Commander Rises Again

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The latest company trying to resume production of Commander piston singles says it will be taking orders for aircraft in two months. The announcement from Commander Premier Aircraft Corp. came after the FAA granted the company Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) following a field audit of its new production facilities in Cape Girardeau, Mo. "This is an enormously important milestone for CPAC. It’s like a birthday," CPAC President Joel Hartstone said. " With this grant, CPAC begins life as an FAA regulated manufacturing company.” CPAC was formed by about 50 Commander owners who chipped in to buy the assets of the former manufacturer in 2005. The first goal is to restock the spare parts shelves in the Missouri plant. Most of those parts will come from subcontractors, but the PMA designation allows CPAC to assess and approve the suitability of the parts for use in the existing fleet. “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.” As the company gets into the swing of things producing spares, it will gradually expand operations to start building whole airplanes, under the direction of Carl Gull, who ran the factory for a previous owner. The speedy, luxurious single is already fully certified, and Hartfield said the plan is to start building aircraft later this year.