Rockwell Commander 112
|Role||Four-seat cabin monoplane|
|National origin||United States|
|First flight||4 December 1970|
The Rockwell Commander 112 is an American four-seat single-engined monoplane designed and built by North American Rockwell (later Rockwell International) in the 1970s. A further developed version was also built by Commander Aircraft as the Commander 114 series in the 1990s and early 2000s, and as of late 2008 the type was due to go into production again in the near future as a Commander 115 series. However, as of 2012, financial issues had delayed production indefinitely.
In 1970 Rockwell designed and built two versions of a four-seat low-wing monoplane, the fixed tricycle landing gear Commander 111 and the retractable tricycle landing gear Commander 112. The 111 was marketed at $17,950 and 112 at $22,100. Only two prototype Commander 111s were built; the company decided that only the Commander 112 would go into production. A prototype Commander 112 crashed after the tail failed during testing, which led to a redesign of the tail unit; this delayed the delivery of the first production aircraft until late in 1972.
The 112 prototype was powered by a 180 hp (134 kW) Lycoming O-360 engine; this was replaced by a 200 hp (149 kW) IO-360 engine in production aircraft. After 123 production aircraft had been built a number of improvements were made to the 112 in 1974, including an internally redesigned wing with increased fuel capacity and a 100 lb increase in maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) to 2,650 lb; 112s built to this standard were marketed as Commander 112As. After another 30 112s were built, Rockwell offered an option for increased fuel capacity (68 US gallon vs. 48 gallon standard tanks).
The 1976 Commander line introduced two new models, the Commander 112TC with a turbocharged engine of 210 hp and MTOW of 2,850 lb, and the Commander 114 with a six-cylinder Lycoming IO-540 engine of 260 hp. The 112, 112TC and 114 were all subsequently upgraded, to the 112B, 112TCA and 114A respectively. The final year of production was 1979, by which time the marketing name Alpine Commander was used for the 112TCA and Gran Turismo Commander for the 114A.
Following the end of production Rockwell sold the design rights to Gulfstream American in 1981 along with other designs in the Rockwell stable, but Gulfstream did not restart production as it was interested only in the Turbo Commander.
Many Commander 112/114 aircraft were sold to private pilot owners in the United States. Many examples were exported to countries worldwide including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
In 1988 Gulfstream sold the rights to Randall Greene, who set up Commander Aircraft to provide support for existing aircraft and build new aircraft. The new aircraft were designated Commander 114Bs, with deliveries commencing in 1992. Production ceased again in 2002 after about 200 114Bs and turbocharged 114TCs had been built, and Commander Aircraft was subsequently liquidated.
In 2005 the Commander Premier Aircraft Corporation (CPAC) was formed by over 50 owners of Commanders, in order to provide spare parts support for their aircraft. Commander Premier purchased the assets of Commander Aircraft from the bankruptcy trustee in mid-2005 and moved all production equipment from Oklahoma City to a new facility in Cape Girardeau, Missouri., with plans to build a new model in three variants; the Commander 115, the 115TC and the 115AT. CPAC was sold to Ronald G. Strauss in 2009, and was to fall under the ownership of Aero-Base, a firm which Strauss owned. While CPAC had failed to establish a stable aircraft manufacturing operation in the city-financed factory at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, it did at least manufacture parts and provide aircraft service. In October 2011, CPAC was evicted from its city-owned hangar for unpaid lease obligations. By May 2012, CPAC was back in bankruptcy, the deal by Canadian fiancier Strauss having failed to achieve traction, with an unnamed firm not associated with Strauss showing interest in purchasing the company.
- Fixed landing gear variant powered by a 180 hp Lycoming O-360 engine, two prototypes built.
- Production variant with retractable landing gear and powered by a 200 hp Lycoming IO-360, 125 built.
- Marketing name for a strengthened variant of the 112 to meet the FAR23 Amendment 7 requirements with increased maximum takeoff weight, 364 built.
- 112A with an increased maximum takeoff weight, increased wingspan, new propeller and larger wheels, 46 built.
- 112A with turbocharged Lycoming TO-360-C1A6D engine, 108 built.
- 112TC with increased load and higher takeoff weight and other improvements similar to 112B, later named Alpine Commander, 160 built.
- 112 with a 260 hp Lycoming IO-540-T4A5D engine, 460 built.
- 114 updated similar to 112B, later named Gran Turismo, 41 built.
- Variant of 114A built by Commander Aircraft with new propeller, revised engine cowling and a Lycoming IO-540-T45BD engine.
- Variant of 114B with turbocharged Lycoming TIO-540-AGIA engine.
Specifications (114A Gran Turismo)
Data from 
- Crew: one
- Capacity: three passengers
- Length: 25 ft 0½ in (7.63 m)
- Wingspan: 32 ft 9.1 in (9.98 m)
- Height: 8 ft 5 in (2.57 m)
- Wing area: 152.0 ft2 (14.12 m2)
- Aspect ratio: 7.740
- Empty weight: 2070 lb (939 kg)
- Gross weight: 3260 lb (1479 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming IO-540-T4B5D, 260 hp (194 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 191 mph (307 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 181 mph (291 km/h)
- Range: 813 miles (1308 km)
- Service ceiling: 16,500 ft (5030 m)
- "Aero Commander 112". Air Progress: 52. December 1971.
- Airliners.net Rockwell 112/114 data. Retrieved: 11 November 2008.
- FAA Type Certificate A12SO. Retrieved: 11 November 2008.
- Airliners.net Commander 114B data. Retrieved: 11 November 2008.
- Niles, Russ. "Commander Aircraft To Be Liquidated" - AVweb Briefs, 19 January 2005. Retrieved: 11 November 2008.
- About Us - Commander Premier Aircraft Corporation. Retrieved: 11 November 2008.
- Commander 115 Series - Commander Premier Aircraft Corporation. Retrieved: 11 November 2008.
- Orbis 1985, p. 2813
- Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions.
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing.
- Mondey, David (1981). Encyclopedia of the World's Commercial and Private Aircraft. New York: Crescent Books. p. 220.
Media related to Rockwell Commander 112 at Wikimedia Commons