If there is one word that describes typical turboprop Twin Commander customers, it is “shrewd.” As in, they know precisely what they want in an aircraft—performance, handling, utility, efficiency, and two-engine safety, and they want it at the right price. They insist on value.
Twin Commanders continue to reward the discriminating, value-conscious buyer, which has made for a relatively steady market over what has been turbulent market conditions in aviation for several years.
Adding to the economic disruptions that severely affected aircraft pricing and sales beginning in 2009, we’ve seen many more aircraft, both in terms of numbers and types, enter the market. But, Twin Commanders occupy a special place that attracts special people. There still is a huge following of people who want two turboprop engines on an aircraft that will take four or five people places as fast as possible. And it’s a gorgeous airplane.
The generally accepted definition of a stable market is about 10 percent of the fleet actively for sale, and that is the situation today for Twin Commanders, at least for U.S.-registered aircraft. There has been a steady migration of Commanders from the U.S. to international owners and operators. Some eventually return, but the net still is a loss in terms of the size of the U.S. fleet.
The market for Twin Commanders has remained steady on other fronts as well. Buyers in the U.S. still generally prefer a model that has an N-number and has been operated in the United States because, as a group, the U.S.-based fleet is well maintained and contemporary in terms of upgrades. Dash 10 power is much preferred because of performance, efficiency, and higher hot-section and overhaul intervals. However, there is a market niche for Dash 5 airplanes among utility and specialty operators including government fire-spotting contractors.
And, the best of the best—those Twin Commanders that have been upgraded with Garmin 950 integrated panels or other sophisticated Garmin avionics (G600 and GTN750) as well as new paint and refurbished interiors always command the most attention from buyers.
Of immeasurable importance to the Twin Commander market is the fact that Twin Commander Aircraft is there to continuously advance the product and keep it contemporary; provide parts and upgrade kits; and maintain technical support and a worldwide roster of authorized service centers with the experience and expertise to maintain the fleet.
Continuing support is key to the continuing market success of Twin Commanders, and we have the best in the business.
Jim Worrell is Twin Commander Sales Director for Eagle Creek Aviation Services/Naples Jet Center. He can be reached at email@example.com.