Rockwell/Gulfstream (Aero Commander) Twin Commander series

This family of twin piston and turboprop private/corporate aircraft originates from the late 1940s. Then it was one of the first of such modern aircraft, together with the Beechcraft Twin Bonanza. The Aero Design & Engineering Company designed a new aircraft inspired by the Douglas A-20 bomber. Eventually the renamed company Aero Commander put the aircraft into production, which lasted well into the 1980 with a far family member.

The Twin Commander, as the family is generally referred to, has straight wings placed on top of the rounded rectangular cross section fuselage. The empenage is conventional, with the horizontal stabilisers having a small dihedral. The landing gears all have a single wheel. The main gear retracts backward in the nacelles. The nose gear is short and close the tip of the nose. The length of the gear keeps the fuselage just off the ground, very typical for the family. 

From this angle you can clearly see that the fuselage of the Twin Commander family is just a feet from the ground, thanks you the short (nose) landing gear.

Different versions

The different versions of the Britten-Norman BN-2 can be identified by looking at:

  • the shape of the engine nacelles
  • the size of the wing span between the nacelles and fuselage
  • the shape of the nose
  • the shape of the vertical stabiliser
  • the shape and number of cabin windows
  • the presence of bent-up wing tips

Details will follow later.

Confusion possible with

Mitsubshi MU-2

mu 2b 40

The MU-2 is of similar size as the Twin Commander and also has high wings and a conventional tail, but the horizontal stabilisers have no dihedral. The main gear of the MU-2 retrac­ts in the fuselage though. The nose gear has two wheels. Finally, nearly all MU-2s have tip tanks.

Britten-Norman BN-2

bn 2b 26

Another type is of similar size and configuration is the BN-2 Islander. Its double wheel main landing gear is fixed though, being attached to the wings with long struts. The wings are have a wide chord, all the way to the tips. Additionally, the horizontal stabilisers have no dihedral. Finally, the cabin windows are larger.

Vulcanair AP68TP Viator/A-Viator

ap68tp 600

This aircraft has an all single wheel retractable gear, attached to stubs under the fuselage, and a long nose to house the nose gear. For the rest it is quite similar to the Twin Commander series.

Tecnam P2012 Traveller


This aircraft can be seen as a more modern version of the Islander. The P2012 also has a fixed main gear but attached to the fuselage and small cabin windows with 'race track' shape. (photo by Marco Papa, used with permission)

Dornier 228

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While the Do228 is significantly larger than the Twin Commander, its cabin and cockpit windows may cause a mixup. The Dornier has a less tall tail, smaller nacelles, a main landing gear retracting in the fuselage and pointed wingtips.