banner1.jpg

The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Kate Dolan

Recent Posts

ADS-B Myth #5: I Don’t Need ADS-B

Posted by Kate Dolan on Thu, Feb 09, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Yes, you almost certainly do. You need a transponder capable of DO-260B transmissions and an upgraded or new WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) receiver unless you plan to fly below 10,000 feet and avoid Class A, B, and C airspace*.

With fewer than 34 months remaining to equip the entire US business aviation fleet with ADS-B Out avionics equipment, there will likely be shortages of hangar space at qualified shops as the deadline draws nearer. From now until the mandate deadline, January 1, 2020, roughly 174 aircraft per month still need to find available hangar space and qualified technicians.

Avoid The Scheduling Crunch

ADS-B-LobbyPoster-sm.jpgIf you are not yet ready for the required upgrades and are worried about finding available capacity at certified service centers, take a look at our ADS-B Slot Program

The Duncan Aviation ADS-B Slot Program lets you buy a slot to reserve a confirmed date and hangar space for your aircraft at one of our Satellite Avionics Shops. The deposit will be applied to the ADS-B installation when you arrive.

By scheduling now, you will see better pricing, have easier access to the certified transponders and GPS sensors, and find time for the upgrade/installation that fits your flight schedule and calendar.

Contact the Duncan Aviation Satellite Shop (www.DuncanAviation.aero/locations/#satellites) nearest you, one of our Duncan Aviation Avionics Installation Team Members (www.DuncanAviation.aero/services/avionics-installation/contacts), or call +1 402.475.2611 for more information about ADS-B upgrades and the new slot reservation program.

ADS-B Myth Busting

ADS-B Myth #1: There Is Plenty Of Time

ADS-B #2: The Deadline WIll Be Extended

ADS-B Myth #3: The Prices Will Drop

ADS-B Myth #4: We’re Going To Sell Our Aircraft Anyway

ADS-B Myth #5: I Don’t Need ADS-B

Download ADS-B  Straight Talk Now 

*What Is Class A, B & C Airspace?

Class A airspace encompasses all airspace over the continental United States and Alaska from 18,000 feet to 60,000 feet. This includes all airspace withing 12 nautical miles of the coasts of the continental United States and Alasaka and some designated international airspace beyond those 12 nautical miles. All flights in Class A airspace are under ATC control and must operate using IFR (instrument flight rules) only.

Class B airspace, which is the airspace around the 37 busiest airports in the United States, is strictly controlled. Aircraft flying in Class B airspace must be under the control of ATC, and VFR aircraft must receive explicit permission to enter the airspace. No aircraft can takeoff or land at these airports without permission or without an operating Mode C transponder and a two-way radio. These rules cover airspace within 30 nautical miles of the airports, often encompassing other airports in the area. For instance, the Dallas Love Field is not a Class B airport, but DFW is and Love Field is within the DFW airspace and is subject to the same rules.

Class C airspace goes from the surface to 4,000 feet MSL (Mean Sea Level) above the airport. These 122 airports have operational control towers, currently control approaches by radar, and have mostly IFR operations. Two-way radio communication is required for takeoff and landing, and aircraft may not enter Class C airspace without directly communicating with ATC first.

Tags: Avionics Installation, WAAS, ADS-B, NextGen

ADS-B Myth #4: We’re Going To Sell Our Aircraft Anyway

Posted by Kate Dolan on Tue, Jan 31, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

 

Myth4 paperweight.jpgAs one industry broker told us, “Without ADS-B, you may as well use your aircraft as an expensive paperweight. No one is going to buy it.”

Duncan Aviation’s Aircraft Sales & Acquisitions team says that whether an aircraft is equipped with ADS-B Out is already affecting its resale value. In this buyer’s market, if you don’t pay to upgrade to ADS-B Out now, the price you’ll be able to ask for your aircraft will be significantly less than if you had performed the upgrade.

And, with less than 35 months remaining to equip the entire US business aviation fleet with ADS-B Out avionics equipment, there will likely be shortages of hangar space at qualified shops as the deadline draws nearer. From now until the mandate deadline, January 1, 2020, roughly 167 aircraft per month still need to find available hangar space and qualified technicians.

Avoid The Scheduling Crunch

ADS-B-LobbyPoster-sm.jpgIf you are not yet ready for the required upgrades and are worried about finding available capacity at certified service centers, take a look at our ADS-B Slot Program

The Duncan Aviation ADS-B Splot Program lets you buy a slot to reserve a confirmed date and hangar space for your aircraft at one of our Satellite Avionics Shops. The deposit will will applied to the ADS-B installation when you arrive.

By scheduling now, you will see better pricing, have easier access to the certified transponders and GPS sensors, and find time for the upgrade/installation that fits your flight schedule and calendar.

Contact the Duncan Aviation Satellite Shop (www.DuncanAviation.aero/locations/#satellites) nearest you, one of our Duncan Aviation Avionics Installation Team Members (www.DuncanAviation.aero/services/avionics-installation/contacts), or call +1 402.475.2611 for more information about ADS-B upgrades and the new slot reservation program.

ADS-B Myth Busting

ADS-B Myth #1: There Is Plenty Of Time

ADS-B #2: The Deadline WIll Be Extended

ADS-B Myth #3: The Prices Will Drop

ADS-B Myth #4: We’re Going To Sell Our Aircraft Anyway

ADS-B Myth #5: I Don’t Need ADS-B

Download ADS-B  Straight Talk Now 

Tags: Avionics Installation, Aircraft Sales, ADS-B, NextGen

ADS-B Myth #3: The Prices Will Drop

Posted by Kate Dolan on Tue, Jan 24, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

saving-jar.jpg

This is an interesting thought, and we have heard many customers say this. If you look at our industry and the history of mandates, though, prices don’t typically decrease for equipment that is both required and has limited availability. It is our expert opinion after studying the issue thoroughly that as the mandate approaches, prices will instead increase, especially when you look at the upcoming demands for avionics installation capacity.  

There are fewer than 35 months remaining to equip the entire US business aviation fleet with ADS-B Out avionics equipment. That means from now until the mandate deadline, January 1, 2020, roughly 167 aircraft per month will need to find available hangar space and qualified technicians.

Avoid The Scheduling Crunch

ADS-B-LobbyPoster-sm.jpgIf you are not yet ready for the required upgrades and are worried about finding available capacity at certified service centers, take a look at our ADS-B Slot Program

The Duncan Aviation ADS-B Splot Program lets you buy a slot to reserve a confirmed date and hangar space for your aircraft at one of our Satellite Avionics Shops. The deposit will will applied to the ADS-B installation when you arrive.

By scheduling now, you will see better pricing, have easier access to the certified transponders and GPS sensors, and find time for the upgrade/installation that fits your flight schedule and calendar.

Contact the Duncan Aviation Satellite Shop (www.DuncanAviation.aero/locations/#satellites) nearest you, one of our Duncan Aviation Avionics Installation Team Members (www.DuncanAviation.aero/services/avionics-installation/contacts), or call +1 402.475.2611 for more information about ADS-B upgrades and the new slot reservation program.

ADS-B Myth Busting

ADS-B Myth #1: There Is Plenty Of Time

ADS-B #2: The Deadline WIll Be Extended

ADS-B Myth #3: The Prices Will Drop

ADS-B Myth #4: We’re Going To Sell Our Aircraft Anyway

ADS-B Myth #5: I Don’t Need ADS-B

Download ADS-B  Straight Talk Now 

Tags: Avionics Installation, ADS-B, NextGen

ADS-B Myth #2: There Is Plenty Of Time

Posted by Kate Dolan on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

deadline-graphic-myth2.jpg

We feel confident saying the deadline is firm. At the EAA AirVenture Air Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in July 2016, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta reiterated that the mandate deadline will not change, and he encouraged general aviation owners to upgrade their equipment now, adding that it’s a smart move.

The FAA says there will not be an extension. The agency has outlined its NextGen initiative, and it includes ADS-B technology. Customers in Asia Pacific, Hong Kong, and Singapore all thought the same thing when the deadline for their mandate approached in December 12, 2013. It was not extended.

The FAA has given our industry 10 years to comply, and January 1, 2020 is the deadline. The time to schedule your ADS-B installation is now.

Because business aircraft operators in the United States have less than 35 months remaining to equip the entire fleet with ADS-B Out avionics equipment. That means from now until the mandate deadline, January 1, 2020, roughly 167 aircraft per month will need to find available hangar space and qualified technicians.

If you wait too long, the installation prices will increase, based on simple supply and demand, and you run the risk of not finding a shop qualified to complete the upgrades and installations.

Avoid The Scheduling Crunch

ADS-B-LobbyPoster-sm.jpgIf you are not yet ready for the required upgrades, but don’t want to get caught up in the mad rush to find available capacity at certified service centers, we are offering an ADS-B Slot Program

The Duncan Aviation ADS-B Splot Program lets you buy a slot to reserve a confirmed date and hangar space for your aircraft at one of our Satellite Avionics Shops. The deposit will will applied to the ADS-B installation when you arrive.

By scheduling now, you will see better pricing, have easier access to the certified transponders and GPS sensors, and find time for the upgrade/installation that fits your flight schedule and calendar.

Contact the Duncan Aviation Satellite Shop (www.DuncanAviation.aero/locations/#satellites) nearest you, one of our Duncan Aviation Avionics Installation Team Members (www.DuncanAviation.aero/services/avionics-installation/contacts), or call +1 402.475.2611 for more information about ADS-B upgrades and the new slot reservation program.

ADS-B Myth Busting

ADS-B Myth #1: There Is Plenty Of Time

ADS-B #2: The Deadline WIll Be Extended

ADS-B Myth #3: The Prices Will Drop

ADS-B Myth #4: We’re Going To Sell Our Aircraft Anyway

ADS-B Myth #5: I Don’t Need ADS-B

Download ADS-B  Straight Talk Now 

Tags: Avionics Installation, ADS-B, NextGen

ADS-B Myth #1: There Is Plenty Of Time

Posted by Kate Dolan on Tue, Jan 10, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

Business aircraft operators in the United States have less than 35 months remaining to equip the entire fleet with ADS-B Out avionics equipment. That means from now until the mandate deadline, roughly 167 aircraft per month will need to find available hangar space and qualified technicians.

calender-book-5.jpgJanuary 1, 2020 seems like a long way off, but if you remember previous FAA mandates the industry experienced huge backlogs because there simply was not enough hangar space to accommodate the rush of owner/operators who needed to get their aircraft into complaince. Remember the scheduling difficulties with RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum)? You don’t? Refresh your memory here. (Remembering the RVSM Crunch)

If you wait too long, the installation prices will increase, based on simple supply and demand, and you run the risk of not finding a shop qualified to complete the upgrades and installations.

Avoid The Scheduling Crunch

If you are not yet ready for the required upgrades, but don’t want to get caught up in the mad rush to find available capacity at certified service centers, we are offering an ADS-B Slot Program

ADS-B-LobbyPoster-sm.jpgThe Duncan Aviation ADS-B Splot Program allows you to buy a slot to reserve a confirmed date and hangar space for your aircraft at one of our Satellite Avionics Shops. The deposit will will applied to the ADS-B installation when you arrive.

By scheduling now, you will see better pricing, have easier access to the certified transponders and GPS sensors, and find time for the upgrade/installation that fits your flight schedule and calendar.

Contact the Duncan Aviation Satellite Shop (www.duncanaviation.aero/locations/#satellites) nearest you, one of our Duncan Aviation Avionics Installation Team Members (www.DuncanAviation.aero/services/avionics-installation/contacts), or call +1 402.475.2611 for more information about ADS-B upgrades and the new slot reservation program.

ADS-B Myth Busting

ADS-B Myth #1: There Is Plenty Of Time

ADS-B #2: The Deadline WIll Be Extended

ADS-B Myth #3: The Prices Will Drop

ADS-B Myth #4: We’re Going To Sell Our Aircraft Anyway

ADS-B Myth #5: I Don’t Need ADS-B

 Still need more information?

Download ADS-B  Straight Talk Now 

Tags: Avionics Installation, ADS-B, NextGen

Duncan Aviation Expands Avionics Install Service to San Antonio!

Posted by Kate Dolan on Tue, Aug 02, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

San_Antonio-iStock_94238769_XLARGE_Small.jpgToday, Duncan Aviation opens a new office at the San Antonio International Airport in Texas. In an effort to position our skilled avionics technician in closer proximity to customers, Greg Ashpaugh, is moving to San Antonio and will be the Manager of the new work-away location.

“Over the years, numerous customers have asked us to consider a work-away location in San Antonio,” says Matt Nelson, Manager of Satellite Operations. “After assessing the city and airport, we agree that San Antonio is a great place for a Duncan Aviation technician. Not only does the mix of aircraft based at that airport closely match our business model, but also the city of San Antonio is attractive because of its strong, diverse economic base.”

Greg_Ashpaugh.jpg
Greg Ashpaugh, San Antonio Manager

Greg—until recently Crew-Lead at the Dallas satellite avionics facility—is looking forward to working on customers’ aircraft in and around San Antonio. While working as an aircraft engine mechanic on E-2 Hawkeyes and C-2 Greyhounds in the US Navy for six years, Greg earned his A&P license at the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics in Oakland, California.

After his service, Greg worked at various avionics shops in the Dallas area before hiring on at the Duncan Aviation Dallas Satellite avionics facility 13 years ago.

“In addition to really liking what I do, I think Duncan Aviation is a great place to work,” says Greg. “The company takes care of us, and it has been very, very good to me.”

From the Dallas Satellite facility, Greg traveled to work on aircraft in San Antonio, Austin, and Fort Worth in Texas, as well as to New Orleans, Louisiana. He anticipates that he’ll continue to travel from his new work-away location. “We’re here for our customers, wherever here is,” says Greg.

Located on the southeast side of the San Antonio International Airport, the new office will let Greg focus on line maintenance, AOG, and small install work.

“We’re easing into this new work-away location,” says Matt, “And we’ll hire additional team members as customer needs and response requires.”

Duncan Aviation's Avionics Satellite shops are strategically based at more than 25 business aviation airports across the United States. Each location is interdependent, sharing staff and resources to support customers anywhere they land, live or hangar their aircraft.

For more inforamation, download the Satellite Avioincs fact sheet. 

Duncan Aviation   Avionics Satellite Fact Sheet

Tags: Avionics Installation

Duncan Aviation Spotlight: Denver Avionics Satellite

Posted by Kate Dolan on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 @ 12:54 PM

In the USAF (United States Air Force), Bob Hazy frequently flew into Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado and knew he’d eventually like to live in the state. He also knew from his dealings with Duncan Aviation, that it was an upstanding company that conducted business with integrity. He could see himself working there after retiring from the USAF.

Once he retired in 1998, however, Bob initially went to work for an aviation company in Wichita.

“In the Air Force, I worked on avionics, so after retiring, I started working as an avionics technician at an avionics shop in Wichita,” says Bob.

Within two years, he was working for Duncan Aviation at the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, avionics satellite facility. While working with Dave Molsberry, the shop frequently had a surplus of work, so techs from Duncan Aviation’s Denver facility helped out in Florida. 

Duncan Aviation   Avionics Satellite Fact Sheet

When a position opened at the Denver facility in 2004, Bob left the sun and sand of Florida behind and moved his family to Denver. He worked for Matt Nelson, who was manager of the Denver shop at the time. When Matt was promoted to Manager of Satellite Operations in 2008, Bob took over as Manager of the Duncan Aviation Denver satellite avionics facility.

Bob’s opinion of the company hasn’t changed much in the 16 years he’s worked for Duncan Aviation.

“It’s a great company to work for, and we have an incredible mix of people here in Denver,” says Bob. “In fact, I think we’re the best satellite because of the 14 people who work at this shop . . . well, 12 plus V12 and Beau in Broomfield. The atmosphere of our shop is so special that when anyone comes here to help us out, they want to stay here, too!”

V12, as Bob has nicknamed him, is Chris Vadeboncoeur, and he works in Broomfield at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport. Broomfield is about 35 miles northwest of the Centennial Airport. The shop does mostly line work, and crews from the Denver satellite shop help with installations. Chris takes care of the airplanes from the northern airports in Fort Collins and Greeley, and he even services some from Casper, Wyoming, and Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

During ski season from December 1 through April 30, Roy (Beau) Hawkins works at the Vail Valley Jet Center in Gypsum, Colorado, servicing planes for skiers. He joins V12 at the Broomfield facility from May 1 through November 30.

As much as Bob values the technical skills and expertise of his team, he knows that his facility works as well as it does because everyone wants to be there, they value their relationships with customers and fellow team members, and they all love the environment and community, too.

“Everything we do takes teamwork and respect,” says Bob. “We’re located at a busy airport in a busy part of the country, and we work on everything from small, experimental aircraft all the way up to Globals. Although this is Falcon country, and we see a lot of 900s, 2000s, 7Xs, and 50s, we are also starting to see more Gulfstreams and Hawkers, too.”

Denver_Satellite.jpg

Erik Benson, Ken Smith, Kim Owen, John Sims, Wayne Sand, Thomas Gauna, Chris Demarest, Sean Macoomb, Matt Whitney, Bob Hazy. Not Pictured: Rodney Weaver, Charles Anderson, Chris Vadeboncoeur, Beau Hawkins

The Denver avionics satellite maintains the avionics systems of general aviation, business charter, and even government aircraft. There are roughly 600 small reciprocating aircraft and 250 jet aircraft that make their home at the Centennial Airport in Denver, where the Duncan Aviation avionics satellite facility is located. Bob and his team work on aircraft located along the front range of the Rocky Mountains, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Bozeman, Montana.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the team and the relationships that the Denver satellite has built,” says Matt Nelson. “They make our jobs a lot easier.”


More importantly for the customers, the techs from the Denver satellite facility usually travel to customers’ hangars to do their repair, maintenance, and installation work. The shop focuses primarily on avionics line work and avionics installations. They’ve been installing ADS-B out on a lot of smaller aircraft and are just starting to see ADS-B installations on larger aircraft.

“Typically, we see the Gogo Biz High Speed Data installations to Garmin stacks and FMS upgrades. We’ve done a lot of TCAS 7.1, too,” says Bob. “Lots of our customers travel outside of the United States, so they’re installing the mandated NextGen equipment.”

Bob says that brief description doesn’t begin to capture the range of work they do, though. They also work directly with some of our vendors like Gogo Biz and help with their STCs.

“We recently modified the Gogo Biz Challenger so they could test new equipment in the future,” says Bob. “A great example of our quality was when we did a complete upgrade of an FMS for a customer who was taking his aircraft out of the country to New Zealand. After 10 years of flawless operation, the DOM sent Matt Nelson a letter that said, ‘You guys talk about guaranteeing your work for the life of the aircraft, and you can do that because your work lasts that long! We just sold that aircraft squawk-free.’”

20160615_123011_Mobile.jpg

An abundance of sunshine and blue sky was on hand for the Duncan Aviation Denver Satellite Avionics customer appreciation BBQ at the Centennial Airport in Englewood, CO. Hundreds of customers from the area enjoyed great food. 

Tags: Avionics Installation

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 www.DuncanAviation.aero/60.

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

get_updates_by_email

Subscribe by Email