Commander finds new home in Missouri

Commander Premier Aircraft Corporation (CPAC), a newly formed company that bought the assets of the bankrupt Commander Aircraft Co., is setting up operations in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

“Nearly 30 trailers are loaded and rolling and the drivers have been told to head for Cape Girardeau Regional Airport,” said Joel M. Hartstone, CPAC president and CEO.

When the new company, formed by 50 owners of Commander airplanes, bought the Commander assets in June, it acquired the type certificate, all production assets and all inventory. It did not include, however, a lease to the building the bankrupt company occupied at Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City. Unable to find space at an Oklahoma airport, the new company began looking elsewhere.

CPAC received proposals from more than 150 airports across the country. “But only about 20 could accommodate our immediate space requirements,” Hartstone said. “After giving careful consideration to about a dozen locations that met the criteria we set, Cape Girardeau came out on top.”

CPAC will lease a 52,000-foot hangar on the Cape Girardeau airport that was built to house Renaissance Aircraft, a company created to build new Luscombe 8Fs. Plagued by litigation, that venture failed, leaving the facility available.

In addition to assembly operations, the hangar will house a service center. There are plans to build an additional building as CPAC ramps up its operations. CPAC is leasing an additional 23,000 feet of space, a short drive from the airport, to house shipping and receiving, parts sales, and small part assembly operations until the new building is completed.

First order of business will be to provide the existing Commander fleet with parts and service, Hartstone said. “Our plan is to begin producing new aircraft early next year,” he said. “Now that we have a new home, we will start taking production reservations for new Commander aircraft very soon.”

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