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Aero Design & Engineering Shrike Commander

commander500s
Commander 500S


The first of the Commander twins was developed into the six seat Aero Commander 520 (the 520 indicating the total horsepower), certificated January 30,1952 and selling forty-three in that same year of produc­tion. Approximately 150 model 520 were built. An upgrading of the powerplants followed in 1954, from the 260 hp Lycoming GO-435 engines of the Commander 520 to the 295 hp Lycoming GO-480 engines of the 560 in 1954. Gross weight lifted by 500 lbs to the 6,000 of the Commander 560. Approximately 150 model 560A were built.

 

 AeroComm-500-01
Aero Commander 500A ZK-DCF

 

President Eisenhower took office and refused to use the “Independence”, Harry Truman’s airplane, as his Air Force One. Instead, he ordered a Lockheed Constellation as his primary aircraft. But for short trips into and out of his farm grass strip near Gettysburg, PA, the President needed something to operate from the short and unimproved landing area. Helicopters were not yet reliable enough. Driving took too long and snarled traffic.  He told his chief pilot, Col. William Draper, to conduct an evaluation. His mission was to find a plane to go back and forth to the farm, and to make other short trips. The Colonel chose one of the most popular executive transports of the day, the Aero Commander 560A, and the Air Force ordered several for the President’s use. The Air Force designated the planes the L-26. Himself a pilot, Ike often took the controls of the Aero Commander, enjoying the opportunity to fly. 
A fleet of six Commander L-26's were assigned to the White House and used exclusively by President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, Cabinet and government officials, Secret Service, family and White House staff.  This aircraft, 55-4638, was one of those original six. Two more were added a year later with turbocharged engines and assigned exclusively for Presidential use. This plane was used daily in the famous Gettysburg Airlift in 1955 and 1956, as well as the Greenbriar Airlift that hauled Ike along with the President of Mexico to North Carolina. Another seven L-26 aircraft were based in the Washington DC area and assigned to military units. 
 
A total of 34 L-26B were produced from 1952.

 

Approximately 70 model 560E were built.
 
95 of the Aero Commander 500 were built.
 
The Aero Commander 500A and 500B later known as 500U, then Shrike Commander.
 
 AeroDes-Shrike-01
Shrike Commander
 
The 560F was a 1960 model.
 
The 500S incorporated more powerful engines, a redesigned pointed nose, some structural strengthening and other equipment changes. 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.
 
One distinguishing feature of the Rockwell Shrike is its eyebrow windows for improved cockpit visibility. The Shrike was certified in the utility category partly because the landing gear was designed for use on aircraft nearly twice the Shrike’s gross weight making landings on unimproved airstrips easy. The Shrike Commander 500S production was terminated 1980.

 

500
Engines:  2 x Lycoming, 250-hp         
Seats: 5-7
Gross wt: 6,000 lb                
Empty wt: 3,850 lb
Fuel capacity: 156 USG            
Top speed: 218 mph
Cruise speed: 205 mph                
Stall speed: 63 mph
Initial climb rate: 1,400 fpm            
Ceiling: 22,500 ft
Range: 1,100 sm            
Takeoff distance (50ft'): 1,250 ft
Landing distance (50ft): 1,350 ft

500A
Engines: 2 x Continental IO-470, 260 hp    
Seats: 6-7
Gross wt: 6,250 lb                
Empty wt: 4,255 lb
Fuel capacity: 156 USG             
Top speed: 228 mph
Cruise: 218 mph                
Stall: 62 mph
Initial climb rate: 1,400 ft                
Ceiling: 22,500 ft
Range: 1,225 sm            
Takeoff distance (50ft): 1,210 ft
Landing distance (50): 1,150 ft

Colemill Super 300 / Aero Commander 500A
Engines: 2 x Continental IO-520-E, 300 hp
Seats: 7             
Wing loading: 25.6 lb/sq.ft
Pwr loading: 10.9 lb/hp         
Max TO wt: 6530 lb
Empty wt: 4200 lb             
Equipped useful load: 1971 lb
Payload max fuel: 1035 lb             
Range max fuel/ 75% cruise: 1148 nm/4.9 h.
75% cruise: 205 kt            
Vmc: 85 kt
Stall: 72 kt             
1.3 Vso: 94 kt
ROC: 1800 fpm         
SE ROC: 290 fpm @ 101 kt
SE ceiling: 6,700 ft             
Min field length: 2200 ft.
Fuel cap: 936 lb.

500B
Engines: 2 x Lycoming IO-540, 290-hp.         
TBO: 1,200 hr.

500S
Engines: 2 x Continental, 290 hp.

Shrike Commander
Engines:2 x Lycoming IO-540-E1B5, 290-hp
Wing span: 49 ft 0.5 in / 14.95 m
Length: 36 ft 9.75 in / 11.22 m
Gross wt: 6,750 lb / 3062 kg
Empty wt: 4,608 lb / 2090 kg
Top speed: 215 mph
Cruise speed 75% 9000ft/2745m: 203 mph / 176 kt / 326 kph
Stall speed: 68 mph
Initial climb rate:1,340 fpm / 409 m/min
Range at 178 kt / 205 mph / 330 km, 45min res: 798 miles / 698 nm / 1525 km
Service ceiling: 19,400 ft / 5913 m
TO dist (50ft): 1,915 ft
Landing distance (50ft): 2,235 ft
Fuel capacity: 156 USG
Seats: 4-7
Cabin length: 10 ft 7.5 in / 3.24 m
Cabin width: 4 ft 4 in / 1.32 m
Cabin height: 4 ft 5 in / 1.35 m
Cabin capacity: 177 cu.ft / 5.01 cu.m / 500 lb / 227 kg

 

500U
Engines: 2 x  Lycoming, 290-hp         
Seats: 4-7
Gross wt: 6,750 lb                
Empty wt: 4,635 lb
Fuel capacity: 156 USG             
Top speed: 230 mph
Cruise speed: 215 mph                
Stall speed: 68 mph
Initial climb rate: 1,340 ft                
Range: 1,230 sm
Takeoff distance (50ft): 1,375 ft                
Landing distance (50ft): 1,235 ft

520
Engines: 2 x Lycoming GO-435, 260 hp

560
Engines: 2 x Lycoming GO-480, 295 hp         
MAUW: 6000 lb

560F
Engines: 2 x Lycoming GSO-540, 340-hp.

 

L-26B
1952
Wingspan: 49 ft
Length: 36 ft 9 in
Height: 14 ft 6 in
Range: 1,078 mi

 

 AeroDes-Shrike-02
Shrike Commander

 

 

 

 

 


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