Commercial aviation began booming after WWII and there was a network of flights, but Ted Smith— who worked for the Douglas Aircraft Company during the war— noticed a void in the market. There was a need for business aircraft and aircraft that flew to locations rarely visited by the airlines. He wanted to build an aircraft that could meet this demand and simultaneously offer convenience, safety, and dependability. The first step in doing this was to assemble a team of 14 engineers; and together, they designed the first Aero Commander, but now is a part of Twin Commander Aircraft, LLC.
The first prototype took flight in April 1948 and was certified in June 1950. The Aero Commander had impeccable safety standards and was the only aircraft of its kind at the time. To prove its safety and reliability, the company completed a flight from Oklahoma City to Washington DC in May 1951; it was loaded to full gross weight and had one of the aircraft propellers was removed from the engine. This flight was a hit and the backlog for the aircraft began to fill. The first production Aero Commander rolled off of the assembly line in August 1951. It was a piston-powered model 520. The Aero Commander went through a series of improvements over the following decades and was known for its impeccable safety and groundbreaking performance.
In 1955, the United States Air Force ordered 15 Aero Commanders and it was the first light twin-engine aircraft deemed safe enough for the President to fly in— so two of them were designated to the White House. The Aero Commander evolved over a few decades and the last plane in this series ended production in 1986. This plane was the model 1000— the most advanced version of the Aero Commander. This aircraft can fly at a maximum cruising speed of 308 knots, has a maximum range of 2,080 nautical miles, and can fly at these maximums with 482 gallons of fuel.