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The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

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

Fort Lauderdale Avionics Satellite Gets Settled In Their New Location

Posted by Kate Dolan on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 @ 12:13 PM

Moving is a hassle, but the Duncan Aviation satellite facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, recently endured the stress and mess in order to take up residence in a spacious new hangar. After vacating a paltry 1,000 square feet of leased space in a 1940’s-era facility, they found themselves with 32,000 square feet in a state-of-the-art hangar that was built in 2007.

Ft.-Lauderdale_sm.jpgEstablished in 1986, the Fort Lauderdale shop has always been located in space rented from and shared with other businesses. As those businesses grew and expanded, the Duncan Aviation shop would have to relocate. Earlier this year, Satellite Operations Manager Matt Nelson and Manager of the Fort Lauderdale shop Brian Redondo realized it would be beneficial for customers if the satellite stopped bouncing around and set up shop in its own hangar.

The shop and offices take up the entire second floor of the hangar and leases much of the main-floor space to Part 91, low-utilization customers who want to store their aircraft in a limited access, secure facility.

“Currently, our hangar houses a Falcon 2000, Hawker 800XP, Learjet 60, and Gulfstream IV, in addition to our aircraft in for maintenance” says Fort Lauderdale Satellite Manager Brian Redondo. “All of them are owned by long-time Duncan Aviation customers. They appreciate the fact that our facility is private, so people can’t just wander in and out, and as tenants they get the fastest service Duncan Aviation can offer.”

Hired as the manager of the Fort Lauderdale shop in 2006, Brian has grown the facility from five employees to 12. One of the things he loves about Duncan Aviation is that although it’s a somewhat large company, it’s still family owned, and employees are treated as family.

“I’ve worked for small companies with five people where you got paid if the owner showed up with his checkbook, and large companies where I was just a number. I still remember that number, too, because I had to use it every time I went to the tool crib, to HR or filled out a form,” says Brian. “I like the culture at Duncan Aviation. It’s large enough to provide stability and benefits and small enough that everyone knows my name.”

When he was about five-years old and living in Old Forge, New York, Brian remembers standing on a dock on Fourth Lake—one of the Fulton Chain Lakes in Adirondack Park—with his father and grandfather. One of his grandfather’s friends pulled up to the dock in his Piper Cub on floats, and Brian and his dad climbed in. They took off, and from the minute the plane lifted off of the lake, Brian was hooked on flying.

Years later at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, Brian got his A&P license, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Technology (aka avionics). He worked at a number of facilities big and small until he was hired as the manager of the Fort Lauderdale shop in 2006.

With the larger shop space, Brian anticipates an increase in business in the coming year. Currently, less than 50 percent of the avionics installations at the Fort Lauderdale facility satisfy mandates for the upcoming NextGen deadlines.

Click here For more information on NextGen deadlines

“I’d expect to see an increase from our current level to about 75 percent in the coming year,” says Brian. “We also install and repair just about anything: Flight data recorders, flight management systems, 60Hz cabin power, USB outlets, a little cabin entertainment and lots and lots of Wi-Fi to name a few.”

Brian is relieved to have the move behind him, and he’s looking forward to the shop’s future growth. He’s especially appreciative of the support he and the rest of the team members get from Matt Nelson and other managers at Duncan Aviation.

“It’s been a lot of fun to watch the Fort Lauderdale team grow in number and reputation,” says Matt. “I couldn’t be more proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish in such a competitive environment.” 

Tags: Avionics Installation, Announcements

Duncan Aviation Team Members Honored with the Charles Taylor Award

Posted by Lori Johnson on Tue, Feb 09, 2016 @ 09:03 AM

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

Joe Huffman, Sr., an FAA Certification Engineer  with Duncan Aviation, and Bernard Michael, a former long-time technician with Duncan Aviation, were recently honored as recipients of the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award.

The Nebraska Aviation Mechanics Seminar committee and the Federal Aviation Administration presented them with the awards at a banquet on the evening of January 29 in Kearney. The presentation was conducted in conjunction with the annual evening banquet at the Nebraska Aviation Mechanics and IA Renewal Seminar.

Award recipients are required to have worked for a period of 50 years in an aviation maintenance career and must have been an FAA-certificated mechanic or repairman working on N-registered aircraft maintained under the Federal aviation regulations for a minimum of 30 of the 50 years required. 

Joe Huffman, Sr., has been employed in aviation for 50 years, 48 of those years being dedicated to serving at Duncan Aviation. He was initially hired at Duncan Aviation as a mechanic. Joe first became a pilot just after graduating from Lincoln High School in 1961. After graduation, he worked for Wallace Tiller in Bellevue as a landscaper until 1963. From there, he went on to his first aviation job in 1963, working at South Omaha airport in Omaha, Nebraska. He resided there until 1965, when he moved to Denison, Iowa, and worked as a mechanic, instructor and charter pilot until 1967. He moved back to Lincoln in 1967 to work at Duncan Aviation and has remained there since.  

“As a longtime Duncan Aviation team member myself, I have known Joe for years. I looked up to him and was mentored by him when I first started with Duncan Aviation,” says Darwin Godemann, Master Mechanic for Duncan Aviation and Lead Program Coordinator for The Nebraska Aviation Maintenance and IA Seminar Committee of The Nebraska Aviation Council.

2016 Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Recipients2016 Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Recipients:
Joe Huffman, Sr., Bernard Michael, George Czarnecki

During World War II, Bernard Michael developed a love of aviation from watching B-17s rumble over his father’s farm as they made their way from the Boeing factory toward the European Theater. When Bernard came of age, he served his country by joining the Air Force; he spent most of his military duty working Counter Intelligence in the Philippines. After leaving the military, he attended Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, where he graduated with an Airframe/Powerplant license and a commercial pilot certificate.

In January 1966, Michael started his 50-year aircraft maintenance career with Douglas Aircraft Co. in Tulsa, Okla. Moving around the Midwest, Bernard repaired flight controls for Douglas Aircraft Co. in Oklahoma, performed IA inspections in Iowa, agricultural spraying in Kansas, and was a jet airframe shop supervisor for Duncan Aviation in Nebraska. Receiving the FAA’s Central Region Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Accident Prevention was one of the highlights of his aviation career.

Retired now, Michael continues to perform aircraft maintenance for friends at the Lincoln Airport and enjoys assisting with local air shows.

“When I first started at Duncan Aviation and began working in the Jet Shop, Bernard was my supervisor  and was like a father figure to me,” Godemann says. “Bernard would not only provide guidance, he would encourage me to use my training and best judgment when tackling complex maintenance tasks. His encouragement and confidence in my abilities in those days still serves me to this day.”  

A third aviation technician, George Czarnecki of Central Cylinder Service in Omaha, was also presented with the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award at the banquet.

Tags: Announcements

Duncan Aviation Team Members Resolve To Be Better For You in 2016

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Dec 31, 2015 @ 01:31 PM

2016Jan_Newyear.jpgWe all know the drill. As soon as the ball drops we make promises to ourselves to improve life in the coming year. The most common resolutions are to improve fitness, stop vices or change a behavior.

But this is also a time to make and renew commitments to improve our work for the benefit of our customers.

A group of Duncan Aviation team members from all levels and across the country were asked ‘What is your Duncan Aviation New Year’s Resolution?’

Here’s what a few of them had to say.

Todd Duncan Aviation Duncan Aviation Chairman

For me personally, I want to fly more. I’m not in the aviation business just for the benefits of the transaction, I’m in it because I love to fly and I want to spend more time in my personal aircraft.   

On a business level, I am going to celebrate all year the fact my family has been in this business for sixty years and have remained family-owned. In an industry where everyone is for sale, I am committed to remaining independent. For sixty years, we have built our brand around our team members, their families and the American craftsman. We are up for sixty more.

Michael Hill Manager, Engineering Services, BTL

Continue to educate myself and others on Duncan Aviation’s Certification and Engineering processes so we can all understand why we do what we do.

Chris Gress, Manager Duncan Aviation Parts and Rotables Sales, LNK

My goal for 2016 is to get more of our Parts & Rotables Sales Team out to meet Duncan Aviation customers at industry events throughout the year.

Jeff Schipper, Project Manager, PVU

During the coming year, we will continue to seek new offerings and capabilities for our customers at our Provo, UT, location, as well as improve responsiveness to AOG events.

Steve Gade, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, LNK                                    

Do a better job of asking our customers the right questions and listen carefully to their responses so that I may better understand exactly how we can better serve them so they can better serve their customers.

Andrew Arcuri Assistant Manager, Engine Rapid Response Teams

Duncan Aviation Rapid Response Team has grown significantly in 2015, adding seven new technicians alone to the east coast. No matter how carefully we select the technicians for the Rapid Response Team or how thoroughly we prepare them with product knowledge training, there is no substitute for reinforcing customer service communication skills. For my 2016 resolution, I look to better communicate with our customers regarding aircraft/engine workscope, aircraft return-to-service time and an accurate cost of service. I look forward to a great 2016 and thank you to all our customers that make working for Duncan Aviation a great personal experience.    

Melissa Raddatz Avionics Sales Representative, BTL

To continue be a person of integrity, to provide high quality customer service and to seek excellence in all I do.

Joe Tulowitzki Turbine Engine Service Sales Representative

For the coming year I am committed to working closely with my team to say what we are going to do and then deliver exactly what we say, leaving no surprises for the customers in the end.

A Culture Unchanged 

From the beginning, Donald Duncan, Duncan Aviation’s Founder, believed that if you take care of employees, employees will take personal pride to improve and then care for customers. 

To this day, this belief is unchanged. During 2016 as we celebrate our 60th anniversary, we resolve to take personal accountability towards improvement so that we are better able to serve you, our customer.

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, 60th Anniversary

Duncan Aviation Sends You...

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Thu, Dec 24, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

A World of Good Wishes. 

HappyHolidays.jpgOne of the real joys this holiday season is the opportunity to say thank you for your business and wish you the very best throughout 2016!

Tags: Announcements

Duncan Aviation Re-releases Music CD, “Christmas in the Cabin”

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Fri, Dec 11, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

2006-Christmas-CD_Cover.gifNearly ten years ago, a group of 60 very talented Duncan Aviation team members stepped into a recording studio and produced a music CD. Because…well, why not?

Team members from Lincoln, Battle Creek and even from our satellite avionics shops participated. The addition of a choir group created further opportunities for employees to share their musical talents with the industry.

Have a listen…

“Christmas in the Cabin” was not the first music CD that we produced in 2006. To celebrate our 50th Anniversary, we put ourselves in the 1950s mindset and debuted “Chart Topping Hits of ’56.”

Both CDs became an instant hit with all of our team members, customers, vendors and the industry as a whole. You can read more about how an aviation company from the Midwest produced two music CDs, here.  

These music CDs are yet another example of the talent that we have companywide. Each individual brought their own style to the music just as they do in their working environments every day. And just as they do in their “day jobs,” they brought an amazing sense of pride and produced a World Class product.

All I want for Christmas is....

We have a limited re-release of “Christmas in the Cabin,” just in time for Christmas. If you would like to hear first-hand the musical talent that comes from Duncan Aviation, contact me directly and I’ll send you your free copy, while supplies last. But do not delay, they will go quickly.


Heiserman-Carol.gif

Diane Heiserman, Social Media Administrator 

Diane.Heiserman@DuncanAviation.com

 

Tags: Announcements

Todd Duncan: Longevity in Business Aviation Can’t Be Ignored

Posted by Todd Duncan on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

2016 marks the 60th anniversary of Duncan Aviation.

Longevity like that in business aviation is unique and can’t be ignored. The fact that my family has supported the industry for 60 years is different. The way we have responded to customer needs is different. And the caliber and resourcefulness of our people is different.

Our ingrained culture of responsiveness has ensured a continual evolution that has allowed us to change with and sometimes push the industry.

When a customer makes a comment about something that could be improved, we research it, analyze it and look for a better way. When a team member sees a process that could be completed more efficiently, we empower them to explore the options and lead the charge. And when a customer asks us to provide a new capability, we work with industry leaders and partners to make it happen. 

When asked, we have acted.

As we all know, though, companies don’t take action. It’s the people within the company that are responsible for the innovation. And the people who have helped make Duncan Aviation the company it is today certainly deserve the credit. Whether that person is a new or long-time team member, customer or industry partner, that catalyst for change deserves to be recognized.

So we will begin publishing stories about how the people of Duncan Aviation have responded to requests for six decades. We will celebrate with these stories throughout 2016.

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.

And if you’ll be in Las Vegas for the NBAA Convention November 17-19, be sure to stop by Booth #N4910 to see our new booth design, to talk with our technical experts and to make suggestions of things you would like to see in your service experience in 2016 and beyond. Together, we can continue to provide an experience, unlike any other.

Tags: Announcements

Duncan Debrief Magazine Available on Newsstand

Posted by Lori Johnson on Tue, Nov 03, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

The Fall 2015 edition of the popular Duncan Debrief magazine has been published to Apple’s Newsstand for the iPad.

Newsstand lets us easily deliver the latest edition of the Duncan Debrief. Allowing our readers to receive the most recent copy immediately, as well as providing a quick reference to back issues and linked material, like videos and other articles.

The Fall 2015 edition of the Duncan Debrief features news about the business aviation industry as well as Duncan Aviation customers and team members. Highlights include information about upcoming avionics mandates, photographs of recent projects and new capabilities and services.  

Duncan Debrief App

To install, search for the Duncan Debrief in Apple’s App Store and download it by tapping the Free button. The app is then placed in the iPad’s Newsstand shelves. Once downloaded, users  can request to receive push notifications each time a new Duncan Debrief magazine is published.

The Duncan Debrief is a free, award-winning business aviation publication for aircraft owners and operators. Written and designed in-house at Duncan Aviation, each edition includes articles on topics and trends in business aviation.

 

Tags: Announcements

www.DuncanAviation.aero: Redesigned With You In Mind

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Oct 22, 2015 @ 10:43 AM

We tore down our website and built a new one. One that we are sure you’re going to love!

But we haven’t moved.  You can still find us at the same address, www.DuncanAviation.aero.

Watch the highlight video below. 

Tags: Announcements

Duncan Aviation and Aviation Alphabet Associations: NARA

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

In 1991, there were a number of aircraft broker dealers conducting business in ways that were less than completely ethical. Several concerned individuals in the industry joined together to address the lack of standards and issues.

Robert Duncan was among them. 

"There were a lot of things happening that affected the ability of honest broker dealers to conduct business in the aircraft-resale market. We knew we had a stronger voice if we band together and formed an association," Robert says.

The founders of NARA (pictured in 2004 left to right) Robert Duncan, John Foster, Jack Prewitt, Dan Dickinson, Susan Sheets, James Markel, Johnny Gantt, Jerry Smith, Matt Huff and Johnny Foster.

The National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA) was formed to establish a set of standards for member companies to follow that raised the ethical bar. Each company who joined promised to abide by a code of ethics and represent the best interests of their customers. Together, they formed a lobbying organization for the benefit of the general aviation industry.

Every year since the association was formed, members of Duncan Aviation's Aircraft Sales team have remained actively involved. In 2010, Steve Gade, vice president of business development and marketing, was appointed to serve as the association chairman.

"NARA gives a prospective client, whether buying or selling an aircraft, a safe and trusted place to conduct business," says Steve. It also gives associate members access to resources and services they may not have available in-house, such as insurance, legal and title. This great wealth of resources is a result of the network of NARA members.


To find out more about our long histories with other industry alphabet associations, read the Spring 2015 Duncan Debrief.

Spring 2015 Duncan Debrief Read Now!

Tags: Announcements

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