YouTube – Aero Commander
2 x 290 hp ea.
pilot + 6 passengers
35 ft. 1 in.
49 ft. 6 in.
The Aero Commander design dates back to just after World War II. That is when aircraft designer Ted Smith decided to start a company to produce a light twin civil aviation transport.
The general design of the Aero Commander was fashioned after a World War II twin engine bomber that Smith worked on. It used the latest light weight engines and modern construction technology.
The Aero Commander was fast for the time, roomy, nimble, reliable, and had smooth flight characteristics. It had excellent handling, superior visibility from its cockpit, well laid out controls, and could operate from smaller, unimproved airport runways.
The original name of Smith’s company was Aero Design & Engineering. However, by the mid 1960’s Rockwell purchased the company and named the aircraft Aero Commander.
To prove how easy the Aero Commander was to handle, the prototype was flown a distance of some 1,340 miles from take off to landing using only one engine. The aircraft later performed at airshows doing an aerobatic routine that demonstrated single engine and both engines-out performance.
Initially successive models of the Aero Commander retained their design, but added engines of increased horsepower. Eventually larger aircraft were produced with longer wings and cabins, and more streamlining, including the use of winglets, for reduced drag. Aero Commander aircraft became the first non commercial aircraft to have a pressurized cabin.
The larger Aero Commander required more powerful engines. This was done by adding turbochargers to the piston engines. Gear boxes were used to produce higher propeller speeds. Unfortunately this resulted in less reliable engines with a shorter mean time between failures.
Eventually the turbocharged piston engines of Aero Commander were replaced by turboprops, solving reliability issues and providing much needed power for greater speeds and payloads.
By the mid 1960’s there was even a jet powered version of the Aero Commander. It was a short to mid range aircraft that acquired a reputation for its spacious cabin and excellent maneuverability.
In addition to use as executive transports, several airlines used the Aero Commander for passenger and freight operations. The UCCG, USAF and U.S. Army also used a number of the aircraft as utility transports as well as for observation missions. U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower even used the aircraft.
Over 2,800 Aero Commander aircraft of all types were built through 1986.
RC Aero Commander
The RC Aero Commander found at Aero-Big-Scale wingspan is 24 ft. 7 in. and weight around 657 lbs. Power comes from 680 cc engines.
The RC Aero Commander kit by Top Notch Products wingspan is 56 in and weight about 3 lbs. Speed 480 size motors can power it.
The RC Aero Commander in a kit by Giant Scale Twins wingspan is 138 in. and it is 95 in. long with a weight of around 41 lbs. Construction is a glass fuse with sheeted foam wings.
Kit Cutters has a kit for the RC Aero Commander made from Nexus Plans. Wingspan is 53 1/2 in.
Kit Cutters has a kit of the RC Aero Commander from Palmer Plans with a 118 in. wingspan and i88 in. length. Engines are .91 and weight is about 19 lbs.
There are plans for the RC Aero Commander at the AMA Plans Service. The designer is Jim Moyniham. Wingspan is 49 in. Plan no. is 22584.