Tom s. 2012-02-12 11:24:02
There’s (understandably) a lot of discussion about Piper vs. Cessna vs.
I’m considering a (Rockwell) Commander 114B. Their marketing hype makes it
seem that the Commanders have a much better safety record than their
competition. Anyone have any input on that?
How about maintenance history or operating costs?
I figure to allow $125 an hour for direct costs; is that reasonable for this
Stu gotts 2012-02-12 11:24:05
Commander never had a good customer service history and parts were
very hard to obtain. H***, it was hard to get them on the phone! Now
that they’re out, I would imagine that it’s even more of a chore. Way
underpowered, but comfortable as an easy chair and strong as a
Rockwell should be.
But they’re certainly the sexiest airplanes, no?
Mikem 2012-02-12 11:24:09
My buddy has one. He has had major engine/turbocharger expenses.
He wishes he had a “simple” 182, which is nowhere near as sexy, but
is way easier on the pocketbook and lands d*** near anywhere…
Mombu 2012-02-12 11:24:17
I logged a couple of hours in a 114 owned by a colleague some years ago.
(This was the original 114, not the new 114B.) Very nice airplane to fly,
and very comfortable, but surprisingly noisy. Of course, the newer ones are
probably more refined and thus quieter. A few knots slower than others in
its class (e.g. Cessna 182RG, Beech 33), but the 114, unlike the old 112, is
certainly not underpowered.
My colleague had several problems obtaining parts, particularly for the
landing gear. Before I bought any Commander I would do extensive research
on the parts availability/cost situation.
The parts issue probably makes it tough to predict direct operating costs,
if you assume that includes replacing things that break or wear out.
I don’t know anything about their safety record relative to others in its
Cvairwerks 2012-02-12 11:24:33
I’ve had a friend with a 114 GT and he loved it. It was the only a/c
that he flew regularly besides his SF-260. Huge cockpit, very
comfortable and good vision. Parts can be a bit hard to find and some
are expensive, but if you go with one, join the 112/114 club and they
can be a huge help. I’m just getting set to go and recover my 680 Twin
Commander project this fall.
Tom s. 2012-02-12 11:24:40
Should be, being AT LEAST ten years older (I’m looking at a 1994 model).
My impression is the gear on a Commander is indestrucible, particularly with the trailing link.
Tom s. 2012-02-12 11:24:42
I’ve flown in 112’s and 114’s and the 114’s are noticably quieter. Compared
to a 182, a 182 is like my daughter stereo. :~)
148kts for the 182RG, 160 for teh 114B at 75% (IIUC)
They seem to be working on their parts distribution, but since so many
people have mentioned it, they’d have to REALLY prove to me that the probelm
is solved. Fortunately, there is a distributor/dealer at my field (SDL).
They brag up that their aircraft received their certification under FAR 23
standards, which is much higher than the standards that the 182 and others
on the market were built under. They quote stats on their website claiming
that their accident record is from 40% (182) to 226% better (Saratoga and
Beech) than others.
Tom s. 2012-02-12 11:24:45
I notice that everybody that dinged them has dinged them regarding parts.
Stu gotts 2012-02-12 11:24:50
Aren’t they bankrupt and the doors closed?
HP isn’t the factor. Look at the speeds those 260 ponies are taking you.
Stu gotts 2012-02-12 11:24:52
Tom, it sounds like you’ve made up your mind, so good luck with it.
Maybe you should look at joining the type club to get a better feel
for the airplane, and all the problems Commander has been going
through for the past few years. And if you’re looking at that recent
of a model, maybe you should try to contact someone at the factory if
there’s a phone still connected to see if you could get a factory
refurb. They had a program of taking trade-ins at a fantastic deal.
I’m sure someone has possession of that inventory.
Dan luke 2012-02-12 11:24:54
?Huh? The airplane is underpowered but HP isn’t the factor?
Commanders are slower than comparable airplanes because they sacrifice
speed for roominess; their fuselage cross section is larger. It would
take a lot more horsepower to raise the cruise speed appreciably, at
the cost of range or payload.
C172RG at BFM
Reo 2012-02-12 11:25:03
As of July 5th, 2003, the latest SEC filings I found, they were still under
Chapter 11 protection. It appears that Tiger Aircraft LLC is bailing them
out to the tune of $2.8 million, and will assume majority control.
To read all about it, go to www.pinksheets.com and look up “SEC Filings”
for symbol AVGE.
Cvairwerks 2012-02-12 11:25:06
Tom: Only reason for the ding is the low production numbers of the
112/114. I don’t know exactly how many were built, but if they were
around in the same numbers as Pipers and Cessnas, it wouldn’t be a
problem at all. Big/long production runs drive replacement parts costs
down for the common items. Lots of the type clubs are solving that
with obtaining the TC and what ever STC’s they can as well as PMA’s
for replacement parts. The Twin Commander is a good example. One
company now owns the TC’s and will produce any part needed for
virtually any of the twins. Might cost a bit, but they are obtainable.
Stu gotts 2012-02-13 16:40:54
Compare the climb and useful weight to a sicilian aircraft, say a
Bonanza with the same HP.
Tom s. 2012-02-13 16:41:48
260 HP vs. a 182RG’s 235HP and it’s UNDERPOWERED?
As you said…
So the “it’s underpowered” is BS.
Tom s. 2012-02-13 16:41:50
Compare the cabin. Compare the room of an Acura with a Civic.
Javier henders 2012-02-13 16:41:57
How do the weights compare?
G.r. patterson 2012-02-13 16:42:00
Commander – 3260 lbs. Skylane – 2950 lbs. Weights are MGW.
A friend will help you move. A really good friend will help you move
Javier henders 2012-02-13 16:42:02
”G.R. Patterson III”
OK, so, about the same loading per hp, then.
I never heard of the Command 114 being underpowered. I think the 112 was,
though, but I could be wrong.
Mombu 2012-02-13 16:42:24
I’m just curious how many different makes/models of singles he’s flown
around in, and how much time he’s spent in the Commander.
Pretty much has the highest specific fuel consumption of any
comparable single, seems under-powered from the driver’s seat, and
personally, I don’t like the way they handle.
Different strokes for different folks, but I wouldn’t think about
buying a relatively expensive, complex, everyday flyer that wasn’t
either in current production or very well-supported concerning parts.
BTW have bopped around in a couple of 112’s also, they seemed like a
totally different (hard to quantify “better”) handling airplane.
Stu gotts 2012-02-13 16:42:31
UNDERPOWERED FOR THE AIRFRAME. 100 HP is more than enough for an
Ercoupe, but certainly not enough for a 210. Now stop this s*** and
just admit the Commander (sans turbo) is a slowpoke!
Dan luke 2012-02-14 21:01:13
Of course it’s a slowpoke, and we posted the reason. Enough horsepower
to gain speed to match an A36 would impair the overall utility of the
Your statement that “HP isn’t the factor” after calling the airplane
underpowered is still silly.
C172RG at BFM
Tom s. 2012-02-14 21:01:22
I have 90 hours in the 112TC, and 230 in the 182RG. I have no PIC time in
the 114B, but I’ve got about 20 hours with an associate and his 114B. I
am/was also considering a 114TC.
How much time do you have in the 112/112TC/114B ?
And that’s why I asked to ascertain anyone’s experience or objective
knowledge of theri maintenance. As it is, I am pretty much eleiminating them
from my perspective list.
How many hours? 112 or 112TC?
BTW, My take on the 114B vs 182RG is that the 114 was MUCH more comfortable
(I’m 6’1″ and very wide in the shoulders), the 182RG seemingly more like a
Chevy in terms of fit and finish and a feeling of being _solid_, where the
114’s seem more like my Acura. I find the 114 much more comfortable in
Tom s. 2012-02-14 21:01:25
Yes, I contacted the FBO that would service it and he suggested that parts,
while available, and in a LONG chain (meaning it might takes WEEKS).
So, it looks like I’m back to square #1.
Mombu 2012-02-14 21:01:40
Never had the opportunity to drive a TC of any variety. However, have
an associate that has ferried a couple new ones (114TC) across the
Atlantic. To paraphrase, he’d never taken a GA ship across that used
as much gas to go as slow.
All VFR (cain’t legally fly with my head in the clouds), about as much
time as I’ve gotten in about every variety of PA28 and PA32 (turbo
included, ditto straight/T-tail and/or retracts), PA46-350P (no 310P),
35you-name-it, V35A, A36 (no F33), 201, 231, 172 & SP (? normally
aspirated IO-360 TCM six-banger), 182 (but no RG) plus a few other
odd-ball singles-Stearman, Husky, etc. Solo’d in a 7AC and finished up
a Traumahawk FWIW.
Useta be able to wring ’em out before & after performing annual/100 hr
inspections/maintenance on them, plus occasionally some time ferrying
them in for maintenance/inspection and back home again. Always took
somebody along in the Stearman, other times depended what was going on
and who wanted to ride along. Occasional “fun” flights also, although
most were work-related.
About the last one I flew was a nearly new 114B with about half tanks
and three extra souls onboard (being a professional aircraft mechanic,
feel free to consider me soul-less). Actually did a W & B for a
change. Didn’t care for the acceleration/climb gradient, dropped like
a constant-chord PA32 (at a considerably higher airspeed) plus ran out
of rudder on final. Actually looked down at my feet on short final to
make sure I was pushing the rudder in the proper direction.
Discussed this flight with the ferry dude, he indicated that his
experiences pretty much matched mine. That was when he clued me in on
the TC trips across the pond.
B** some left seat time in an A36 some time. Prepare to be spoiled
thereafter. Only problem in one is headroom in some cases.
Honestly, probly about 2.5 on three occasions. Two solo, once a long
lunch trip with 4 on board. Didn’t get a chance to work on the 112 (or
drive it around much), this was a low-time cherry trade-in that left
soon after-Commander ended up with it back when they were doing some
kind of “certified” used airplane deal. Enjoyed it more than any 114
I’d been up in.
6′ 2″ 205lbs, ditto. Ain’t gonna argue about whether or not a
Commander looks and feels solid, I agree.
They just aren’t one of my favorites to fly-my opinion, worth exactly
what it cost you.
Cvairwerks 2012-02-14 21:01:52
At least you aren’t driving a 400 series Cessna. Just got an email
with a warning about an AD getting ready to come out on all 400 series
Cessnas with a projected parts cost of 14,000$, but with a 700 manhour
install time… Lots of 400 series birds are going to get grounded….
G.r. patterson 2012-02-14 21:02:20
Early 112s had 200 hp and weighed 2550 lbs. Later this was bumped to 210 hp
and 2950 lbs.
A friend will help you move. A really good friend will help you move
Tom s. 2012-02-14 21:02:24
I’ve got some time in an F33 and while it flew well, the cockpit was VERY uncomfortable.
And that was (one of) my main points, and the main reason I just don’t like
a Mooney if there’s more than just myself in the front seats. They fly like
s dream, but the seats are like coach seats on a 737 with a fat dude/dudess
next to you (been there…Oh god, have I been THERE).
The whole POINT of design in the Commander series was CABIN WIDTH and
HEIGHT. That is going to spoil the speed/fuel burn aerodynamics. It’s much
of the reason a Mercedes doesn’t get the same gas mileage as a Honda Accord.
Diff’rent strokes fer different folks! :~)
Mike beede 2012-02-16 01:05:32
Maybe I’m slow today, but I can’t imagine what you meant to
write instead of “sicilian.”
Stu gotts 2012-02-16 01:05:43
I totally screwed up on the whole thread, maybe the combination of
heroin, booze and wild women. That should have been similar, but
maybe the spell checker changed whatever I pecked out to Sicilian. Or
maybe it’s secret code for the Cosa Nostra. Anyway, I need to back
out of the thread, I totally have not expressed what I meant to say.
John clonts 2012-02-16 01:05:48
Oh that’s funny. I’m sure there were dozens of us scratching our heads over
Snowbird101 2012-02-16 01:05:52
Perhaps you have received additional information you’re not sharing
here, but personally I wouldn’t eliminate a plane I liked because some
folks on the net raised concerns about parts.
The real issue is: what do A&Ps with expertise and owners in the
type club say about parts? If those folks say there are problems,
there are problems. But I’ve heard the same “ding” re Grummans,
and typically it was either pilots speaking on general principles
(small production run, out of production at the time), or mechanics
who lacked experience w/ Grummans and didn’t know who to call.
Don’t get me wrong, I have zippo experience with Commanders. I
just wouldn’t eliminate a plane you have time in and like unless
I’d talked to the type club, or to a mechanic acknowledged as
knowledgeable in the type (he maintains more than 1 or 2).
Tom s. 2012-02-16 01:06:04
No, I have not other infor, but I did talk to my FBO’s A&P, but he doesn’t
work on them enough to form an opinion.
Good point. My partner has had 114B for the past 8 months, but has not had a
single problem with it, so that doens’t help on the parts “issue”.
The problem I foresee (as someone pointed out) is that with them in Chapter
11, even a previously good parts supply may suddenly vanish.
I do like the plane, and find it supurbly comfortable for my build (big in
the shoulders). No, it’s not the fastest, but if I merely wanted _fast_, I’d
go with a Mooney. Unfortunately, though I love the feel and handling of a
Mooney, it’s low/narrow cabin (hence, it’s speed) just gives me a cramp. :~)
Could anyone point out where the Commanders Club :~) is to be found?
Cvairwerks 2012-02-16 01:07:06
Try : www.commander.org
Cvairwerks 2012-02-16 01:07:08
The problem with parts avialbilty on a particular a/c should be looked
at from two different points of view when we ding it. By far, the
average pilot wants to be able to go out and get into the bird and go
any day of the week and at any time. When it breaks, he wants his
mechanic to walk over to the parts room and get the part or call the
supplier and have it fed-exed in and the a/c back in the air as soon
as possible. This type owner is going to consider the ding on parts a
Now flip over to guys like me that build and restore airplanes for a
living. All our restoration work is on a/c that are over 50 years
old. We expect to have problems finding parts or plan on fabricating
our own. For us it doesn’t matter too much if it takes us a week or a
couple of months to find parts. To us and the owners that we work
with, the ding means that parts availibility is not as easy as most
newer a/c and might require some effort and time to find and get them,
but there is a solution.
Then you filp to guys like me personally. I have a restoration project
where a pair of rudders are the only known spare parts in exsistance
for the airframe. Everthing else, I get to either rebuild the parts
that I have or fabricate new ones. That’s part of the reason that this
restoration is taking many years to get done.
I look at it this way: If someone likes a particular a/c enough, we,
as mechanics and restorers, can find some way to safely keep it in the
air. It might not be the least expensive a/c to maintain or have the
fastest turn around when it needs attention, but we can keep it
Tom s. 2012-02-20 01:29:50
Chapter 11 — reorganization
Maximum 164 kts.(304 kph)
Performance Cruise (75% Power)160 kts. (297 kph) (a 182RG does 148kts)
Economy Cruise (65% Power)155 kts. (287 kph)
Long Range Cruise (55% Power)149 kts. (276 kph)
Stall (Cruise Configuration) 60 kts. (111 kph)
Stall (Landing Configuration)54 kts. (100 kph)
Look at the 148kts that 235HP takes you in a 182RG.
I’d rather look at climb capability. Speed is a factor of their large and comfortable cabin.
Kgassert 2012-02-21 04:44:44
If you are looking for something roomy and well built have you considered a Navion?