The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Diane Heiserman

Recent Posts

Robert Duncan Reflects On 60 Years of Success & Innovation

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Jan 05, 2017 @ 12:10 PM

DonaldD_phone_SM.gifThe bedrock at the foundation of Duncan Aviation’s success was formed by the values of its founder, Donald Duncan. “…taking care of the customers, taking care of each other, telling the truth". So many talk about it, so few are able to consistently maintain it.

Values & Innovation

Duncan Aviation’s Core Values were established in 1996. They are proudly displayed at all of our locations and reviewed at every new employee orientation. Since they were first identified and written down, Duncan Aviation has more than tripled in size. However, the core values still match the company’s culture. They ring true to all team members and remind us daily about what is important.

Near the top of the list of Core Values is ‘lead through action and innovation’. These are not just words on a poster to be read and forgotten, it is a belief taken very seriously. Duncan Aviation team members have always been given the latitude to explore ways that can improve the customer experience without compromising integrity or safety. It is this eye towards innovation that has been vital to our providing improved services and, ultimately, more value to our customers.

Watch this video of Robert and Todd Duncan reflecting on 60 year of success and innovation at Duncan Aviation. 



As we look back on our 60th year in business aviation, we are reminded that it is our Core Values and innovative spirit that is the foundation of the culture and the cornerstone of Duncan Aviation’s continued success.

Thank you for helping us celebrate 60 years. We are proud of our family ownership and history of excellence, innovation and responsiveness. We are also truly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with you.

Here’s to 60 more!

Tags: Announcements, 60th Anniversary

Duncan Aviation’s Chuck Zahnow Receives the 2016 AMT Next Gen Award

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 @ 10:53 AM

Duncan Aviation team members are among the most experienced in the business aviation industry and the quality of the service they provide is among the best in the world. So it comes as no surprise to us when others recognized and acknowledge what we already know. 

Congratulations Chuck on an award well-deserved. 

Republished with permission from AMT Magazine

Zahnow, Charles_SM.jpg39-year-old Chuck Zahnow is an Airframe Technical Representative for Duncan Aviation in Battle Creek, MI. His great uncle worked on aircraft during WWII and he thought that would be a good path to follow.

After high school he attended American Flight and Technology Center, a one-year trade school that has since closed due to low attendance. He has continued his education with aircraft specific training on most of the Citations, Hawker, and Falcon 50 EX and 20 at FlightSafety. Zahnow has also been fortunate in having many people guide him along the way. "I adopted early on that people are always willing to teach, you just have to make yourself available to learn. I have learned from so many I could not begin to list them."

Zahnow started at Zantop Airlines, then went to American International Airways, and from there to Duncan Aviation. He currently works as liaison between the techs on the floor to Textron Aviation (Citation and Hawker) for all facets of airframe maintenance. He is also responsible for managing the tooling needs as it pertains to Textron aircraft and provides additional technical support to techs on the floor as well as external customers. This may mean a phone call, but could also include on-site support.

Mark S. Chaney, senior director, aviation at Coca Cola Bottling Company, says, "Chuck Zahnow has shown a strong commitment to business/general aviation through his incredible work ethic and support of Duncan Aviation customers. I have seen evidence in his support of my company's aircraft as a Duncan customer and reports from other customers. Chuck also serves the industry through his membership on the NBAA Citation 500 Series Technical Committee. I have the pleasure of serving with him as a current committee member and former chairman. He represents his company and Citation operators through a strong personal and professional commitment to safety and product/process improvement. He exceeds all of the qualifications for this award. I expect to see great things for our industry from Chuck in the coming years."

Zahnow is a member of NBAA and its Technical Committee for both the large cabin and small cabin Citation aircraft which helps to better the aircraft for the owners and operators. Duncan Aviation has also given him the opportunity to speak with high school students that are considering aviation as a career either by tours or by visiting with them at a local vocational center.

As for the future, "I have never put a ceiling on my career. I have always considered each opportunity and made a decision that would best serve myself and my family. I have been fortunate to be at a company that recognized and promoted me along the way to get where I am."

Chuck is one among many of whom we are very proud. Meet them all. 

Duncan Aviation Tech Reps

Tags: Airframe Maintenance, Announcements, Careers & Recruiting

Aircraft Landing Gear Repair & Overhaul Is Not a Commodity Service

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Dec 07, 2016 @ 08:00 AM

An aircraft can't go anywhere without its legs. Landing gear are an integral part of the whole operation, yet their overhaul and inspections are more often viewed as something that is taken care of behind-the-scenes; scheduled alongside, but taking a backseat to, a major airframe inspection. Yet, it can have a huge impact on the entire project's schedule if the restoration runs into major squawks.

So who’s taking care of your aircraft’s legs?

landing-gear_blog.jpgAlthough landing gear overhaul and repair services are not available from everyone from coast-to-coast, it has a bit of a reputation of being a commodity in the business aviation industry. There are almost too many choices on where to send your gear when it comes time for inspection.

It is fair to think with FAA regulations, Chapter 5 requirements, and access to the same maintenance manuals, that all facilities are equal. You would be wrong.

In reality, landing gear overhauls are not created equal, and there are often many differences among the maintenance facilities and the quality of work performed, and out-the-door price.

So how do you decide? Let’s begin with what’s most important to you.

Video: View the entire process of a 192-month inspection of a Challenger 604 landing gear here.


Landing-gear-shop-full.jpgAsk nearly every aviation service sales person what the top deciding factor is for their customers when choosing an MRO for service and they will tell you Downtime.

No one looks forward to having their aircraft down for inspection. Time is money and your aircraft needs to be available at all times. That is why your time requirement is one of our requirements.

At Duncan Aviation, we continually examine our processes to find more efficient avenues to deliver landing gear faster. However, we will never sacrifice quality or safety for the sake of time.

In 2015, our landing gear shop met quoted turn times a near perfect 98% of the time on scheduled, complete landing gear sets. In 2016, we are on track to improve that number even further thanks to a more efficient process and interactive calendar.


When it comes to overhauling, inspecting, and repairing landing gear assemblies and subassemblies, we’ve been doing it since 1978. The shop started out modestly as a bench at the back of our main hangar but has since grown to a 6,000-square-foot facility equipped with an overhead crane, dedicated paint booth, and cure room.

Are we the largest landing gear shop in the industry? Possibly not, but to the nearly 500 operators who rely upon us each year, we are big enough.

With capabilities on more than 50 different make/model aircraft and 3,143 unique landing gear parts, we’re confident we’re big enough for you, too.

Video: Embraer Landing Gear Before and After


By the very definition, a warranty is a promise of continued support and service even after the project is over. We believe so highly in our own work, that our warranties cover everything. Parts, labor, and not just our work, but the work of others...covered.

I know what you’re thinking! How can Duncan Aviation possibly offer a warranty on work they didn’t perform?

It’s simple. Through our experience, we’ve been able to identify high-failure parts and will take the extra time during overhaul to make sure those parts are able to last.

We think we’ve done a pretty good job at it because our warranty claim rate in 2015 was less than 1%, 0.6% to be exact.


Although price is likely not the most important factor in your buying decision, it still is an important one. That is why we offer three different pricing structures to fit your budget requirements.

Firm Fixed. Before your gear gets to Duncan Aviation, you will know what you are paying. Firm Fixed guarantees one price with no bill-back, regardless of the condition of the gear. We have heard from several operators who chose a lower-cost provider that with additional billing based on the gear’s condition, their final invoice was higher than our Firm Fixed quote.

NTE (Not To Exceed). With NTE, we will provide you with the maximum quote. Your final bill will not exceed that quote. It could even be less. There will be no additional billing that will drive the invoice over the NTE maximum price.

There could be some exceptions to the above pricing structures of which you will need to be aware. These include additional customer requests, optional Service Bulletins, missing or abused parts, and replacement of life-limited parts and engineering fees, if required.

Standard Pricing. Standard Pricing includes all labor required to perform the normal inspection or overhaul, and required parts. Any discrepancies found during the inspection that may require additional parts and labor, will be quoted over and above.

Each pricing structure has its advantages. We will work with you to identify which makes sense for you.

We realize that you have a lot of choices when it comes to servicing your landing gear. We know you want more than the minimum required.

  • You expect your downtime requirements to be respected
  • You require quality and experience
  • You demand a guarantee of a job well done
  • You want flexible pricing options to meet your budget,

Seems like an easy decision really. Duncan Aviation.

Tags: Parts & Accessories, Landing Gear

Duncan Aviation Gives Thanks

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Nov 23, 2016 @ 09:50 AM

Business Aviation is about more than the bottom line. It is about the friendship, trust and partnership we build and cherish.

Thanksgiving_blogDuncan Aviation is thankful for our many friends in the aviation world. We appreciate you and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

What are you thankful for? 

Tags: Announcements

A Customer's Simple Act Speaks Louder Than Words of Praise

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Nov 22, 2016 @ 08:00 AM

Earlier this year at our Lincoln, Nebraska, facility, we re-installed three Honeywell TFE731-60 engines fresh from their initial 3,000 hour MPI on their Falcon 900EX, that delivered on-time from its major C-inspection. The aircraft’s first scheduled flight back in rotation was a trip to Europe.

With decades of honed turbine engine skills, we experience very few surprises when it comes to Honeywell TFE731 engines and MPIs. However flying that far right after a major inspection is significant.

According to Jeff Schwebke, Duncan Aviation Engine Project Manager, most operators fly locally around their home base after MPIs are performed to make sure there are no minor squawks to work through. “This simple action by a long-time Duncan Aviation customer says more about their trust in our work than glowing words of praise,” he says.

With an average of 192 MPIs a year for the last 15 years, experience has told us which parts should be ordered in advance, what components need a closer look, and how to put together a team of trained turbine engine technicians ready to get to work for every customer.

9-engine1 - Copy.jpg9-engine3 - Copy.jpg9-engine2 - Copy.jpg9-engine4 - Copy.jpg

With the triple MPIs completed, engines re-installed, and post-MPI performance runs, the customer’s aircraft departed with better engine performance than it had when it arrived.

Watch this time-lapse video and follow along as the engines make their way through the Duncan Aviation turbine engine shop for this triple MPI event.

35+ years

Duncan Aviation began servicing the first generation TFE731-2 engines in the early 1970s. In 1981, we received two major level authorizations to work on the Honeywell (then AiResearch) TPE331 and TFE731 engines. Over the years, as Honeywell added different TFE731 model engines, each was added to our capabilities.

Duncan Aviation's Honeywell Engine Authorizations, include: 

  • Heavy Authorization on TFE731-2,-3,-4,-5,-20,-40,-50,-60 engines
  • Minor Authorization on Honeywell AS907 (HTF 7000) Series 
  • Line Authorization on CFE738 Engines, GTCP36-100/150, RE100 series and RE220 series APUs.
Here’s to another 35 years of dedicated Honeywell service!

Tags: Engine Maintenance, Videos

One in Four Duncan Aviation Team Members is a Military Veteran

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 @ 08:00 AM


Duncan Aviation honors its 508 Veteran Employees.

That’s 508 team members with thousands of years of military experience—and counting.

During this Veterans Day, we pause to remember the sacrifices our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have made in serving our nation where and when they were needed.

From one generation to the next, young men and women have willingly joined the ranks of America's Armed Forces. Aware of their obligations as citizens of the greatest nation on earth, they answered its call; they served the United States with courage and commitment.

Duncan Aviation wants to say thank you to all veterans who have sacrificed much in the defense of this country. We proudly support our veteran employees and are honored by their sacrifice and are proud to work side by side with these brave men and women. We cannot thank them and their families enough for the sacrifices they have made for our nation.

Duncan Aviation openly supports our Reserve and Guard members, who continue to sacrifice for our country.

We honor each of you, America’s veterans, who served so faithfully and honorably. Through your sacrifices you have secured for millions of others the blessings of freedom, democracy and the unmatched opportunities that we enjoy in the United States today.

May each of you have a safe Veterans Day. God bless each of you and your families, God bless our armed services and God bless the United States of America.

Putting Your Military Skills to Good Use



We strongly encourage military personnel to apply for career opportunities.

Duncan Aviation is an equal opportunity workplace and an affirmative action employer.

Talk to Duncan Aviation's Recruiting Contact Today

Tags: Announcements, Careers & Recruiting

Citation Sovereign: Want Winglets With That?

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Nov 02, 2016 @ 11:03 AM

Do you want to go further faster in your Citation Sovereign? We can help with that.

WingletPhoto.jpgFor much of 2016 we have been collaborating with Winglet Technology, LLC on an STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) to certify their Transitional Winglet design for the Citation Sovereign aircraft.

During this process, we installed the wing reinforcement, the winglet attach structure and the Transitional Winglets. Flight testing was completed in late August. The STC will be completed by the end of 2016, with FAA approval during the first quarter of 2017.

Any Sovereign operators, who desire greater operational flexibility and performance benefits, such as increased speed at altitude, increased range/payload, improved time-to-climb, and more, need to consider the Transitional Winglet upgrade.

Oh, and don’t forget that winglets just simply look cool. It is a ramp presence that is certain to turn heads. 

When it comes to winglets, we know what we’re doing. We are already authorized by Winglet Technology to install the Transitional Winglet STC on the Citation X.

Want to talk about it more?

Visit us in booth #3126 today at NBAA, or contact your Duncan Aviation Citation Service Sales Reps now.

Tags: Winglets

Duncan Aviation Named Rolls-Royce Authorized Service Center at NBAA

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Nov 01, 2016 @ 12:30 PM

The doors to NBAA 2016 were barely open an hour before there was already a flurry of activity in Duncan Aviation’s booth.

Hundreds were on hand as representatives from Rolls-Royce and Duncan Aviation joined in a signing ceremony to officially recognize Duncan Aviation being named to Rolls-Royce’s network of Authorized Service Centers for its CorporateCare ® customers.

Rolls Royce2.jpg

(L to R) Aaron Hilkemann, Duncan Aviation President, Kimberly Rubush, Rolls-Royce Services Manager, Andrew Robinson, Rolls-Royce Deputy SVP Services—Aerospace, Robert Duncan, Duncan Aviation Chairman Emeritus, Jörn Lindstädt, Rolls-Royce, Head of Aircraft Availability Centre, Business Aviation, Steve Gade, Duncan Aviation VP Marketing & New Business Development, and Tom Burt, Duncan Aviation EVP/COO, BTL Operations. 


The contract authorizes all of Duncan Aviation’s MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) facilities in Battle Creek, MI, Lincoln, NE, and Provo, UT, and 14 Engine Rapid Response locations to service AE 3007A, BR710 A1/C4/A2, as well as, Tay 611-8/8C engines.

For several years, Duncan Aviation has been supporting Rolls-Royce powered aircraft around the country with line maintenance so many of our technicians are already factory trained for line maintenance and borescope inspection. Beginning the first quarter of 2017, Duncan Aviation will begin providing warranty claim processing and on-site parts, along with in-house engine maintenance on-site parts and warranty claim processing for all Gulfstream G500/G550, G400/G450, G300/G350, Bombardier Global Express and Global 5000/6000, Embraer Legacy 600, and 650 operators enrolled on Rolls-Royce Corporatecare.

“This is a huge benefit to our customers who already rely upon us for airframe maintenance and inspection,” says Duncan Aviation Airframe Service Sales Rep Brad Lennemann. “Now they can rely upon us to manage all of their warranty maintenance, airframe and engine.”

If you are at the 2016 NBAA show in Orlando, Florida, we’d love you to stop by our booth (#3126) and say hi.

For more Duncan Aviation NBAA announcements, visit

Tags: NBAA

Unique Global Express Step Tread: Take Two!!

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Step-tread1.jpgWhen something this good becomes available, operators take notice.

In the spring of 2016, we designed and fabricated a new and innovative step treatment for a Bombardier Global Express airstair. You can read more about R&D process here.

It didn’t take long for the word to spread throughout the industry about the new stainless steel treatment available for most Global operators. So much so, operators are beginning to contact our team of professionals to discuss options for their aircraft. 

Well…we did it again, but this time in blue!

Senior Completion & Mods Services Sales Rep, Tracey Boesch, immediately recognized that the new step tread treatment would complement the overall interior design concept for her client who was scheduled to arrive at our Lincoln, Nebraska, facility for a complete interior and paint. “I just knew he would love the design. It fit perfectly with the blue LED lighting, carbon fiber, metal surfaces, and other custom details.”

As soon as she showed him the detailed presentation sheet, he was hooked.


Fabulous Fab!

Duncan Aviation’s Fabrication Shop has talented team members who love to meet challenges like this. Bryan Hart, Fabrication Shop Team Leader, based the original concept and design on nothing but a few pictures sent by email.

After considerable research they found the perfect materials, conducted required tests, and were soon able to present a sample to the customer that had the brushed stainless and neoprene accents they had envisioned. The results speak for themselves.

To see more unique interior and paint solutions by Duncan Aviation, visit

Tags: Bombardier Global

Aircraft Tool Calibration: 5,000 Years in the Making

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 @ 09:22 AM

Egyptian-Cubit-up-close.jpgHanging in Duncan Aviation's Calibration Services Lab is a poster about the History of the Egyptian Cubit. It depicts the beginning of tool calibration more than 5,000 years ago. Many similarities to modern calibrations still remain.

It is believed that around 3,000 B.C. the Egyptian unit of length was established. The Royal Egyptian cubit was decreed to be equal to length of the forearm from the bent elbow to the tip of the extended middle finger plus the width of the palm of the hand of the Pharaoh ruling at the time. The Royal Cubit Master was carved from a block of black granite to endure for all time (the equivalent of today’s primary standard).

Workers building tombs, temples and pyramids were supplied with cubit sticks made of wood or granite. The Royal Architect or foreman of each construction site was responsible for maintaining and transferring the unit of length to the workers’ cubit sticks (modern tool calibration). It was required that the cubit sticks be brought at each full moon (calibration cycle) to be compared to the Royal Cubit Master to ensure their accuracy. Failure to do so was punishable by death (OK…some things have changed).

The strict accuracy of the cubit is why many magnificent structures, such as the Egyptian pyramids, survive today. Egyptians took their metrology very seriously and as a result, their measurement accuracy was impressive. Over a distance of 230 meters, measurements typically varied by only 0.05%.

Maintaining tool accuracy through periodic tool calibrations remains extremely important to guarantee a unit or measure can transfer from one aircraft to another and one country to the next. 

The next time you reach for that torque wrench or micrometer, ask yourself, “am I getting the most accurate reading I need? How do I find out?”

Duncan Aviation Calibration Services

Duncan Aviation’s Calibration Services use NIST traceable standards to calibrate measuring & test equipment (M&TE). Bring your tools with you the next time your business aircraft is serviced at one of our full-service maintenance facilities. They will be returned to you when you are ready to leave, properly calibrated and ready for use.

Can’t be long without your tools? Send them to us and we’ll have them back to you in fewer than five days.

Calibration Services

  • Certified to ISO/IEC 17025:2005
  • Certified ASQ-CCT technicians
  • Calibration data available
  • Repair capabilities on most M&TE

For a complete list of our calibration capabilities, download the Duncan Aviation Calibrations Fact Sheet.

Calibrations Fact Sheet Download Now

Tags: Avionics & Instruments, Airframe Maintenance, Tool Calibrations


Subscribe by Email