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D-IMCB Rockwell Commander 700 c/n 70007 - Freesc - Verkehrslandeplatz Damme in Germany - 22 April 2005 more at Flugplatz Damme

The Rockwell Commander 700 is a twin-engine transport aircraft with a pressurized wide-body twin-engine business aircraft for up to two crew and seven passengers. The fuselage is constructed mainly from aluminum alloy and the tail unit has swept-back vertical surfaces and shallow dorsal fin. There is a built-in airstair in the left side of the fuselage. The Rockwell Commander 700 is fitted with two 340 hp Lycoming TIO-540-R2A piston engines. Development of the Commander 700 started in 1971, when Fuji Heavy Industries of Japan began with the design and development of a pressurized wide-body twin-engine business aircraft. Three years later the company entered into an agreement with Rockwell International whereby the General Aviation Division of the American company would share development, and would assume responsibility for marketing the aircraft in the US, and for final assembly from Fuji-produced parts. Six development and certification prototypes were planned, three in each country. The prototype Fuji FA-300 c/n 30001 flew first with testregistration JQ5001 on 13 November 1975; the first Rockwell-assembled Model 700, registered N700FA, flew first on 25 February 1976. Type certification was received by the JCAB (Japan) on 16 May 1977, and by the FAA (USA) on 30 September 1977. The aircraft entered production with Rockwell and customer deliveries began behind schedule late in 1978. The Commander 700 proved heavy and underpowered with the 340 hp Lycoming piston engines, and, with a full load of passengers, range was severely compromised for all but short-haul journeys. In Japan an uprated 450-hp version, known as the Fuji FA-300 Kai (in the USA as Rockwell 710), flew first on 22 December 1976, and since appeared with a number of modifications, including Whitcomb winglets. Rockwell did not take up their option to produce this aircraft. With the death of Willard Rockwell in 1978 and the stepping down of Willard Rockwell Jr. in 1979, the Rockwell International Corp. started a long series of sell-offs. In 1979, Rockwell stopped producing the Commander series. By early 1980, 42 shipsets of the Commander 700 had been delivered to Rockwell, of which only 29 had been delivered to customers, and the Rockwell International Corp. announced the termination of its joint development and marketing agreement with Fuji. In 1981, the production rights to Rockwell's General Division went to Gulfstream, who never produced any of either model. Including prototypes a total of 49 aircraft were produced.

On 18 September 1978, Rockwell Commander 700 c/n 70007 was registered N700GA with Rockwell International Corp., Bethany, Oklahoma. On 26 December 1976, registration N700GA was cancelled as exported to Germany and the aircraft was registered D-IMCB. Registration D-IMCB was cancelled  as exported to Russia on 16 October 2006. The aircraft was delivered to Russia as D-IMCB and registered RF-00730, despite RA- is the prefix for the aircraft registered in the Russian Federation. In 1992, the prefix RF- was suggested for the aircraft registered in the Russian Federation, but this was not accepted by the ICAO.

page last updated 08-12-2014
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands
 

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