Friday, March 13, 2009

ROCKWELL COMMANDER “SHRIKE” (AERO COMMANDER 500)


1958–80



iad
STANDARD DATA: (Shrike) Seats 4-7. Gross wt. 6,750. Empty wt. 4,635. Fuel capacity 156. Engines two 290-hp Lycomings. PERFORMANCE: Top mph 215. Cruise mph 203. Stall mph 68. Initial climb rate 1,340. Range 950. Ceiling 17,500. Takeoff distance (50') 1,915. Landing distance (50) 2,235.

STANDARD DATA: (500U) Seats 4-7. Gross wt. 6,750. Empty wt. 4,635. Fuel capacity 156. Engines two 290-hp Lycomings. PERFORMANCE: Top mph 230. Cruise mph 215. Stall mph 68. Initial climb rate 1,340. Range 1,230. Takeoff distance (50') 1,375. Landing distance (50') 1,235.

STANDARD DATA: (500A) Seats 5-7. Gross wt. 6,250. Empty wt. 4,255. Fuel capacity 156. Engines two 260-hp Lycomings. PERFORMANCE: Top mph 228. Cruise mph 218. Stall mph 62. Initial climb rate 1,400. Ceiling 22,500. Range 1,225. Takeoff distance (50) 1,210. Landing distance (50) 1,150.

STANDARD DATA: (500) Seats 5-7. Gross wt. 6,000. Empty wt. 3,850. Fuel capacity 156. Engines two 250-hp Lycomings. PERFORMANCE: Top mph 218. Cruise mph 205. Stall mph 63. Initial climb rate 1,400. Ceiling 22,500. Range 1,100. Takeoff distance (50') 1,250. Landing distance (50) 1,350.

The Shrike Commander is the latest version of the well-known Aero Commander 500 with an extended nose and other features that deal mainly with styling and extras. The 500 is unsurpassed in many ways and enjoys pilot respect. The profusion of controls and gauges makes the Shrike appear complicated to operate when it is actually very easy by light-twin standards. Engines can be run at full throttle without restriction. All fuel tanks are interconnected, so no tank selection or cross-feeding is required. One-engine flight is managed without any particular fuss. The cabin is spacious, and there is freedom of movement almost on a par with an airliner.

The Shrike is a big plane with a span of about 50 feet, which makes it a handful on narrow taxiways and in tie-down areas for a pilot accustomed to small aircraft. Aero Commander was eventually bought by Rock- well International. One distinguishing feature of the Rockwell Shrike is its eyebrow windows for improved cockpit visibility. This business twin was certified in the utility category partly because the landing gear was designed for use on aircraft nearly twice the Shrike’s gross weight. Such steady legs make landings on unimproved airstrips easy.



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