Rockwell Aero (Shrike) Commander

Aero (Shrike) Commander -
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Type: Civilian

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Information on the Aero (Shrike) Commander

The Aero Commander was a light twin-engined aircraft by Aero Design and Engineering Company part of Rockwell International. The initial production version was the Aero Commander 520. Versions manufactured after 1967 are known as the Shrike Commander.


The idea for the type was conceived by two Douglas Aircraft Company workers, who went on to form the Aero Design and Engineering Company in 1944.

The company's first prototype flew on April 23, 1948. That aircraft was named the Aero Commander Model L3085. The aircraft accommodated up to five people and was powered by two piston engines.

Military service

In military service, it was initially designated the L-26 though in 1962 this was changed to U-4 for the USAF and U-9 for the US Army.

One U-4B became a presidential transport aircraft for Dwight Eisenhower between 1956 and 1960. This was the smallest "Air Force One", and the first to wear the now-familiar blue-and-white livery.

As of 2004, Shrike Commanders still remain in service with the United States Coast Guard and United States Customs Service.

Safety Record

Beginning in June 1991, senior engineers met with FAA officials to discuss concerns over the Aero Commander's main wing spar, which was believed to be suspectible to stress fatigue and subsequent cracking, and was believed to have resulted in a number of fatal crashes.

World War II hero and actor Audie Murphy died in his Aero Commander 680 while flying in a thunderstorm over Roanoke, VA on May 28, 1971. Five others and the pilot were also killed. The cause of this crash is most likely related to the aforementioned thunderstorm and not to any design defect of the aircraft itself.


* Aero Commander L.3805 - prototype
* Aero Commander 520 - first production version (150 built)
* Aero Commander 560 - more powerful engines, refined wing (80 built)
o Aero Commander 560A - new undercarriage, stretched fuselage, other numerous refinements (99 built)
o Aero Commander 560E - larger wings, greater payload (93 built)
* Aero Commander 360 - lightened version of the 560E
* Aero Commander 500 - economy version introduced in 1958
o Aero Commander 500A - first Aero Commander model - new nacelles to house fuel-injected engines (99 built)
o Aero Commander 500B - similar to 500A with more powerful engines (217 built)
* Aero Commander 500U/Shrike Commander - refined 500A with increased capacity (56 built)
* Aero Commander 680 Super - development of 560A with supercharged engines (254 built)
o Aero Commander 680E - lightened 560E (100 built)
o Aero Commander 680F - improved aerodynamics, new nacelles (126 built)
o Aero Commander 680PF - pressurized version, modified from 680E (26 built)
o Aero Commander 680FL Grand Commander - stretched fuselage, larger tail (157 built). After 1967 known as the Courser Commander
o Aero Commander 680FL/P Grand Commander - pressurized 680FL (37 built)
o Aero Commander 680T Turbo Commander - Garrett TPE331-43 turboprop engines (56 built)
o Aero Commander 680V Turbo Commander - slightly improved cargo capacity
o Aero Commander 680W Turbo II Commander - larger windows, weather radar (46 built)
* Aero Commander 720 AltiCruiser - pressurized version of 680E (13 built)
* YL-26 - Three Aero Commander 520s were evaluated by the US Army. Later designated YU-9A
* YL-26A - One Aero Commander 560 was evaluated by the US Air Force.
* L-26B - 14 Aero Commander 560As were sold to the US Air Force. Later designated U-4A
* U-9B - One Aero Commander 560A was sold to the US Army. The original designation was the L-26B.
* L-26C - Two Aero Commander 680 Supers were sold to the US Air Force. Later designated U-4B
* U-6C - Four Aero Commander 680 Supers were sold to the US Army. The original designation was L-26C.
* RL-26D - Two US Army aircraft were fitted with SLAR (side looking airborne radar). Later designated RU-9D
* NL-9D - One aircraft only. Later designated NU-9D

Source: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Aero Commander".

Aero (Shrike) Commander Specifications

Aero Commander 500S
Crew: one, pilot
Capacity: five passengers
Length: 36 ft 10 in (11.22 m)
Wingspan: 49 ft 1 in (14.95 m)
Height: 15 ft (4.56 m)
Wing area: 255 ft? (23.7 m?)
Empty: 4,635 lb (2,102 kg)
Payload: 2,115 lb (961 kg)
Maximum takeoff: 6,750 lb (3,060 kg)
Powerplant: 2x Lycoming IO-540-E1B5, 290 hp (214 kW) each
Maximum speed: 216 mph (346 km/h)
Cruise speed: 195 mph (312 km/h)
Range: 1,197 miles (1,915 km)
Service ceiling: 19,400 ft (5,915 m)
Rate of climb: 1,340 ft/min (409 m/min)
Wing loading: kg/m? ( lb/ft?)

Aero (Shrike) Commander Videos

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