Aero Commander 500S
The Rockwell Aero Commander is an iconic piston twin with tremendous performance. For decades the capabilities of this aircraft were displayed by none other than the late, legendary, R.A. "Bob" Hoover. The legendary stick-and-rudder man performed manoeuvres that managed to stun airshow audiences and other pilots alike.
Many of the manoeuvres were made possible by Bob's excellent feel for smooth flight, but it also showed what the Aero Commander was capable of when flown by the right hands.
The Aero Commander was developed in the late 1940's, by the Aero Design & Engineering Company, and the first prototype (Model L3085) flew in 1948. The first model to enter production was the Aero Commander 520, in 1951 (initially designated L-26 in military use).
At first, concerns about its single-engine performance were expressed by the CAA (later FAA). In order to certify the 500, the company removed and stowed one of the props in the cabin and flew from Bethany to Washington, DC. Once there, the prop was reinstalled and the aircraft proceeded to fly home, conventionally.
Had they known what this aircraft was capable off (especially in the hands of Bob Hoover), they might not have raised such concerns. Bob's massively impressive flight displays demonstrating extreme manoeuvres with either one or both engines off, are known the world over.
Besides having impressive performance, the Aero Commander is a good looking aircraft. It looks fast even when parked. With its low hanging fuselage, main gear mounted behind the engines, the slight dihedral of the wings and the relatively big cockpit windows above the pointy nose, give this aircraft a unique and iconic appearance.
In this package, Carenado have reproduced one of the most popular versions of the Aero Commander. It is an aircraft that was in production post-1967 and is therefore a "Shrike Commander".
The 500S is an upgraded version of the original Aero Commander. It features a pointed nose, a more squared off vertical stabilizer and two fuel injected Lycoming IO-540 engines. This means 580 hp is available to the 2-crew, 4-passenger, executive or utility aircraft.
Carenado, as usual, have spent a considerable amount of time on the appearance of the aircraft. The level of detail in both the 3D model and textures is highly impressive. With all this detail, I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the performance impact on my computer was not nearly as heavy as with the PA-31 Navajo! Since I love flying general aviation aircraft in VFR conditions, I like to push the rendering settings to the limit. This aircraft, unlike a few I have flown, allows me to do just that.
Carenado have supplied a couple of documents with their Shrike Commander:
Autopilot Operation: A short three-page overview with screen shots of the workings of the autopilot.
Emergency Procedures: Copies of the original emergency checklists in a Carenado page layout.
Normal Procedures: Same as the above, but this is the normal checklist.
Performance Tables: Original copies for fuel use, cruise power setting, true airspeeds, range/endurance.
References: Copies of the reference speeds section of the flight manual.
Copyrights: Credits to Carenado and Thranda Design
Recommended Settings: (quite bare)