The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Aircraft Window Condensation Can Cause Avionics Instruments Corrosion

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 @ 09:26 AM

An aircraft charter company recently sent a Baker Audio Panel to our avionics instrument shop in Lincoln, Nebr., that was inop. We immediately sent a loaner back so the aircraft would not miss any flights. When the squawked unit was opened, Duncan Aviation avionics instrument technicians found it was full of corrosion in the back end.


On several make/model aircraft, the Baker Audio Panel sits directly below the windshield. And over time as condensation collects on the window, it has to drip somewhere. And that somewhere is directly on this unit below.

Although you cannot prevent corrosion, you can slow its growth by being aware of any moisture near avionics units. As condensation collects on the windshield, clean it off.

It is also a good idea to visual inspect the outside covers of the avionics units that sit under your aircraft’s windshield. If you see any evidence that water has been dripping on them, you can just about bet there will be evidence of corrosion on the inside. At your next scheduled maintenance, have these units sent to us for a thorough inspection and cleaning.

As for the unit above, we cleaned and repaired the circuit board and coated it with Humiseal for an extra barrier to the moisture.

Replacement Units On A Shelf

Don’t be fooled into thinking replacement avionics units sitting on a shelf are safe from corrosion just because they are not installed on an aircraft. Humidity is another cause of corrosion, especially if they are stored in coastal areas.

For more information on our repair capabilities, download the Avionics Instruments Information & Capabilities Facts Sheet or conduct an online search of our repair and overhaul capabilities.

Latest Edition

Read more about it in the August 2016 issue of the Duncan Intelligence

Tags: Avionics & Instruments

One-Day Evaluation &  Three-Day Turntimes on TDR-94 Transponders

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 @ 04:19 PM

DA1604010328Mobile29.jpgThe Duncan Aviation avionics instrument shop is now able to provide operators with TDR-94/TDR-94D transponder service that includes same-day evaluation and three-day turntimes, with AOG options available when needed.

Our technicians, having serviced the -003 TDR-94 units for the last several years, have developed a very efficient repair process that will even allow a one-day repair, provided the following steps are taken by the operator:  

  1. Call Duncan Aviation Customer Account Reps to schedule the unit into shop. 800.562.6377 or 402.475.2611
  1. Provide ID tag information ahead of time. This gives us time to ensure we have parts on hand when the transponder arrives.
  1. Ship your unit to this address:

Duncan Aviation 

Shipping and Receiving

4001 N Park Rd

Lincoln, NE  68500

We offer the repair and service of these units at our main avionics instrument shop in Lincoln, Nebraska, as well as through our satellite avionics facilities located throughout the United States.

We are also able to modify earlier transponders to the -500-501 series, which will meet the ADS-B mandate for 2020 when the unit is properly installed and certified.

The Rockwell Collins TDR-94/TDR-94D transponder is a solid-state, crystal-controlled receiver/transmitter specifically designed for TCAS-II-equipped business aircraft.  We are authorized to repair and service transponders with the Rockwell Collins part numbers of 622-9352-002 through -008; -108; -207; -308-311; -408-411; -500-501 and 622-9210-002 through -008; -108; -207; -308-311; -408-411; -500-501.

Tags: Avionics & Instruments

Why Are You Waiting Weeks For An Offer on Your Surplus Aircraft Avionics?

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

501-1228-04: Lead Acid Emergency Power Supply

If you are waiting more than two weeks for an offer on your available aircraft avionics inventory, you are waiting too long. 

The business aviation industry is growing rapidly and the demand for good, serviceable avionics parts to support customers’ current and future needs is strong. So Duncan Aviation’s Parts & Rotables Sales has stepped up efforts and increased on-hand inventory of avionics parts for all makes of business aircraft, including modifications packages removed for avionics upgrades.

Every day, customers reach out to Avionics Acquisitions Manager, Jamie Blackman, and her team offering a list of inventory to purchase. Most lists average 20-50 part numbers, but can be as high as 5,000.

  • Aircraft inventory companies that purchase aircraft to part-out offer us avionics units, knowing our customer base will likely be able to use the inventory.
  • DOMs will sell their rotable pools if their aircraft is traded in for a larger or newer aircraft. These pools consist of good, serviceable units they no longer need. So they sell the units and then turn around and buy inventory for their new rotable needs.

“We have no limits on how large or small of a list we’ll buy,” says Jamie. “If a customer presents us with a list, we’ll take it all whether we have repair capabilities or not.” This makes it easier for the customer, she says, saving them the time it takes to go to multiple outlets to sell their inventory.

 501_1712_02_default.jpg Front-1.jpg  Default-2.jpg
501-1712-02: Emergency Power Supply 071-01519-0101: King Ant/RCVR/XMTR   622-1270-001: Collins Transponder

Duncan Aviation  Parts Search & Quote Request

Best Price First

But they won’t haggle on price and Jamie explains why, “We always offer our best price out of the gate, never low-balling or engaging in time-consuming negotiations. We won’t waste your valuable time exchanging emails or phone calls to come to pricing terms. By offering your the fairest price upfront, we save ourselves time and make you money.”

William Calgagni of the Calin Corporation explains why he selected Duncan Aviation to sell his avionics parts. “Out of the three companies I contacted, Duncan Aviation was the easiest to work with and the best fit for my needs, offering a competitive price.”

Jamie knows by offering the fairest price upfront the seller is more likely to come back again the next time they have additional units for sale. William agrees, “The next time I have any avionics units to sell, Duncan Aviation will be on the short list again.”

“We are more than happy to explain how we arrived at our offer,” explains Jamie. When a list is received, it is examined and compared to all of the historical data that has been collected by Duncan Aviation. Each Individual part number is researched to find sales history as well as repair capabilities and average repair costs. Even our own stock quantities are examined to determine the current number of units on hand. All of this information together provides the most accurate fair market value and is used to formulate the purchase offer extended to the customer.

Our offers are competitive and, in most cases, higher than others because we have more than 45,000 different repair manuals and a large team of avionics repair professionals. These in-house repair capabilities keep costs under control, allowing us to offer more money for the units. And our wide and active customer base ensures that we are able to maintain multiple units in our inventory.

Best Price Fast

071-01550-0101: King Radar Antenna

Not only will you get our best offer out of the gate, you’ll have that offer within one to two business days of receiving the list. There is no waiting up to two weeks to hear back about an offer or to find out that most of the list is rejected. We have a proprietary computer program that compares individual part numbers to Duncan Aviation’s entire historical experience with each unit. With a click of a button, we are able to replicate the thoroughness of manual line-by-line research, but have results within a matter of a few hours.

Over the past three years, the Duncan Aviation Parts & Rotable Sales has added over $2.5 million in avionics inventory. And recently started an Avionics Purchasing Program to build an inventory of avionics units for which we don’t have repair capabilities. “The market demand for these newer systems is beginning to grow,” says Jamie. “Our customers need these units and we want to be able meet those needs by being their best source.”

If you have avionics inventory, whether it is one unit or thousands of piece parts, we will be the first to respond and with the best offer. When receiving your payment you have the option of cash, trade or putting credit on your account for future Duncan Aviation work, anywhere in the company.

Contact Duncan Aviation to sell your excess avionics inventory by emailing an Excel spreadsheet of your parts list, including part numbers to We are also interested in purchasing surplus inventories of airframe and engine accessory components.

Tags: Parts & Accessories, Avionics & Instruments

Why Are You Still Using Floppy Disks? Five Reasons to Upgrade to the DL-950

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Thu, Jun 09, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

1_DL-950.jpgTechnology is amazing. Most pilots and flight planners use smart phones and iPads for everything from researching FBO stops to finding a great caterer. But several are still using floppy disks to update the on-aircraft navigation database. That’s right. Floppy disks.

If you fall in that category and use a Honeywell DL-900 data loader, there are five very good reasons to look at upgrading to the DL-950 or DL-1000.

  1. Floppy disk technology is just plain old. 
    • Many companies, including Honeywell, will no longer support these units after December 31, 2016. And since you need up-to-date navigation information, you need to look for a solution. In addition, the DL-900 is no longer covered by the Honeywell Avionics Protection Plan (HAPP). The DL-950 or DL-1000 is covered by HAPP.
  2. Loading is Faster. 
    • Floppy disk loading (which is going away) requires several floppy disks and takes quite a bit of time to load new approaches every month. With Honeywell’s USB loading, you can load new approaches into your navigation database in as little as 10 minutes. This process can eliminate loading errors commonly associated with floppy disks and can save you some serious time waiting on the ground during your next trip.
  3. Installation is Easy.
    • DL-900 operators don’t have to worry about a lengthy installation and extended downtime on their aircraft. Honeywell’s DL-950 and DL-1000 are designed as form-fit replacements and use the existing mount and connector. Duncan Aviation can complete this installation, including paperwork, in less than a day.
  4. Downloading Data is More Efficient. 
    • Every month when you receive an update from Honeywell, you no longer have to spend hours in front of a computer loading multiple floppy disks to get the data you need. In fact, with our latest technology, you can download from the convenience of your laptop and take your USB on-the-go – it’s that simple!
  5. Duncan Aviation’s Satellite Avionics Shops and Rapid Response Team offices are Located Across the United States. 
    • Duncan Aviation has experienced avionics technicians who can assist with the upgrade from any of the company’s locations, including its full-service locations in Battle Creek, Michigan; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Provo, Utah; at its 20+ avionics satellites; or through the company’s Rapid Response Team offices. For a complete list of Duncan Aviation locations, go here:

For more information about the Honeywell DL-950 or DL-1000, visit, feel free to contact me at +1 402.479.4202 or via email

Note: Three of the five reasons above were picked up with permission from an earlier Honeywell article, which can be found here:

Tags: Avionics & Instruments, Avionics Installation

Duncan Aviation Avionics/Instrument Techs Tackle “No Fault Found”

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, May 17, 2016 @ 03:51 PM

NoFaultFound.jpgNo one in the aviation industry likes to see an instrument or piece of avionics equipment labeled as No Fault Found (NFF). So Duncan Aviation technicians take great care to tackle these head-on to find faults.

Equipment is labeled NFF when the squawk it is sent in for cannot be duplicated in the repair bench environment. Additionally, many problems with avionics equipment and instruments are intermittent; the equipment doesn’t fail outright, it just periodically stops performing as needed. That makes diagnosis even more difficult.

Brian Leffers, Manager of the Duncan Aviation Avionics/Instrument shop, estimates that between 10-25% of the components that Duncan Aviation receives are labeled NFF from a different shop.

So just how does Duncan Aviation tackle these diagnostic dilemmas?


There are hundreds of years’ worth of experience among the technicians working on gyros, weather radar, antennas, autopilot equipment, and navigation/communications systems sent to Duncan Aviation. Brian believes that this experience is the main reason Duncan Aviation is known for its ability to resolve NFF problems.

Because Duncan Aviation technicians are assigned to dedicated stations and work all day, every day, on the same types of components and instruments, they become familiar with even the most uncommon problems and failures.

Randy Bauer has worked at Duncan Aviation for 28 years. As a Gyro Master Tech, Randy explains that a faulty gyro could cause wing rock. However, determining what’s wrong in a gyro isn’t that easy. “In the vertical gyro, wing rock may be caused by defective gimbal bearings, low liquid level, or free drift rates. And in rare instances, the directional gyro could cause the same wing rock discrepancy if it has defective gimbal bearings or if the free drift rates don’t conform to specifications.”

Instrument Master Technician Steve Joe, who has 30 years of experience, specializes in repair and overhaul of attitude indicators. Some of these indicators have a new replacement cost of up to $40,000, so repair is preferred. The motors used to drive the attitude and command displays in some attitude director indicator models have intermittent failures. If the motor fails just once every 300 cycles, that would prevent it from being acceptable for continued service. These parts are carefully inspected to minimize the chance of in-flight failures.


DSC_3080_01_Mobile.jpgDuncan Aviation’s Avionics and Instrument Shop uses chambers that simulate the temperature extremes equipment experiences in flight. For instance, a weather radar antenna in an aircraft’s nose cone may experience 100-degree temperature swings from ground to altitude. To duplicate and diagnose problems, Duncan’s chamber can re-create those extremes (-40C to +70C).

Randy explains that all gyros are subjected to temperature extremes: They go through a hot (oven: 200 degrees) and cold (freezer: 20 degrees) soak to simulate the real-life temperatures the gyro may experience during flight or on the ground.

In addition, the shop houses an altitude chamber to simulate the changes in altitude and pressure that equipment undergoes during flight. And a vibration simulation re-creates the shaking and shuddering of an aircraft under various flight conditions.


Duncan Aviation also invests in the most current tooling and repair manuals. When Team Leader Barry Burkey works on autopilot instruments, he uses a Duncan-developed automated test set called Date-1B. Instead of spending eight hours standing and monitoring the diagnostic test on a faulty autopilot, he hooks the unit to a computer for testing. While the tests are running, he’s free to work on other units.

Developed by Duncan Aviation’s Research & Development experts, the test set performs diagnostics and produces an analysis that Barry and his team use to pinpoint the problem. A major benefit of this automation is that it allows technicians to repeat lengthy tests many times in an attempt to duplicate intermittent problems that would normally take days to find, making this not only more cost effective but creating a higher probability that the fault will be identified.


Duncan Aviation also has four Avionics/Instrument Tech Reps who provide support for the Avionics/Instrument shop by speaking directly to customers troubleshooting problems. Brian says, “Parts may arrive with a tag that says, ‘broken’ or ‘doesn’t work’.” From that brief assessment, it’s very difficult for a technician to discern what’s wrong. Tech reps call the customer and talk through the problems he or she has been experiencing to help pinpoint the source of the malfunction.

“Sometimes,” Brian says, “we have a unit here to work on. But after talking with the customer, our techs realize that unit may not be the source of the problem. So troubleshooting with the customer is an important step that helps ensure the customer doesn’t waste money sending in the wrong boxes.”

Randy agrees. “If an aircraft is experiencing wing rock, we might suspect a faulty gyro. However, it might also result from the autopilot sending a faulty signal to the servo. If the customer simply sends in the gyro and says the problem was wing rock, we could work on that gyro for months and never diagnose a problem.”


Locating the true nature of problems with avionics and instrument equipment is not always easy. The technicians at Duncan Aviation go to great lengths using experience, knowledge, environmental and diagnostic testing equipment and sheer determination to find solutions to components problems and save customers time, money and frustration.

Tags: Avionics & Instruments

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

Duncan Aviation is new, but not new, to the rotor wing industry

Posted by Karl Detweiler on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 @ 09:08 AM

This was our first year at HAI HELI-EXPO as an exhibitor. We had so much fun and met so many very important people; we will be back next year.


OK…we admit it. We are HAI HELI-EXPO exhibitor newbies and should have been at this show years ago, but we are not rookies when it comes to aviation component services. In fact, we are one of the oldest, most established avionics and accessory service companies in the world.

  • Component shop technicians with over 1,944 years of experience
  • 40,000+ aviation component service and support capabilities
  • Authorized sales and factory service center for all the industry’s top-line brands including Rockwell Collins, Honeywell/Bendix King, Avidyne, NAT, Garmin, Chelton/Wulfsberg and JET/BF Goodrich/L3
  • We are the only authorized Universal Avionics Service Center in the United States. 
  • Helicopter avionics available for immediate exchange

AOG Services (800.568.6377)

We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for component AOG support. So whether you call us at 2 PM, or 2 AM, you will get a live person, experienced in component sales, repair, and overhaul support. We can schedule your exchange or repair anytime, day or night.

Component Repair / Overhaul Services

In the News

So you see. We may be new (to the HAI HELI-EXPO), but we’re not new. We’ve been around awhile, owned by the Duncan family since 1956. Few companies in the aviation industry, if any, are 60 years old and still operating under the same name. We have seen competitors come and go and companies bought and sold, some several times.

But, if you are looking for a company that has truly demonstrated stability, integrity, longevity; a company that will be here to support you not only this year, but for years to come, Duncan Aviation is the company you want to do business with.

Tags: Parts & Accessories, Avionics & Instruments, Conventions & Exhibitions

Duncan Aviation's R&D Has Had a Ripple Effect Throughout the Industry

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Dec 22, 2015 @ 04:24 PM

With only $30,000 and 90 days, Ed Gilmore, then Duncan Aviation Avionics Bench Tech was challenged to design and develop a working prototype to replace the Collins 980L autopilot test set.

He did it. That was 1981 and only the beginning.

1994Don-Reeves_RichTeel_Ed-Gilmore.gifOriginal R&D Team circa 1984 

With the help of a local community college instructor and another former Duncan Aviation team member, Ed designed and built the DATE 1 (Duncan Aviation Test Equipment).

It was probably the first-ever computer controlled test set in General Aviation. It used an Apple II-E computer with whopping 64K of memory. It was functional and remained in service for many years.

This test set laid the innovative foundation for what would eventually become Duncan Aviation’s Research and Development (R&D) team. Established in 1984, the R&D department was initially created to support Duncan Aviation’s Avionics Satellite network.

The initial Avionics Satellite shops opened up across the country with the first generation DA test equipment that consisted of large panels taking up a lot of space. In order to grow, the equipment needed to shrink. R&D’s task was to develop test equipment that integrated the current equipment into smaller boxes with increased testing capabilities. But another important requirement was for the equipment to look high-tech and “cool”.

Photo of an original Softset developed by the Duncan Aviation R&D department. 

By 1985 the team began the development of equipment that used software rather than hardware called SoftSet. SoftSet was able to test 80 percent of the avionics units that arrived at Duncan Aviation for repair or overhaul.

By 1990 DATE 1 was upgraded to DATE 1A, converted to run on a Macintosh computer and included the addition of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI assisted in troubleshooting units and offered solutions based on repair history. The equipment got smarter with each test and became more accurate with repair recommendations.

By the mid-90s, both SoftSet and DATE 1 were advanced further with the ability to handle an advanced number of capabilities with a significantly smaller footprint…and they looked “cool”.

DATE 1B became fully automated in 1996 significantly reducing test times. For example the 4.5 hour test of a 562A-5M5 Collins A/P was reduced to 50 minutes and the eigh hour test of the CA-200 Sperry A/P was able to produce results in only three hours. This freed the technicians to do other things and get the units returned to customers quicker.

For the last 30 years, Duncan Aviation’s R&D has provided far more than just support for the Avionics Satellites. The lion share of their projects are smaller dedicated circuits, mockups, test boxes, modules, and mechanical jigs for the rest of the company.

These projects have helped facilitate Duncan Aviation to hold and grow in the avionics repair market, by providing quality test equipment, support documentation and assistance with certification.

Chris Hogg, R&D Tech, says that this innovation is a partnership between R&D and the technician on the floor. “When the technician sees an opportunity to make how they do their job better, faster or more efficient, they get us involved. We work together to provide services that bring the idea to reality, which is very gratifying. We have had more than a thousand such projects, each a story unto itself.

Other R&D Designed Projects

The Falcon Flight Control Force Tool measures the force required by the pilot to move the control wheel and rudder pedals on Falcon 2000, 900 and 50 series aircraft. It has been recently granted ‘tool equivalency’ status by the FAA after an extensive comparison to the original factory tool.

The R&D also crafted Tail Stand Alarms that notify the mechanics prior to the aircraft making contact with the tail stands.

R&D utilizes 3D printing technology to reduce fabrication time and project costs. It has also been used to provide mockups of in-house developed antenna mounts for aircraft.

DATE 1C upgrade is in development and will replace the current Mac computers used in the Duncan Automated autopilot/flight director Test Equipment with PCs.

The development of this software and equipment is one of the many examples demonstrating how Duncan Aviation employees strive to stay at the front of business aviation, providing innovative, responsive and revolutionary customer service.

Innovative technology has a ripple effect that doesn’t end when a project is over. Today’s fresh new ideas become the foundation and infrastructure for tomorrow’s next big thing. This natural evolution allows those who are willing, the ability to think creatively and find the next step.

Tags: Avionics & Instruments, 60th Anniversary

Duncan Aviation and Aviation Alphabet Associations: AEA

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 @ 09:38 AM


"As we grow, our issues are not just our issues, but issues we share with others. By becoming active members of our industry associations, we have an opportunity to be side-by-side with our industry peers, competitors and customers, to learn their concerns and needs so that we can come alongside them and help them exactly when they need us. It is only through the conversations and relationships we gain by being active in these associations that we move our industry forward."  

Todd Duncan, Duncan Aviation chairman

Duncan Aviation has been a member of the Aviation Electronics Association (AEA) since 1970 after Ron Hall (above), a retired Duncan Aviation avionics sales rep, attended his first AEA convention in Kansas City.

According to Ron, those early conventions were small, with only about 150 people and booths consisting of little more than cardboard structures with a table.

In those early days, AEA drew companies together to discuss their frustrations and share their ideas and successes with the latest technical information. Even though many were competitors, they shared anyway in order to make the industry better. Ron says it was this collaboration that helped Duncan Aviation to grow from a small radio and instrument shop into an experienced facility with technicians specializing in the maintenance, repair and installation of the latest in avionics technology.

Duncan Aviation Avionics Sales Rep Ron Hal was an AEA board member for 20 years.

Shortly after his first convention, Ron joined the AEA Board of Directors and stayed for 20 years. During those two decades, Duncan Aviation hosted three regional meetings in Lincoln, Nebraska.

In 1985, Ron was named the AEA Member of the Year. And because of his dedication and continued involvement in AEA during his entire career, he received the AEA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011—the highest honor bestowed on an AEA member.Robert-quote

Duncan Aviation's AEA involvement and influence didn't end with Ron's retirement. Gary Harpster, avionics installation sales rep, stepped up and actively participated at several regional and national AEA events. As a well-known expert in the industry on NextGen technology, he has presented educational sessions to operators around the world.

Gary was an active board member, serving as vice chairman and chairman of the board for several years. He also served on the AEA Trusteeship Committee and was named 2008 AEA Member of the Year.

Another chapter in Duncan Aviation's AEA history unfolded in 2014, when Mike Minchow, manager of completions and avionics sales, was among the newly elected directors selected by the members of AEA.

Today, AEA boasts nearly 1,300 member companies in 43 countries.

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!

In The Trenches

Business aviation association governing boards work to benefit our industry as a whole, bringing about long-term changes and future growth. But oftentimes, it’s in the trenches of the subcommittees and regional events where the day-to-day issues that impact business aviation are addressed. Many of Duncan Aviation’s tech reps, department leaders, regional managers and sales representatives meet many times a year in these industry subcommittees.

AEA Subcommittee

Mike Chick, manager of engineering certification—SMS/21

Tags: Avionics & Instruments, Avionics Installation, Conventions & Exhibitions, Announcements

An Aircraft Gyro Reminder That Will Save You Thousands of Dollars

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 @ 10:25 AM

handlelikeeggsSubmitted by Curt Campbell, avionics tech rep

There have been many articles and videos in the Duncan Intelligence over the years, written and produced by tech reps and technicians at Duncan Aviation about the proper care and maintenance of an aircraft gyro. 

However, it wasn't long ago that I got a call from an operator who was having precession errors and failures to erect on his gyro. It didn't take long for me to figure out that the cause of his issue was the result of the gyro not being allowed enough time (20 minutes) to spool-down before the aircraft was moved.

He stated his crew wasn't aware of this required spool-down time. This oversight unfortunately required a complete overhaul of the gyro, costing several thousand dollars.

Time for another reminder..

I encourage you to share this information with all personnel tasked with aircraft movement/maintenance in your company. Below are links for your use. You can bookmark them for future reference.

Gyro Handling Care

(VIDEO) How To Care For Your Aircraft Gyro: Proper Spool-Down Time
(VIDEO) How to Care for Your Aircraft Gyro: Handle Like Eggs
Proper Handling of Your Gyroscope

Gyro Shipping Procedures

Critical Shipping Procedures When Transporting An Aircraft Gyroscope
Critical Shipping Procedures: Two-Box Shipping Method

Gyro Maintenance

What are Electrolytic Leveling Switches and Why Should You Care?
What Happens During an L-3 Vertical Gyro Overhaul?
Recommended Service Bulletins for L-3 Vertical Gyros
Recommended Service Bulletins for Honeywell Vertical and Directional Gyros
What Happens During an L-3 Vertical Gyro Overhaul?

Gyro Exchange Units

Honeywell Aerospace VG14A Gyro SPEX Exchanges

Duncan Intelligence

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Tags: Avionics & Instruments, Videos


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