The Aero Commander 500 family was a series of light-twin aircraft that were produced from 1951 to 1986 by different companies. They had various configurations and capabilities, but they shared a common design of a high-wing monoplane with a spacious cabin and twin tail booms. They were versatile and reliable aircraft that served in many roles and regions. They were also flown by some famous pilots who showcased their performance and appeal.
The Aero Commander 500 family originated from the vision of Ted Smith, a former engineer at Douglas Aircraft Company, who wanted to create a light-twin aircraft that could compete with the Beechcraft Bonanza and the Cessna 310. He formed his own company, the Aero Design and Engineering Company, in 1944 and assembled a team of engineers to work on his project. The first prototype, the Aero Commander 520, flew for the first time in 1948 and impressed the aviation community with its speed, stability and comfort. The aircraft received its type certificate in 1950 and entered production in 1951.
The Aero Commander 520 was followed by several variants that introduced different engines, wings, fuselages and features.
The Aero Commander 500 family had a total production of ~2,902 aircraft, of which 1,951 were piston-engined and 951 were turboprops. The most produced model was the 500S Shrike Commander, with 316 units built