Aero Commander Model 520

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Aero Commander Model 520

Postby fenix » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:08 pm

How many active 520's are out there? I dont think I've run across a single Model 520 since I started flying this one almost 5 years ago.

She's down right now for engine work. Just finished New LE FWF by Central Cyl in Omaha...
After a couple flights with the new LE, trying to make the RE last a bit longer, blew a cylinder
so I ordered a set of brand new original cyls from factory for the RE.
Almost finished and should be back in the air in 10 days.

Its my first Commander and I've learned to love flying it. Twins prior to this were BE 58, BE 55, BE 58P, BE 18-D, and now AC52/G. The 520 is as much fun as the Beech 18 and not near the work when you are in a hurry to get going.

Always before, the deal killer for a Commander was T-hangar compatability. NOT.

Installed Gary Gadberry's flap/gap seals and picked up about 10 kts....I get a solid 160 to 165 kts cruise at around 30 GPH.

Not so sure about the auto lean feature. That's new to me.

Have logged around 650 hrs on the bird so far and sill learning.

530/WAAS, Aspen center display, S-TEC 50 w/alt, Arctic Air Ice AC, radome nose but removed the radar...with the Stormscope 500A displayed on the 530 and xm wx on the Garmin 495, radar becomes a boat anchor. Full copilot panel. Its a well equipped old bird.

Currently 20 hrs monthly.
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Re: Aero Commander Model 520

Postby frankb » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:13 pm

It was about mid 1973 and a friend and I flew my F35 Bonanza from Michigan to a field in Ohio to look at a 520 that was for sale. From memory it was black and white with black interior, and beautiful..a 'real plane'. The minute I saw it, I wanted it, but I had to sell my Bonanza first.

Several months later I did sell my Bonanza, but I also moved to Australia. I had to wait till 2003 to fly a Commander when the company I worked for purchased a 690A with -10 engines.

:D
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Re: Aero Commander Model 520

Postby CommanderMan » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:11 am

Hello All,

It is not easy to determine exactly how many Commanders are still flying, but from the information available to me it would appear that there are a maximum of 54 out of the 150 built.

This figure is based on the last-known Registers of Countries around the World and whether a Commander was still listed on that Register.
Of course, being Registered and whether it's still active is debatable.

However, my database does reflect that even if still on a Register, Commanders known to have been destroyed, damaged beyond repair, withdrawn from use or in a Museum are not included in the "active" figure.

Best Regards,
Barry Collman
Aero Commander historian.
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Re: Aero Commander Model 520

Postby geeoh480 » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:01 am

I used to fly a Commander 520 based in the Detroit area (N4186B) and it is currently being sold for parts. I don't think there are many 520's around anymore that are as nice as yours, recently I saw an ad for a 1955 560 and that was the oldest Commander I've seen in some time!!
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Re: Aero Commander Model 520

Postby stratobee » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:58 pm

Looks like I just bought myself a 1953 520. Haven't seen her or had her inspected yet, but she's in annual, flies regularly and have mid-to-late time engines. It's very exciting.

Since I'm abroad for the holidays, I won't get a chance to get to it for another two weeks. Been trying to find performance figures online, but there's zip to be found. Could someone share some info?

Wingspan? Heard this is the only one model with the short wing.

Take off, landing distances? Weights? Etc.

Any info, tidbits or figures would be useful. Thanks, Adam.
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Re: Aero Commander Model 520

Postby geeoh480 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:55 pm

Adam,

The first Aero Commander twin 520 is a lovely engineered product. Congrats to you on this purchase, and Happy New Year. The 520 has the GO-435-C2B2 (260 HP) geared Lycomings and TBO is set at 1200 hours. Plan on a cruise of 160-165 Knots at most cruise power settings and a fuel burn of about 14.5-16 GPH per side. I regularly flew in a 1953 520 N4186B that was based at Berz Airport in the late sixties. The later ones have three-bladed Hartzell props. The short-wing Commanders include early model 560 as well, which began production in 1954. Wingspan is 45 feet and can carry 5-7 folks. Top speed is just over 200 MPH, but normal cruise about 180.
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Re: Aero Commander Model 520

Postby stratobee » Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:26 pm

I've now had my 520 for almost a year and put close to 100hrs on her. This considering she was in the shop getting all the squawks ironed out for about 5 months, so not bad going for a couple of months flying.

I've had my share of troubles, but she's also been surprisingly reliable. Worst incident was on a a long trip from LA to Chicago where the left engine started running really rough about 1hr out from Chicago. I initially thought it was a mag problem, so decided to press on. The day after when I tried to take off again, she veered to the left on takeoff and didn't produce full power on that side. Turned out to be two bad cylinders - one had chewed the compression ring into bits, the other had a bad valve. That took a chunk out of my budget. Some minor gear switch fix revealed a cracked stiffener and that had to be replaced with some sheet metal work just recently. But all in all, a reliable performer and a wonderful flying machine. I knew I had a great performer when I had to land at a virtually unused dirt field in the middle of the Wyoming Rockies at 6700ft. Field was only 3200ft long, so I was a bit nervous on takeoff with no wind the day after. She was off in less than half! That's the great thing about the 520's - they'll get in and out of fields no other twin or Commander dare touch.

I try to save my old engines, so I normally fly at 20" and 2500rpm. This gives me 140kts and 28gph down low, 25gph up high and 23gph in the teens. She can be stressed up to 150-160kts, but I rarely press her that hard.

/Adam
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