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The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Diane Heiserman

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Luxury, Hand-Stitched

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Sep 20, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

Five Stiches down…Six stiches across…five stiches up…six stiches across. Repeat…seven times for each row; 25 rows…80 hexagons; 160 hexagons per seat; five seats…800 hexagons, all stitched by hand.

hexagon-collage

Guided by hand through an industrial Pfaff sewing machine, Niki McClish, upholstery crew leader at Duncan Aviation's Battle Creek, Michigan, facility, diligently repeats this pattern over and over. This work could be done by a machine, but working with your hands brings out the best quality product in the end.

There are always great expectations when designing an interior of a business aircraft. Not wanting to deliver the same look typically seen, Duncan Aviation’s Design team researched high-performance automotive seats in different shapes and sizes. After several trials and experiments, the designers and upholsterers created a napkin sample with a high-contrast hexagon pattern stitched in bold red on light-colored Townsend Leather in a shade called Venetian Lace. At the same time, they added ½-inch quilt foam, giving the design a three-dimensional effect. This sample and model photos showing the seats and divan trimmed in a red Garrett leather piping were shown to the owner.

He loved it.

The first step of any aircraft interior seating project is to make the design look great on paper. The next is a testament to the skill of a talented team of upholstery specialists when they bring that seat design to life.

Many options were considered about how to complete this labor-intensive project, including seeking an outside vendor to machine-stitch the pattern. In the end, quality control and time constraints kept the job in-house.

“It was an easy decision really,” says Multimedia Designer Ken Reita. “We knew by doing the work here at Duncan Aviation, we maintained strict control of the quality and could work easily within the time constraints of the project. But honestly, it was the level of workmanship and the skill of the Duncan Aviation upholstery team that sealed the deal.”

Before the first piece of leather was cut, Niki McClish, upholstery crew leader, and her team had to overcome the constraints of the dynamic certification. The certified 16G seats required critical load areas (seat cushion and back) to have a specific type of foam and density. Ken plotted out the seat design using vendor data and Niki’s input. The rigid, geometric shape allowed for a more computer-aided design, helping Ken to create a very realistic model with correct pattern placement when scaled to actual size.

Man Vs. Machine

The hexagon pattern is a pretty straightforward design, but the strict geometric shape required patience and a critical eye to keep the entire seat pattern symmetrical from side to side and top to bottom. Any inconsistencies would be glaring up next to the straight piping that accented each seat.

To guarantee this symmetry, the pattern was laid out on the leather and stitched at the same time as the foam. It was important to do this step by hand because foam allows the leather to shift easily during the sewing process. A machine is not capable of checking its work. If left unattended, the leather can and will move, requiring the entire piece to be re-stitched, wasting valuable time and expensive leather.

This was a hands-on project where the personal touch made a huge impact in the end. Another example is the odd-shaped headrest, which is wider at the top than the bottom. Stretching and wrapping the leather around the foam shape with the company logo centered without wrinkles or gathers takes time and the care of an expert’s hand.

High quality is found in the details, details that are lost if work is done by a machine.

It Takes A Team

sexyjetseatNo one person can take credit for the quality of workmanship on these luxurious seats. “It took the entire team to make it happen,” says Niki. “Everyone was excited to tackle a different type of project. We had big discussions about our process, communicated well, and stayed focused.”

These seats were a big challenge when compared to the typical aircraft seat. They were labor-intensive, but they also required a high degree of focus to ensure quality and consistency. The starting point came with the seat foam team creating five shapes that were exactly alike. From these shapes, the leather patterns were created and cut from the best parts of the leather. Pattern makers stitched the foam to the leather and cut the patterns. Several team members stitched the pieces together creating inserts and cushions.

Although complicated, the project went smoothly. Other than a few adjustments along the way, they had no major setbacks. Niki is proud of her team. “Everyone took their job seriously and put their best foot forward. We turned out a great product.”

When the final seats were lined up next to each other in the shop, they looked like carbon copies of an original. The careful modeling, precision stitching, and exact construction were worth the extra time and effort it took.

Tags: Interior Refurbishment

Happy Founders Day Duncan Aviation!

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Aug 22, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

60SLINCOLNHANGAR_blogToday marks Duncan Aviation's Founder’s Day. Wednesday, August 22, is the 96th birthday of our founder, the late Donald Duncan.

This day is made more special as it is also the birthday of his grandson Todd Duncan, Chairman Duncan Aviation. And keeping with the theme of family birthdays, in the not too distance future on September 24th, Chairman Emeritus, J. Robert Duncan will be celebrating his birthday.

And so we celebrate!

Founder’s Day gives us all the opportunity to pause and reflect on Duncan Aviation’s past while also looking forward to a promising future. This would not be possible without the hard work, dedication and attitudes of each of our team members. Thank you to all of your contributions to the success of Duncan Aviation.

We also want to thank our many customers, partners and friends throughout the aviation world. We appreciate your business and friendship. 

FoundersDay_blog

Tags: Announcements

That Hard-To-Find Aircraft Part Is Never Further Away Than Your Phone

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Jul 18, 2018 @ 09:15 AM

The aviation world is a pretty big place. Sometimes locating the aircraft part you need is like trying to find the proverbial needle in the haystack, especially if it’s from a World War II fighter jet.

But the fact is, more often than not, Duncan Aviation’s massive inventory of parts, rotables, and exchanges for aircraft has exactly what you are looking for.

Viewing_CaneDarrold Comber suspected his search would not be an easy one. His needle? A joystick from a Grumman F6F Hellcat Fighter with working buttons. After an online search showed Duncan Aviation listing the part in stock, he picked up the phone and called Lance Tophoj, Duncan Aviation Parts & Rotables Sales Rep.

With several joysticks available, Darrold asked Lance if he would personally pick out the nicest one with working buttons, because he had something special in mind for his father-in-law’s 90th birthday.

Summit Lippincott, Darrold’s father-in-law, has been an aviation enthusiast for most of his life. To him the Hellcat joystick holds significant meaning because his older brother, Benjamin, a World War II Navy Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter pilot, tragically died during a training exercise in 1945 while assigned to the Naval Air Station at Boca Chica, Florida.

Because of his profound respect and admiration for his older brother’s courage and service to the United States, his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren have consistently heard his memories and stories about growing up with his brother.

Dogtags_upclose-blogIn honor of Summit’s milestone birthday and in memory of Benjamin, Darrold, created a one-of-a-kind handmade cane that featured a Grumman F6F Hellcat joystick as its handle. Two custom-stamped dog tags were added as the finishing touch.

The team members with Duncan Aviation Parts & Rotables Sales never shy away from a challenge. With access to more than $500 million in parts inventory and worldwide industry contacts, they operate on the premise of “If we don’t have it, we’ll find it!”

The reason we are able to offer this level of service is because of the extensive network of aviation industry contacts we’ve built through the years and the fact that we are available on our customers’ schedules, 24/7/365. Our inventory is competitively priced and checked against the industry marketplace regularly. All this, on top of our multiple OEM relationships and multitude of service agreements, is how our wide base of capabilities keeps customers flying.

Our large and constantly growing rotable and exchange pool is never further than your telephone. And with a primary inventory of more than 485,000 line items, we’ll usually be able to handle your parts needs from stock. We like to say, we specialize in needles.

www.DuncanAviation.aero/parts/search

Tags: Aircraft Parts

Women In Aviation: A Career For The Taking

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Jun 13, 2018 @ 08:28 AM

"To get more women in the field (aviation)is to be the woman in that field. Be brave. You can do it. Others will come join you.” Karen Iten, Engineering Designer

Many women work daily in technical roles at Duncan Aviation. These women are airframe mechanics; avionics and engine technicians; interior and paint specialists; design, electrical, computer, and structural engineers; and flight line reps. Even though aviation is traditionally a male-dominated field, there are plenty of career options available for women with rapid growth and excellent salary potential.

Read on about four of these women–an airframe shift supervisor, landing gear master technician, avionics crew leader, and an engineering designer–who have decided to take the road less traveled and make their way and careers in aviation at Duncan Aviation.

Do What You Love

Jayme-Park_IMG_9616blogAt the age of seven, Jayme Park had her first experience floating in a hot air balloon. But it wasn’t until the young impressionable age of 12, when she rode in a D23 biplane at an airshow, that she knew she wanted a career in aviation. “I was hooked.”

She pursued that dream and for the last 21 years, Jayme has been working for Duncan Aviation in Battle Creek, Michigan. She is the shift supervisor leading teams of airframe, engine, fuel, interior, and accessories technicians. She has enjoyed her tenure and feels very fortunate for her career at Duncan Aviation. “I am lucky. I get to do what I love, for a company that values me for my skills and leadership abilities.”

Be Confident In What You Know

1Q2A0646blogSarah White has had two aviation careers. The first, courtesy of the United States Air Force, took her around the world working on hydraulics, flight controls, wheels, inflight refueling, and weapons systems aboard Boeing B-52s, F-4 Phantom II fighters, and KC-135 Stratotankers.

After retirement from the military, her second aviation career began when she saw an advertisement for a hydraulics technician in Lincoln, Nebraska, while reading her newspaper and drinking her morning coffee. Twenty-three years later, Sarah is the senior member of the team and a master technician overhauling landing gear for business aircraft such as Challengers. 

Being the only woman on a team of men is not without its conflicts, but Sarah says for the most part it has been a positive experience. “Bias happens, but not as often as you would think.” Her advice to anyone doing what she does is to be confident in what you know and then put your head down and do the work. She says it’s customers who are sometimes caught short when she is called in for a consultation. “But as soon as I begin talking intelligently about the squawk and what I am going to do about it, we move past it quickly.” She says it is important to be able to take pressure and criticism on the job, no matter who you are.

Encourage And Support Others

1Q2A1948blogAfter five years in the U.S. Navy and with an advanced electronics and avionics degree from Colorado Aero Tech, Kelly Allman found her way to Duncan Aviation in 1999 and onto the hangar floor as an avionics installation technician. Her first assistant manager was another woman, who from the very beginning expected the best from Kelly. “She always expected the most out of me and held me and the rest of the team to a very high standard.” Kelly is very appreciative of her expectations, advice, and encouragement because “I wouldn’t be where I am now without it.”

Today, Kelly is a crew leader of a team of nine avionics installation technicians. She expects the best from them. “When you’re touching these aircraft, you have to bring your best. You are touching lives. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female.”

Just Do It

_96A2653-8x10blogAs the only engineer at Duncan Aviation’s Provo, Utah, location, Karen Itin is kept busy creating schematic drawings for interior structures supporting aircraft cabinets, seats, and antennas. It is this behind-the-scenes aspect of her work that she likes most about her job.

When she first started, technicians would come off the floor looking for the design engineer, and it was obvious they were looking for a man. “You can’t take it personally. Instead, you use it as an opportunity to communicate and show them what you can do.”

Her advice to young women thinking about exploring a career in a field that has been traditionally dominated by men is to “Just do it!” The only limitations are the ones you place on yourself. To get more women in the field is to be the woman in that field. Be brave. You can do it. Others will come join you.”


Spring 2018 Duncan Debrief

You can read more about this and other articles in the 2018 Spring Duncan Debrief. 

Download Your Copy Now

Tags: Careers & Recruiting

Comparing Aircraft Maintenance Quotes: Avoiding Sticker Shock

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, May 17, 2018 @ 07:00 AM

When it comes to comparing aircraft maintenance quotes, you should be more concerned about what is not listed than what is.

DSC_3544_blogWhen comparing maintenance quotes from different MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) facilities, there are a staggering number of variables to consider. It is always unwise to assume the final number on each proposal represents the same level of detail. You should always be asking, ‘What does the quote include?’

To help make this process easier, we have compiled a list of questions and discussion points to help you get the details behind the numbers. This is not an all-inclusive list, but it is a great place to begin.

Here are some things to begin the proposal conversation with your sales rep.

Airframe

  • Is the interior R&R included? This is often required to gain access below the cabin floor.
  • What about paint touch-up? And if so, is touch-up completed by spray or brush?
  • Are there state taxes on parts and labor? Consumables and freight charges? Are they included?
  • Are support services like NDT, machining services, hydrostatic testing, included?
  • Is tool rental included or an additional charge?

Avionics

  • Are engineering fees included?
  • Are any additional mods required to complete the workscope, like relocating antennae?
  • Does the proposal include just the baseline package or does it outline optional features of the system being installed?
  • Is the MRO including other recommended options based on feedback from other operators who have installed the system?

Paint

DUNCAN-AV-BCMI-0756CBlogThe number of variables that impact a quote for paint and interior completions work is nearly inexhaustible.

  • In addition to the base paint quote, does the proposal include painting the entry air stair?
  • Does that include replacing the step tread or masking around it?
  • How many stripes and stripe colors are included?
  • Are metallic stripes an up-charge?
  • Is there design support if the paint scheme is changing?
  • What are the options if you request a custom or second base color, wing color, tail color, or logo?
  • Is painting of the wheels and landing gear included?
  • What is the warranty?

Interior

Aircraft interiors is an area where it can be difficult to gauge the extra effort and care that might go into the project but that isn’t clearly represented by a number. Clarify if your interior proposal includes:

  • Is the foam replaced during the seat upholstery or just the dress covers?
  • What type of material is being quoted for upholstery of the divan, leather or fabric?
  • Is rewebbing of the seatbelts included in the upholstery of the seats and divan?
  • If it is a partial interior, and the leather color is changing, are all the leather items quoted for recovery (curtains, entry door shrouds, lavatory seat, etc.)?
  • Is the carpet being replaced hand-made or machine-made? Is the carpet pad being replaced and if so, is the new pad being installed equivalent to the existing pad or does it provide additional thermal or acoustical qualities?

Engine

5E7A9921-2_-blogAlways provide your logbooks up front. Doing so will get you an accurate quote on Service Bulletins, life-limited component replacements, and required Airworthiness Directives.

For non-program engines determine what level of service is being quoting. If only quoted the lowest minimums available for the engine, you can bet you will end up paying more in the end. Always ask the MRO to be up front about the expected expenses and the parts and other components that typically need replacement.

In addition to the base engine overhaul price, ask if the quote includes:

  • Service Bulletin status
  • Life-limited component replacement
  • Airworthiness Directives
  • Shipping charges
  • Discrepancies

Landing Gear

1Q2A0646_blogLanding gear quotes can be offered in a variety of pricing structures. NTE (Not To Exceed) is the most popular and the structure used most often at Duncan Aviation. With NTE, you are provided with the maximum quote and an assurance your final bill will not exceed that quote. Often, the final bill is under the NTE price.

Other options are Firm Fixed and Standard. With Firm Fixed, you are provided with the final bill before your gear arrives. It comes with a no bill-back guarantee, regardless of the condition of the gear. Standard Pricing includes all labor required to perform the normal inspection or overhaul and required parts. Any discrepancies found during the inspection that require additional parts and labor will be quoted over and above.

Whichever pricing structure you select, pay close attention to the exclusions on the contract. They can add extensive additional costs not included in the quote. These include additional customer requests, optional Service Bulletins, missing or abused parts, replacement of life-limited parts, and engineering fees, if required.

When reviewing your landing gear proposal, ask the following:

  • Does it include shipping costs for outsourced components?
  • Are parts or other special programs included in the pricing?
  • What are the contract exclusions?
  • What parts are considered over and above?
  • Are discrepancy and repair costs included in the labor flat rate?

You Play A Part

Evaluating the many quotes an operator receives in the course of preparing for an aircraft service event can be an overwhelming experience.

Ultimately, the success and satisfaction of a maintenance event is a team effort. You are as much a part of the team and its success as we are.

Bottom line…call and allow us the opportunity to walk you through the quote so you can better understand the proposal details as well as the ultimate workscope.

Tags: Avionics Installation, Engine Maintenance, Airframe Maintenance, Interior Refurbishment, Maintenance Event Planning, Landing Gear, Aircraft Paint

Duncan Aviation Releases April Duncan Intelligence

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 @ 08:00 AM

Duncan Aviation

April 2018 Duncan Intelligence


Aircraft Battery Storage
Aircraft batteries have a shelf life and maintenance requirements while in storage. The maintenance intervals and level of maintenance are directly related to the temperature at which the batteries are stored.


KFC 400 Autopilot: Common System Squawks
As an authorized BendixKing service center, we have seen this system in our avionics repair shop many times.


Hawker: Troubleshooting Inefficient Cabin Cooling
Have you ever experienced poor cabin cooling on the ground while the APU was in operation? Keep reading...


ADS-B And Non-Performing Emitters
According to the most recent data from the FAA, slightly less than 10% of all U.S. registered ADS-B-equipped aircraft are NPE, or non-performing emitters.


Aircraft For Sale: New Offering 1Q 2018
Duncan Aviation has a large selection of business aircraft for sale. View the latest offerings for 2018 and see what is coming soon.


In The News


After A Little April Fool’s Joke, FAA Reiterates ADS-B Deadline Firm
Read more.

 

 


Duncan Aviation’s Parts Search & myDuncan Translate to Several Languages
Read more

 

Tags: Parts & Accessories, Avionics & Instruments, Aircraft Sales, ADS-B, Announcements, Hawker

Duncan Aviation Receives Gogo’s Top Dealer Award at AEA

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Mar 28, 2018 @ 08:51 AM

Yesterday, Tuesday, March 27, 2018, during an in-booth reception at the 61st Annual Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) International Convention & Trade Show in Las Vegas, Duncan Aviation was named a Gogo Business Aviation Top Dealer for 2017. Duncan Aviation received the highest Gogo Business Aviation dealer honor, The Gogo Business Aviation 51,000 Five. Representing a pinnacle of achievement, the award’s name was inspired by the highest altitude reached by aircraft in the business aviation industry–51,000 feet.

Dave Salvador, Vice President of Aftermarket Sales and Regional Managers Andy Fernandes and Chad Ostertag presented the award to Duncan Aviation Vice President of Components Services & Satellite Operations Mark Cote and Duncan Aviation Business Development Manager Kevin Miesbach. Cote and Miesbach accepted the award on behalf of Duncan Aviation but expressed there was a large group within the company who contributed a great deal of time and effort to achieve this status and all deserve to be recognized.

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L to R: Gogo Vice President of Aftermarket Sales Dave Salvador, Gogo Regional Sales Manager Andy Fernandes, Duncan Aviation Vice President of Components Services & Satellite Operations Mark Cote, Duncan Aviation Business Development Manager Kevin Miesnach, and Gogo Regional Sales Manager Chad Ostertag.

“It is an honor to be recognized as one of Gogo's top dealers again this year,” says Cote. “But everyone from the technical expert who wrote the sales quotes to the engineers who drew up the prints, and from the technicians who installed the systems to the quality control personnel who returned the aircraft back to service all deserve to be recognized for their contributions.” He went on to say that without the outstanding teamwork that goes on every day at Duncan Aviation, this accomplishment wouldn't be possible. This is the sixth time Duncan Aviation has received the Top Dealer Award dating back to 2011.

Duncan Aviation is a market leader in business aircraft internet installations with Wi-Fi and is proud to partner with Gogo. Their products have met and exceeded customer needs and expectations for both aircraft communications and High Speed Data solutions.

Broadband internet systems with in-flight Wi-Fi capability can be completed at any of Duncan Aviation’s major service locations in Battle Creek, Michigan; Lincoln, Nebraska; or Provo, Utah. In addition, upgrades can be completed at any of Duncan Aviation’s avionics satellite locations. For a complete list of Duncan Aviation's avionics locations, go to www.DuncanAviation.aero/locations.

View Now Duncan Aviation Locations

 

Tags: Avionics & Instruments, Avionics Installation, Conventions & Exhibitions

Duncan Aviation Component Repair Growth: It Takes A Village

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Mar 01, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

Early on, when the Duncan Aviation avionics, instrument and accessory component repair shops were established, we recognized that our success wasn’t going to come on its own just because we opened our doors. From the beginning, we have developed connections and nurtured relationships with many of our OEM industry partners.

Since 1973, we have signed partnering agreements with more than 25 OEMs. These connections are a priority for Duncan Aviation because they lead to a better experience for our mutual customers.

Watch Competitive Advantage-OEM video

It was important to build those relationships in the 1950s when Founder Donald Duncan was selling aircraft, and it is crucial today as we continue to grow our components repair services.

Below are three of our valued OEM partnerships

ACSS/L3

As a result of their vast experience with and knowledge of legacy instruments and components, L3 Aviation Products was pleased to sign a service agreement with Duncan Aviation, allowing them to provide service and support of legacy mechanical gyros and power supplies.

ACSS and Duncan Aviation also collaborated on the development of the AML STC in support of the ADS-B Out program, providing a turnkey solution for business jet operators. 

Dennis McCole, ACSS/L3Strategic Marketing & Business Development

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Dan McKenzie, Duncan Aviation Team Leader

The alliance between L3 and Duncan Aviation spans nearly 45 years. My L3 contacts are quick to answer any questions I have and are committed to making sure we are up-to-date on all the latest repair procedures, offering factory training anytime we request it. When it comes to parts, L3’s response time is reliably quick, allowing us to be more responsive to our customers. We see many L3 units in our shop. 

Honeywell

There are many benefits to aligning ourselves with authorized channel partners such as Duncan Aviation. Chief among them is that our mutual customers have a better experience. Duncan Aviation has collaborated with Honeywell for more than 40 years, delivering a consistent message, pricing, and quality component service. The relationship between Honeywell and Duncan Aviation is extremely good regarding our sales and customer business team. Our ability to communicate candidly and work together is remarkable. I credit Duncan Aviation’s sales staff and leadership team for helping us grow the partnership. 

Mike Marcum, Honeywell Sr. Manager

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Rick Conner, Duncan Aviation Team Leader

Having an established, trusted relationship with the OEMs always benefits the end-user. In many cases, we openly collaborate with manufacturers to provide new services or work though problems that result in improved product quality and better customer relations. By giving us access to updated OEM manuals and access to parts for older units, we provide quicker turntimes, higher quality repairs, and a resource that helps keep legacy aircraft flying.

Rockwell Collins

Installing and maintaining aircraft avionics and cabin systems is complicated business. To best serve our mutual customers’ needs and wants, Duncan Aviation and Rockwell Collins have forged a 50-year working relationship based on a foundation of trust and effective communication. By sharing our collective knowledge, technical information, and skills, we serve our common customers as a team. To demonstrate this, we recently named Duncan Aviation an authorized service provider for repair, service and modification of the Collins TDR-94 and TDR-94D transponders. They are able to repair, install and upgrade modifications of these units at their main facility in Lincoln, Nebraska, as well as through their satellite avionics facilities located throughout the United States. Together we make the business of maintaining aircraft avionics and cabin systems easier to navigate.

—John Spellmeyer, Rockwell Collins Central US Regional Sales Manager

1Q2A1747 (Small).jpg

Dustin Johnson, Duncan Aviation Team Leader

As I work with Rockwell Collins, it is easy to see they have the end-customer’s best interest in mind. Our authorization to perform the upgrade on the Rockwell Collins TDR94/94D units speaks volumes about the trust they have in our capabilities to support the Rockwell Collins brand. They go out of their way to make sure we have what we need in order to meet the needs of our customers. I would stand by Rockwell Collins all day long. My contact there has never failed me.

 

Tags: Parts & Accessories

Bob Tooker: Master Mechanic with 50 Years In Aviation

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Feb 01, 2018 @ 09:56 AM

“By standing on the shoulders of giants,” that is how Bob Tooker credits any success he has had.

Charles_Taylor.jpgThe Charles Taylor  Master Mechanic Award is named in honor of Charles Taylor, the first aviation mechanic in powered flight. Taylor served as the Wright brothers' mechanic and is credited with designing and building the engine for their first successful aircraft. The award recognizes the lifetime accomplishments of senior mechanics.

As a farm kid from Silver Creek, NE, Bob's giants included his father and Uncle Norman who, he says, “must have saw something in me because they always allowed me to tag along and spent so much time teaching and showing me how things worked.” While on the farm, active in 4-H and Junior Leadership, he always had his eyes in the sky. From a young age he had a love of airplanes, and knew he wanted to get involved but didn’t know how.

Bob joined the U.S. Navy in 1967 and was sent to Avionics School in Memphis, TN, after he tested very high with an aptitude for aviation. His first duty station was in Pensacola, FL, with Helicopter Training Squadron 8 (HT8) as a Line avionics tech/Quality inspector. Then on to Naval Air Station Mirimar (San Diego) with Fighter Squadron 51 (VF51) with a side trip to Vietnam. He went on to earn his A&P certificate at Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, OK.

In 1974, at a time when there were only 17 aircraft mechanics, Bob came to work at Duncan Aviation working on early model Learjets, Bonanzas, Barons, and King Air aircraft. It wasn’t long before he began leading his own teams through major inspections. His first job as lead mechanic was for the 10 year, 10,000 hour demates inspection on a Learjet 23 and 24. He admits this first leadership run was a bit intimidating, but when he went on his first test flight with Harry Barr, an aviation legend in his own right, doing test stalls and wing checks, it pretty much sealed the deal for Bob on his love for aviation. He was in it for the long haul.

One of his favorite projects was the disassembly, transportation, and reassembly of a Learjet 35 that can be seen hanging in Terminal 3 of the Denver International Airport.

He encountered more giants in his career at Duncan Aviation. Giants like Joe Huffman Sr., and Bernard Michael, both previous Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award winners, and Kent Kussatz. According to Bob, Joe was the best troubleshooter he ever saw. Bernard was slow, steady, and calm in his work, a real mentor. And Kent put a lot of trust in him that helped his confidence grow. Bob advanced quickly to other leadership roles including shop supervisor.

It was in 1984 he was asked to be on the ground floor in the development of a new division of Duncan Aviation, AVPAC (Aviation Parts, Avionics, & Components), that would manage an extensive inventory of aircraft avionics and parts available for sale. Bob traveled across the country buying old or wrecked aircraft to be parted out or inspecting potential parts consignments, helping build the inventory from scratch. For the remainder of his career, Bob wore many hats, including inventory quality control, and sales rep. He decided after 43 years, it was time to retire.

2018 NE Master Mechanic Seminar-01.jpgHe wife Cheryl has been by his side through most of his career in aviation. He met her on a blind date set up by an old classmate. They married in April of 1972 and together, have two children and four grandchildren.

Bob has a lot of gratitude for Robert Duncan, Chairman Emeritus Duncan Aviation. “I always felt encouraged and empowered by the trust Robert in me early in my career. I want to thank him for the fun ride.”

Innovation Leads to Unique, Quick Trunnion Repairs

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Jan 23, 2018 @ 08:30 AM

Teamwork, ingenuity, and technical know-how…That’s how Duncan Aviation removes corrosion in the bores of the main landing gear forward trunnions on the bottom side of the wing. We are also the only MRO with the tooling and capabilities to perform this FAA-accepted repair procedure, and we can do it in less than a week.

1Q2A0663-blog.jpg

Lead Machinist Mark Leppky and Master Machinist Todd Hoffman

How It All Began

Nearly 10 years ago, during a scheduled quick-turn airframe inspection, significant corrosion was found in several areas of the aircraft, including the forward trunnion bores. At the time, there were only two options: Clean the corrosion using a standard hone or remove the wing and have it shipped by truck to the OEM for repair in their fixture. The hone method works by cleaning slight surface corrosion but can easily create an oval where a concentric bore is required if you’re trying to remove extensive corrosion. The second option is more precise, but the downtime is sometimes six months or more.

Duncan Aviation’s Machine Shop researched an alternative repair. The team members designed, engineered, and fabricated a fixture in-house to ream the bores. There was just one critical hurdle to overcome: This fixture had to be mounted on the underside of the wing and hold the correct concentricity and axis alignment with no other points of reference but the hole itself. After extensive research and development, Duncan Aviation designed and developed a fixture that met all requirements and successfully removed the corrosion, staying within allowable limits.

Since then, the fixture has been called into service a number of times on other aircraft, all with the same excellent results.

Repairs on the Road

Fixture-assembled-11blog.jpgMost recently, Lead Machinist Mark Leppky and Master Machinist Todd Hoffman took the tooling on the road. The end-customer, an air ambulance operator based in South America, needed the quickest repair possible.

In preparation for the road trip, Mark and Todd inspected the kits, made extra pins, and ensured everything was packed, right down to a cotton swab. On the road, “you don’t have the luxury of walking back to the shop and getting what you need,” says Mark.

They arrived on a Monday and quickly went to work. Through a series of pins, Mark and Todd slowly removed the corrosion by hand, layer by layer, .0325 of an inch at a time. The process requires continual communication and several checks and balances to maintain accuracy. After every cut, the bore’s diameter is checked and the depth measured to make sure it remains square to the back. After the final cut, the bore was within .0002 of tolerance.

“The tolerances are very tight with no room for error,” says Mark. “You get very accurate results following our processes and doing it by hand using sharp tooling, quality fixtures, and being careful.”

The final step is to use the cotton swab to alodine and acid etch the bores before installing a custom- fabricated bushing to bring the bore back to correct diameter. By Friday afternoon, Mark and Todd were packing their kits and getting ready to head home with another successful trunnion repair in the books.

The innovation behind the creation of this wing fixture wasn’t because Duncan Aviation created new technology. It came about because our team members used manual data and regular tooling to conceive of and develop a new method for repair. That resourcefulness and innovation is what sets Duncan Aviation apart. New ideas and test capabilities are developed by taking a different approach to the same information to meet customer needs and change future expectations.

 


Competitive Advantage: Continuous Improvement

We're not satisfied with standing still. 

 

Tags: Airframe Maintenance, Learjet, Landing Gear

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