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The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

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

Happy Holidays from Duncan Aviation

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Tue, Dec 20, 2016 @ 09:36 AM

 

2016 was a special year. Thank you for being a part of it. 

Thank you for helping us celebrate 60 years of providing service to business aviation. 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. We wish you a season of joy and the very best for 2017 and beyond.

 


da_60_logo_final-no text-02.jpgIt 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.

60th Anniversary Website

Tags: Announcements, 60th Anniversary

Duncan Aviation Throws A Party!

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Sep 06, 2016 @ 10:04 AM

Last month Duncan Aviation threw a party; and not just one party, but two. Team members from Battle Creek, Michigan, and Lincoln, Nebraska, came together with members of the Duncan family to commemorate Duncan Aviation’s 60th Anniversary.

They celebrated the values, spirit, and strong work ethic that formed the bedrock of the Duncan Aviation organization back in 1956 when Donald Duncan founded the company.

The Battle Creek celebration was held at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo on Saturday, August 20, while the Lincoln team members gathered at the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland on Friday, August 26.

Several members of the Duncan family, including Robert & Karen Duncan and Todd & Connie Duncan, attended the celebrations and addressed the team members present.

“When I started with the company, we were 400 people. Now we’re well over 2,200. That’s really great to celebrate,” said Todd, Duncan Aviation Chairman. “We are stronger than we’ve ever been and all of you are the reason why. Congratulations on 60 years.”

Robert Duncan, Chairman Emeritus, expressed his appreciation for the hard work that everyone at Duncan Aviation brings to their jobs. “I love the dedication and passion that people like you exhibit every day. You often work long and unusual hours in extreme conditions to do what needs to be done to make sure the aircraft is safe and ready to go. The results of your efforts, and those before you, can be seen in what Duncan Aviation has become.”

Duncan Aviation’s third maintenance facility in Provo will be hosting a 60th Anniversary dinner next month.

IMG_5155_Small.jpgIMG_5159_Small.jpgIMG_5179_Small.jpgIMG_5198-1.jpg60_CrowdS_Small.jpgIMG_5231_Small.jpgIMG_5206_Small.jpg60_Todd_slide_Small.jpgIMG_5246_Small.jpgDSC_5506_Small.jpg


60-theme.jpg2016 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, Announcements, Videos

FROM THE CHAIRMAN: Todd Duncan

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Thu, Aug 04, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

DA15093001-Todd.gifOn a weekly basis, I travel to meet with some of the most interesting and influential people in our industry; individuals who work hard providing leadership for business aviation’s powerful associations and lobbying efforts, key customers who understand the benefits of business aircraft ownership and aviation enthusiasts who simply love to fly. I truly enjoy the people in our industry and the support they have shown us for years.

Rarely does a week go by when I don’t hear someone mention a Duncan Aviation team member by name. Describing their experience at one of our facilities, they let me know they consider our people experts, resources and friends. We’re serving customers in a very real way, letting them know we value their business and helping them operate their aircraft with success.

Our reputation not only represents the highest in quality work, it is one company among many that stand united in a show of support for the future of business aviation. Every Duncan Aviation team member comes to work knowing that their dedication, hard work and knowledge matter not only to their customers and their company, but to the entire industry.

Watch this video below and listen to several Duncan Aviation team members speak with pride about what quality means to them. 


60-theme.jpg2016 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: Announcements, Videos, 60th Anniversary

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

From the Chairman: Innovation and Duncan Aviation

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Todd Duncan, Chairman

Tags: 60th Anniversary

Tribute To J. Robert Duncan, Part II

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

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

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

Parts Consignment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Satellite Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Silver Wings

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

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

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

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

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

Robert’s Son, Todd Duncan

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Tribute To J. Robert Duncan, Part I

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

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

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

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

In The Beginning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Core Values & Innovation

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

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

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

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

A New Beginning

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: Announcements, 60th Anniversary

Phil Porter & Duncan Aviation’s International Aircraft Parts Department

Posted by Kate Dolan on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 @ 03:30 PM

Porter-Phil_sm.jpgIn 1978, Phil Porter was hired as Duncan Aviation’s first logistics manager; although, at the time, he was called a parts runner. Nearing the completion of his fourth decade at Duncan Aviation, Phil took some time to reflect on his long tenure with the company.

“I was going to UNL when my girlfriend Cindy took me up in her Cessna 150,” says Phil. “We dropped in on the Duncan Aviation ramp, and I was enamored of the place. Right then, I decided I wanted to be a part of it, so I changed my plans to head home to the Chicago area. Cindy and I got married, and I applied here for a job.”

Phil was both the aircraft parts runner and the shipping department back then, and he had to physically search shelves for parts. There were no computers or inventory control back then.

“And I personally packed up and shipped everything that left the company,” says Phil. “I’d call Trailways bus to find out the schedule and then drive the packages to the depot.”

One time Phil was unable to find a way to ship the horizontal stabilizer to Wichita, Kansas, for singer Paul Anka’s Learjet, so he packed it into his car and drove it there himself. Leaving Lincoln at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, Phil arrived at the Learjet facility about five hours later. He drove up to the main hangar, parked in the late Harry B. Combs’ [President of Learjet from 1971 until 1982] parking space, and looked for someone to help unload the stabilizer.

Although driving a stabilizer from one state to the next was somewhat unusual for a parts runner, Phil’s story illustrates how Duncan Aviation and its team members literally go the extra mile for customers.

Shipping parts to Mexico, Canada or anywhere in the world in the late 1970s was fairly unusual, too, because most of Duncan Aviation’s parts business involved Learjet aircraft, and Phil remembers that those parts shipped primarily in the United States.

There were notable exceptions, however, and in 1966, 10 years after Donald Duncan founded Duncan Aviation, Donald and Harry Barr partnered with Danish Pilot Captain Per Alkaersig to supply radio packages for Cessna aircraft that flew in the Scandinavian countries.

“I looked for a supplier of King radios and found Duncan Aviation. They would pick up the aircraft in Wichita and have it ready to ferry to Europe on a firm date,” says Per. “When I’d pick up the aircraft in Lincoln, I’d meet Donald and Robert Duncan and Harry Barr. What a great team! A handshake would close a deal.”

1985_piper.jpgWhen Duncan Aviation won the exclusive rights as master distributor for Piper (including Aztecs and Cubs) parts, Duncan Aviation began regularly shipping parts worldwide.

“Through our Piper parts agreement, I meet not only Piper dealers in Pennsylvania and Florida, but also made connections with companies in places like England, South Africa and Sweden,” says Phil. “We started dealing those parts in 1984, and we shipped quite a lot to Italy and Madagascar and to all of the little mom and pop shops around the world that needed parts for Pipers.”

Although Phil had been promoted from parts runner to sales around 1981, the worldwide parts distribution took off with the Piper deal, and in 1984, Duncan Aviation’s AvPac was born. Now known as Parts and Rotables, the annual sales of parts outside of the United States represents about 35 percent of all parts and rotables sales.

“Today, roughly one third of our team members work hours to accommodate our worldwide customers,” says Chris Gress, Manager of Parts and Rotables Sales.

Shirley Crouch and Tyler Stone work through the night so they can answer calls from customers in Australia and southeast Asia; Carol Hunt and Hannah Bodenstab support customers in South Africa; and Phil, Lance Tophoj, Jewell Chambers and Sandra Phelps support customers in Europe and South America. Sandra begins working at 4 a.m. so European customers can reach an actual person at the start of their business day.

In the early day, Phil sold Piper parts, and one of his first customers was Pilot John Egelykke who worked for a pump factory in Denmark called Grundfos. Per introduced John to Duncan Aviation in 1986, and John has been working with the company at its various locations ever since.

“The European aviation industry is a closely knit community. When you help customers locate parts or resolve problems, they remember you,” says Phil. “Over the years, in spite of the fact that some of my best customers have switched from one company to another, they remember that I helped, and they continue to call.”

John got to know Phil shortly after his first experience working with Duncan Aviation.

“Phil has been a great person to work with over the years. He has helped me a lot with AOG parts and a great number of quotes,” says John. “When Grundfos changed their aircraft management company to Air Alsie in 2011, I suggested taking the Falcon 2000 to Battle Creek for a C-check. I have always enjoyed working with Shawn Busby and Tom Burt, too.”

John stopped flying after 30 years and 14,000 hours as a pilot, and he now works as a Technical Advisor for Air Alsie. And he still recommends Duncan Aviation to his customers in large part because Phil took the time to forge a friendship on top of the business relationship the two men developed so many years ago.


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.

Lori Johnson has been the Marketing Communications Manager for Duncan Aviation for more than 20 years. She enjoys working with the smart and passionate aviation experts at Duncan Aviation, helping them connect with and educate customers about important industry topics.  

Tags: Aircraft Parts, International Considerations, 60th Anniversary

Duncan Aviation: Welcome To The Family

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Feb 03, 2016 @ 02:06 PM

DA15093001-Todd.gifWe are one big extended family. When I walk through the hangars I’m not just talking with employees and customers, but with friends. 

                Todd Duncan, Duncan Aviation Chairman

At the very heart of Duncan Aviation is a sense of belonging; a family of friends, co-workers and a valued support system. We work together. Sometimes play together. We live in the same communities and care about each other.

Families that function well together and prosper within great communities provide each other with a ‘total package’ that encompasses the elements each individual needs to grow and evolve. At Duncan Aviation the ‘total package’ involves many things beyond salaries and benefits; it involves a sense of belonging and contributing to something special, something rare in the world of business today.

Watch the following video and listen as several team members describe why they feel like family at Duncan Aviation.

Tags: 60th Anniversary

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