The FAA has granted Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) to Commander Premier Aircraft Corp. (CPAC). This means the company can begin producing new aircraft at its Cape Girardeau, Mo., location.
“This is an important milestone for CPAC,” said Joel Hartstone, president and CEO. “It’s like a birthday. With this grant, CPAC begins life as an FAA regulated manufacturing company.”
The company will start accepting orders for new airplanes in about a month.
Commander aircraft already are certified by the FAA and CPAC has all production equipment necessary for full scale assembly operations, Hartstone noted. The primary challenge for the new company, formed in the spring of 2005 when 50 Commander owners from around the world banded together to save the aircraft from bankruptcy, was to establish a new quality assurance program that would be acceptable to the FAA.
“Putting things in the sky is serious business,” Hartstone said. “Our senior management team and our directors are all pilots; we take aviation safety very personally.”
CPAC plans to use its PMA initially to buy parts made to its specifications by subcontractors to restock its spare parts inventory for the existing Commander fleet.
About 85% of new Commander parts are made by subcontractors, Hartstone said.
“This puts us solidly on the road to new aircraft production,” he said.
As is customary, the PMA covers a limited number of parts — those most requested by owners of existing Commander aircraft. The PMA will be extended to eventually cover a larger list of purchased parts, then to factory produced airframe parts, such as ailerons and flaps.
“The expansion of PMA to cover new, factory produced airframe parts will also mark the beginning of new aircraft production operations,” Hartstone said.
That is expected later this year, he added.
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