The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Duncan Aviation Regional Manager to New Zealand & Australia

Posted by Kate Dolan on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 @ 08:00 AM

His dreams of travel, adventure and variety were at odds with the reality of life on his family's farm. But that didn't stop him from traveling the world and experiencing several lifetimes of adventure. 

Meet Richard Gardner

Capitalizing on his mechanical aptitude, Richard Gardner of Scargill, North Canterbury in New Zealand, attended the training school at Air New Zealand and put in a 10,000-hour apprenticeship as an airframe engine mechanic. He earned his New Zealand aircraft maintenance engineers license and completed B737-200 and BAe146 type ratings exams.

At 22, he traveled the world and earned A&P licenses in the United States, United Kingdom (UK), Latvia, Trinidad and Tobago; obtained certification for Boeing 767s; and earned an Open University Certificate in Management in the UK. He visited the FAA at Heathrow and was signed off to sit for his FAA A&P exam. Upon completion, he traveled to Dallas, Texas, for a seven-day course and completed his A&P exams and practical tests.

With the necessary credentials, Richard worked for London Business Aviation in Hatfield and then Marshall Aerospace in Cambridge. In November 1992, Richard traveled to Africa to work as a line maintenance mechanic on C130 Hercules transport jets flown by the Red Cross and the United Nations. He rode on some flights as they picked up aid relief in Mombasa, Kenya and dropped it throughout Somalia in Kismayo, Mogadishu, Bosaso and Berbera.


Richard in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 1993.

“One time we broke down in Somalia and managed to limp to Djibouti. We left the aircraft on a taxiway at the airport that night and came back the next day to fix it when the parts arrived from Nairobi. I remember sitting on the aircraft ramp after finishing the job. It was very hot, and the fence beside the aircraft was the airport perimeter. It had signs not to cross the fence because there was a mine field on the other side. We sat there in the sun eating ham and cheese baguettes and fantastic crème brulee. It was a very strange situation, really,” says Richard. 

Richard’s travels then took him to the United States, the UK, Colombia, Barbados and all over Europe. Although he lived for the adventure and learned about the people and customs everywhere he went, the conditions weren’t always ideal. In Latvia working on BAe146 aircraft, he worked outside year round because there were no hangars.

“The winter was very cold and had a lot of snow. We had to do everything outside, including engine changes at night at minus 15-degrees C [5 degrees F],” says Richard. “But I learned a lot working there about the Latvian and Russian people. Riga was a great town.”

Backpack living lost its luster, and Richard returned to Air New Zealand. He transitioned from the hangar floor to an account manager for the company-owned P&W JT8D engine overhaul shop. He managed accounts with a turnover of approximately $25-million U.S. dollars per year.

One of his customers owned a TFE731 Honeywell Approved Heavy Service Center, and Richard took a job as General Manager of the shop in Perth, Australia, for nearly four years.  By the time he moved back to New Zealand in 2007 and started his own business, SinglePoint Assist, he had traveled to 53 countries and filled up three passports.

During his years servicing engines, Richard had become acquainted with Duncan Aviation and had accompanied some of his customers to Lincoln. Becoming a representative for the company seemed a natural step for Richard.

“When I first dealt with Duncan Aviation, it was with the engine shop, and we never had a problem. The shop does a great job, and it’s easy to represent a company that does a great job,” says Richard.


View of Wellington Harbour in Wellington, New Zealand.

As a regional manager for Duncan Aviation, Richard continues to travel, visiting customers in Australia, South Africa and the United States, but he has a great appreciation for his home, New Zealand. He and his wife Rhonda live in Wellington, on the north island, with their two boys, Laughlin (5) and Alexander (4). Their house sits on the side of a hill overlooking the deep blue waters of the Wellington Harbour.

“We in New Zealand didn’t get the diamonds, uranium or minerals like Australia, but we got natural beauty,” says Richard. “And you can’t dig that up and ship it anywhere.”

 Duncan Aviation Regional Managers

Duncan Aviation has 13 regional managers stratigically placed across the world in an effort to better support our customers. Download the Duncan Aviation Regional Manager map and contact the one in your area. 

Download Duncan Aviation  Regional Managers Map

Tags: International Considerations, Careers & Recruiting

4 Tips on Military Transition to Civilian Employment

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 @ 03:24 PM

Military Departure Advice

Getting out of the military soon? If you are interested in beginning or continuing your aviation career with Duncan Aviation, we offer a few tips on transitioning from military service to civilian employment. This advice comes directly from Duncan Aviation employees.

Plan early

Don’t wait until four weeks before your departure date to begin preparing your resume. As soon as you make the decision to leave the military, begin planning your transition. Resume Writing Tips.

Use all available resources

Today’s technology allows almost anyone to search and apply for employment nearly everywhere in the world. Take advantage of the internet; utilize all resources your branch of the military has to offer and network with military friends and other connections. Military Transition Assistance FAQ.

Narrow the scope of your job search

Knowing what you want to do or where you want to live can help you focus your efforts & conduct a more controlled & effective search. Do you want to stay in a particular geographic area or focus on a targeted occupation?

Use proper terminology

When creating a resume and filling out applications, do not assume that the corporate recruiter will understand military terminology. Be clear on how your military training can translate into the job for which you are interviewing.

Putting Your Military Skills to Good Use

For many years at Duncan Aviation, some of our best employees and mechanics have been trained by and served for our country. As a matter of fact, more than 25% of our employees serve or have served in the armed services. Almost every branch of the military is represented at Duncan Aviation in departments and shops such as airframe maintenance, avionics install, turbine engine services and engineering, to name a few.

Although entering civilian employment will be a major life adjustment, there are many things at Duncan Aviation that will remain the same: attention to the details of your work, focus on getting the job done right and the support from fellow employees. We are proud of our employees and the quality workmanship they put into the products and services we offer.

We strongly encourage military personnel to apply for career opportunities.

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

Talk to Duncan Aviation's Recruiting Contact Today

Tags: Careers & Recruiting, Videos

The Duncan Debrief...Always Worth The Read

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Fri, May 02, 2014 @ 09:28 AM

Duncan Debrief circa 1999

The first issues of the Duncan Debrief were produced in a tabloid format with a distribution of 10,000.

In April of 1993, the premiere issue of the Duncan Debrief was published. Inside J. Robert Duncan, Duncan Aviation’s CEO at the time, described the quarterly tabloid magazine as “one of those rare newsletters that is to the point, packed full of useful information and always worth reading."

The Debrief’s mission was to deliver advice and guidance on the operation and care of a business aircraft through short articles written by the aviation experts at Duncan Aviation. It featured articles about our growing capabilities, team members and Core Values.

This year the Duncan Debrief turns 21. It doesn’t look anything like the early editions, but one thing has never changed...its mission. The Debrief continues to deliver relevant information with feature stories about cutting-edge innovation, customer relationships and testimonies.

It remains our flagship publication and one of the most-trusted and best-read business aviation publications available. We've been told by many Directors of Maintenance that it is required reading in their flight departments.

And it is still written and designed in-house by Duncan Aviation’s aviation experts.

Duncan Debrief Subscription

Duncan Debrief circa 2014

The Duncan Debrief is now a four-color magazine with a distribution of 18,000. It is available in print, online and on the iPad.

The Duncan Debrief is a free. You can subscribe to receive a printed copy of the magazine or access the current and past editions online at

Or if you are truly on-the-go, the Duncan Debrief is available on Apple’s Newsstand for the iPad.

To install the Newsstand edition, search for the Duncan Debrief in Apple’s App Store and download by clicking the “free” button. The app will then be placed in the Newsstand shelves. Once downloaded, readers can receive push notifications each time a new Debrief magazine is published.

In April of this year, we published the 51st edition of the Duncan Debrief. Inside Todd Duncan, Duncan Aviation’s Chairman, reflects on his aviation career and the changes he’s seen throughout the industry.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the Duncan Debrief. It is still one of the only aviation industry publications that tells it like it is with information you can use.

And always worth the read.

Tags: Social Media, Announcements, Careers & Recruiting

Todd Duncan Announces Karen K. Duncan Scholarship Winners

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 @ 11:01 AM

Contributed by Todd Duncan, chairman


Duncan Aviation awards $80,000 in scholarships to team members' children.

Education is important to Duncan Aviation. We invest a lot in our people and their training and professional knowledge. It is also something that as a family, we embrace personally. I am a strong believer in personal development for myself. My wife, Connie, is a former teacher with Lincoln Public Schools in Lincoln, Nebraska, and currently works with disadvantaged youth, encouraging them in their education.

In 1999, in honor of my mother’s belief in a strong education, The Karen K. Duncan Scholarship Program was started to help Duncan Aviation team members fund post-secondary education expenses for their kids. All dependent children of full-time Duncan Aviation team members who are entering a two- or four-year college program or technical school are eligible. In the 15 years since we started this program, more than 200 scholarships totaling $1,320,000 have been awarded.

This year, as we do every year, we had so many talented and driven young people apply for the Karen K. Duncan scholarship. I am proud to announce that we have the opportunity to award 20 more scholarships to deserving students. The recipients were carefully chosen by an independent selection committee based on their essay submissions, as well as, academic achievement, citizenship activities, leadership skills and extracurricular and volunteer activities.

To all of the 2014 Karen K. Duncan Scholarship winners, Congratulations! You should all be very proud of what you have accomplished so far in your young lives. On behalf of Duncan Aviation and the Duncan family, I wish you the very best in your future endeavors.

2014 Karen K. Duncan Scholarship Winners

Tags: Announcements, Careers & Recruiting, Community

Robert Duncan: Flying Away to Gain Perspective

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 @ 11:32 AM

During the first week of March, Duncan Aviation’s Chairman Emeritus Robert Duncan, Chairman Todd Duncan, Vice President Jeannine Falter and Regional Manager Alan Huggett devoted three days to visiting competitors and customers while breaking in the new Citation M2. They spent the final two days of the work week at a Customer Advisory Board meeting at Duncan Aviation’s Provo, Utah, facility. Shortly after his return, Robert reflected on the trip and provided the following observations.

Robert Duncan with the M2

Robert Duncan stands next to Duncan Aviation's Citation M2 with a new double-take design. Click here to watch a timelapse video of the M2's unique scheme.

It’s not often we allot ourselves much time to step away from the many Duncan Aviation locations and look at what we’re doing from an outsider’s perspective. It’s even rarer that we get to monitor what our competitors are doing. After three days of doing just that, I came away with a few overwhelming impressions.

Renewed Appreciation for Bizav

The amount of work we completed in just a few days would be unthinkable if we had flown commercially. We spent about 10 hours in the air, which equates to about 3,500 miles traveled in one work week. That itinerary would be impossible to keep with using any other mode of transportation. We could have easily added another week to the trip had we flown commercially.

What a business aircraft can do for a company is increase productivity. We service the aircraft that keep the business world moving at an incredible pace. We help connect the world and support the global presence for many businesses. Taking part in that process first-hand reminded me how important our work is and how much it affects the business world every minute of every day.

Marketing Our Success Is as Simple as Showing Our Products

Thanks to our paint team, no arrival or departure went unnoticed. The M2 is a flying billboard that highlights the creativity of our design team and the high-quality product our paint team produces. One of the first things people do when they see the aircraft is go up and touch the surface; they’re amazed at how smooth it is.

That’s the best form of marketing—making our product available and letting people take it in.

When the plaid Mustang was first completed and flown, people would say, “oh, that’s interesting,” which meant they didn’t like it. In contrast, everyone has had a positive reaction to this paint scheme. The M2 had a huge visual impact and was universally liked. That’s a win on many levels.

Duncan Aviation Pride

The trip taught us that although we have a lot of competition, we have even more to be proud of.

I was overwhelmed by the remarkable respect and admiration people in the aviation community have for our company and people. I often come back from these trips on a high because I get to see all of our accomplishments from the outside looking in, through the lens of those who see us as friends and adversaries.

The aviation community spans the globe, but it’s a relatively small community, meaning close-knit relationships are key. We visited two competitors, who we also view as customers because, well, we do business with everyone.

We were incredibly well-received by both companies and plan to work more closely with them in the future. They each have unique talents and niches, and we want to support those by offering services they can’t perform on their own. By supporting them and ensuring we deliver a product up to our standards, we keep their customers happy, consequently keeping them happy. As we continue to deliver, those relationships become stronger. This is one of the main goals of our avionics shops, and rapid response teams.

Reflection Leads to Innovation

Often times, we’re so immersed in what’s going on day-to-day, it’s hard to generate new ideas and think creatively, which is why it’s important to get out and expose ourselves and the rest of the team to new ideas.

After I walked through our competitors’ hangars and listened to our customers suggest improvement at the advisory board meeting, I spent hours recording all the possible avenues we could consider for Duncan Aviation’s distant and more immediate future. The trip yielded more work for our many locations and sparked the start of a few new relationships. It spurred some great ideas and allowed us to pat ourselves on the back a bit.

What we do each day is impressive. Because we remain on the cutting edge and invest in our future, what we do tomorrow and the next day will be extraordinary. We are unlike any other. We are Duncan Aviation.

View Duncan Aviation's company video      

Our Work Speaks For Itself

Tags: Duncan Aviation-Provo, Announcements, Careers & Recruiting, Videos

Todd Duncan: Collective Courage, Attitude and Vision of a Family

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Tue, Apr 01, 2014 @ 02:22 PM

Todd Duncan & FAmily

Todd Duncan (middle right) with his father Robert (middle left) and twin sons, Harrison (far left) and PK (far right).

Todd & Connie Duncan

Todd and Connie Duncan

My aviation career spans a quarter century, and during those years, I’ve seen almost every one of our competitors bought, sold or change their name. Duncan Aviation has remained exempt from this practice by investing in a family owned brand that’s stronger than ever.

Our team’s collective courage, attitude and vision have allowed us to connect with our customers on a more personal level than much of our competition. I think that level of respect for all individuals is what helps differentiate us from the rest. We’re more than a company, we’re a family, and we approach every project with the same level of care.


We. It’s a strong word and one I hear a lot at Duncan Aviation. Everything we do involves one or more teams. There’s strength in numbers. Instead of having one decision maker, we entrust our people—all of our team members—to make the right decision each and every day, whether it’s right in front of a customer or internally.

Giving our team that kind of responsibility allows them to step up and show courage. Without the courage of those first few Duncan Aviation team members back in 1956 and the more than 2,000 team members we have today, we wouldn’t be where we are. Sometimes those decisions are small, other times they’re large. But they’re all important ones because they affect our overall goals. Every experience allows us to gain a bit more courage, strength and confidence.


One of my earlier memories is of a Duncan Aviation company party. It was 1976, the bicentennial year, so we had a big celebration at my parent’s house outdoors. A couple hundred employees came, and I remember feeling this sense of family—somehow, I knew we all supported each other.

I saw this as a young person and that experience, that collective attitude, is something we try to replicate every day at Duncan Aviation. There is no excuse for us growing larger and losing that essence. And we make a conscious effort to keep this feeling alive. I know our customers immediately pick up on that attitude and it’s an extra value that comes with the Duncan Aviation experience. 


Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Failure was never even an option for Duncan Aviation. We’ve had some tough days, weeks and even years, but I’m really excited about the next 10 years for our company, for business aviation, for my career, as well as for our team members’ careers.

I think our 10-year plan lays out a road map for us, certainly one that can change and shift when we encounter the unpredictable, but one we are all behind and one that we will all contribute to.

As our locations continue to grow in size and number, I look forward to expanding into new customer markets and into global markets where we haven’t yet reached or where we’ve just begun to make connections.

As difficult as business aviation is, I’ve never been more excited about what’s to come. Join us for the ride.

To learn more about Duncan Aviation’s culture and the people behind the name, watch our company video “Our Work Speaks for Itself.

Tags: Announcements, Careers & Recruiting, Videos

Duncan Aviation’s Mike Minchow Elected to AEA Board of Directors

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

Mike Minchow

Duncan Aviation's Mike Minchow will serve a three-year term on the 18-member AEA Board of Directors.

At last week’s 57th annual AEA International Convention & Trade Show in Nashville, Tennessee, the newly elected members to the AEA Board of Directors were introduced and recognized during a special awards luncheon. Mike Minchow, Duncan Aviation’s Manager of Completions & Avionics Sales was among the newly elected directors selected by the members of AEA in a membership-wide vote.

Gary Harpster, Duncan Aviation Avionics Sales Representative and current AEA Board Chairman, reflects on Duncan Aviation’s history and association with AEA and the future as Minchow joins the directors.

“A long-time and now retired Duncan employee, Ron Hall, was on the AEA board for 20 years before term limits. He taught me the value of this organization and I am proud to have served on the board for nine years now. I'm very pleased that Mike will be offering his insight and knowledge of the industry as I leave the board," said Harpster. “Mike has a well-rounded knowledge of aviation in general and he's a good communicator. I believe his level of expertise will blend well with the other board members.” 

Minchow joins the AEA Board of Directors having worked more than 20 years at Duncan Aviation, serving in several leadership roles including Manager of Interior Modification Sales and Design, Fractional Program Manager and Avionics Sales Manager. His experience in repair station operations and knowledge of the current regulatory environment in business aviation give him a real hands-on understanding of the challenges facing MROs.

Founded in 1957, the Aircraft Electronics Association represents more than 1,300 aviation businesses, including repair stations that specialize in maintenance, repair and installation of avionics and electronics systems in general aviation aircraft. The mission of AEA is to be a worldwide, self-sustaining organization committed to enhancing the profitability of its members. The 18 Directors of the AEA Board are elected to a three-year term representing all areas of the United States and three international regions including Canada, Europe and The South Pacific.

Tags: Avionics Installation, Announcements, Careers & Recruiting

We Are Duncan Aviation: Where Extraordinary Efforts are Part of the Job

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 @ 08:57 AM

Duncan Aviation has team members from India to Michigan and our backgrounds are even more diverse. A common thread that ties us all together is an inherent sense of doing the right thing and a positive attitude that allows us to be a step ahead of the rest.

 It’s the people within a company who create such a strong brand. Duncan Aviation is an experience, unlike any other. We share stories like these within the company daily as a reminder to all team members just how much our customers mean to us and what it takes to create that exceptional experience time and time again.

Meet Troy and Stacy

Troy Reinke and Stacy Finch

Troy Reinke and Stacy Finch, Duncan Aviation Master Paint Specialists

When you need a creative and detailed paint scheme applied on your aircraft, where can you find a team with the skill and drive to complete it beautifully?

Paint master specialists Troy Reinke and Stacy Finch were excited to take on this large aircraft paint project. The custom paint scheme commissioned by artist Wilfrid Buch with countless lines swirling around the fuselage to create a psychedelic 3D image required talent, patience and detail few paint technicians possess.

For the rest of the story visit:

Curt Campbell

Curt Campbell, Duncan Aviation Avionoics Tech Rep

Meet Curt

Your autopilot malfunctions mid-flight. Who can help you troubleshoot and express deliver a loaner to meet you upon arrival? Duncan Aviation’s components tech reps.

Curt Campbell has been a components tech rep for Duncan Aviation for 28 years, and he has nearly 40 years in the industry. So when he gets a phone call from someone in-flight with an issue, he walks them through the troubleshooting process as if he were in the copilot seat himself.

For the rest of the story

Meet Shirley

Shirley Crouch

Shirley Crouch, Duncan Aviation Parts and Rotables Sales Rep.

When it’s late in the evening on a Saturday and you need a part, who can you call?

When a customer in Spain had to be up and running in less than 24 hours, her experience led her to believe customs might cause a delay. So she opted to have a courier hand-carry the part to ensure all customs requirements were addressed along the way, reducing the AOG time from days to just hours.

For the rest of the story visit:

Duncan Aviation Core Values

Because Duncan Aviation team members work in a culture where honesty, integrity and doing the right thing is the norm, many think their extraordinary efforts were just part of the job—a testament to how incredible the teams are.

To read more stories about the day in the life of a Duncan Aviation team member, visit:

View Duncan Aviation's Core Value video and watch as team members express why the company's Core Values resonate so much with their teams and how they can be seen in every aspect of their workday.

We Are Duncan Aviation

Tags: Announcements, Careers & Recruiting, Customer Service

Duncan Aviation Celebrates 50 Years in Lincoln, Nebraska

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Dec 05, 2013 @ 01:09 PM

A half a century is certainly a benchmark, especially in the modern aviation industry, which isn’t much older. It was on December 5, 1963, that Donald Duncan incorporated Duncan Beechcraft-Lincoln. Though the name has changed, the number of locations has grown, and the 12 original employees have turned into more than 1,240, one thing remains the same: Duncan Aviation-level quality.

Today we celebrate 50 years in Lincoln, Nebraska. Help us to congratulate the 1,240 dedicated Duncan Aviation team members that made it possible.

How many names do you recognize?

 Duncan Aviation Celebrates 50 years in Lincoln, Nebraska

Tags: Announcements, Careers & Recruiting

Duncan Aviation Receives Nebraska’s Governor’s Wellness Award

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Fri, Nov 15, 2013 @ 10:38 AM

Contributed by Tori Pallas, Wellness Coordinator

Duncan Aviation receives Governor's Wellness Award

L to R: Tonya Vyhlidal, Nebraska WorkWell Director; Laurie Klosterboer, ED Nebraska Safety Council; Tori Pallas, Duncan Aviation; Governor Dave Heineman, Chief Medical Director Jospeh Acierno NE-DHHS.

In 1999, Duncan Aviation informally started its Wellness Program by opening a fitness room in its Lincoln, Nebraska, facility that was ran and maintained entirely by employees volunteering their time. Then in 2001, staff was added and more formal programming began. Today, Duncan Aviation is a certified Platinum Well Workplace and has two full-time wellness staff members, two state-of-the-art fitness facilities and several wellness programs and services available to all Duncan Aviation employees at every location. There is a culture of wellness that permeates the entire company and encourages healthy lifestyle choices that not only benefit us as team members, but our families and the communities in which we live.

The results of our efforts to promote worksite health and make wellness a priority in the lives of our team members has been recognized and honored many times at both of Duncan Aviation’s full-service facilities in Battle Creek, Michigan, and Lincoln, Nebraska. On October 16 during a luncheon at the WorkWell and Nebraska Safety Council in Lincoln, Nebraska, Duncan Aviation was again awarded the Governor’s Wellness Award at the Grower Level from Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman.

This award recognizes Nebraska employers who have developed successful models for encouraging wellness at work. Factors considered for the award included the level of support for the program by company leaders, assessment of employee needs, wellness plan design, outcomes and benefits and policies supporting healthy behaviors, as well as, providing employees with health education, health screenings and opportunities for exercise.

I had the honor to attend and accept the award on behalf of Duncan Aviation, our Senior Management Team who so generously supports all of the programs, and most importantly on behalf of my team members who are engaged in their wellness and make the workplace an enjoyable and thriving environment.

Duncan Aviation Wellness Programs and Services

The following programs and services are available to Duncan Aviation employees and their spouses:

  • Duncan Aviation Family Health Centers staffed by on-site physician assistant and nurse practitioner in both Battle Creek, Michigan, and Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • Free health consultations, fitness assessments, group stretching, personal training and nutritional analysis.
  • 24 hour, state-of-the-art fitness facilities in both Battle Creek, Michigan, and Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • Onsite instructed fitness classes.
  • Health club membership reimbursements.
  • Flu shots.
  • Continuum Employee Assistance Program.
  • Free annual health screenings.
  • Medical insurance premium discounts based on results from annual health screening for participating in screenings and remaining tobacco free.
  • Monthly health and wellness newsletters.
  • Wellness intranet website.

Tori Pallas is the wellness coordinator at Duncan Aviation’s Lincoln, Nebraska, facility. She is instrumental in the development and facilitation of the wellness programs and services available to Duncan Aviation’s employees and their families. 

Tags: Announcements, Careers & Recruiting, Community


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