Twin Commander Aircraft LLC may not manufacture new airplanes, but it does ensure the integrity and continued viability of the existing worldwide fleet by providing replacement parts and upgrade kits and components. Ray Kaess will tell you that providing those parts is no easy job.
“This is a very active place,” Kaess says of Twin Commander Aircraft’s offices and warehouse in Creedmoor, North Carolina. “I go home exhausted every night!” As Twin Commander’s new Quality Inspector, Kaess is responsible for inspecting each of the parts produced by vendors when they arrive at the warehouse for inventorying and eventual shipment to service centers. And there are a lot of parts. “I’m surprised to see the volume of material that comes in the door, and goes out,” he says.
Kaess is no stranger to such work. Prior to joining Twin Commander he spent 25 years at Parker Hannifin Corporation’s Electronic Systems Division facility in Smithtown, New York, which manufactures aircraft fuel measurement and management products. He began at Parker as an inspector, was promoted to a quality supervisor, and then to quality engineer. The range of jobs at Parker gave him a broad perspective. As an inspector and then supervisor of inspectors, he was responsible for ensuring the quality of parts being manufactured at the Smithtown facility. As quality engineer his focus shifted to processes—writing procedures, doing trend analysis, handling customer issues, and helping prepare for a transition to a new Parker manufacturing facility in Mexico.
He also became an FAA Designated Manufacturing Inspector Representative (DMIR), with responsibility for inspecting and signing off finished products that were shipped to customers. Kaess got his start working with aircraft early on. After graduating from high school on Long Island, New York, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he served for 12 years in Dover, Delaware, and Japan as a mechanic working on hydraulic systems on aircraft ranging from transports to fighters.
At Twin Commander he plans to earn DMIR certification, which will enable him to inspect and sign off material being shipped to customers.