Commander History

Rockwell Commander




History & Performance: 112 | 114 | 115

Rockwell General Aviation Division started development of the 111 and the 112 single engine Commander in the late 1960's.   The major difference between the 111 and the 112 was the 112 had retractable landing gear.  Rockwell only built a few of the Commander 111 type aircraft, instead choosing to concentrate on the 112.   The Commander 111 was powered by a Lycoming O-360 developing 180 hp.  The first prototype 111 flew for the first time in late 1971.  The first 112 prototype flew in December of 1970.   The 112 was powered by a Lycoming IO-360 developing 200 hp.     The first variant of the 112, the 112A was built in 1974.  The 112A increased the maximum takeoff weight and had several incremental refinements over the 112.  A turbocharged version of the 112 was developed in 1976 with the designation 112TC.  The 112TC would later be known as the 112TC-A or Alpine Commander.    In 1977 a new variant was developed designated the 112B.  The 112B featured longer wings which increased its maximum takeoff weight. 

In 1976 a new model was developed with the designation of 114.  The Commander 114 differed from the 112 primarily in have a more powerful engine.  The 114 used the Lycoming IO-540 engine giving it 260 hp.   Rockwell produced the single engine Commander until 1979.

Building on the solid foundation for success provided by North American Rockwell, Commander Aircraft Aerial Facility Shot Company is dedicated to building and supporting the finest high performance single engine aircraft available today. Since its inception, the company has demonstrated a string of accomplishments that establishes it as the leader in innovation and commitment to this market including:

1988   Commander Aircraft Company incorporated upon the acquisition of the Rockwell Commander single engine product line from Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation


1988-1992   Modified the existing fleet of Commander aircraft built from 1972 through 1979 by Rockwell International Corporation.

Conducted an extensive redesign of the Rockwell Commander 114A, including the enhancement of aerodynamics, avionics, systems, interior and powerplant.

Established and equipped manufacturing facility; recruited and trained personnel; located, refurbished and set assembly tooling in place; qualified and selected vendors; procured all materials required for production; formulated marketing programs; and ramped up production.


May 1992   Awarded Type Certificate for the Commander 114B by the Federal Aviation Administration after an extensive development and certification program. The 114B is the ultimate combination of performance, comfort, safety, and utility.


October 1992   First Deliveries of the Commander 114B commence.


May 1993   Awarded Production Certificate for the Commander facility by the Federal Aviation Administration, allowing Commander to produce and certify aircraft.


July 1994   Introduced the Commander Aircraft Ownership Program, an innovative turn key approach that assists new Commander owners with financing, insurance, hangaring, maintenance, fueling, flight training, and pilot service through its worldwide network of Authorized Service Centers.


September 1994   Introduced the Commander 114AT All Purpose Trainer at the Farnborough International Air Show in the United Kingdom. The Commander 114AT is a four place high performance advanced trainer that provides an ideal two-in-one platform for primary through complex instrument flight training to military, professional and civilian training organizations.


March 1995   Instituted the Commander Customer Feedback and Product Refinement system. This customer focused program includes a series of ongoing product and service surveys and continual product and service improvements that are used to further enhance Commander's reputation for quality products and superior service.


August 1995   Awarded Type Certificate for the Commander 114TC turbocharged aircraft by the Federal Aviation administration. The Commander 114TC offers increased cruise, climb, altitude and field performance to pilots who require more capability than provided by normally-aspirated aircraft. Over twenty refinements that were designed into the 114TC were incorporated into the 114B and 114AT.

Delivered the 100th new Commander since production began in October 1992.


November 1996   Developed an Exclusive International Authorized Sales and Service Center Program which grants exclusive sales and service rights to international representatives in their respective countries.


February 1997   Created the Commander Aviation Services Division, which specializes in pre-owned sales, aircraft acquisitions, brokerage, and refurbishment of Commanders and other aircraft.


February 1998   Announced a long range vision of the Commander 114B with 20 more gallons of usable fuel, increasing the aircraft's average range by 30%.


March 1998   Announced the Commander Owners Program which provides all Commander owners with special services including a 1-800 customer hotline, regional fly-ins with seminars, owners parties, discounts on hotels and rental cars during factory visits, and special promotional items.


May 1998   Received Federal Aviation Administration certification for the TKS deicing system, certified for Flight Into Known Icing conditions for both the Commander 114B and 114TC. This proven system allows unrestricted use of the aircraft in known icing conditions.


June 1998   Celebrated Commander Aircraft Company's 10th Anniversary.


August 1998   Announced that the company's shareholders had approved the formation of Aviation General, Incorporated, a new holding company of which Commander Aircraft Company is a 100% wholly owned subsidiary. The new holding company provides a better structure for diversifying the company's aviation business and growing through acquisitions. Aviation General also owns 100% of Strategic Jet Services, Inc., which provides consulting, brokerage, and refurbishment services for jet aircraft.


September 1998   Announced the Commander Trade-Up Program for Beech, Piper, Mooney and Cessna owners. This innovative new factory-direct program makes it easy to trade up to a new or pre-owned Commander.


February 1999   Delivered the 150th new Commander since production began in October 1992.


September 1999   Independent safety study shows Commander aircraft superior safety record. R. E. Breiling Associates, a leading general aviation accident research company, concluded that Commanders have the best safety record in their class: 224% better than the Bonanza series, 240% better than the Mooney series, and 353% better than the Saratoga/Lance/Cherokee Six series. The report reviewed more than 20 years of NTSB and FAA data for high performance single engine aircraft.


March 2000   Announced the introduction of the Commander 115 series of high performance single engine aircraft. The Commander 115 represents the culmination of a multitude of improvements to the Commander line, and features numerous airframe, engine and systems refinements, as well as significantly increased range capability and an upgraded standard avionics package.

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This page was last updated 12/08/03