Commander is a Pilot’s Airplane
I’ve been a Twin & Turbine reader since the dawn and read the latest On Final by David Miller (March 2017) with interest. A friend and I owned Twin Commander 1000 N79PH for 12 years. We got jet fever and moved to an Embraer Phenom 100 N43EP for the last seven years. The Phenom has been a great airplane, but the Commander remains a favorite.
There is a dramatic difference between the Commander 840 and 1000. The latter were the last 100-plus planes built and offer FL350 ceiling, 300 knots cruise speed, and 1,800 nm range. With something like 20 North Atlantic crossings in this plane, the long range was a marvelous asset. For instance, my wife and I flew non-stop from Rotterdam, The Netherlands to Crete, Greece.
The other issue is the Commander, like any turboprop, has none of the contaminated runway issues of a jet. During a New England winter we are locked out of many airports with the Phenom, that would be open to a Commander especially with reverse prop thrust.
The Commander 1000 does not have the big picture windows in back, and new thick windows and better soundproofing make it a very comfortable aircraft. Flown solo with a light fuel load the plane has the same gross weight and horsepower as a P-51 Mustang. The initial climb rate is phenomenal.
Finally, I heard long ago, “The Commander is a pilot’s airplane; the King Air is a passenger’s airplane.”