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Gulfstream [Rockwell] Turbo Commander /
Turbine Commander (Model 690, 690A, 690B)

The Turbo Commander developed from the Aero Commander light twins, and was based on the 680FLP. The prototype first flew on 31 December 1964. The initial model entered production in 1965 as the 680T. The turboprop powered developments of the Aero Commander family of light twins enjoyed a two decade long production run, and were built by three companies before production ceased. The original Turboprop Commander was based on the 680FLP, and first flew on December 31 1964, but instead of piston engines power was supplied by 450kW (605shp) Garrett AiResearch TPE331 turboprops. This initial Turbo Commander model was designated the 680T and entered production in 1965.

Progressively improved developments of the basic Turbo Commander appeared, including the 680V, which introduced an increased maximum takeoff weight, and the 680W with improved engines. Following North American Rockwell's takeover of Aero Commander and the introduction of the further improved Model 681, the name Hawk Commander was adopted for a time, but it was dropped from 1971 with the release of the 681B. By the time of the introduction of the 681B, Rockwell was already flight testing the upgraded Turbo Commander 690, which first flew on March 3 1968 and was certificated in July 1971. Rockwell introduced the improved 690A soon after. The 690 was developed through the Jetprop Commander 840 and 980, which were produced by Gulfstream, who had acquired Rockwell's General Aviation Division in 1981. These were followed by the 1000 model. Production ended in 1985.

The Gulfstream Turbo Commander (AC-690) is a stable high-winged twin, pressurized turboprop aircraft that is suitable for a variety of missions. The first variant of the turbine powered Twin Commanders, the 690 series matches Honeywell TPE331 engines producing 717.5 shaft horsepower to a pressurized airframe offering a 4,174 lb. useful load, including 600 lbs. of baggage. Climbing out at 2,850 feet per minute, a turbo Commander will likely be on top of the weather at FL200 in nine minutes and comfortably cruising in the mid to high twenty's at 285 knots while sipping Jet A for 1,500 nautical miles.

NOAA's AC-690 Turbo Commander is utilized by the NGS Remote Sensing Division and the NOHRSC (National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center). These programs facilitate coastal mapping, airport obstruction charting, photo bathymetry, photo geodesy, boundary determination, coastal wetlands mapping and snow water equivalentand soil moisture content measurements. Standard configuration allows for the mission equipment, two pilots and one photographer. However, with all seats installed, four scientists and/or technicians can be accommodated in the cabin. The aft cabin windows, which are oblique quadrilateral in shape, measure 16.75 inches wide by 14.5 inches high at the center of the window. Partial viewing ahead can be accomplished through the cockpit window and brow windows located within the flight deck area.

The NGS conducts aeronautical surveys requiring collection of stereophotographic and remotely sensed data. These surveys facilitate coastal mapping, airport obstruction charting, photobathymetry, photogeodesy, boundary determination, and coastal wetlands mapping. Depending on the scale of imagery required, missions are flown at altitudes of 1000 to 24,000 feet above ground level using kinematic GPS survey techniques. Through post-processing methods, such as photo-interpretation and photogrammetric measurement, the NGS uses the data to develop NOAA charting products.

The AC-690 is utilized by the NOHRSC to conduct airborne snow surveys using a gamma detection system. The system measures natural terrestrial gamma radiation over specific flight lines for the purpose of determining soil moisture and snow water equivalent. This data is used in near real time by hydrologists and water supply managers to make better flood forecasts and water supply predictions. NOAA's AC-690 is most useful in collecting airborne gamma data in the mountains of the western U.S., Canada, and Alaska, where the high power and pressurization features of the aircraft increase efficiency and safety.


Type: Rockwell AC690A TurboCommander
Engines: Garrett TPE 331-5-251K
Crew: 2 Pilots + 5 Scientists
Ceiling: 31,000 feet
Rate of Climb: 3000 feet/minute
Operational Airspeeds: 120 - 250 kts
Electrical: Two 28 VDC generators, 110 VAC
Scientific Power: 28 VDC, 110 VAC
Max. Gross Weight: 10,250 lbs.
Empty Weight: 6830 lbs.
Useful Load: 3,420 lbs.
Fuel Load: 384 US gallons
Fuel Type: Jet A,B JP4,5,8
Standard Fuel Burn: Normal Cruise Speed - 60 to 90 gallons per hour, depending on altitude and mission
Dimensions (external): Wing Span: 46 ft. 7 in.
Total Length, Length: 44 ft. 5 in.
Tail Height: 14 ft. 12 in.
Dimensions (internal): Cabin Door: 47 in. X 26.5 in.
Baggage Door: 31.25 in. X 19.75 in.
Baggage volume: 45 cubic ft.

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Page last modified: 13-08-2012 11:06:01 ZULU