Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
By axelw14
#1819658
Hello,

A friend and I are looking to purchase our first aircraft. We are novice pilots with PPLs and ~100hrs VFR looking for a 4 seater tourer that can cover good ground. We have narrowed our search down to the Rockwell Commander 112 TC and Turbo Arrow. Would love any input on the following topics:

- both aircraft have pros and cons, is either choice a no-brainer for our situation?
- any rockwell commander owners willing to have a quick chat?
- how hard is it to find parts / maintain the commander in the UK?

Thanks in advance
#1819687
I have owned a 112TC and have 400+ hours on the Arrow 4 Turbo. Feel free to give me a PM for a chat. As a one-liner, I’d go for the Arrow Turbo on pretty well every count, payload, range, parts availability, etc. Advantages of the Rockwell include two doors and trailing-link undercarriage.

Iceman 8)
2Donkeys, axelw14, A le Ron liked this
#1819705
The late Keef who had flown/owned the 112 and (ornery) Arrows often spoke to me of his misgivings about the 112, re power and load carrying.

Now the 114 is a different matter..............

Neither Rockwells have the grass strip capabilities of Arrows.
#1819727
Do you really need the complexity and cost of operating a turbo?

Turbo’s give zero benefit below approx 8,000 ft. So unless you have an IR and plan to do long trips at 10-12,000ft, you don’t need a turbo.

The Rockwell has a much wider and “sports car like” cockpit - and two doors. The pilots seating position is also a lot higher than the arrow. Eg you easily look out over the top of the dash, rather than looking straight at the panel in the Arrow.
The trailing link undercarriage makes every landing seem like a greaser. The Rockwell has a higher wing loading therefore rides turbulence better than the Arrow.
#1819730
I have flown a 114 and thought it comfortable, but heavy and rather slow for 260hp. Payload pretty poor. The Arrow is good but not a lot better than an Archer, considering the extra cost of vp prop, retractable gear.
We had a Comanche 260 that would beat both those and was also better than the Trinidad. But you will find it hard to find one for sale.

Realistically with your hours I would buy something simple but efficient. A Robin DR400/180 would be ideal if you have hangarage. Don’t dismiss a Grumman Tiger, as faster than an Archer, maybe not the same carrying capacity, but realistically how often will you carry four.
Also maintenance wise quite good.
Ibra, kanga liked this
#1819739
axelw14 wrote:Hello,

A friend and I are looking to purchase our first aircraft. We are novice pilots with PPLs and ~100hrs VFR looking for a 4 seater tourer that can cover good ground. We have narrowed our search down to the Rockwell Commander 112 TC and Turbo Arrow. Would love any input on the following topics:

- both aircraft have pros and cons, is either choice a no-brainer for our situation?
- any rockwell commander owners willing to have a quick chat?
- how hard is it to find parts / maintain the commander in the UK?

Thanks in advance


If I may ask: by what means did you "narrow your search down"?

Rob
#1819784
I guess this will end up a Rockwell vs Piper owners shoot out. One thing you will learn is no one ever goes against the aircraft they have spent their hard cash on.

From my PoV, The Commander does not have any problem operating off grass fields, I kept mine at White Waltham for years and never had an issue, then Sywell, then Leicester all with grass runways which I use regularly.

Parts is not an issue, never had a problem in 13 years of ownership.

Personally I don't like the Turbo version of either of these aircraft. They are both old style Turbos and need managing unlike modern normalised turbo aircraft.

We bought the Commander because we are large, couldn't fit comfortably in an arrow and one door always seemed like a bad idea.

While this is not a comment which will help you, I often hear people compare the performance of 112 Commanders and say they are under powered, I would say as compared to what? If you know how to fly them properly they are more than capable aircraft, turbo or otherwise. Yes we would all like to have the 114B model but frankly not that long ago they were fetching Cirrus money and burning waaaaaay more fuel than their 112 counterparts. I have a useful load of 1008lbs, can get in and out of 450m strips, can fly 4 fatties up on half tanks with more fuel than a basic PA28 and a longer range. I am not rubbing shoulders with my front passenger and I can load all my passengers and their luggage before I have to get in.
Oh! and the trailing link undercarriage makes all my rubbish landings look like a Sky-God is flying.
#1819787
Paul_Sengupta wrote:And the fact that it looks like a mean machine!


Yes, it has to be said there really is no comparison when it comes to looks.

Rob P
Flyin'Dutch', Iceman liked this
#1819791
I flew turbo Arrow, it's a neat machine by all means: it that can take you to any grass and will get you 140ias in +12kft but it's just another PA28

Rockwell if you can afford long (paved) runways and you care about how it looks, I enjoy the ride but never openned engine cowlings

PS: I don't own neither, so no dog in this fight but if you are looking for 2.6537 seaters with sports look doing 160kts-190kts I can say something :lol: