Commander Owners Take Over

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The highly regarded Commander line of four-place luxury touring aircraft got a new lease on life last week with the acquisition of the type certificates, tooling and inventory of the bankrupt Commander Aircraft Corporation by an owner-based company called the Commander Premier Aircraft Corporation. Financial details of the acquisition were not released but a news release issued by company President Joel Hartstone suggests he thinks it was a bargain. "As a business, we begin life where most companies seeking to produce new aircraft find themselves after investing three to five years, and up to $100 million, in risky development and testing," he said. Hartstone said plans are to get the parts and service operations running as soon as possible with a return to aircraft production in 2006. One of the snags is that the company has to move out of the existing manufacturing plant in Bethany, Okla. But Hartstone said the new company has everything it needs to start over plus some intangibles that may help solidify the company. "Our Company was born because of the passion Commander owners have for their aircraft," Hartstone said. About 50 Commander owners have invested in the new company. The future location of its headquarters has not been released.