Under New Management, Looking For New Home
Although AOPA won't announce the winner of their new Commander
until next year, one thing is certain. They won't give it to us.
Well, if your heart is set on a Commander, there's good news in
store for you. You may not win the AOPA Commander either, but you
may soon be able to buy a new one.
The Commander Premier Aircraft Corporation (CPAC) finalized the
purchase of Commander Aircraft Corporation (CAC). CPAC, a group of
50 investors from several nations, bought CAC from its bankruptcy
trustee last Monday. June 29th. The assets include the FAA type
certificates for the Commander line of four place, high
performance, single engine aircraft, as well as all jigs, tooling,
and other manufacturing assets necessary to produce new
"As a business, we begin life where most companies seeking to
produce new aircraft find themselves after investing 3 to 5 years,
and up to $100 million, in risky development and testing," said
Joel M. Hartstone, CPAC's President and CEO.
"We have the advantage of owning the type certificate for the
safest, and most modern designed, aircraft in its class. The
Commander's design, engineering, construction, and materials - the
foundation of its type certificate - are already proven by decades
of actual, in-fleet service. The Commander is respected
domestically and internationally, and supported world wide by
maintenance facilities that already know how to service Commander
Over 50 owners of Commander aircraft, from several different
countries, banded together to form CPAC and ensure that new
Commanders will be available with a factory to support the global
fleet of about 1,000 aircraft with parts and service.
"Our Company was born because of the passion Commander owners
have for their aircraft," Hartstone said. "We intend to get our
parts and service operations in place as quickly as possible and
serve them with the same passion."
The deal requires the company to relocate from the old
facilities at the Wiley Post Airport in Bethany, OK. A new location
has not yet been announced.
"CPAC expects to begin production early in 2006," said
Claudia S. Horn, a CPAC director and Chief Financial Officer.
"However, we might make only 15 aircraft in our first year of
production. Frankly, we expect demand for new Commanders to exceed
supply for at least two years."
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) picked the
Commander as its 2005 membership sweepstakes aircraft, so the
Commander is already a "top of mind" aircraft to most pilots. The
sweepstakes Commander, with its advanced, Chelton "highway in the
sky" glass panel, is displayed at all major air shows, and every
month an article appears in AOPA's magazine for members.
The AOPA Commander will make an appearance at the Commander
Owners Group Annual Fly-In in Sedona, Arizona in October, as will
AOPA President, Phil Boyer. The Commander Owners Group (COG) is a
long-standing, worldwide, type association of Commander aircraft
"We want to thank Phil and the AOPA for their faith in the
Commander type design," said Hartstone. "It was risky to pick a
plane as the sweepstakes plane knowing that the last company to
produce it was lingering in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case."
"Obviously, the AOPA did not want to give away a plane with a
service life shortened by lack of factory parts and support," he
added. "The AOPA's faith that someone would buy the assets,
manufacture the Commander, and support the existing fleet,
including the sweepstakes Commander, is a testament to its high
regard for the Commander design. CPAC intends to justify that