The Aero Commander Model 500 Series aircraft has a very interesting
and long history. The original model of the 500 series airframe
was designed in the mid 1940’s and is still used today in
civilian aviation applications all over the world. Some of the
earlier models were used for light military transport assignments
from the 1950’s until the mid 1970’s. Another version
of this aircraft was even used by President Dwight Eisenhower for
Presidential Transport between 1956 and 1960 and was known as The
Smallest Air Force One ever flown.
As the original airframe continued to evolve, its major use became
executive transport and air taxi services. Due to its outstanding
stability, the Aero Commander was also used extensively as an aerial
survey platform. The final series of the aircraft was last produced
in 1978, ending a near 40-year history.
Aerial Viewpoint – Aero Commander 500 Specifications:
Flight Duration: 5.0 Hours
Flight Range: 1,000 miles
Economy Cruise Speed: 175 MPH
Maximum Ceiling Altitude: 18,000’
Camera Port Modification: 18” x 22” Camera Port with
a hydraulically controlled door system. This camera port accommodates
all our Leica Herrbrugg RC-30 and RC-10 series survey cameras.
Electrical System Modifications: Added two 100-amp alternators
for additional electrical requirements.
Other Modifications: This aircraft has a Colemill Modification
which includes higher HP engines and different propellers, thus
increasing the useful load and overall performance.
Even though the Aero Commander had many roles in aviation history,
its most famous role was one of aerobatics. The link below is an
example of the flight potential of the Aero Commander Shrike in
the hands of a very skilled pilot named Bob Hoover. The Aero Commander
used in this video clip was donated to The National Air and Space
Museum located at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington
DC in 2004. It is one of only about 5 civilian aircraft on display
at this museum.