in for cannot be duplicated in the repair bench environment. Additionally, many problems with avionics equipment and instruments are intermittent; the equipment doesn’t fail outright, it just periodically stops performing as needed. That makes diagnosis even more difficult.

Brian Leffers, Manager of the Duncan Aviation Avionics/Instrument shop, estimates that between 10-25% of the components that Duncan Aviation receives are labeled NFF from a different shop.

So just how does Duncan Aviation tackle these diagnostic dilemmas?


There are hundreds of years’ worth of experience among the technicians working on gyros, weather radar, antennas, autopilot equipment, and navigation/communications systems sent to Duncan Aviation. Brian believes that this experience is the main reason Duncan Aviation is known for its ability to resolve NFF problems.

Because Duncan Aviation technicians are assigned to dedicated stations and work all day, every day, on the same types of components and instruments, they become familiar with even the most uncommon problems and failures.

Randy Bauer has worked at Duncan Aviation for 28 years. As a Gyro Master Tech, Randy explains that a faulty gyro could cause wing rock. However, determining what’s wrong in a gyro isn’t that easy. “In the vertical gyro, wing rock may be caused by defective gimbal bearings, low liquid level, or free drift rates. And in rare instances, the directional gyro could cause the same wing rock discrepancy if it has defective gimbal bearings or if the free drift rates don’t conform to specifications.”

Instrument Master Technician Steve Joe, who has 30 years of experience, specializes in repair and overhaul of attitude indicators. Some of these indicators have a new replacement cost of up to $40,000, so repair is preferred. The motors used to drive the attitude and command displays in some attitude director indicator models have intermittent failures. If the motor fails just once every 300 cycles, that would prevent it from being acceptable for continued service. These parts are carefully inspected to minimize the chance of in-flight failures.


DSC_3080_01_Mobile.jpgDuncan Aviation’s Avionics and Instrument Shop uses chambers that simulate the temperature extremes equipment experiences in flight. For instance, a weather radar antenna in an aircraft’s nose cone may experience 100-degree temperature swings from ground to altitude. To duplicate and diagnose problems, Duncan’s chamber can re-create those extremes (-40C to +70C).

Randy explains that all gyros are subjected to temperature extremes: They go through a hot (oven: 200 degrees) and cold (freezer: 20 degrees) soak to simulate the real-life temperatures the gyro may experience during flight or on the ground.

In addition, the shop houses an altitude chamber to simulate the changes in altitude and pressure that equipment undergoes during flight. And a vibration simulation re-creates the shaking and shuddering of an aircraft under various flight conditions.


Duncan Aviation also invests in the most current tooling and repair manuals. When Team Leader Barry Burkey works on autopilot instruments, he uses a Duncan-developed automated test set called Date-1B. Instead of spending eight hours standing and monitoring the diagnostic test on a faulty autopilot, he hooks the unit to a computer for testing. While the tests are running, he’s free to work on other units.

Developed by Duncan Aviation’s Research & Development experts, the test set performs diagnostics and produces an analysis that Barry and his team use to pinpoint the problem. A major benefit of this automation is that it allows technicians to repeat lengthy tests many times in an attempt to duplicate intermittent problems that would normally take days to find, making this not only more cost effective but creating a higher probability that the fault will be identified.


Duncan Aviation also has four Avionics/Instrument Tech Reps who provide support for the Avionics/Instrument shop by speaking directly to customers troubleshooting problems. Brian says, “Parts may arrive with a tag that says, ‘broken’ or ‘doesn’t work’.” From that brief assessment, it’s very difficult for a technician to discern what’s wrong. Tech reps call the customer and talk through the problems he or she has been experiencing to help pinpoint the source of the malfunction.

“Sometimes,” Brian says, “we have a unit here to work on. But after talking with the customer, our techs realize that unit may not be the source of the problem. So troubleshooting with the customer is an important step that helps ensure the customer doesn’t waste money sending in the wrong boxes.”

Randy agrees. “If an aircraft is experiencing wing rock, we might suspect a faulty gyro. However, it might also result from the autopilot sending a faulty signal to the servo. If the customer simply sends in the gyro and says the problem was wing rock, we could work on that gyro for months and never diagnose a problem.”


Locating the true nature of problems with avionics and instrument equipment is not always easy. The technicians at Duncan Aviation go to great lengths using experience, knowledge, environmental and diagnostic testing equipment and sheer determination to find solutions to components problems and save customers time, money and frustration.

Tags: Avionics & Instruments

With Donald Duncan, All Business Started With A Handshake

Posted by Kate Dolan on Fri, May 13, 2016 @ 08:45 AM

Fifty years ago, with nothing more than a handshake, Duncan Aviation began a unique business relationship with Captain Per Alkaersig. Although Duncan Aviation was 10 years old in 1966 and had a few business dealings with companies outside of the United States, the company didn’t have a dedicated parts department or anyone who routinely interacted with customers in Europe. 

Now the owner of Alkair in Copenhagen, Denmark, Captain Alkaersig was a well-known, successful dealer of Cessnas in the 1960s and Learjet in the 1970s. Prior to that, he was a captain for the SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System).

“As a Cessna dealer in Scandinavia, I contacted Duncan Aviation regarding King radios,” recalls Captain Alkaersig. “We enjoyed success selling the Cessna 310 and 400 series, but the radio packages that Cessna produced at the ARC facility in New Jersey were not reliable in the harsh Scandinavian winters.”

Per_Alkaersig_foto.jpgCaptain Per Alkaersig
Captain Alkaersig knew that Duncan Aviation was an authorized King radio dealer, so he contacted them about procuring radios for European aircraft. When Captain Alkaersig flew to Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1966, he met with the late Donald Duncan (the founder of Duncan Aviation), his son Robert Duncan (now Chairman Emeritus), and Captain Harry Barr. They agreed that Duncan Aviation would buy the King radios in Wichita, Kansas, and transport them to Duncan Aviation at the Lincoln airport. Captain Alkaersig would then fly to Lincoln, pick up the radios, and ferry them back to Europe.

The quartet eventually formed a company called Management Jets Worldwide.

“What a great team,” recalls Captain Alkaersig. “A handshake closed a deal, and soon we got into trading aircraft. They had me racing around the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, picking up or delivering Learjets, Citations, and Hawkers.”

After a series of successful trades and sales, the company was still faced with the expense of ferrying a Cessna 421 from Dusseldorf, Germany, to Lincoln. Captain Alkaersig wasn’t ready to give up, though.

“Eventually, I found a Danish buyer and saved the company the long ferry flight to Lincoln,” says Captain Alkaersig. “Donald’s remark was simply, ‘Well done, young man.’ I answered, ‘Coming from you, Don, I appreciate your opinion very much.’ We were truly a great team.” 

2016 is a special year. It is Duncan Aviation’s 60th year of helping business aircraft operators be safe, efficient and productive. For six decades, customers have asked us for solutions and services. We are celebrating our 60 years by telling the stories about the people of Duncan Aviation who listened and took action.

Celebrate with us by subscribing to the Duncan Download blog, following us on Facebook and Twitter (@DuncanAviation) and visiting our anniversary website at

Tags: 60th Anniversary

ADS-B DO-260B Compliance – What is required? [Webinar]

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, May 10, 2016 @ 04:39 PM

ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast) flight operations are quickly becoming a reality in the United States. The shift from the primary use of radar to ADS-B for air traffic management is one of the biggest technological changes that the aviation community will experience in the next decade. While there are many benefits associated with this change, there is also a great deal of confusion among many operators on how to comply with the regulatory mandate requiring aircraft to be equipped with ADS-B by Jan. 1, 2020, in the United States. 

Across all segments of aviation, there are still operators, installers and other stakeholders who have questions about what exactly is required to get their specific aircraft upgraded and compliant with the FAA’s ADS-B to DO-260B mandate, which is the most stringent among all regulatory authorities that have ADS-B mandates in place. Class of airspace, functionality and certification requirements, and availability of solutions all remain issues as well. 

Harpster__blog.jpgJoin Gary Harpster, Duncan Aviation's Avionics Installation Sales Rep, to get the answers to these questions and more during an upcoming webinar geared toward business and general aviation operators. 

May 18, 2016

11:00am-12:00pm EST


Joining him: 
Alex J. Rodriguez, Aerospace Engineer (AIR-132), Avionics Systems Branch, FAA 
Tom Dooling, Honeywell Aerospace; Technical Sales 

Woodrow Bellamy III, Associate Editor, Avionics 
Click here to register.

Tags: ADS-B, NextGen

From the Chairman: Innovation and Duncan Aviation

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Wed, May 04, 2016 @ 01:59 PM

FourGenerationsofDuncanMen_Robert_Charles_Donald_Todd_Mobile.jpgInnovation is vital to continued viability in business. The ability to innovate is the ability to provide continually improving services and, ultimately, more value to our customers.

As we reflect on our 60th anniversary throughout 2016, I am reminded of the entrepreneurial spirit that is really a way of life at Duncan Aviation. It is obvious from the guts my grandfather showed when he followed his passion and founded Duncan Aviation to my father’s ability to provide vision and direction as former President and Chairman of the company throughout his working life. But innovation at Duncan Aviation is seen far more broadly than in my family.

Many Duncan Aviation team members have entrepreneurial tendencies that have manifested themselves in the service improvements and expansions that have made Duncan Aviation the company it is today. An untold number of customers have made requests, pushed us to add capabilities, and inspired us to look for new and better ways to meet their needs. And our industry partners have teamed with us to collaborate on new products and technologies that have ultimately improved business aviation as a whole.

In the lastest issue of the Duncan Debrief, we explore some of the ongoing innovations in work at Duncan Aviation today. We look at the development of the online myDuncan project management tool, the collaboration our European Board of Advisors has seen with EASA, the desire of our team members to reach customer requests worldwide, NextGen upgrade solutions, and engine and avionics AOG assistance. 

We thank our team members, customers, and partners for helping us improve and find new solutions. And we encourage them to keep making requests, asking questions, and telling us how we can improve our services. After all, innovation is the key to moving forward. 

—Todd Duncan, Chairman

Tags: 60th Anniversary

Tribute To J. Robert Duncan, Part II

Posted by Kate Dolan on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 @ 10:37 AM

DonaldDuncan_RobertDuncan.jpgAs mentioned in Part I, Robert’s father, Donald Duncan, founded Duncan Aviation in 1956 and this year, Duncan Aviation celebrates 60 years. Now read the rest of the story of how Robert’s vision transitioned the small, family business from its modest beginnings into a company with a respected presence around the world.

You can read Tribute To J.Robert Duncan, Part I here 

Parts Consignment

Don Fiedler, now Manager of New Business Development for Components, joined the 10-year-old company in 1966 as the fourth member of the very new avionics team. The team repaired and installed avionics equipment on Bonanzas, Barons, and King Airs, and they also did some work on Harry’s helicopters.

As the industry started shifting from primarily piston engines to turbines, Robert saw the surplus parts for the older prop planes just sitting on shelves, and he surmised that there were probably FBOs around the country that had similar investments in unmoving parts. He envisioned a program where companies would send Duncan Aviation their surplus parts and, based on very new, barely known computer networking—a precursor of today’s Internet—Duncan Aviation would create an inventory of the parts and sell them on consignment.  This vision became AVPAC (Parts & Rotables today) in the early 1980s.

1985AVPAC.jpg“I've had the opportunity to work with all four generations. Donald in the early days, then Robert, and now Todd and his sons,” says Project Manager Howard Nitzel. “Robert always had good people to run the day-to-day operations for him. He would be looking at the future, always four or five years out, and willing to try new things. AVPAC is a classic example—a parts support services. It was kind of a pipe dream, and it really took off into a whole industry. Robert was a true visionary, made the company grow, and took care of everyone and their families. He’s a true businessman in every sense of the word.”

Don Fiedler explains that Robert’s vision was to establish a network, collect the parts, set fair prices, and ship them out to buyers the day they ordered.

“He wanted to make it easy to find parts and to get a fair price for them,” says Don. “And he wanted to make sure the inventory was meticulously maintained so we never claimed to have parts we didn’t. ‘First in, first out,’ was Robert’s rule.”

Robert  met with Bob McCammon (now manager of Aircraft Sales), Bob Tooker (Senior Sales Rep/Quality Control for Parts & Rotables Sales), Larry Stewart (former Senior Rotables Manager who retired in January after 43 years with Duncan Aviation), and Don Fiedler and explained his idea to get Duncan Aviation into the parts consignment business.

“It was a wonderful thing to work for that man,” says Don. “I’ve always looked up to Robert. I genuinely know him and really respect and like him. The word I most associate with Robert is ‘visionary.’ He surrounded himself with people who could take his ideas and run with them. And, to his credit, although the ideas were his, he always gave us free rein to make his dreams a reality.”

The Satellite Network

Once AVPAC was up and running, Robert again approached Don with an idea. This time, Robert told Rick Whitesell and Don of an experience he and his wife Karen had at a Lincoln’s Hovland-Swanson department store.

“Karen was trying on shoes, and as I waited, I talked to the manager of the shoe department,” says Robert.  “He told me he worked for a national shoe company. He said, ‘We specialize in shoes; we just lease this space.’ This got me thinking, ‘How could Duncan Aviation, with our expertise in avionics, expand that around the country?’”

Sat-History_03.jpgOne of Duncan Aviation’s greatest assets has always been its employees. Robert knew there were talented, experienced, knowledgeable technicians in Lincoln, hundreds if not thousands of miles away from where the avionics were that needed servicing.

“We joke that the avionics satellites are Robert’s five-minute idea that exploded,” says Don. “He said, ‘How ‘bout this idea? We lease space at established, respected FBOs around the country and put in two-man avionics shops. We keep it simple—do simple stuff in the field and continue to have the complex stuff sent to Lincoln. And we offer free loaners and free tech support.’ That was it!”

As a result of Robert’s “five-minute idea,” Duncan Aviation now has more than 20 avionics satellite shops located at busy airports around the country. Not only do our customers drop into these facilities for quick repairs, but also they can schedule complex installations, including upgrades to avionics that satisfy the NextGen mandates.

Robert credits Don for the success of the program. “It was my concept, but Don ran with it, and now Matt is managing all of them,” says Robert.

Matt is Matt Nelson, Manager of Satellite Operations. He started at Duncan Aviation in 1987 when he was 18 years old, and it was his first full-time job.

“It was summertime, and Todd Duncan and I were in the warehouse washing cars and airplanes,” laughs Matt. “We were about the same age, and we worked hard.”

As someone who has worked at Duncan Aviation for 29 years, Matt is a member of an exclusive club called Silver Wings.

Silver Wings

Silver Wings is a club that Robert created to celebrate employees who have worked at Duncan Aviation for 25 years or more. Because silver commemorates a 25th anniversary, the group that worked with Robert to establish the club chose Silver Wings as its name.

“It’s a way to recognize all of the many contributions our steadfast, loyal, dedicated employees have made in their tenure here. Many of them have been here far longer than 25 years, too, including Don Fiedler. This year, he’ll celebrate his 50th year with the company,” says Robert. “The Silver Wings employees, about 300 of them now, are the core of what Duncan Aviation is about, and they’re the reason so many of our customers can call Duncan Aviation and talk to the same person they’ve dealt with for 25 years or more. It means so much in our industry, and it means so much to us as a company, too.”

SilverWings2014_2.gifThose employees say the same thing about Robert Duncan and Duncan Aviation

“This company has been my life, mostly because of how the Duncan family has always cared for their employees,” says Don. “It’s a company built on integrity, and I’ve always felt privileged to be a part of something so special. It was such an adventure to get hired on at such a young, exciting place, and I’ve been here to see it grow and become the respected company it is today.”

Todd Duncan, too, is a member of the Silver Wings club, as he has been working at Duncan Aviation for 28 years.

Robert’s Son, Todd Duncan

Robert_Todd.jpgTodd has been Chairman of Duncan Aviation since 2007, and he’s seen the company ride the waves, the highs and lows, of the business aviation industry.

“One thing I’ve always admired my Dad for is what he brought to the business every single day, regardless of what we were facing, and that’s his optimistic spirit. He’s always able to look to and find brighter days,” says Todd. “He’s a tremendously forward-looking man, and he’s always so positive. He cares deeply about our employees and our customers. He’s the kind of man who inspires others to do their best, too.”

Todd agrees with what Robert calls the immeasurable value of the employees at Duncan Aviation. Father and son are keenly aware of the network of support they have created and developed at Duncan Aviation.

13100833_10153785619453999_2127267970112683311_n.pngYesterday, at the annual AEA convention in Orlando, Florida, Robert was given a life-time achievement award, recognizing his contributions to the aviation industry and acknowledging everything he’s done at Duncan Aviation in the last 60 years.

 “I couldn’t have done it alone. Everybody out there is doing the work every day—turning the wrenches, fixing the avionics, selling something, or providing support in accounting,” says Robert. “It takes everyone to make this company succeed.”


Tags: Avionics & Instruments, Avionics Installation, Announcements, 60th Anniversary

Tribute To J. Robert Duncan, Part I

Posted by Kate Dolan on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 @ 09:21 AM

This morning, J. Robert Duncan, Chairman Emeritus of Duncan Aviation, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Aircraft Electronics Association at the organization’s international convention and trade show in Orlando, Florida.

IMG_20160426_155759253_HDR_2.jpgRobert’s father, Donald Duncan, founded Duncan Aviation in 1956 and this year, Duncan Aviation celebrates 60 years since that story began.

However, less known is the story of how Robert transitioned the small, family business from its modest beginnings into a company with a respected presence around the world.

In The Beginning

In 1956, when Duncan Aviation opened its hangar doors, 14-year-old Robert was there.

“I was there doing minor things, working on the line, and I joined the company full-time after graduating from Northwestern in 1965,” says Robert. “Harry Barr had been like a big brother to me when I was growing up. He taught me how to fly, and I got my pilot’s license as soon as I could. I was taking lessons when I was 15 and soloed at 16. After getting my private license when I was 17, I kept right on flying and got my commercial license at 18. It feels like I’ve always flown, and I just love it.”

Piloting a plane lets Robert detach himself from daily demands and get up where it’s quiet; he loves going fast and seeing the world in a whole new way.

Robert’s passion for flying helped him relate well to customers and employees alike. In addition to enjoying the freedom of actually flying, he also loved the mechanics, avionics, and power of airplanes. Growing up, Robert had helped his father put away, clean, and work on airplanes for as long as he can remember.

In the early days, when Duncan Aviation was a Beech distributor, one of Robert’s jobs was to go to Wichita, Kansas, and fly the new planes to Lincoln. He flew Bonanza Barons, Twin Bonanzas, and Beech 18s.

In helping finance Bill Lear’s dream of building innovative turbine-powered aircraft, Donald Duncan secured rights for Duncan Aviation to distribute Learjet aircraft.  Robert then became the youngest certified pilot at 23 years old to fly the aircraft whose name was synonymous with speed, performance, and luxury.

Now Chairman Emeritus of Duncan Aviation, Robert still enjoys the speed and the freedom of flying; he flies a Mustang and an M2.

“I love those airplanes, especially for the avionics equipment,” says Robert. “They give me the ability to fly myself and do so in a very safe way.”Robert-collage_sm.jpg

Core Values & Innovation

The dreams Donald and Harry had for Duncan Aviation were shared by Robert from early in the company’s history. Donald, Harry, and Robert started a helicopter business in western Nebraska, and Robert says his father and Harry taught him to always take advantage of new opportunities, to look for new products that will serve customers better, and to stay active and involved in the community.

“My father instilled in me an attitude of growth and opportunity,” says Robert. “I was always on the lookout for new adventures, new airplanes, and new opportunities.”

Robert’s son Todd, now Chairman of Duncan Aviation, learned those same lessons.

“Dad and Grandpa said you always had to take care of the fundamentals. We’re a small business, in a small industry. We don’t make the airplanes, but our business is about everything that comes after that,” says Todd. “Create a cooperative environment, don’t create silos, and don’t run things like dictators. We work in an industry that requires collaboration and teamwork, so we have to foster that every day here at Duncan Aviation, too.”

A New Beginning

In 1981, when Robert was 41 years old, his father died suddenly. Donald’s death shocked the entire company, and especially Robert.

“We were in the midst of pretty tough times. Inflation was high and interest rates were astronomical; our business was weak,” says Robert. “We needed new enterprises and new opportunities for our employees.”

Donald’s focus had been sales, and Robert knew he had to grow the business in other ways. He recruited talented people to run new endeavors, and one of them was the Interior shop. There was no design center or cabinet shop, yet, but the small shop fixed broken seats and installed carpet, headliners, and side ledges. Robert envisioned much more, and he recruited Jeannine Falter to head the shop.

Jeannine_Falter_Photos_001_SM.jpg“I had been working for Learjet when my 47-year-old father had a heart attack, so I decided to accept the Duncan Aviation job offer and move back to Nebraska,” says Jeannine. “I gave my notice and said I was going to work for Duncan Aviation. People at Learjet took me aside and tried to talk me out of it. This was shortly after Donald had died, and they didn’t think the company would survive. They underestimated Robert and his entrepreneurial talent. He’s smart, open to new ideas, and willing to take risks. I’ve never regretted my decision to work for Robert.”

In the following years, Robert envisioned several more advances that not only created new avenues of business for Duncan Aviation, but also grew the company and spread its name and reputation around the world. Among the ideas that Robert conceived of were AVPAC and the Duncan Aviation satellite avionics facilities.

Tags: Announcements, 60th Anniversary

OH...FOD!  Checked Your Drawers Lately?

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 @ 10:20 AM

FOD-small.jpgThat screwdriver that mysteriously went missing from the toolbox, a scrap of wire or a pack of Lifesavers might not look threatening. But as any A&P Tech will tell you, anything that’s somewhere it doesn’t belong sets the stage for a potentially dangerous situation. Such objects are known as FOD, and Duncan Aviation’s technicians are finding more of them more frequently.

It is common knowledge that any foreign object in, on or around an aircraft can have tragic results. Yet some of our airframe techs have discovered many of these objects during inspections across all makes and models of aircraft. Everything from small bits of trash to misplaced pieces of on-board equipment have been found trapped under floorboards and lying on top of wire bundles.

The definitions of FOD can be as varied as the objects that can cause it: Foreign Object Damage, Foreign Object Debris, etc. One thing all aviation experts agree on is that if FOD is in your aircraft or if it affects the external areas of your aircraft it can lead to an extremely serious situation. FOD comes in many forms–typically debris from other aircraft. It can be nothing more than a small rivet or any other type of object on the ramp or runway.

Tire punctures are common with runway FOD. Hopefully this type of debris is caught during pre-flight inspections and the result is only an inexpensive tire replacement and not a blowout during takeoff.

Internal FOD can result from work crews leaving an object trapped behind a panel or floorboard somewhere on the aircraft. It can even be a part of the airplane that was moved and not returned to its proper place.

During inspections, our techs have discovered items ranging from tie-raps, avionic control buttons, pencils and even an auxiliary gear handle that was lying on top of the flight control pulleys under the co-pilot floor. Any FOD trapped under floorboards can be a potential hazard to the safe operation of an aircraft. Sharp objects found lying on wire bundles, hydraulic lines, pitot static lines, etc., are especially dangerous and can have a chafing potential which can again lead to a catastrophic failure.

Real-World_FOD_033_FIN.jpgDuncan Aviation's technicians found this red Auxiliary Gear Handle (which belongs to the aircraft) sitting on top of the flight control pulleys.
Consider this fictional nightmare scenario: After a maintenance event, an auxiliary gear handle is left under the pilot’s floor lying on top of the flight control pulleys. The crew has done a thorough preflight, but does not have X-ray vision and has no idea what’s below them. They start down the runway for the flight home and just as the PNF (pilot not flying) calls V1 (the decision speed to abort the takeoff or fly) one engine quits, so the PF (pilot flying) immediately adds rudder for directional control. The auxiliary gear handle slips from its resting place due to the abnormal side loads and wedges into the rudder cables. The rudder is designed to travel a set number of degrees to give a pilot the required directional control at the speed above V1. Since the handle is now restricting the designed amount of deflection, the pilot’s only option is to reduce power on the good engine to match what rudder is available and PRAY that is enough.

Depending on the type of FOD, a loss of any system aboard an airplane is possible. This can lead to a life-threatening scenario during takeoff, flight and landing. Normally these types of FOD issues don’t arise because of the professional training and maintenance ethics of A&Ps. Vigilance to the task at hand can eliminate many forms of FOD.

When it comes to FOD, carelessness should never be tolerated and strict procedures must be followed. Duncan Aviation is extremely serious about FOD and has an inspection system in place that is strictly adhered to in order to ensure that all foreign objects, regardless of area of origination, are secured prior to panel/floor close up. At Duncan Aviation a task on or around an aircraft is not completed until FOD is eliminated. Make sure to review the FOD procedures at any maintenance facility you might choose and make sure they take FOD as seriously as they should.

Engine FOD Potentially Catastrophic


Engine FOD can be the most dangerous of all FOD. Any material that rips through any engine can cause a catastrophic failure. Engine FOD is both internal and external. Internal FOD can be mitigated through the use of strict procedures. (Check to see the procedures your service provider uses.) External FOD requires proper planning and observation to eliminate.

Internal FOD may include any tool, part or anything a technician may use while servicing an engine. Rivets are common FOD elements for engines. Years ago, a chief pilot decided to test his flight crew’s FOD procedures by placing his hat inside an engine intake. Before he could warn them of his plan, they tested the engine. Several thousand dollars of damage resulted.

External FOD is much more dangerous if the aircraft is in flight. External FOD may include airborne debris such as a sand storm or volcanic ash from an eruption or even hail or ice ingestion. Be aware of FAA NOTAMs in the area of your flight plan. Also be careful when taxiing behind large aircraft as their jet blast and general size can kick up quite a bit of debris.

The damage to the TFE731 engine above was caused by a bird strike. We found damage to the fan blades, nose cowl leading edge, fan stator, and compressor impeller... just to name a few. Depending on the strike, one bird can cause more than half-a-million dollars in damages.

Tags: Engine Maintenance, Airframe Maintenance

We Did It Again! Another Unique Duncan Aviation Aircraft Paint [Video]

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Apr 05, 2016 @ 01:36 PM

Duncan Aviation’s aircraft paint experts never cease to amaze. Watch this time-lapse video of our team in Lincoln, Nebraska, as they create custom ghost artwork on the left- and right-hand fuselage of BurgerFi’s Bombardier Global.

Look close. Can you see the company name and logo in silver sparkle flake?


Colors used:

AkzoNobel Matterhorn White
Axalta Carbon Black
Axalta Gray
Axalta Silver Sparkle
House of Kolor Silver Mini Flake
House of Kolor Ice Pearl
Sherwin Williams Acry Glo Clear


Tags: Videos, Aircraft Paint


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