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Aero Design & Engineering AC 100

Aero Design & Engineering Darter Commander

Aero Design & Engineering Lark Commander

Volaire 10

Volaire 1050

ac100
AC 100


The history of the basic airframe began in 1961 when Volaircraft Incorporated received type approval for their only product, the Volaire Model 10, a three-prototype version. The four-seat Volaire with a 135-hp O-290 Lycoming powerplant cruised at 115 mph at 75% power and sold for under $8,000 in 1964. The production version, the Model 1050, received type certification in 1965 with four seats and 150-hp achieved limited production at Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, billed as the lowest-priced four-placer in the market (at $8500).

This design was acquired by Aero Commander and renamed Aero Commander 100. With the merger of Aero Commander and North American Rockwell the name changed again in 1968, this time to “Darter.” In 1969 the price was $8,950.

The AC 100's NACA 2312 airfoil gives it a solid feel in slow flight, and this makes it a pleasant airplane to land, while the fiberglass-sprung gear really smooths out a rough field.


The AC 100 will spin, though it's placarded against it. It does need reasonable rudder-aileron coordination for good turns. Its three-position flaps are quite effective. Brakes are good, operated by a single hand lever as with the TriPacer. A speed check at 5,000 feet, with two aboard and almost full tanks, trued out at 130 mph. As you would suspect, with four large people aboard and full tanks, there's little or no baggage allowance left.

In 1968, Aero Commander announced two "new" airplanes, the 150-hp Darter Commander ($8,950), which was simply the AC 100 renamed and repainted; and the Lark Commander ($12,995), which used the same airframe, with a new swept rudder, re-shaped cowl, and Lycoming 180 hp. But the production life of these craft was short, perhaps due in part to the lack of a proper dealer petwork, and none of the fixed-gear Aero Commanders are exactly plentiful supply in the used plane market today.

 

Aero-Comm-100
Aero Commander 100 Cadet N3871X

 

Equipped with the 180-hp engine and a fixed-pitch prop, this airplane provided rather unspectacular cruise performance and short field capability for its class. Built with a steel-tube cabin structure, semi-monocoque aft fuselage, steel landing gear legs attached to a 1” x 6” x 25” fibreglass slab spring, and a relatively roomy cabin with two doors.


With the introduction of the Aero Commander 112 (subsequently Rockwell Commander 112), the Lark and Darter both went out of production in the early part of 1971.

Volaire 10
Engine: Lycoming O-290, 135-hp         
Cruised 75% pwr: 115 mph
Price 1964: under $8,000             
Seats: 4

AC 100
Engine: Lycoming O-320-A, 150 hp.
Wing: NACA 2312.
Span: 35 ft.
Length: 22 ft 6 in.
Height: 9 ft 4 in.
Empty wt: 1280 lbs.
Gross wt: 2250 lbs.
Useful load: 970 lbs.
Wing loading: 12.2 lb/sq.ft.
Pwr loading: 14.7 lb/hp.
Baggage cap: 120 lbs.
Max speed: 123 kts / 142 mph.
Cruise 75% pwr: 112 kts / 128 mph.
Stall: 42 kts / 48 mph.
Initial ROC: 850 fpm.
Service ceiling: 13,000 ft.
Range: 650 sm
Seats: 4

 

Darter Commander
Engine: Lycoming O-320-A, 150 hp    
Gross weight: 2,250 lb
Empty weight: 1,280 lb                 
Seats: 4
Fuel capacity: 44 USG                
Top speed: 142 mph
Cruise speed: 128 mph                
Stall speed: 48 mph
Range: 560 sm                 
Ceiling: 13,000 ft
Initial climb rate: 850 fpm                
Takeoff run: 750 ft
Landing roll: 390 ft

Lark Commander

Engine: Lycoming, 180 hp         
Gross weight: 2,475 lb
Empty weight: 1,532 lb                
Seats: 4
Fuel capacity: 44 USG
Top speed: 138 mph
Cruise speed: 132 mph                
Stall speed: 59 mph
Initial climb rate: 718 fpm                
Range: 525 sm
Ceiling:    11,000 ft            
Takeoff dist (50'): 1,250 ft
Landing dist (50'): 1,280 ft

 

 


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