A New Addition to the Twin Commander Family
By Matt Isley
Twin Commander Aircraft
Twin Commanders have a safety record we can be proud of, and there are many good reasons why this is the case. Commanders are excellent performers, and performance gives pilots options. Positive, straightforward handling instills confidence. The high, rearward-mounted wing affords a largely unobstructed view out the cockpit windows. The wide center-of-gravity range decreases the potential for misloading. Pressurization allows us to fly over most of the weather.
But the most important contributor to safety is the people who fly Twin Commanders. Whether it’s a professional or an owner-pilot, Twin Commander people are enthusiasts. They love the airplane, and when you love something, you give it special attention. You learn all you can about it, you treat it with care and respect, and you enjoy it.
Twin Commander Aircraft has been fortunate to work with FlightSafety over the last three decades in providing our enthusiasts with professional initial and recurrent pilot training. This summer, our old partner announced they would be transitioning out of the smaller owner-flown segment and focusing on larger business jets.
The very good news to come out of FlightSafety’s decision is that SimCom Training Centers has acquired the Twin Commander program, including the 690-series and JetProp motion simulators. SimCom is hard at work setting up the two sims at its Dallas center, which it acquired earlier this year from PrestoSIM. SimCom bought all 14 training programs from FlightSafety, and has put Twin Commander at the head of the list of programs to get up and running.
The two motion sims will join a non-motion Twin Commander Flight Training Device that had been based at SimuFlite in Dallas. SimCom has upgraded the FTD with a new high-resolution visual system and WAAS GPS. SimCom has said it wants to maintain a low student-instructor ratio for effective learning and efficient transfer of knowledge and experience. Those are all good indicators of SimCom’s strong commitment to its new Twin Commander program.
SimCom is aggressively going after a larger share of the pilot training market, and they are doing it by concentrating on aircraft that the large training providers are less interested in. That has been SimCom’s strategy since the company was founded in 1989. The plan then was to provide owner-pilots with affordable, professional training that they could not get anywhere else, and do it using non-motion simulators that relied on stunning wrap-around visuals to make for a realistic flying experience. That remains the company’s strategy, except that it has since added a number of aircraft training programs using motion-based simulators.
We here at Twin Commander Aircraft firmly believe this turn of events bodes well for the Twin Commander community of pilots and operators. Excellent training can be done in the airplane by qualified and experienced instructors, but it is not possible to safely replicate and practice the types of emergency situations that can be experienced in the simulator. It is essential that we have an established, reputable training provider offer FAA-approved, simulator-based Twin Commander pilot training. As one of the three leading general aviation pilot training companies in the world, SimCom certainly fulfills that need.
SimCom’s heritage as an organization focused on owner-pilots fits well with the Commander community. At the same time, our professional-pilot ranks can appreciate the fact that SimCom has matured and now trains many professional pilots in a variety of turbine-powered aircraft. Pilots who have trained with SimCom have good things to say and I, personally, have been quite impressed with their staff.
SimCom founder Wally David says the company’s value proposition from the beginning was, and still is, to give the customer value, customized training, and a friendly atmosphere. We like that proposition very much.
Welcome aboard, SimCom.