The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Duncan Aviation Straight Talk About Aircraft Certifications

Posted by Kate Dolan on Thu, Sep 07, 2017 @ 02:02 PM

Straight_Talk-Certifications-1.gifFeelings about aircraft certification vary depending on whether you own and operate the aircraft or you’re a passenger on it. Passengers want to know that the metal object in which they’re encased as they fly through the air is demonstrably and certifiably safe. Owners and operators, on the other hand, sometimes feel stymied by the reams of paperwork and data necessary to make sure the aircraft they operate is safe.

In spite of that frustration, however, owners and operators share the goals of the regulators to promote safety throughout the lifecycle of their aircraft, from the design and production of the aircraft to its entry into service and continued safe operation. Additionally, owners and operators must keep their aircraft airworthy (meaning it meets its type design and is in a condition for safe operation) by maintaining and operating it according to its airworthiness type certification and operating limitations.

Click here to download the Duncan Aviation Straight Talk About Certifications. 

What Is Airworthiness Certification?

Airworthiness Certification is basically the FAA—the United States’ civil aviation authority—certifying that an aircraft is safe to fly. There’s a great deal more to it, of course, but without an FAA-issued Airworthiness Certificate, an aircraft cannot taxi onto a runway much less take flight.

The most common Airworthiness Certificate granted by the FAA, the Standard Airworthiness Certificate (FAA Form 8100-2), references three things: In order to have a valid airworthiness certificate, the aircraft must be certified under part 21, must operate under part 91, and must be maintained under part 43.

That means that a Type-Certificated aircraft is able to operate as long as the aircraft conforms to its approved type design, is in safe-operating condition, and has had all of its preventative maintenance and any alterations performed according to the applicable US Code of Federal Regulations. The Standard Airworthiness Certificate must be displayed in the aircraft.  

To secure this authorization, an owner (or an owner’s legal agent) must apply to the FAA. Before doing so, however, the aircraft must have a TCDS (Type Certificate Data Sheet). Think of a TCDS as a kind of birth certificate for the airplane. This document defines the aircraft’s configuration, powerplant, equipment, intended use, and other characteristics.

When an airplane first enters into service, it must be in compliance with the Type Certificate of the stated design (make/model). Issued by the FAA, the Type Certificate determines an airplane’s operating limitations and shows that the aircraft’s design meets the FAA’s airworthiness requirements. This means that the aircraft has met the standards for safe handling, structural integrity, system reliability, and other characteristics.

Airworthiness means that this aircraft has been shown to conform to its type design and has been documented as safe. Airworthiness means, for instance, that owners, operators, and passengers can get in and fly 600 mph at 35,000 feet and feel that they are in a safe machine.

We go into greater detail more explanation about type design, airworthiness, and operating limitations in our Straight Talk About Certification. Here’s what you’ll find.



Duncan Aviation continuously strives to be the voice of clarity in the acronym-happy aviation industry. Our free Straight Talk books are an aircraft operator's source for information about important topics in business aviation, and are written in clear, concise, no-nonsense language.

Tags: International Considerations, Aircraft Sales

Helping Our Customers Visualize Aircraft Interiors Through 3D Designs

Posted by Kate Dolan on Fri, Sep 01, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

We recently expanded our 3D design capabilities by adding Dan Ryba, a multimedia artist specializing in 3D illustrations, to our in-house aircraft interior and paint design team. Ryba joins Ken Reita and the design team, who have  been creating innovative designs for clients on all makes of aircraft.

Both Reita and Ryba are focused on creating 3D conceptual illustrations for clients who are looking to make interior and exterior modifications to their aircraft.

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“These 3D renderings save a great deal of time and money, so they’re popular with all of our clients , internal sales and production people,” says Ken. “Unlike with 2D drawings, we can draw from our extensive engineering database and generate accurate 3D models of the entire interior that are specific to the actual measurements of an aircraft. You can see immediately what works and what doesn’t.”

There have been times when a client  is torn between two materials. One may be darker than the other, and explaining that the darker material will give the space a dark, closed-in feel isn’t nearly as effective as a 3D image that shows exactly how the space will be perceived.

FWD To AFT Cabin View 01(Drinkrail Switches)3.jpg“When clients look at the illustration, they might say, ‘Whoa! The darker material is too heavy for that space. Let’s go with the lighter color.’ Or, if they really want that dark color, we can suggest other options, such as going with a lighter color on the leather seats or carpet to provide more of a contrast and get the ratio of light to dark correct,” says Dan. “It’s far better to find out on the front end before any work has been done on a project. Our clients especially appreciate being able to see exactly what they’re getting.”

The 3D models are beneficial to our production teams, too. Seeing the model helps everyone with project planning, long before any work begins.

3D Graphics In Work

“Recently, a client, interior team lead, engineer, salesperson, and I were sitting at a conference table with a 3D preliminary concept of a credenza,” says Ken. “Using the 3D model as a focal point for our discussion, we went through each modification. For the cabinet, the client wanted to see where the electronics would plug in and how they’d look sitting on the shelves. The engineer looked over the model to see how to mitigate heat build-up and where to put the ventilation and wiring. The team leader wanted to make sure the Cabinet shop could build the shelves and install pocket doors with the rounded edges and corners in the design. I was concerned about retaining the beauty and balance of the design. With all of our input, we figured it out pretty quickly, before any production was started.”


There are other times when it’s not convenient for the client to meet face-to-face, so the Duncan Aviation sales team can request a 3D image of the design for the client and include it in the sales package, saving everyone involved time and money.

Seeing is believing, so giving clients and production teams a visual representation of the finished aircraft, inside and out, helps prevent surprises along the way. 

For more information about Duncan Aviation’s modifications services, visit Duncan Aviation at booth #C9125 during this year’s NBAA convention from October 10-12, in Las Vegas, Nevada, or watch for announcements at

Tags: Interior Refurbishment, Customer Service, Aircraft Paint

Duncan Aviation Gives A Global Perspective: South Africa

Posted by Rebekah Williams on Tue, Aug 22, 2017 @ 01:00 PM

We sat down with Duncan Aviation International Parts & Rotables Sales Rep, Hannah Bodenstab as she recounted her recent experience traveling to South Africa to visit aircraft parts customers.

Hannah visiting with Execujet

Visting Execujet: (LtoR) Thembi Lavisa, Simone Parsley, Hannah, Natanya Rich, Graham Naylor, Romarth Machimana.

Hannah, you recently traveled to South Africa to meet with customers, tell us about your trip?

This was my first visit to South Africa. I traveled there to meet with a very important customer of mine, Execujet after attending EBACE (European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition) in Geneva, Switzerland. I also met with Absolute Aircraft Parts, MCC Aviation, and Bhakari. I wanted to visit others but had some time constraints. Maybe next time.

What were your goals?

My primary goal was to have that face-to-face interaction with customers I’ve only met and worked with over the phone for the past few years. I also wanted to provide information on all the services Duncan offers, and I believe it was paramount to thank them for choosing to do business with Duncan Aviation.

Were there any challenges?

Being halfway around the world, it is a challenge to convince customers that Duncan Aviation should be their first choice for aviation parts or services. Lead times with shipping and deliveries or delays with customs and returns are just a few obstacles that we deal with every day. Two days is the minimum for a part to travel from our Lincoln, NE, facility in the U.S. to South Africa. That’s a very long time in the aviation industry.

As far as challenges visiting customers, security is very strict on the airport. The requirements for permits and/or escort to approach the facilities created some delays. Time constraints also limited the amount of people I could see but those that I did get to visit were very successful.

Hannah with Piaggio Aerospace at EBACE 2017

Hannah with Paulo Ferreri and Adrea Di Fede of Piaggio Aerospace at EBACE 2017.

Why do you think, or why do your customers do business with a company in the middle of America rather than one closer to Home?

Customer service. The aircraft parts industry is so competitive, especially in a time when price is increasingly valued over support; Duncan Aviation offers the whole package.

One thing I am able to offer my international customers is consolidated shipments. Whether they have repair units, exchanges or piece parts, Duncan Aviation offers one shipment at their convenience. This saves them time and money with customs and leaves less room for error.

In addition to customer service, we also have to offer convenience. Accessibility and being a one-stop-shop attracts international customers; going the distance for parts and repairs ends up saving them money in the long run.

What was most rewarding?

Finally meeting the Execujet team in person. I have a very strong relationship with them and they have a long-standing relationship with Duncan Aviation. The reception I received was absolutely wonderful.

What did you learn from this experience?

I gained more confidence from this trip. Being a female in the aviation industry has its challenges but traveling and representing Duncan Aviation abroad has given me confidence. Being able to share my knowledge of the industry with customers not only offers affirmation that they made the right choice coming to Duncan Aviation but also inspires customer confidence that I am able to support them now and in the future.

EBACE17-2.jpgWhat is your impression of the international aviation marketplace?

It is ever changing but I don’t feel that we are in any way behind or ahead of it. There are a lot of companies that are unfamiliar with Duncan Aviation and our services. I am working to keep the name Duncan Aviation in front of potential customers and am taking every opportunity to share who we are and what we do.

Also, the value of the dollar always seems to find its way into every discussion. I was constantly reminded how far our USD will stretch in South Africa. Just goes to show how important customer service is when customers are paying for parts from the United States.

What do you feel international aviation/parts customers are wanting?

Everyone wants cheap prices and parts delivered yesterday. This is why we orchestrate order delivery that is seamless, keep costs down and do our part to get every customer the best price.

When you think of the future of aviation and International sales, what gives you a sense of hope? What makes you concerned or worried?

I’ve only been in aviation for five years so it’s hard for me to imagine not having a solid international customer base. Prices are getting more competitive and margins are disappearing but customers keep coming back to Duncan Aviation.

What are some takeaways or lasting impressions from this experience?

This being my first trip to South Africa, I was overwhelmed by how welcoming and helpful everyone was and I’m ready to go back. Even though this was a business visit, it allowed me to get to know my customers on a more personal level which has improved our business relationship. I was shown great kindness and before I was out the door, I was already invited back on the next visit.

cape town ferris wheel.jpgAnything else you’d like to add about this experience?

I am so grateful that I was able to have my husband Devon travel with me. He handled the logistics on the trip so I could focus on setting up meetings and visits. All my customers were so happy to meet him and were so impressed that I worked for a company that supported family in that way. I am so thankful for the experience, it was amazing.


During the trip, Hannah and her husband Devon were able to do some exploring. Including the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve in Krugersdorp and Table Mountain in Cape Town. 

637.jpgDevon and I on Table Mountain in Cape Town.jpg

Tags: Parts & Accessories, International Considerations

Duncan Aviation Releases a Different Kind of Falcon

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Falcon release.jpg

Earlier this summer, three American Kestral Falcons attempted to take their maiden flight out of the nest that was high in the rafters of a Duncan Aviation maintenance hangar. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it far and landed on the floor. 

They were discovered, rescued and taken to the Fontenelle Forest Raptor Recovery Center in Elmwood, NE, where Elaine Bachel, center volunteer, fed and cared for them.

The Raptor Recovery Center sees between 450-500 birds of prey, such as eagles, falcons, hawks, owls, and vultures, in need of immediate assistance every year. They rely on concerned citizen to report the injured raptors and a network of dedicated volunteers across the area to receive the calls and then potentially drive countless miles to retrieve the birds and get them back to the trauma care unit. The birds are evaluated immediately upon arrival and if necessary, provided treatment, medication, and surgery by trained professionals. Once the birds are healthy again, they are banded and released back to the wild near where they are found.

Elaine said the falcons discovered at Duncan Aviation were uninjured and just needed a little bit more time to grow and get stronger. After only a few weeks, she brought the birds back to Duncan Aviation where some of the technicians who found them were able to release them.



Tags: Falcon, Community

The Duncan Aviation Satellite Shops Have Extensive ADS-B Experience

Posted by Kate Dolan on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Duncan Aviation has a network of 27 Satellite Avionics Shops and work-away stations located at the busiest airports in the United States. Each shop has knowledgeable, experienced avionics technicians who have already brought dozens of aircraft into compliance with the ADS-B mandate. As the January 1, 2020, deadline rapidly approaches, Duncan Aviation is taking the lead to get the word out about the urgency of installing ADS-B in your aircraft now.

“In the last two years, we’ve upgraded close to 300 aircraft of all makes and models,” says Matt Nelson, Manager of Satellite Operations. “Because the techs at our Satellite Avionics Shops have done these installations, and they currently have hangar capacity, we’re encouraging our customers to contact the Satellite nearest their home hangar and schedule a two-week time slot.”

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Satellite Shops Busy With ADS-B Requests

In Van Nuys, Manager Tony Russo and his team completed FANS (Future Air Navigation Systems) and ADS-B on several business aviation aircraft in the last year, as well as on two 727s and an MD-87. The team is currently installing FANS, ADS-B, SwiftBroadband with Wi-Fi, TCAS 7.1 (Traffic Collision Avoidance System), and an Airshow system in a 737-200.

“Our customers are taking a serious look at their aircraft and fleets, requesting quotes, and determining a good time to put their aircraft down for these upgrades,” says Tony. “To meet the ADS-B mandate, aircraft must have WAAS-compliant GPS sensors and upgraded transponders. Each aircraft is a little different, and that’s what we’re here for—to help you determine what you need.”

The Duncan Aviation Houston Satellite Shop recently completed two ADS-B upgrades on Citation 560s using a Duncan Aviation-owned STC.

“Those installations were flawless; we didn’t have a single issue,” says Houston Manager Mark Winter. “We also delivered a Challenger 601 in January, with FANS 1/A and ADS-B Out, also using a Duncan Aviation STC.”

The Challenger had WAAS/LPV, and the Houston Shop sent the transponder to the DME (Distance Measuring Equipment) bench in Lincoln, Nebraska, for the upgrades.

“We’re encouraging our customers to book their aircraft now,” says Mark. “We have some capacity left in 2017, and with the average downtime right around 2 weeks, we can realistically do two of these a month.”

The Satellite Shop in Kansas City, Missouri, recently upgraded a G150 for ADS-B. The Lincoln DME bench upgraded those transponders, too, and the KC shop installed a fail annunciator and the interfacing for the transponders to the GPS. That customer already had the WAAS sensors, so although Kansas City Manager Jeff Aman quoted 10 days, they finished the upgrade in 6 days, delivering ahead of schedule.

Duncan Aviation’s ADS-B Slot Program

“The ADS-B mandate has presented the business aviation community with some challenges, but our Satellite network has stepped up to help our customers get their aircraft in compliance,” says Matt Nelson. “The Duncan Aviation slot program allocates two spots per satellite per month for ADS-B upgrades. This program holds a confirmed date and hangar space for one aircraft, and operators can call now to reserve the spots for 2018 and 2019 and throughout the rest of 2017.”

Contact the Satellite Avionics Shop nearest you to reserve a slot ( or call Duncan Aviation (+1 402.475.2611) or Regional Avionics Sales Manager Mark Francetic (702.303.4888) for more information.


Tags: Avionics Installation, ADS-B

Aircraft Interior Modification: Silence Is Golden

Posted by Kate Dolan on Thu, Aug 10, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Last fall, Duncan Aviation’s Interior Team in Battle Creek, Michigan, completely transformed the dated and dark interior of a Challenger that had been used as a charter jet.

 The new owner liked the size and flight range of the model and was looking for some minor interior tweaks.

Ken-Reita_0I9A0394DuncanFinal.gifInstead, with unique designs from Duncan Aviation’s Battle Creek Multi Media Illustrator Ken Reita, the owner decided to go with a complete interior refurbishment.

Although he was delighted with the colors and textures Ken incorporated into the new interior, the customer had concerns about the noise-level in the cabin. He can’t talk comfortably in his other aircraft, and he wants to ensure he’s able to in the Challenger.

To accomplish that, Battle Creek Completions and Modifications Sales Rep Adam Bruce contacted Tanya Morris from Skandia, Inc., in Mount Morris, Illinois. Tanya went on a couple of test flights and recommended new, sound-dampening insulation.

“We augmented the sound-proofing package and dropped the noise level from 3.8db to 2.4db,” says Adam. “Tania performed sound tests in the lav, cabin, and entrance, and she prepared a report for the owner, showing the lower sound levels.”

Read about the rest of this project in the Spring 2017 Duncan Debrief magazine.

READ NOW Spring 2017 Duncan Debrief Magazine

Duncan Aviation Releases August Duncan Intelligence

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Tue, Aug 08, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Did you know Rockwell Collins TDR-94D transponders upgraded in 2014 or before may not be in compliance with the ADS-B mandate? No? Then you haven't read the August issue of the Duncan Intelligence.

August Duncan Intelligence

Falcon 7X: Frame 33 Cabin/Baggage Compartment Door

During your next 36 month/2400 hour inspection, pay particular attention to the hinge area of the door that leads from the cabin to the baggage compartment.

TDR-94D Transponders: Are You Compliant?

Owner/operators who upgraded their Rockwell Collins TDR-94D transponders in 2012 or 2013 may not be in compliance with the FAA’s ADS-B

Proper Alignment of the SP-101 Spoileron Computer

Sometimes assisting customers means helping them identify when a unit needs to be sent in for repair and when it doesn’t.

Environmental Testing Beneficial For All Radar Units

Our years of experience have taught us it is in the best interest of our customers and the reliability and performance of their units, to run every unit through temperature and altitude tests.

View Online Now

Duncan Aviation Expands Mobile Engine Services to the Ohio River Valley

Duncan Aviation’s Fort Lauderdale Satellite Shop Upgrades Challenger 604 for ADS-B Compliance

Tags: Avionics & Instruments, Engine Maintenance, ADS-B

Gulfstream Redesign: Duncan Aviation Partners With Clients

Posted by Kate Dolan on Tue, Aug 01, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Duncan Aviation recently refurbished a 12-year-old Gulfstream G550, giving it a whole new interior, a new exterior paint scheme, and an upgraded CMS (Cabin Management System). During this refurbishment, we also performed scheduled maintenance to minimize the impact of the downtime for the client’s flight schedule.

GVSP-N755VE-020 (Medium).jpg“Because of the reliability of Gulfstream aircraft, they continue to be dependable business tools, regardless of age,” says Completions/Modification Sales Manager Nate Klenke. “This serial number was a top performer in our client’s fleet, so they decided to give it a facelift and keep it flying.”

In addition to the newly painted exterior and company logos to match the fleet, the aircraft was the recipient of the first Honeywell Ovation CMS to be installed on a Gulfstream G550.

Whether passengers are looking for entertainment or a few quiet hours of productivity, the all-digital Honeywell Ovation CMS interfaces with a variety of carry-on devices (Smartphones, iPads, laptop computers) and gives passengers a range of controls for maximum comfort.

Typically, the cabin monitors in a Gulfstream are inset in the windows. Instead, Duncan Aviation Lead Designer Rachael Weverka’s design included one flush-mounted, 22-inch monitor on the right-hand forward partition and one, 19-inch monitor mounted aft on the sidewall over the credenza.

GVSP-N755VE-033 (Medium).jpg

After nearly two years of planning and preparation, our client brought the G550 to Lincoln in June 2016, and we delivered the completed aircraft on budget in September 2016. A client representative was on-site while the aircraft was here, and as part of the team, the representative attended the daily team meetings, was involved in day-to-day decisions, and had access to every Duncan Aviation team member who touched the aircraft.

“We like to partner with our clients on these complex projects and be transparent throughout the entire process,” says Nate Klenke, Completions/Modifications Sales Manager, “This is an example of how Duncan Aviation supports operators through the entire life of the aircraft. Rene Cardona, one of Duncan Aviation’s Aircraft Sales Representatives, helped the customer buy the aircraft 12 years ago and now we have helped extend its usefulness in a very active fight department.”

Read about the rest of this project in the Spring 2017 Duncan Debrief magazine.

READ NOW Spring 2017 Duncan Debrief Magazine

Tags: Avionics Installation, Interior Refurbishment

Who's Looking at Your Legs!

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Jul 27, 2017 @ 11:45 AM

Aircraft landing gear overhaul is often viewed as a behind-the-scenes inspection and scheduled alongside, but taking a backseat to, a major airframe inspection. However, it can have a huge impact on the entire project's schedule if the landing gear restoration runs into major squawks. Because an aircraft can't go anywhere without its legs.

XOJET is a leader in private jet travel that is personal, flexible, and on-demand. Headquartered in Brisbane, California, the company operates a fleet that includes Bombardier Challenger 300 and Cessna Citation X aircraft. Although XOJET has only been in business since 2006, this modern alternative to fractional ownership is definitely in demand.

According to Carlos Partida, Senior Maintenance Planner at XOJET, the company’s fleet flies 40% more flight hours per aircraft per year than their closest Part 135 competitor. "Our fleet is smaller by comparison to our competitors," says Carlos. "Making sure the aircraft are available as much as possible is one of my top priorities." Needless to say, that makes downtime very important. And if you ask Carlos, no one manages downtime better than Duncan Aviation.

Work Completed Quickly

Since 2014, Carlos has been sending all of XOJET’s Citation X oleo sets to Duncan Aviation for inspection. They are nearly always returned to service and headed back to XOJET within a week. Prior to using Duncan Aviation, Carlos was used to waiting months. "It takes Duncan Aviation a week, including shipping, to do something that previously took two months for completion."

Of course, Citation X oleos are not the only gear Duncan Aviation services for XOJET. Our Accessory shop regularly has a complete set of the fleet’s Challenger 300 gear in the shop for 96-month inspections.

Switching to Duncan Aviation was not only a time saver, Carlos says. It has had a positive impact on XOJET’s bottom line. "When our aircraft are not flying, they are not producing revenue." 

Work Completed Well

Carlos also expresses his appreciation for the level of customer service he has received from everyone at Duncan Aviation. "They always deliver the highest in quality work at the best possible downtime savings, served up with a level of customer service that is first rate. Everyone on the Duncan Aviation team is so willing to accommodate all of my requirements. I can’t speak highly enough about the customer service," he says.


Chris Fields

Chris Fields is a Duncan Aviation Master Technician working on the landing gear team since 2008. He knows a thing or two about landing gear and he knows a lot about the Challenger 300 and Citation X gear that come off of XOJET aircraft.

When XOJET sends their gear sets to Duncan Aviation, Chris often takes the lead, especially when it comes to the Citation X main gear oleo doc inspections.

"XOJET takes great care of their gear. They schedule inspections on time and everything is well-documented," says Chris. "We see several sets of oleos every year and typically will have them completed and returned within four days."

This story was recently published in the Spring 2017 Duncan Debrief magazine. Follow the link below to find more stories like this or subscribe to receive your own copy. 

READ NOW Spring 2017 Duncan Debrief Magazine

Tags: Cessna, Parts & Accessories, Landing Gear, Challenger

myDuncan: The Vital Communication Tool Every Maintenance Event Needs

Posted by Lori Johnson on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

A little more than 10 years ago, a team of Duncan Aviation project managers and computer programmers had a vision for a communication tool that would help them provide even better customer service and more efficient approvals and keep everyone involved in a complicated multi-shop aircraft project up-to-date. The result, which launched in September 2006, was myDuncan, a web-based portal that allows customers greater access and better control of their projects from anywhere in the world.

myDuncan has been a phenomenal success. It is available to all Duncan Aviation customers with aircraft onsite for airframe, avionics, and engine projects. They can also manage send-in repairs with Component Status Tracking. Nearly all customers transform their computers and mobile devices into “virtual offices” to manage their aircraft projects whether they stay with their aircraft or not. And many travel back to their home bases.

Of the 2,343 aircraft projects delivered in 2016, more than half were managed off-site, allowing the aircraft representatives to stay current on project status, item approvals, and budget while keeping up on things at work and at home.

 Read what Duncan Aviation customers are saying about the benefits myDuncan in the Spring 2017 Duncan Debrief magazine.

READ NOW Spring 2017 Duncan Debrief Magazine



Tags: Airframe Maintenance, Videos


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